fbpx
Personal Stories2018-05-08T10:45:07+02:00

Personal Stories

Meditation for Recovery with Chuck Schad

 

This week’s podcast guest is Chuck Schad who is the founder of the Inner Theater – which offers mindfulness and meditation programs.

He is passionate about meditation which enabled him to stop drinking and change his life.

Chuck shares his story with us and he ends our conversation with a five-minute meditation which will enable you to breathe and take pause if you get triggered to drink.

In this Episode

  • Chuck and his wife came of age in the late ’60s when he began to dabble in meditation – he even studied it with a Vietnamese Monk
  • But then life got in the way – 2 kids and 2 busy careers meant that meditation got shelved for a while
  • A difficult period in his life led Chuck to step up his drinking
  • The combination of a business failure and a son with a drug problem sent him to AA for help with his alcohol dependence
  • AA wasn’t the right fit for him and he sometimes had a beer on the way home to calm his nerves!
  • He was feeling totally strung out so went to his doctor who prescribed Benzos for the anxiety
  • Chuck then became addicted to Benzos – and had to go to hospital for help to stop
  • The combination of alcohol and Benzos is not a good one – as we heard on last week’s podcast interview with Janet D
  • Chuck began reading about Eastern meditation and then began to meditate daily with Sadhguru
  • He began to feel so much better that he began to give talks about meditation at local libraries
  • His passion for meditation grew and he was offered a job running sessions at an Inner City Clinic
  • Meditation changed everything for Chuck – it gave him distance and made him realise he didn’t need external help for his problems – he had the answers within
  • You’ll hear Chuck explain that we have between 20,000 and 70,000 individual thoughts every 24 hours but meditation enables us to flip the coin and watch these thoughts – to be the witness and break the spell!
  • It enables us to take a step back, settle ourselves down, and to learn how to “self-soothe”
  • Chuck and I talk about the demands of corporate life – and the fact that some progressive organizations are hiring him to run meditation sessions for their employees
  • He talks about using of meditation in recovery and we discuss the value of reframing – just as we say at Tribe Sober that “getting sober is an opportunity to change your life” – he says that “Recovery is an Invitation”
  • You can find Chuck at innertheater.com and his Facebook page is Chuck Schad
  • Our conversation will end with Chuck doing a meditation which can enable you to PAUSE if you get triggered and feel like having a drink
  • So even if you’ve never meditated before please give the meditation a try – it’s just 5 minutes but if you close your eyes, get comfortable and listen to Chuck’s soothing voice you’ll be in a different state afterward and may well be able to resist any cravings to drink
  • Keep this podcast handy on your phone so that you can quickly tune into the last 5 minutes and do the meditation whenever you need it.

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

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 and Benzos with Janet D

 

This week’s podcast guest is another Janet – Tribe Member Janet D.

Janet joined us in August 2021.  She used all the tools,  stayed connected, and got through those first difficult months.  As you will hear she’s now thriving in her sobriety and tells us she’s planning to be a Tribe member for Life!

We love it when our Tribe members decide to Pay it Forward and help other people to do what they’ve done.  It certainly affirms our decision to be sober when we see how some of the newbies struggle – and of course, we continue to get inspired by the hobbies and interests we see our sober members pursue.

In this Episode

  • Janet’s father was a drinker and her mother was hooked on prescription drugs
  • By the time she was only 4 years old, Janet could notice how her father’s personality would change – and by the time she was 8 she realized that the alcohol was responsible
  • She tells us the story of watering down her dad’s beer and gin to prevent the mood swings – I find that really sad and can picture that well-meaning little girl emptying out the alcohol and replacing it with water
  • Janet would go to the pub with her older brother at the age of 15 but wouldn’t drink very much
  • The combination of her exposure to alcohol as a teenager and her genetic link to a father who drank meant that she had two factors that would pre-dispose her towards alcoholism
  • However, it wasn’t until much later in life that she began to struggle with alcohol
  • She was fine up to the age of 40 – so she was definitely a late-onset drinker
  • Janet had a high-flying career and had her children relatively late in life
  • It was only when she gave up her job to stay at home with her two young children that the alcohol consumption increased
  • She slipped into the pattern of a couple of glasses of wine while preparing kids for bed – and then sharing more with her husband when he came home from work
  • A bottle of wine each evening, with more at the weekend when they socialized
  • With hindsight, Janet can see she was in denial about her drinking – she never thought anything of it
  • Her consumption increased when she discovered the winebox (which was the downfall of many of us I think!) – no more recycling worries or watching the level in the bottle go down!
  • So like 20% of social drinkers, Janet had become dependent
  • As Ken Middleton explains in this article about the science of alcohol dependency “if you drink consistently for a long enough period of time, the chances of you having a “problem” are almost guaranteed”
  • Ken also explains that for many of us the heavy drinking doesn’t really take hold until somewhere between the 16th and 23rd year
  • That would certainly apply to me who started as a teenager and was definitely hooked by my 40s whereas Janet D didn’t start until she was 40 and was hooked by her early 60s
  • As Janet says she had drunk her “quota” when she gave up – those of us who started early had definitely had our quotas by the age of 40 which seems like a great age to quit!
  • A doctor said to me once that we can get away with quite a lot of unhealthy behavior until we are 40 but then we must start taking care of ourselves
  • I think ditching the booze is absolutely the best thing we can do for our health and happiness as we age
  • Janet explained that she did try to give up after having surgery but found it really hard as she was white-knuckling it
  • This experience taught her that she could probably give up drinking if she put her mind to it but it would be really hard and pretty much a lifetime struggle
  • That’s the mindset we are so keen to overturn here at Tribe Sober – we don’t believe in “white knuckling” which involves willpower. We help our members to change their mindset about alcohol so that their desire to drink will diminish
  • So rather than a lifetime struggle, we believe it’s a matter of six months of hard work and then it’s done – then we have to reconfigure our lives and learn to navigate our alcohol-drenched society but certainly, within a year, we can change our lives!
  • In 2021 Janet was captured by Moderation Mary who convinced her that if she put a few rules in place she would be able to “moderate”
  • This moderation phase is definitely a red flag of dependence but it’s also a sign of the start of the contemplation phase – Janet had moved out of the denial phase and knew something had to change
  • She took a complete break before the moderation attempt hoping to “reset” her drinking habits but while this is a nice idea in theory we have to accept that once we’ve crossed the line into dependence the word moderation should be banished from our vocabulary!
  • Those of us that have tried moderation know only too well that it takes just a few weeks to get back to our previous drinking patterns
  • Alongside the drinking, there was something else going on in Janet’s life. She had always suffered from sleep issues and from 1994 to 2021 she took Diazapan every night to help her sleep
  • Rather rashly she decided to come off the Benzos at the same time as quitting alcohol which resulted in two sleepless weeks!
  • This is a classic example of chasing more than one bunny at a time! We always recommend that our members just focus on giving up alcohol and then tackle the diet, exercise, and medication issues a bit further down the road.
  • This is what Janet eventually did – she went back to the Benzos and when she was sober she managed to quit the Benzos
  • Janet began her research to get some support – she did Annie Grace’s alcohol experiment and related well to Claire Pooley – who also gave up a high-flying job to stay home with young children
  • She found Tribe Sober via Claire Pooley and we resonated with her as we are more in her demographic than other groups and we are certainly a lot smaller
  • Some sobriety groups have thousands of members whereas we only have a few hundred and we like it that way. It means we can provide a personal service to our members
  • Janet is a visual person and gave us 3 great examples of how this can help:

She used to imagine 6000 bottles of wine and 10,000 pills – that was her quota done

Moderation Mary and the Wine Witch were firmly locked in her cellar and

When she found herself admiring a gorgeous bottle of pink rose, she mentally decanted it into a plain brown box with a pic of a diseased liver on the top!

  • At just over one year sober Janet is not struggling at all – in fact, she is still really excited about being sober!

 

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

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).

Fading Affect Bias FAB) – and Moderation

 

It’s a Saturday morning. You wake up. You look around you. You feel hot. What is the time? Geez, it’s almost midday? What was I supposed to be doing today? Geez, I have a lunch date in one hour! But wait, where is my handbag, my car keys, my car?

Does this make your toes curl? Do you remember these feelings? Then being consumed with guilt and shame? Seeing yourself in the mirror, that puffy face, pale, make up smudged, lipstick all over the show? Headache, nausea? But you take a shower, get dressed, apply new make up and go and do it all over again!

The thoughts of these nights and days to tend to fade. Especially if you decide to get sober. You start to forget all the bad feelings and what happened to your so-called reputation. You just remember the good times – that good Chardonnay and dancing on the tables, that excellent Pinot Noir and sitting outside until 2 am. That fun time on the beach and then in the bars, drinking and having a blast? You forget the falling down parts, the crashing the car parts, and the losing face, losing everything parts.

 

 

Welcome to the Fading Affect Bias (FAB)

This phenomenon is called the Fading Affect Bias. We can blame FAB for making us start drinking again, when we have had a break or tried to get sober. We decide that we will moderate, yes, we can! It was never so bad, my drinking, I will start again, slowly, and only have one here and there. Know the story?

Read on! This is officially known as the Fading Affect Bias and it is when unpleasant or negative emotions fade away over time, more than pleasant things. In other words, human survival depends on our memories, or memory losses, to keep us sane. Simply by remembering only the good bits do we manage to cope better and feel more positive about life. This is in general. What happens when alcohol is brought into the mix?

Research has found that this phenomenon may strengthen the need to drink alcohol again after giving it up or trying to moderate. Because the unpleasant emotions connected to the drinking and the behavior it caused do fade from memory, and the drinker then wants to drink again because he or she thinks all will be well and they will cope and they won’t get affected by the alcohol.

According to Walker, Vogl and Thompson (1997), the Fading Affect Bias (FAB) is the tendency for unpleasant emotions to fade more over time than pleasant emotions… FAB is a healthy coping mechanism that improves the overall positivity of life.

People who quit drinking do feel sad for months, even years. This is called dysphoria and it can just be a sad mood that comes and goes or it can become a long-term sadness, a deep depression where suicide is a real threat. It is then linked to serious mental health disorders including bipolar and mania.

 

 

Dysphoria is the opposite of euphoria – it’s a “profound state of unease or dissatisfaction and may accompany depression, anxiety or agitation.”

The other phenomenon experienced by many people who quit alcohol is anhedonia, a term for an intense numbness of emotions, or loss of interest in most pleasures such as food, sex, social events, and music. It can be called emotional flat lining too.

I spoke to a man who has recently quit alcohol to get his viewpoint on all these terms, these emotional and mental phenomena, and to see how he relates to them.

Jean agrees with the FAB description and the research and he can recount a few personal experiences that relate to it. It is the story about a drinker giving up the booze for a year, then being encouraged to have just one, thinking he could do it, and going right back to that place where he was drinking too much again.

His mind forgot to remind him about all the bad times, the faux pas he made when drunk and the negative impacts that the alcohol continually had in his life. The FAB convinced him that he was fine and that he could moderate, yes sir. But can drinkers really moderate?

 

 

Moderation is for the Birds!

When Jean got engaged to his now ex-wife, she had some concerns about his behaviour when drinking alcohol at times. It escalated to the point where she said that if he didn’t address it, she would not marry him. So, Jean made a commitment to quit drinking or to make a big change (“not to make it a permanent quitting exercise at that point in time, but just to get control of the situation”). He bought one month’s prescription of Antabuse tablets and he stopped drinking completely.

“Once the one-month prescription was done, I decided I felt comfortable enough not to drink on my own, that I didn’t need the tablets to do that and that my willpower was good enough. It was, for a year. I successfully went through year-end festivities including New Year’s Eve and friends never even realized that I was on AF drinks. I felt comfy.”

BUT: the irony was that his now ex-wife, then fiancé, was drinking heavily then, on a slippery slope herself, and she encouraged Jean to have a drink with her which he remembers “was stupid.”

“I thought, ag, I’ll just have a glass and that wine tasted super sour to me so I thought I would be able to take it easy and that things would be fine and well, you know the rest of the story. The drinking progressively increased, ramped up, intensified and before I knew it, one evening I was locked out of the house, I had to break a window and crawl through it and embarrass myself again.” He married his fiancé and was back on the booze, never considering that he would stop again.

Reaching Rock Bottom Realisations

And then, just a few weeks ago, Jean experienced a rock bottom moment – he had another incident where horrible things happened, and ridiculous life decisions had a very negative impact on his life with serious consequences. He has since quit the booze and is hoping that this is forever.

“The illusion that you would be able to keep it moderated and controlled is a strong illusion – that you can control the alcohol – but inevitably that will fail.”

Deanne mentioned to me that she quit drinking for 14 days and was so proud of herself. She decided to have just ONE glass of wine out with friends one night and enjoyed it. She even felt smug that she had managed to just have one and wasn’t one of the women who ordered more glasses. She managed that night out but the thing is, her false beliefs were still there:

“I clearly remember my lowkey excitement when someone else was dithering about ordering another glass and I remember thinking, ‘Go on then, go on, go on, just order another one so I can too…’ She didn’t so I didn’t, so the only difference that evening was a tiny social nuance that for some reason I decide to conform…

Within a week, Deanne was back to drinking her usual amount of alcohol and realized that she was just not capable of enjoying an evening out without being drunk. She says that the moderation attempt phase for drinkers is a crucial part of figuring things out – it is just a pity it takes about a decade and involves so much self-blame and frustration!”

Says Janet Gourand,” I spent 10 years locked in the moderation trap all because I thought life would be miserable without alcohol – the marketing and the peer pressure well and thoroughly brainwashed me and of course now I understand that pull to moderate is due to Fading Affect Bias!”

For Jean, moderation worked at socials but it was the binge drinking that caught him and had negative effects on his life. He makes a good point about the FAB and what it feels like to read articles about this phenomenon.

“If you read this article through the eyes of a drinker, then your mind should be made up already. Moderate drinkers will not have to care about this article – reading an article like this is a sign that you have already identified a problem that needs to be addressed and you have already answered your own question.”

He recommends that such people find their tribe, their group of similar people who they can hang out with and share such issues. Often, families drink around those who want to give it up and then these ex-drinkers feel extra lonely and sad.

Quitting the Booze Forever is the Answer

“Complete abstinence comes in when you realise that you do have a problem – I do know some people who have been moderate drinkers for all of their lives and it just doesn’t concern them whatsoever – but once you have crossed a certain threshold like I did, then the juice is not worth a squeeze. It doesn’t make sense to even try moderation because inevitably you will just disappoint yourself again and start right back at day 1 again, “ says Jean.

Ruby Mehta sums it up so well in The Tempest when she links this FAB to drinking – this phenomenon can affect our sobriety because it distorts our perceptions of our drinking past, it convinces us that we were not that bad and that maybe it will be fine to have another drink one day. It removes the bad memories, the guilt, and the shame, the actions we performed to embarrass ourselves and anger or hurt others. It leaves the good memories and removes the negative ones. It is a human survival mechanism and maybe it serves drinkers negatively.

“The Fading Affect Bias refers to a psychological event where negative, painful memories recede much more quickly than positive, pleasant ones. This doesn’t mean that you don’t remember the moment, but the negative feelings associated with that moment may fade over time. …The Fading Affect Bias is one of the reasons why we may want to drink even after we’ve sworn never to drink again…  

As time goes by, we can start to lose the initial spark of enthusiasm or determination to quit drinking and it starts to feel more like a chore than something new and exciting. We start to think about the good times we had drinking while downplaying the bad. Although sobriety gives us a lot of new, positive benefits, it can also bring a sense of loss. A lot of people experience these feelings in recovery, especially early on. And it’s during this time that the positive memories of your drinking days may surface, and whatever reasons you had for quitting in the first place seem less important.”

Do you relate to this information in any way? Are you desperately trying to be sober but the thought of another drink keeps looming and you think you can maybe moderate? I suggest that you join Tribe Sober instead of going it alone and using sheer grit and willpower.

When you join Tribe Sober, you will succeed because:

  1. You will see people who are struggling and you won’t want to go back to those difficult early days
  2. You will be inspired by other people who are developing new interests as they thrive in their sobriety
  3. You will make some Sober Buddies – connection is the opposite of addiction – it’s easy to feel a bit alienated as a non-drinker in our booze-drenched society – you need a Tribe!

Contact Tribe Sober today!

Why Does Everyone Drink SO MUCH over Christmas?

 

I have to ask myself this question every year because every year I get this immense dislike of Christmas, alcohol, food and socials. It is all in excess and it is all excessive.  I wondered why I felt like this so I started to read about the fact that people booze it up over the festive season more than during the rest of the year. Why is this? And why does it trigger me, in particular?

Some of the answers are obvious: people are tired from a year of hard slog and labour, family issues, mental and emotional health issues, children stresses and more. People want out, they want to forget and they want that instant relief that alcohol gives them. But only drinkers would do this because only drinkers know about this feeling of being relaxed if they drink or think that they are feeling relaxed and destressed if they drink.

False Beliefs about Alcohol

More people have come to believe that alcohol is the most important part of their festive season. I was brought up like that with parents who put alcohol first for everything. We would go to the coast for our family holidays and we towed an entire trailer for the beer! It was my dad’s pride and joy, especially unpacking it at the destination, a gracious old beach cottage. The trailer was full of cans and when we got there and unloaded these cans, they formed a tower in the kitchen area of our beach cottage.

My parents drank if it was hot, if it was cold, if they were happy or sad, celebrating or crying. They drank if there was a birthday, a funeral, a storm or a public holiday. Christmas was the excuse to go all out for the year, to make up for the days when they didn’t drink, which were none!

As a kid, I never put two and two together because I was trying to survive my mother’s drinking and the repercussions thereof. Being left at school after sport in the dark, being driven home drunk so that we nearly wrote off the car, having parties into the early hours with my sister’s friends, and just because.

Reasons Why People Drink More over Christmas

But I digress. Why does everyone drink so much over Christmas? Let’s look at the obvious and more intense reasons:

  • The year is over and the need to celebrate and forget the pain of work and social and family stresses is huge
  • The holiday blues hit and depression finds its way into the psyche after a year of just hamster wheeling the way and not allowing the thoughts and feelings to surface
  • Holidays are stressful – too many people are out and about, traffic is worse, crowds are everywhere and it is hot or cold, wherever you are.
  • Family gatherings are expected and enforced and many people do not like or fit into these
  • The media portrays alcohol as the party lubricant that makes us magically the centre of all attention, the most beautiful person there and the funniest
  • People are like sheep and follow the crowd which is generally drinking a lot
  • People want to drink because they think they enjoy it and they are having fun.

I gave up alcohol 7 years ago soon and that first festive season sober was very hard for me. I became terrified to go out and socialise and the more I read about this, the more I realised that I did not have to do anything I didn’t want to do. I could say NO.

So, I started to say NO and I am now 7 years down the line and I am still saying NO – I am a complete loner who refuses to go out at night. It is the real me who emerged from behind all of that alcohol because I was hiding, I was trying to be that cool cat who could cope with anything, just give me a glass of wine at 5pm.

Christmas is a time when people tend to drink more. In colder climates, it is to enhance the feeling of warmth and jovial friendliness, and in hotter areas, it is about cooling down in the swimming pool with a beer or sipping wine as the sun sets or having countless braais with friends who drink, and so on. The media certainly also portrays this image very clearly.

 

                                          

Is this a Hoax?

The year ends with a huge bang at New Year which is a piss up of note. Then what? People get ready for work. They become depressed and know that they are going to detox, not only for their health but because they have blown all their money on booze during December! They are nursing a huge hangover from all the food and drink anyway and need to get rid of that with a new exercise routine. Why do we create these boxes for our enjoyment? Christmas is a piss up jovial time and January is a dry, no money, depressing detox time?

Is this a joyous time, or a depressing time, or just one big hoax? Why is it that society associates alcohol with joy, with celebration, with having a good time? Because of the media and our upbringings, the way we were all taught by our parents, their parents, their grandparents and so on. My father’s side of the family were the Irish whiskey drinkers so, ya, he did the same.

Peer pressure is a huge factor, especially for teenagers, but also for us adults. Going out to a braai or a dinner and everyone is drinking good wines and champagnes puts the pressure on everyone else to drink. Those who are sober or who never drank alcohol can feel left out and alone. I always leave a party or social early because I can, and because I am not part of that alcohol infused conversation that is peppered with raucous laughter and silly jokes – I would rather be knitting and reading!

Jeanette Hu on Psychology Today gets it right: “We live in a society where consuming alcohol is socially approved and encouraged. Not drinking often requires courage and the ability to stand one’s ground. If you have ever tried to turn down an alcoholic drink without an excuse at a party, chances are you are familiar with the questioning looks on others’ faces. The overwhelming social pressure poses an additional challenge for people who want to stay away from alcohol.”

She notes that while alcohol can be a stress reliever at first, it quickly takes over your mind and physiology to causes more stress than ever before. Sure, alcohol affects that feel-good feeling and it teases the dopamine in your brain to make you feel good. But after the third glass, you are tipsy and feeling out of it anyway so that doesn’t last and at the end of the day, it creates more stress, guilt and shame. If you are broke, sad, or alone or stuck in traffic does alcohol solve those problems? If your partner leaves you, or a parent or a friend dies, does alcohol help? It never does, no.

Carrie DeJong notes that we are wired to connect with others, to be part of a group and loved and to love. Often, the drinkers who drink to be able to connect are actually disconnecting via the alcohol – many people who drink are loners, introverts and love to sit alone at home but in actual fact, they are the very people who need to connect with others to get those oxytocin hugs and kisses just to feel good.

“Abraham Maslow developed a theory about our hierarchy of needs. He identified a sense of love and belonging as a fundamental need that must be met if we are to reach our fullest potential as human beings. Advances in neuroscience provide the data to back up this theory. We now have a greater understanding of how vital attachment relationships are and how they help shape our brain as well as our emotional patterns.”

 

Carrie notes that Christmas with family causes stress because often we create these artificial havens of love and togetherness when in actual fact families do not have to or need to be together over Christmas as all. Many family members do not get along and this causes enormous tension over the festive season. Often, coming together for Christmas places one family member in the same vicinity as a family member who hurt them, abused them, abandoned them or neglected them and this causes huge angst.

Often, family members feel the need for self-protection during a family Christmas, or for connection but there is conflict due to underlying histories and previous knowledge about something that happened years ago. According to Dejong, these three reasons may be why people drink too much during a family Christmas:

  1. The people you are spending time with are also those who have harmed you.
    But how do you handle the challenge of spending time with someone who has harmed you? What if you experience a strong urge to protect yourself and would prefer to avoid an unhealthy or unsafe person but expectations or circumstances make them impossible to avoid? Or what do you do with the confusion created by still wanting a relationship with someone who has severely wounded or traumatized you in the past? Which need wins out: the need for connection or the need for self-protection?
  2. Your loved ones are not the ones responsible for the significant past traumas, but your alarm system keeps you fearful they could harm you.
    We are hardwired for self-preservation. The entire body goes into alert mode when we have to be around the person who has hurt us. And yet who is to blame? No one really. We want to run if we have now had to be in the same room as someone who is the source of our painful and traumatic childhood.
    3. You experience shame, anger, or a sense of inadequacy that heightens the difficulty connecting with loved ones.
    Those who struggle with drinking often experience an overwhelming sense of shame or inadequacy. For some, this profound sense of self-loathing creates a strong desire to withdraw or avoid connection. There may be a deep desire to isolate, numb out, and shut down. If your substance use has negatively impacted your loved ones, a sense of guilt might make you want to avoid contact with them entirely. Or if someone you loved is a drinker, you may want to avoid them completely too.

Dejong gives great advice about what to do if this is happening to you. You are drinking to avoid the stress over Christmas because someone in your family hurt you in the past. But the very fact that you are drinking is not going to help this situation at all, it will just add fuel to the fire within you. If that someone was also a drinker, then you are repeating the pattern, doing the same as them, and you are also heightening that sense of guilt and shame and not addressing your problem head-on.

The problem is that someone hurt you so instead of drinking to avoid it and hiding, tackle that issue with a therapist and move forward. Ditch the drink and come to terms with the past being the past and only the present mattering right now. Easier said than done right? Maybe the first step is to say NO to the next family Christmas and explore some self-care, alone, or with a few loved ones who do not trigger you.

Learn how to address the issue of drinking too much over Christmas:

  1. Become aware of WHY you drink too much over Christmas. Check out all my reasons above. If it is a deep-seated issue, or a trauma, get professional help.
  2. Start to make small changes and shifts in your life around this time and try to be healthy. Start to learn about the impact of alcohol on your holistic health – heart, immune system, body, mind and soul. Learn how to install personal boundaries and to live your best life – is that with or without alcohol?
  3. Try to address the fear, the misconnection and the avoidance with better knowledge about your needs and your values, what you want out of life and you may realise that alcohol does not feature in a healthy life for you, the real you.

This Christmas can be different. Do something different. Don’t drink. Try an alcohol-free bubbly and some 0% beers. Or just coffee and teas like me! Get out of town and into nature. It works. Good luck, and – Cheers!

 

 

”I’m Sober… so Now What?” with Sober Queen Connie

 

 

Connie McMillan is an author and a Sober Coach. Her book is called From Alcohol Fiend to Sobriety Queen and that pretty much sums up her journey.  After years of heavy drinking she decided she was tired of the hangovers and broken promises, so she did something about it – she put down her glass and took back her power!

In this Episode

  • Connie didn’t start drinking until her 30s but alcohol made quite an impression on her – she describes it as “an awakening”
  • The alcohol took hold quickly and she married a heavy drinker
  • She saw alcohol as a way to escape, to feel pretty, to feel courageous
  • But it also brought her down – even making her feel suicidal at times
  • Like many of us Connie had tried to stop many times and of course, made plenty of “rules”
  • “I won’t drink this weekend “or “I’ll just drink wine because I don’t like wine”
  • She told her husband about her decision to stop drinking during a dinner at a restaurant – he was not supportive and she ended up drinking more than ever that evening
  • Her marriage eventually ended in divorce which was challenging but looking back she can see that she lost herself – to alcohol and to the marriage
  • Connie explained how she managed to stop drinking and it’s quite a story!
  • She had been praying to God for help with her drinking problem but was still struggling
  • One night she brought her favorite bottle of alcohol home and put her glass in the freezer to chill. When the glass was frosted she poured the alcohol in and took a sip.
  • She choked on it… but thought nothing of it, waited a few moments, and took another sip
  • She choked again!
  • She believed that this was the sign from God that she had been waiting for – he was helping her so she resisted taking another sip and didn’t drink again
  • Connie has also transformed her mobile bar service from alcoholic to alcohol-free drinks and it’s thriving!
  • That was 8 years ago!
  • We both agreed that when we get sober our life will unfold in ways we never imagined
  • Connie explained that even if we come from an alcoholic family we can break the “generational curse by showing how an alcohol-free life can be lived
  • We talked about the power of vulnerability and the fact that most of us are brought up to hide our vulnerability and that’s why the recovery community is such a relief to many of us – we can be authentic and ask for help if we need it
  • In 2018 she released her first book which has a great title – it’s called Alcohol Fiend to Sobriety Queen: 25 tips to Putting Down the Bottle and Picking Up Your Crown – available from Amazon – I’ll put the info in the show notes
  • Connie’s book led to speaking engagements and she is keen to share her story which she knows will help others
  • She also has a podcast called Sober Confessions
  • She is a Sober Coach and is planning to coach people who are already sober but are looking for the next stage
  • I think this is a great idea – we need to see our sobriety as the foundation for self-development – and coaching can help us to find our purpose and fulfill our potential
  • I asked Connie for some advice for people who know they need to make a change but don’t know how to get started and she had some great advice
  • She suggests hanging out in Sobriety Rooms in Clubhouse – no need to say anything, just listen to other people’s stories – and reading some quitlit books
  • Once you realise you are not alone in this you will feel more confident to reach out to sober communities
  • Here at Tribe Sober, we recommend that people just listen and learn to start with – you don’t even have to stop drinking but we can guarantee you’ll get inspired to give alcohol-free living a chance!

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

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 show’s name (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).

 

Marieta Makes Changes

“This is a journey and everyone has to get through it on his/her own terms,” Marieta van Coller.

I want to make this into a meme. It is so wise. So pertinent.

 

“The best way to stop drinking is to have the right mindset. For me, it just clicked – and then you will be more determined to stop drinking. Set boundaries and keep them. This is something that I only started doing recently, not only with alcohol but also in other areas of my life.”

Marieta has stopped drinking and she has regained her self-esteem in the process.

Her advice to others who want to quit is this:

“Should you experience severe withdrawal symptoms, try something to take the edge off, to be calm and to be more relaxed.  (There are some herbal relaxants that are available over the counter). Take it slowly and day by day. Be thankful for every day completed without alcohol.”

This is profound. Deep thoughts from a woman who recently put it all into practice and came out the other side a new person, a phoenix rising from the ashes, so to speak. The ashes of her marriage and a relationship that she had believed in, but her partner did not. The ashes of a broken heart and feelings of complete shame, worthlessness, and failure.

“I felt as if my marriage was a joke and that I had been second best for more than 30 years,” explains Marieta.

Now let me explain her story, a story that she shared with me from her heart.

I only met Marieta a week or two ago at a coffee date and I felt drawn to her honesty. Marieta values honesty but it seems her husband of 30 years does not.

Things Changed in 2020

Marieta was never a big drinker until 2020. Most of us will remember that year with horror, the year that Covid struck the world and we all had to hide away under extreme lockdowns and social distancing. The year that many of us lost loved ones to that dreaded disease, or our entire livelihoods.

Well, Marieta lost her husband and her marriage, just like that. That’s when she turned to wine to cope, to blot out the hurt and the pain, to blot out the feelings of shame, guilt and worthlessness.

Marieta grew up in the Northern Cape Province and started her nursing career in Kimberley where she met her husband (now ex-husband). They had two kids: a son, Jacques, and a daughter, Ansia.

Marieta had been a child growing up in an abusive and alcoholic family. As an adult, she, therefore, did not drink much, maybe a glass of wine on a Saturday afternoon with a braai or social gathering.

But her now ex-husband went for alcohol rehab when their kids were still very young and then he enjoyed quite a few years socialising with friends and family without alcohol.

They left Kimberley and moved to Brackenfell at the end of 2011 and since then Marieta’s ex-husband started using alcohol. He first had a few drinks once or twice a week, which soon escalated to drinking every second day.

During the lockdown in 2020, Marieta continued to work at the hospital every day – she is a registered nurse and works as a Case Manager at a private hospital in the Cape Town Northern Suburbs. But her ex-husband started working from home.

Drinking to Numb the Pain

It was that July 2020 that Marieta heard the news that her ex-husband had met his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. But he told her that he was happily married to her, Marieta, and that the ex-girlfriend was also happily married.

Suddenly, a month later, the same man announced in public during a braai with family, at the dinner table in front of everyone, that he wanted a divorce and wished to pursue a relationship with this ex-girlfriend.

Things snowballed from there and a week later this same man secretly met his new lady friend in Bloemfontein and spent the weekend with her. The following weekend he fetched her and moved her into the main bedroom, Marieta’s bedroom! Marieta was forced to move into a spare room in the same house.

“We had to share the kitchen and cook on alternate days,” says Marieta. Only after this massive shock did Marieta and her ex-husband consult a lawyer to initiate the divorce proceedings.

“I was in total shock and started smoking and drinking wine, a glass or two every night, in order to numb feelings of worthlessness and failure as I did not see any of this coming,” said Marieta.

Soon this escalated to more than two glasses of wine – especially once the divorce was finalised and Marieta managed to buy her own home.

Feelings of Worthlessness and Shame

“Then I was so lonely and devastated, with low self-esteem and worthlessness. Soon I needed more than a bottle of wine at night just to go to sleep. Fortunately, I’m a lover of white wine and never experienced any hangover feelings the following day.”

One day, Marieta hit her rock bottom when she nearly finished about 5 litres of wine from a Friday afternoon until the following evening. She realised that she was busy destroying her health and happiness. Something had to give.

Destiny stepped in and Marieta’s clinical psychologist mentioned Tribe Sober. Marieta was not convinced and continued to drink wine every day, some days more than others but never less than a bottle a night. This was now two years after her divorce and she thought that she would be able to stop after August this year. She decided to try. At last, she was ready to stop drinking.

“When I made the decision to stop on the 14th of August this year, I phoned my kids and informed them that I will not continue to destroy myself (they were very worried and talked a lot to me and my sister regarding my drinking) and to apologise for my bad behaviour.”

She then put some goals into place:

  • She joined Tribe Sober.
  • For the first month, she sent her children a message with a count on alcohol-free days – their response was every night that they were proud and happy, and it still keeps Marieta going.
  • She was very jittery due to withdrawal symptoms and consulted her GP, who prescribed medication to take the edge off for 30 days to help her – she only used this medication for about a week and then stopped.
  • She removed all alcohol from her house, so as not to be tempted into pouring a glass.

When Marieta is tempted to go to a nearby pub for a glass of wine, she locks herself in the house, listens to podcasts, reads a book and keeps busy. That is not difficult as she loves many things – cooking, reading, crafting, embroidery, knitting and crocheting. She also recently joined a Bonsai group and enjoys tending to her trees. She is not a fitness fan but tries to lead a healthy lifestyle, except for smoking.

When she thinks back to that terrible year of 2020, Marieta agrees with her psychologist that she tended to avoid conflict and was a victim by standing back and allowing her ex-husband’s new lady into her home.

Life is all about lessons. We learn one every day. I have learned a valuable lesson from Marieta – believe in yourself and life has to go on. Follow your heart, be honest and be true to yourself. Marieta is a humble person who is rediscovering her joy!

 

 

To join tribe Sober click on this image:

To read my blogs click on this image:

Goodbye to Alcohol – Liz

“My big break up 19 Nov 2021. 

Mr Beer came knocking on my door in my late teens and we fell deeply in love. We were inseparable and not a day went by that we did not spend time together, often ending up passed out together and waking up hungry for more. We were champions wherever we went and never felt bad if it was just the two of us! Life was good and everyone knew how we loved each other. 

As the years went by, our love grew until I met Mr Pinotage. He was tall, dark, and handsome, and boy was he smooth! I fell hard for him and lost myself when I was with him. I did not break up with Mr Beer – I could never give him up – but I always ended up with Mr Pinotage; he made sure I had company long after everyone went to bed.

The more time we spent together the more I wanted him; I could never get enough. The frightening thing was that my brain stopped making memories after a few and although I acted fairly normal I had no recollection the next day and I struggled day after day trying to figure out what I did the night before. 

Slowly but surely the effects of Mr Pinotage started affecting my days; the hectic hangovers, the tiredness from sleepless nights, the guilt, the hopelessness, the shame, the memory lapses, the false promises to myself. And the rules I made! The rules were made to be broken; skip a few days and then make up for lost time. What a joke! It was affecting everyone around me and the daily ritual of waking up trying to remember how I got to bed, trying to figure out what I did and trying to see if I offended anyone was exhausting. 

It was on a morning like this a year ago that I repeated a story from the night before and my adult son (having been sober himself for over a year and a half) told me it had to stop. This conversation shocked me and I felt both ashamed and relieved. 

This feeling drove me to give both Mr Beer and Mr Pinotage and all their handsome friends the boot immediately. Never ever did I want to have that conversation again and never ever did I want to lose control again. I wanted to be present and enjoy every moment and remember every conversation for the rest of my life. I realised that my toxic relationships with these guys were ruining me and I was not capable of a casual fling; it was all or nothing. 

Dealing with the loss of my long standing relationships was softened by the loving support of a 27 year old son constantly sending his 56 year old mother encouraging messages of support. He inspired me to forge ahead and I adore him for that. 

Today I celebrate a year of sobriety and am amazed how well I feel. When I started this journey, I thought I would take it a month at a time but Christmas, New Year, weddings, parties, get-togethers and wine tastings with friends, came and went and still I remained true to myself and sober. I found alternate AF drinks and literally tricked my brain into thinking that we were hanging out with the old boys again. 

People often comment on how they admire me for doing this but I don’t feel proud, I just feel immense relief to be in control again and know that I can never ever trust myself to go back there again.”

In this story I tried put in a nutshell how I got to the point of giving up. I needed to maintain my close bond with my loving and supportive husband by still being his buddy and enjoying having a drink together; that is why I chose AF beer and wine. All our friends enjoy their wine and I couldn’t remove myself from that so again the AF wine was my best solution; most if the time they forget and don’t even notice as I sip away on my Spier Dealcoholized Shiraz.

Thanks for a wonderful platform and the great podcasts! I referred a friend who is really struggling and hope she will find a way to break free too.

Yours Sincerely

Liz

Tribe Sober is 7! With Founder Janet Gourand

 

Today is Tribe Sober’s 7th birthday!

We’re offering a birthday discount of 20% off our Kickstart online course and Annual membership – just go to tribesober.com to book and enter the code “birthday2022” – valid from now until the 16th of November.

It’s exactly 7 years today since our very first workshop in Cape Town!

We wanted to mark the occasion and say thank you.

To say thank you to the Tribe Sober team and of course to all our members.

To say thank you to everyone who has ever done a challenge or had coaching, everyone who’s ever done a workshop, or donated to our annual Dry January fundraiser!

And of course, thank you to everyone who listens to this podcast – we appreciate you!

In this Episode

Janet shares the story of Tribe Sober – how it started and how it evolved.

How it evolved into an international community – all supporting each other to make the transition from problem drinking to thriving in their sobriety.

We pick the story up in May 2015 – that’s when I quit drinking (if you want to know why and how then you can catch that story on Tribe Sober podcast episode 1).

The day after I quit drinking I started a blog – I’ve always loved writing and I wanted to log my journey, process my emotions and hold myself accountable.

My blog was called WorldWithoutWine as that more or less described the strange place I found myself in – a world without Sauvignon Blanc…

Blogging was my therapy and I got lots of comments saying “me too”!

Suddenly I realized I wasn’t alone in this struggle… so I gritted my teeth and kept it going.

I was about 4 months sober when those early sobriety blues hit me. I was in limbo, I’d quit the booze but didn’t quite know how my life was supposed to function without it.

I’d got the hang of the not drinking part but I definitely wasn’t thriving in my AF life.

In fact, I felt flat, a bit depressed, and rather bored.

My friends weren’t helping – they were saying things like:

“Are you still doing that not drinking thing?”

“Surely you can have “just one” after such a long break?

Apart from people who were responding to my blog I had no sober friends at all so I felt quite lonely and a bit alienated from our alcohol-drenched society.

I began to wonder if I’d done the right thing but was determined to keep going – that was the year when evidence about the link between breast cancer and alcohol was coming into the public domain and I certainly didn’t want my breast cancer coming back so I soldiered on for the sake of my health.

I was retired from my corporate job by this time.

Sobriety had freed up a lot of time but I had no idea what to do with that extra time.

I did spend time reading QuitLit and discovered Annie Grace’s book This Naked Mind and that was a bit of game-changer for me.

That’s when I realized that I’d been white-knuckling it and that I had to create a mind-shift rather than relying on willpower.

That made me realise that although I was sober the job was not yet done – I had to learn how to thrive in my sobriety – rather than feel deprived by being hit with bouts of FOMO.

I’d developed the habit of a daily walk by the sea every day to avoid witching hour and it was on these walks that I began to get ideas.

I could literally feel my creativity coming back…

One day I had an idea…

What if…

What if… I used my 25 years of experience in training and development to design a workshop that would help other people to get sober and learn to thrive in their sobriety?

I was confident that I could teach people HOW to stop drinking and give them a toolkit – strategies and tools that had worked for me.

Although I hadn’t quite gotten the hang of thriving in my own sobriety I wanted to build a community so that we could help each other to learn to love our alcohol-free lives.

We could figure it out together.

We could use our sobriety as a springboard for personal development.

So I started to design the workshop which I called … and listen to the podcast!!

Mindful Drinking – and Eating

 

Mindful – mind + full = being present.

Mindfulness is about being present. Forgetting the past. Leaving the future alone.  Just being here, now.

I must say, it is easier said than done. Being present for me is easier to do when I am on the beach walking and singing and breathing. It is easier to do when I am on a mountain and walking in the flowers and seeing the sunrise and the moon set and knowing that I am someone on a mountain there and then.

I always make a point of noticing. Noticing the seagulls and greeting them in their guttural bird shout – Aaah! And noticing the sugar birds squeaking on the proteas and squeaking back at them, in delight. I notice the oyster catchers whistling and the robins singing their melodies. I notice the cormorants flying low in dark flocks over the ocean waves, in perfect formation, a vast V shape in the blue distance. And the Boubou shrikes with their many calls, a harsh scratchy shout, switching to a soft tuneful beckoning.

Meditation and Being Mindful

I am meditating while moving which suits my mindfulness. Other people like to sit and meditate and get deep and find out how to empty their minds. I decided to check out the website called “Mindful” (how apt!) and they say that mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

I guess that means we can be here now, but we need to watch how we react to a situation and what emotions come up for us.  They also note, thank goodness, that meditation does not have to be about vacuuming our thoughts way forever. It is about exploring.

“It’s a special place where each and every moment is momentous. When we meditate, we venture into the workings of our minds: our sensations (air blowing on our skin or a harsh smell wafting into the room), our emotions (love this, hate that, crave this, loathe that), and thoughts (wouldn’t it be weird to see an elephant playing the trumpet). Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.”

I like that. We can train our minds to be mindful and we can actually rewire our brains in the process!

Mindful Drinking

What, then is mindful drinking? Can we be mindful and still drink? I wonder? So, I decided to check this concept out on some websites and I came across the view that mindful drinking falls somewhere in between the all-or-nothing crowds. The ‘all’ crowd drinks a lot, all the time, and they are threatened with disease if they are not careful – such as breast cancer, dementia, throat cancer and heart issues, not forgetting dependence on alcohol. The ‘nothing’ sett are the ones who also fast, do juice diets, count their steps every day, and only eat plants.

Do you drink alcohol? Do you like drinking alcohol? Well, stats are showing that drinking is becoming unfashionable! Drinking trends for 2023 are shifting.  Mindful drinking is in so come on, get sober curious. Yes, this is the era of the health-conscious, eco-conscious consumer – green eating and green living.

Do you ever get weird cravings for unusual foods? I craved crisp green apples when pregnant. Teenagers crave sugar. Athletes crave glucose and carbohydrates.

Some say that cravings are a sign that your body needs those particular nutrients, minerals, or vitamins at that time. Apparently, it is wise to acknowledge food cravings and to dig deeper – they could be the effects of physical, emotional, or mental issues, or underlying conditions that need attention.

Intuitive or Mindful Eating

What then, is mindful eating? Trending right now in foody circles is the intuitive eating (IE) movement! According to Alix Eve Schram, “IE involves going back to the way we were naturally born to eat. When we were young, we ate when hungry and stopped when full, something we innately felt by listening to our body’s cues. We were not born measuring portions, tracking macros, or counting calories, and we did not pay attention to any external forces telling us what we should or shouldn’t do to be healthy (or thin, as diet culture would have it). The need to eat, or stop eating, was fully intuitive.”

We need to find our way back to those instinctive eating habits. Mental and physical health are intertwined and if we eat according to these needs, we should maintain strong immune systems.  Every one of us has unique needs!

At the same time, there is a growing awareness and interest in no- and low-alcohol spirits, wines, beers and cocktails (mocktails) with health and well-being the key driver – and accountability for individual personal health and wellness. So, mindful drinking and intuitive eating can be pals and bosom buddies. We can merge the two and have a phrase like ‘intuitive, mindful eating and drinking’! The days of imbibing and gorging are over. We hope!

The good news is that Generation Z is not buying into the alcohol media campaigns and false advertising that their parents took as gospel.  Young people today want something more out of life, not a hangover. Their idea of a good night out is not a drunken bonanza of boozing all night, losing the car keys, losing the car, or crashing the car- then suffering all of the next day thanks to a toxic hangover. They want to save money, their health, and their reputations.

Generation Z is the online generation – they scroll Google, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. These youth share ideas on forums and in chat groups and they don’t need to go out to have a good time. Just as well, because fortunately, they are also reading that alcohol is toxic.

Generation Z is leading mindful drinking trends. They are aware that alcohol causes risky behaviour, increased drug use, unprotected sex, violence, and poor decision-making. They have seen how alcohol causes increased anxiety, abuse, and vulnerability – maybe even in their own families.

Generation Z is sober curious because they want to be healthy; they have no extra money, and they are faced with increasing societal pressures where it is best to be sober in an ever-unsafe world.

So, what is intuitive eating then?

Let’s go back in time. How did the hunter-gatherers eat? The Bushmen (San) and the American Indian tribes? For these ancestral people can show us how to eat in tune with nature and the seasons. They ate what was seasonally available. Hunter-gatherers ate when they were hungry, selecting plenty of carbohydrates in the form of nutrient-rich plants and fruits. They hunted animals and caught fish for meaty protein, and they found plenty of honey for that sweet burst of energy. They spent most of their days foraging for food, just like animals do. This primed their hunger- being purposely active out in nature.

Our ancestors used their intuition to eat. Intuitive eating (IE) has now returned to the modern-day diet. But it is not a diet. It is about tuning in to physical, emotional, and mental needs.  Intuitive eating is linked to a set of nutritional principles that are based on physical cues around food, like hunger and satiety, rather than numerical ones. It’s all about how you feel and what your body needs, instead of relying on data like calorie figures.

There are many benefits to IE, especially better psychological health. IE boosts improved body image, self-esteem, quality of life, weight maintenance according to specific needs, health and well-being, and life satisfaction. And less obsession with eating, dieting, and disordered eating. It is time to trust yourself and your food.

These are the 10 Universal principles of Intuitive Eating:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality – tune into your personal needs.
  2. Honour Your Hunger – eat when hungry, enough nutrients for energy and optimum functioning.
  3. Make Peace with Food – eat when you need to eat.
  4. Challenge the Food Police – no one is watching you, only your ego.
  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor – enjoy food and eating with others.
  6. Feel Your Fullness – learn the body signals that show you are full.
  7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness – find other ways to nurture your stress, loneliness, boredom and depression.
  8. Respect Your Body – accept who you are and where you come from.
  9. Movement—Feel the Difference – don’t rigidly schedule in exercise. Just move.
  10. Honour Your Health—Gentle Nutrition – eat what makes your taste buds sing.

The bottom line is to connect with self, to become more mindful of personal needs in a culture that strives to be perfect and depends on instant gratification. Tune into your internal wisdom, that dormant sixth sense. Use your intuition to eat.

Becoming Sober Curious

And what does it mean to be sober curious? Can we use our intuition to drink? Well, at the crux of mindful drinking is the mindfulness concept of paying attention.  Of being aware of how we feel, of how others could be feeling, and what is happening around us. Mindfulness is about self-care and compassion for all life. It is about gratitude.

So, mindful drinking is about paying attention to the causes and effects of your drinking. Ask:

  • Where and what do I drink?
  • Who do I drink with?
  • Do I drink more at certain places, or with certain people, or at certain times?
  • How does drinking make me feel?
  • How do I use drinking to relate to the world around me? Does it help me to cope? Does it make me feel less conspicuous?
  • How does alcohol affect my relationships and friendships?
  • How does alcohol affect my health?

And then, the big question: do I want to make a change?

Take a look at the 7 habits of mindful drinkers and see if they are useful to you if going out:

  1. Have a plan – choose venues with low or no alcohol drinks
  2. Be calm at the bar – order something unusual, sans alcohol
  3. Pretend if you have to – ask the bartender for a fake gin and tonic and sip it knowingly.
  4. How are you feeling? Check your mood before going out – maybe just say NO.
  5. Stick to your decisions – you are not drinking, so don’t give in to that ‘just one’.
  6. Check how you are not alone – many people around you are NOT drinking or are on low-alcohol drinks.
  7. Be loyal to pubs that serve alcohol-free drinks, and maybe more people will follow your example.

Become sober curious. You may be a grey-area drinker and you may be concerned about your drinking habits. Become sober curious if you think you need a break. Become inquisitive about sobriety and ask questions about why you drink.

Oh, by the way, alcohol does cause cancer and alcoholic drinks have been listed as human carcinogens in the USA. Now, what was I saying about mindful drinking?

Health matters. Mental and physical health, emotional and spiritual health, they all matter. What can you do to improve your mindfulness? How can you be more mindful of your eating and drinking? I must say that when I become mindful of my drinking, I stopped completely. Then, I stopped all sugar and all meat. So, I am a radical person who is trying hard to be healthy and yet, still enjoy life. The best part is that I have tons of energy and love being outside so for me, mindfulness is intricately linked to being outside, being active, and avoiding those toxins that hold me back. Here’s to a healthy mind and body, cheers!

 

 

Your Sober Year with Kate Baily

 

My guest this week is the founder of Love Sober, Kate Baily.  She’s an author, a sober coach and a podcaster.  She founded Love Sober with Mandy Manners to support women who are concerned about their drinking.  She works hard to raise awareness around what women need to not only get sober but to stay sober – and to love being sober!

In this Episode

  • Kate shared her own story which was an interesting one – she was always health conscious but determined to find a way to make alcohol fit into her lifestyle even though she knew she had no off switch
  • She knew deep down she was using alcohol to cope and in fact when she did try to stop she could feel her anxiety ramping up and she’d feel unable to cope
  • Like many of us, Kate found herself Googling “Am I an alcoholic?” at 3 am which led her to a sobriety community
  • Once she had plugged into a sober community she felt like she’d been thrown a lifeline
  • That made her realise she was not alone in this and there were many other people just like her
  • She actually quit drinking for a year but then started again – with hindsight she can see that she just didn’t have the toolkit – all her bad habits were coming back
  • She was stressed with no boundaries and not enough self-care
  • We agreed that she had achieved her first year by using willpower alone and had not done the deep work of tackling her limiting beliefs and underlying trauma
  • Her mindset around alcohol had not really shifted which meant she still believed that it served her in some way
  • As we’re always saying at Tribe Sober, there is so much more to recovery than “not drinking” – we have to do the work and build the toolkit to make our sobriety sustainable
  • Kate explained that as we go into our second year of sobriety we often have a dopamine dip which means that it’s quite common for people to go back to drinking after they’ve had a sober year
  • That fact underlines our experience that we really need a project to keep our happy chemicals triggered so that we can thrive in our sobriety and make it a permanent lifestyle
  • So Kate returned to drinking but, one day, she had a major insight that changed everything for her
  • She realised that using alcohol was causing such a deep disconnect within herself that she couldn’t “find” herself, comfort herself or act with self-compassion
  • Like many of us, Kate had to learn to love and comfort herself
  • This insight led to her second day one which was back in 2014 and she has been alcohol-free since then
  • Her second attempt at sobriety was quite different. She got heavily into self-care, she did a sobriety program and lots of yoga.  She trained as a coach herself to increase her own sense of meaning and purpose
  • Kate explored the “tools of living” – self-compassion, gratitude, and connection
  • She realised that her sobriety was actually the foundation of her self-development work
  • She was out and proud and blogged about sobriety under her own name
  • It’s interesting how we evolve in our sobriety – personally, I felt embarrassed and apologetic in early sobriety (dreading questions and hoping nobody spotted my AF drink) but these days I love talking about sobriety – it’s a bit like the #dontgetmestarted that Kate mentioned!
  • I’m now a bit like that joke – how do you know when someone is sober? – they’ll tell you within 5 minutes of meeting you!
  • Just like me, Kate loves a reframe and came up with this awesome one – instead of saying, “How do I stay sober every day?”, rather ask, “How do I look after myself every day?”
  • We agreed on the power of a sober community and how we need to be reassured that it really is worth all the hard work to get sober – people further down the road than us will inspire us and show us that it really is worth it
  • Kate called those sober people the “guiding lights” – they can get you through the sticky bits by saying “when I was at that stage this is what helped me”
  • Sobriety has enabled Kate to rediscover the joy in her life – the sparkle is back
  • Her podcast has been part of her recovery – a way to process and affirm
  • We agreed that our years of sobriety have been an ongoing learning process – an ever-expanding toolkit as Kate calls it
  • We discussed the “rise of the wine bar” in the UK in the 90s and how there seemed to be a link between that and the “wine lake” which had occurred due to the overproduction of wine due to EU subsidies
  • The first wine bar in the UK was Davys that launched in 1964 but gradually they became more and more popular – seen as sophisticated places for groups of women to meet for a glass of wine – women who would never really go to a pub
  • Wine drinking was promoted as an aspirational lifestyle choice for women – a fact that makes us both angry these days as we are well aware of the damage it has done to women’s health
  • We thought it was all so elegant but in fact, someone said that “wine is the Special Brew of the middle classes” – if you’re not familiar with Special Brew it’s the can of extra strong beer that you often see homeless alcoholics clutching!
  • While we were ranting we also had a go at Drinkaware – which describes itself as an independent charity that aims to help people make better choices about their drinking
  • Drinkaware is actually sponsored by the alcohol industry and contains endless advice about how to moderate but not a word about how quitting completely is the healthiest choice!
  • I would spend hours on Drinkaware working out how many units I could drink – which of course just kept me trapped in the trying (and failing) to moderate for ten years!
  • As a journalist, Kate wrote an article saying that the UK had a drinking problem – comparing the reaction we get when we stop – and comparing it to the encouragement we get when we stop smoking
  • I love an analogy so Kate and Mandy’s book called “Love Your Sober Year” was just up my street: they take the year’s seasons and link them to our sobriety journey…

SPRING – huge growth – hell yes! – up for anything – that must be why our Sober Spring Challenge is so popular – planting the seeds of hope, starting to see green shoots and feeling better
SUMMER is maintenance but Kate also calls this the “re-ignite” phase – our sobriety should be dynamic rather than static as we do the work and embark on a journey of self-discovery

AUTUMN – release and refine – after the self-discovery journey we can drop what we don’t need – and this might be the period when we review our friendship circle and drop some of those old drinking buddies

WINTER – rest and rebirth – empty field, death of alcohol, just like the farmer looking at his field we must have faith that something wonderful will grow

  • At Tribe Sober, we encourage this journey of self-discovery by offering our members many different types of activities and therapies to try out
  • I love this journey that Kate and Mandy have plotted – its SO much more exciting than the Groundhog Day that our drinking puts us in – we actually get to evolve in our lives – rather than getting stuck
  • It’s about capturing the gifts and challenges of each season– about adjusting our self-care and tools to each season so that we thrive in each season
  • These days Kate sees self-care as self-leadership – as she says it’s so empowering when we can meet our own needs
  • She talked about the value of journaling – how it’s about gathering thoughts – setting your intentions and then reflecting on what’s working and adjusting accordingly – her book includes journal prompts
  • Kates’s advice to people worried about their drinking is to join a sober community and get some knowledge. Start working on a mind-shift so that you see alcohol differently
  • At Tribe Sober we like to tell people who are worried about their drinking that they don’t have a problem – they have an opportunity – to improve their health, increase their happiness and change their lives in ways they cannot imagine
  • Kate mentioned her 3-month group coaching course which is starting soon
  • Here is the link to Kate’s course 
  • Her book is called Love Your Sober Year by Kate Baily and Mandy Manners – 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

 

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).

It’s Time to Put Down Our Glass and Take Back Our Power – Tribe Sober with Janet Gourand

Janet Gourand is the host and founder of Tribe Sober, a membership program and workshop series for people who wish to quit drinking alcohol.

In Tribe Sober, she interviews guests and shares her own story of quitting alcohol after years of substance abuse.

In this episode, you will learn:

How Janet Gourand decided she needed to go sober,  What AA was like for Janet Gourand, Why alcohol is so normalized in our culture

Resources

Kick Start your Sober Life Online Course Coupon code: KK2022 https://www.tribesober.com/kickstart/

 

About Janet Gourand

Janet has had many years of experience in corporate life in both Europe and South Africa. When she decided to stop drinking alcohol, she could find very little available support in South Africa. She did not want to go into rehab and decided that AA was not for her. Janet got sober through her own efforts and by attending a workshop in London.

As her journey continued, she decided to use her professional background in training and development to design and facilitate her own workshop in order to support people who wish to moderate or quit drinking alcohol. Janet set up a membership program and holds workshops via Zoom, which are attended by people from all over the world. If you want more details on membership or workshops, just drop her a mail. She is married with one son and a chihuahua called June. Originally from London Janet relocated to Cape Town in 2001.

Connect with Janet

Website: Tribe SoberPodcast: Tribe SoberEmail: janet@nulltribesober.com

Website Link for this episode:

https://www.healthylifestylesolutions.org/225

How is YOUR Mental Health?

During the past 7 years, since I stopped drinking, in fact, I have met and spoken to many interesting people who are/were/have been/had been batting the booze. You see, I studied my certificate in Peer Recovery Coaching and I wanted to assist people who are drinking, are worried about their drinking – and want to stop.

I have discovered many similarities between these people:

  • I spoke to women mostly who were introverts and liked being at home alone
  • They preferred to drink alone instead of with friends and family
  • They were mostly in their 40s and 50s, in perimenopause so dealing with the combined stress of menopause and life changes
  • Before they knew it, their drinking had passed one glass, two glasses, and had reached a bottle or 2 a night
  • Their drinking masked fear, anger, loneliness, and sadness
  • Their drinking caused guilt, shame, anxiety, self-hate, and depression
  • They had lost touch with their values in life, their ‘raison d’etre’ (reason for being)
  • They had low self-esteem and did not treat themselves ever to self-care.

It struck me that most of their drinking boiled down to mental health issues. Research into why people drink is fascinating. Everyone is unique and everyone has unique reasons, of course, but I have found much wisdom in the words, writings, musing, teachings, and science of Dr Gabor Mate.

Gabor Mate on Addiction and Trauma

According to Wikipedia, Maté’s approach to addiction focuses on the trauma his patients have suffered and he tries to address this in their recovery. In his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, Maté discusses the types of trauma suffered by persons with substance use disorders and how this affects their decision-making in later life.

Maté defines addiction as any behavior or substance that a person uses to relieve pain in the short term, but which leads to negative consequences in the long term. Without addressing the root cause of the pain, a person may try to stop but will ultimately crave further relief and be prone to relapse. By this definition, there are many things in modern culture that have the potential to become addictive such as gambling, sex, food, work, social media, and drugs…

He says a system that disregards, shuns, and commits people to facilities with no care and easy access to drugs just makes the problems worse. People who go through extremely traumatizing experiences often have problems and difficulties afterward. The seriousness of these symptoms depends on the person, the types of trauma involved, and the emotional support they receive from others. Everyone reacts differently to their personal traumas.

And this brings me to the subject of mental health.  These two words say it all – mental health -is the wellness of our mental state. So that means how we think, feel and act – our mental, emotional and physical health all intertwined and integrated to make us healthy individuals. This healthy status quo starts when we are babies and continues into adulthood, through adolescence, through mid-life crises, and through old age.

Mental and Physical Health Connections

Bodies and minds cannot be viewed as separate; they influence each other and are part of each other. Think of how the spine is linked to the brain and all the nerves that travel from the brain, down the spine, and into the body. A sore back is often the effect of a mental problem. How we think affects how we feel, and how we feel affects how we think. And most of the time, we are so unaware of this relationship that we just go to the doctor and ask for a pill or medicine or ointment or something to take away the pain and not address the cause of the issue.

On that note, everything we eat and drink also affects our mental health. If you live on fast foods and sugar, you will end up being depressed because your immune system is not getting the nutrients it needs to function well. You will not be boosting your happy hormones and you will be neglecting your physical body in all ways, hence your mental state. People need good fresh foods and lots of exercise, and movement to be mentally and physically healthy.

Yes, food plays a major role in the body-mind connection for mental and physical health. The Newport Academy explains it like this:

“What goes into our body also impacts our mind and mental health. What we eat has the power to prevent or help reverse mental health challenges. … Moreover, specific nutrients have been linked to measurable positive outcomes in mental and emotional well-being… about 95 percent of serotonin, one of the primary hormones involved in mood and emotion regulation, is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes called “the second brain” or “belly brain,” this enteric (intestinal-related) nervous system consists of some 100 million neurons sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the gut. Moreover, information travels mostly from the gut to the brain, rather than vice versa.”

Alcohol impacts this system tremendously causing dis-ease of the body, and mind! Let’s talk about alcohol. Alcohol and mental health.  ‘What is the relation here?’ I hear you ask. Is alcohol natural? Is alcohol healthy?

And why do you have a drink at all? Is it because you are happy, sad, neutral, bored, angry, tired, or hungry? All of the above, tick. And when you have had a drink, or two or ten, how do you feel? Do you feel happy, sad, neutral, bored, angry, tired, or hungry? I bet you can tick off happy (for a while which then wore off), sad (it just got worse), angry (it just got worse), and tired (for a while, then continued the next day).

The thing is, alcohol does cause anxiety and this then causes depression. Depression reveals a mental health issue. According to the US National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC), there is no single cause for mental illness. These things can contribute to mental health issues:

  • “Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse (for example, child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.)
  • Experiences related to other ongoing (chronic) medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes
  • Biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Use of alcohol or drugs
  • Having feelings of loneliness or isolation”.

See point four? Yes, alcohol.

Alcohol and Health

Alcohol consumption has increased during the last 3 uncertain years across the globe – Covid 19, lockdowns, and isolation for many thousands of people. Many thousands of people dead and gone thanks to Covid 19, leaving behind sad families and friends. Everyone has been affected in some way by this virus, be it directly or indirectly. Mental illnesses have soared and many people have been diagnosed with new mental illnesses where previously they were healthy individuals.

These are some mental illnesses:

  • Mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse and dependence
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • And more …

Mental Health and Stigmas

People who stop drinking realize that they are navigating life according to a new sigma – the stigma of not drinking. Alcoholics are also stigmatized but they hang out with fellow drinkers to avoid this. If you want to be sober, suddenly you are judged for having been a drinker! These stigmas are often the cause of more sadness and mental instability. Society can be so cruel and not everyone can handle this.

Let’s look at some barriers to mental health treatment that people with mental illnesses face. Who do you call when you feel very depressed from a bad day at work? Who do you call when you have finished another bottle of wine and you are feeling really drunk? Luckily there is help out there. It just takes the call from you! But many people with mental health disorders simply do not get help. This can make their mental health get worse or their depression gets deeper.

D’Amore Mental Health notes that “struggling with mental health makes everything more difficult. School, work, and interpersonal relationships will all start to suffer as a result of poor mental health.”

And poor mental health, as discussed above, leads to poor physical health – some people get diabetes or cancer! Many people do not seek out help, or, if they do, they just don’t get access to it.

These are some of the barriers to mental health treatment:

  • Lack of Awareness and Education – poor mental health is not the same thing as having a mental illness, but untreated mental health problems can eventually lead to mental illness. Children and teenagers need to know that mental illness can cause physical disease.
  • Stigma and Shame – people fear ridicule and being shamed in front of others or made to feel different or weird in society. We all need to speak openly about what is happening e.g. “I drank 2 bottles of wine last night, I think I need help,” is a great start.
  • Lack of money or ability – it is expensive to get treatment and to buy medicines and often there are queues, waiting times, and referrals.
  • Prejudice in terms of race, sex, age, and status

What are you feeling now that you have read this blog on mental health? Does it make you squirm in your seat a bit or does it make you think of someone you know who has mental health issues? Have you been ill of late and have you looked at the real, deep underlying causes of this sickness? Take heed and get help. You are in the right place now if you are reading this!

Here are a few numbers to call if you need help in South Africa, for addiction or mental health issues:

International Addiction Education Provider (ACCSA)

Narcotics Anonymous

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)

To get your free PDF on the Stages of Change in Sobriety, click on this image:

To join Tribe Sober, click on this image:

To read my blogs, click on this image!

Drinking and Depression with Anth Parker

 

I met this week’s guest in the online recovery community – Anth Parker had tried AA, rehab, and SMART recovery and none of them really stuck.  However, with hindsight, she realises that she had collected gems of information from each one – information and strategies which finally enabled her to come up with her own recipe for sobriety.  These days she is passionate about sobriety and loves to inspire others.

In this Episode

  • Anthea didn’t drink much as a teenager but during her 20’s she began to use it to cope with difficult periods in her life and found she needed a drink when she got home from work
  • As she moved into her 30’s she became aware that she had a problem and was drinking a bottle of wine a day
  • She called “alcohol services” and asked for help but she was just told to “cut down” as they didn’t think she had a serious problem
  • My take on that is if your drinking is on your mind then you need to take action – it’s not about being an alcoholic, or waiting to hit rock bottom – it’s about ditching a toxic substance that is preventing you from living your best life
  • In her 30s, Anth had twins so of course was drawn into the Mommyjuice culture with all the other moms
  • She suffered from post-natal depression and worked hard to convince her health visitor that her motherhood experience was “perfect” when in reality she felt like she was “walking through treacle” as she puts it
  • Her doctor put her on anti-depressants but her depression continued and she was in and out of the hospital
  • She had to quit her job as an occupational therapist
  • During her treatment, she was told that she would have to stop drinking which horrified her as she saw alcohol as her only respite from depression
  • She went to AA – after 100 meetings and 3 sponsors she still didn’t get it and hated having to label herself as an alcoholic at the meetings
  • But in retrospect she did pick up some tools there and gradually they became helpful
  • It was like planting seeds – her advice to people is to listen, to read, to talk to people, and to be curious – as she says “it will all fall into place eventually”
  • I also love the concept of planting seeds and we see that in Tribe Sober – some people find us and dive straight into their recovery but others stay on our mailing list for years, then they do a challenge, then a workshop, and finally join up as members which is when they get inspired to implement everything they’ve learned!
  • Anth talked about comparisons and how they can be good – or harmful. Yes compare yourself with sober people that inspire you but don’t compare yourself with the hard-core alcoholic and start thinking “I’m not that bad” – better to compare yourself with the best version of yourself you could possibly be – without alcohol
  • Things got really back for Anth just before lockdown – she was shaking in the morning, hiding alcohol in the house and in the garden
  • She was fed up with being on the hamster wheel as she called it –the hamster wheel of drinking which traps us – and means we never make any progress in our lives
  • Her turning point was reading Alcohol Explained by William Porter – she loved the science and read it over and over – finally realizing that this wasn’t her fault, she’d simply got addicted to an addictive substance
  • She joined the Alcohol Explained Facebook group, listened to podcasts, and discovered the online recovery movement – she loved all the sharing and realised that she was not alone in this
  • She wrote a letter to herself which she read every day
  • She was still drinking at this point but she was listening and learning and her subconscious was preparing for action
  • We say to people who join Tribe Sober. “Keep drinking if you’re not ready but start doing the work, listen and learn, read the quilit, come to the Zoom meetings and gradually you’ll get inspired by the members who are sober and are loving their alcohol-free life – you’ll start wanting what they have!”
  • On her 48th birthday, Anth decided to quit drinking
  • She got a notebook and wrote a plan – she had her Why list, had done lots of prep, and was ready to go
  • Benefits of sobriety for Anth include freedom – she feels that she’s been released from the chains of addiction – such a relief not to have that compelling urge to drink every.single.day
  • The second major benefit for her has been connection – to connect with others and herself – to learn to listen to herself and get in touch with who she really is
  • We agreed that once you put down the bottle and get through those first difficult months, things start changing and then we embark on a journey of self-discovery
  • That’s why we say here at Tribe Sober that we help our members quit drinking first and then we help them to discover who they really are and to thrive in their sobriety
  • We talked about how people get stuck in their drinking because they fear they will lose out – whereas, in fact, they are going to gain so much.
  • One day Anth was clearing out her attic and she came across some old postcards
  • That inspired her to start her Sober Inspiration Project
  • She asked people in the sobriety groups to send her a postcard with sobriety tips
  • What better way to get advice than to ask people who are succeeding
  • Within 6 months she had received about 100 postcards!
  • One of her goals with this project was to show people that AA was no longer the only gig in town
  • She laminated her postcards and took them out and about – taking them into the streets and hanging them in trees – she even went to Hyde Park!
  • Her goal was simply to raise awareness and she met so many sober people who came to talk to her and said “I’m sober too!”
  • Anth is planning to re-open the Sober Inspiration Project in the run-up to Christmas so please send her a postcard with your top sobriety tip
  • She has a FB group called the Sober Inspiration Project so join up and get inspired!

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

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).

Making Sobriety Less Shameful with Clare Pooley

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

My guest this week is the fabulous Clare Pooley.

Clare is 7 years sober and has inspired thousands of women via her blog and best-selling book – the Sober Diaries.

You can see her TED talk HERE.

Her talk is called “Making Sober Less Shameful” and addresses the fact that “alcohol is the only drug we have to justify NOT taking!

Clare has been a guest speaker at two of our London workshops.

In this Episode

  • Like many of us, Clare started drinking socially and gradually evolved to drinking a bottle of wine every evening
  • Her rock bottom came one morning when she found herself drinking red wine to quell a hangover
  • Her main strategy to ditch the drink was writing – every day for 3 years she poured her heart out to her anonymous blog
  • Clare’s blog is a great resource and anyone who feels alone in this journey should check it out here mummywasasecretdrinker
  • These days she feels angry that we feel so much shame around our drinking – and that’s why she did her TED talk on that topic
  • Her strategies were writing, hot baths, hot chocolate, cleaning (!), books about alcohol, exercise, audiobooks and podcasts
  • CLAIRE’s TOP TIP – she reconfigured her day – went to bed at 7 pm (to avoid evening drinking) and got up at 5 am 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 advice is to accept that we will have ups and downs on this journey but that they will get less extreme if we hang in there
  • 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
  • Her top tips for newbies – write down how bad it was so you don’t forget, and write your WHY list – why are you doing this?
  • Be excited – you will gain more than you lose and another tip is to create a vision board
  • Clare also said it was essential to “find your tribe” and recommended tribesober.com.

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 e-book “66 days to sobriety” please email us at 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

 

 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.

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning.

You can find Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and TikTok

You can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

Lerato Loves the Sober Life!

“Stopping drinking will not solve all your problems. But it will take away guilt and shame and help you remember what real joy feels like (not the chemically induced high of drinking). You will learn real coping mechanisms. And you will actually experience your WHOLE life, the good and the bad. I never want to drink again.”

So much wisdom in these words from Lerato, Tribe Sober member and mother of a two-year-old son. She has lived and she has learned along the way and she has so much to share with others in the same boat.

Life Lessons

Like many people who decide to ditch the booze, it takes time, and for Lerato, there were wins and there were failures. It takes many a mountain and a valley in between to stop drinking as life lessons have to be learned.

“I tried five million things to try to stop drinking. I used to try giving it up for Lent but could never make the full 40 days. Then I would try Dry January/Ocsober which would only last a week. I read quit lit but it didn’t seem to sink in.”

She then joined Facebook groups for sober people. She discovered Tribe Sober in 2019 and spent time just lurking on WhatsApp and listening to people’s stories. This shows that it takes a community to help others with mental and emotional therapy! It takes a connection with people similar to us to make a difference in our lives.

Soon, it was full on four years of trial and error for Lerato.  And then the penny dropped. The last day she drank was August 4th, 2021.

“The next day I confessed how bad the problem was to my partner (I’d been sneaking alcohol behind his back), and it finally clicked for him that I had a real problem and he became my number one supporter and talked me off the ledge numerous times.”

 

Recovery and Connection

I love this part about Lerato’s recovery – she had the full support of her beloved partner and many people do not get this as their partners continue to drink.  I wrote a blog about this a while ago and had a huge response to it from men and women whose partners still drink although they have ditched the booze!

Lerato is convinced that her drinking problem began as a social lubricant, became a coping mechanism, which then became a toxic issue, and made her life worse. Thankfully, she could take a step back, look at herself, see what was happening, and address it. This takes guts and maturity and shows that she was starting to change and shift.

Lerato started drinking at age 17 and stopped at age 37 which means she drank for 20 years. I can empathize as I started at age 16 and stopped at age 47!  Seeing the light and making the changes is an enormous adjustment for a drinker and means that the inner learning is deep and lasting.

“I know why I drank – to self-medicate away the anxiety and depression.  To deal with stress, to help myself cope with social situations.  I’m highly introverted and the only way I could socialize for hours on end was with alcohol,” admits Lerato honestly.

 Gratitude

Lerato is so grateful for her health nowadays. She has also learned about the importance of self-care and downtime. “After quitting drinking, I have definitely been sleeping better. I feel less shame and guilt and I am a more present mother. I also suffer from anxiety, and depression and I found that once I quit drinking those got worse. But that let me know that this entire time I had been using alcohol to self-medicate!”

She has now found better coping mechanisms for the anxiety and depression – now that she doesn’t drink! These include meditation, more rest and generally being kinder to herself. She is a very busy woman, a business analyst in the Cape Town northern suburbs who defines how technological solutions should work. When she relaxes, she chooses watching TV (“anything really: documentaries, trashy reality tv, comedies, action”), reading (“I am trying to do one quit lit and then one non-quit lit book alternatively”), and playing with her son.

It sounds as if Lerato has figured out her road to happiness. She doesn’t even worry about fitness programmes or forcing herself to be healthy.  She lives every day in her best way.

“I aspire to be healthy, but only in my heart. I have done absolutely nothing to actually be healthy except for the occasional salad and once-a-month walk or YouTube yoga session.”

I loved this comment as I am the eternal health freak who has to walk a few times a day and who only eats plants! It just shows that we can all choose our health paths and still be happy and strong.

Lerato has a strong conscience too and her values are what drives her. She is kind to others and makes a point of telling people she loves that she loves them.  “I’ve known from a young age that my life was complete because I was loved, and I loved.”

 

Sharing our Stories and Tips

We can share our stories and live and learn from each other. Some wonderful quitting alcohol tips from Lerato go like this:

  • Make it your only goal. Don’t try losing weight, don’t try quitting drinking and smoking, don’t try quitting drinking and giving up social media. Just focus on not drinking.
  • Stay in the group.
  • Reach out to the group if you’re feeling tempted.
  • Tell your partner or a good friend or family member when you are feeling weak and maybe they can talk you back to your senses.

Lerato has one regret in her drinking life apart from the fact that she did drive drunk and will always feel guilty about that. Again, I can empathize as I crashed 3 cars while driving drunk in my haphazard drinking career! She was sometimes too drunk to put her tiny son to bed which she still feels terrible about. “I’ll always be sad that I lost that time with him.”

What can you do today to make up time? With yourself and with those you love?

 

To join Tribe Sober click on this image:

To get your free PDF on 7 Ways to Make your Sobriety Stick, click on this image:

To read my blogs, click here:

How do You Know if Your Body Needs a Dependency Check?

https://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/457611/sober-october-how-do-you-know-if-you-need-a-dependency-check

 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).

 

Why Your Body Deserves a Break From Alcohol

 

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).

 

From Prison to Purpose – with Martin Lockett

 

 

If you’ve ever driven your car after a drink or two then I think this episode is going to send a shiver down your spine.

It’s a story of tragedy – and redemption.

It’s a story that emphasizes the fact that our whole future can change in a split second.

My guest this week is Martin Lockett – a guy who made two bad decisions: he decided to drink and drive – and then to jump a red light.

Two people died and Martin spent nearly 20 years in prison for manslaughter.

His whole life has been defined by this traumatic incident that ended two lives and changed his forever.

In this Episode

  • Although he grew up in a rough area, Martin was blessed with two loving parents who did their best to keep their boys busy with after-school activities.
  • This worked well for a while, but as they became teenagers it was not so easy to manage them – and they started to mix with the wrong crowd.
  • Like most teenagers, Martin was searching for his “identity” – trying different ones on for size.
  • He developed several identities and had the wardrobe and the vernacular to suit each identity.
  • He had his school style, then his part-time job style, and then his gang style.
  • He was navigating between different worlds, not really feeling comfortable in any of them.
  • This internal conflict drove him to use alcohol to quell his anxiety.
  • Martin’s identity crisis made me think of the inner struggle that we experience when we are drinking too much – we know we should quit but we can’t imagine life without it – so we drink more to quell the anxiety.
  • Like many drinkers, Martin was in denial – and able to convince himself that he was ok because his life was pretty functional.
  • He had a job, lived with his girlfriend, paid his bills, and was studying to be a nurse.
  • Many functional alcoholics delude themselves in this way – I certainly did – I had a good job and a nice family so I was fine.
  • The thing is it takes a huge amount of energy to hold it all together when we are drinking – energy to get up and go to work when we are hungover, energy to cope with young children when we are exhausted, energy to keep up the pretense that everything is “fine” when we know deep down that it’s far from fine.
  • And one of the many joys of sobriety is that as we free ourselves from the shackles of alcohol we release that energy and can use it in more positive ways.
  • Martin took us through the chilling tale of the New Year’s Eve that changed his future, that split-second decision that cost him his freedom.
  • He talked us through the horror of the aftermath – the horror of realising that he had killed 2 people and that the price would be 20 years in prison.  And he was only 24 years old.
  • He spoke of the ripple effect of the tragedy – the effect on his own family and friends – and of course on his victims.
  • As he says we can never really imagine the magnitude of our actions – until it actually happens.
  • After a few days in prison he was given a newspaper – there he was on the front page.
  • As he read the article he discovered that his victims were active in the recovery space – his horror at what he had done deepened as he discovered what good people they were.
  • At the end of the article, the journalist had written “perhaps the person who will be helped most by this tragedy is the driver.”
  • Martin reflected on this statement for days – how on earth could he be helped by this terrible incident?
  • For months he would meditate on that phrase which played over and over in his head.
  • Eventually, he came to the conclusion that the only way he could try to atone for what he had done would be to spend the rest of his life continuing the good work of his victims. That would be the only way that some good could come out of this tragedy.
  • Just one year into his sentence Martin had the good fortune to meet an incredible woman who offered her support – she stuck by him for more than 16 years and is now his fiancé
  • When she heard that he wanted to be an addiction counselor, she discovered that he could study this in prison.
  • She helped him with his tuition fees and Martin also inherited some money when his father died – he knew that spending this money on his education was the best way to honor his father’s memory.
  • Martin threw himself into his studies which had the added benefit that he was not approached by gang members – they could see he was serious in his ambitions.
  • He gained a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a Master in psychology before going through an intensive drug and alcohol addiction program.
  • He was then able to build up clinical hours by working as an intern – running group sessions for some of his fellow prisoners which enabled him to qualify as a counselor.
  • He got his state certification as a Substance Abuse Counsellor in 2019 – and was released from prison in 2021.
  • Martin shared the shocking statistic that 80% of prisoners are incarcerated as a result of drug or alcohol-related offenses.
  • Yet in Oregon, only 5% of those prisoners have access to a substance abuse program.
  • Martin was influenced by the work of Viktor Frankl which helped him to get through his prison sentence.
  • Frankl is an Austrian psychiatrist who spent time in a concentration camp during the war and who maintains that however dire our circumstances, if we can find purpose we can survive – and that purpose must involve serving others.
  • We talked about forgiveness and of course, it took several years for Martin to forgive himself – he was often full of sadness and self-loathing, reliving every detail of the crash, especially on the anniversary of the event.
  • He eventually managed to pull himself out of this dark place and direct his energy toward the pledge he had made to honor his victims by continuing their work and even before leaving prison he had made an impact on thousands of people.
  • Martin talked about leaving prison and how overwhelmed he felt – everything had changed!
  • Whilst prison is grey and drab and the world seemed full of colour.
  • Clothes were different, phones were computers, social media was a thing and there was even an online recovery movement.
  • He struggled with choice – going into a supermarket and having 30 different types of cereal to choose from!
  • Fortunately, he had his fiancé to give him a crash course in technology and help him to adapt to the outside world – and remember to write down his passwords!
  • He admitted that he had been slightly apprehensive about being bored as he had never really functioned as a sober adult before.
  • But of course, it was the opposite and he’s been traveling, sky diving, cruising to the Bahamas, and learning to swim amongst other things!
  • And of course full of joy and appreciation at his beautiful new life.
  • Apart from having fun, Martin continues to work full-time to honour his victims and to continue their legacy. He feels compelled to keep sharing his story to honour his victims and to spread the word about the agony that can result from drinking and driving.
  • He speaks at Victim Impact Panels, mans a suicide helpline, and speaks to schools.
  • As well as being a public speaker he has written two books – “Prison to Purpose Pipeline” and “My Prison Life” – you can buy the books from Amazon or from his website which is martinlockett.com
  • I told Martin that we had a 64% youth unemployment rate here in South Africa and asked him what he would say to a young person with no job and little hope for the future.
  • He advises young people to “stay in the fight” – even if the odds seem to be stacked against them.
  • Don’t give up on yourself – take steps in the right direction and eventually, doors will open.
  • He quoted Martin Luther King who said that “Faith is taking that first step even if you can’t see the whole staircase.”
  • I actually love that quote and think we can apply it to people just starting out on the sobriety journey – it can be so difficult to imagine that we have so much to gain from giving up alcohol – it takes faith – that’s why we need to do it step by step (even if we can’t yet see the whole staircase!)

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 the Truth Set Me Free – with Desiree-Anne Martin

 

My guest this week is Desiree-Anne Martin.  Her addiction to drugs and alcohol kept her at rock bottom for two years – using sex work to fund her heroin habit.

Despite everything, she managed to turn her life around and these days she is a happily married mother of two girls as well as a qualified addiction counselor.

At the age of 41, she published her first book – a memoir called “We Don’t Talk About It. Ever.”

It’s an unforgettable book and by sharing her experience, strength, and hope, Desiree-Anne has given many others a platform to speak out and begin the road to recovery.

In this Episode

  • Desiree’s addictions began with slimming pills which she could buy over the counter here in South Africa. They contained amphetamines and she was on 10 a day, losing weight and full of energy!
  • She moved to the UK and was horrified to discover that she would need a doctor’s script to get these pills.
  • Always on the lookout for something to give her a buzz, Desiree turned to alcohol.
  • She was drinking and comfort eating to keep her warm during the UK’s harsh winter.
  • The result was that she regained the weight she had lost which made her depressed.
  • When her UK visa expired, she returned to South Africa and was delighted to discover that everyone she knew was now getting high at the weekends.
  • The rave culture had exploded and drug-taking was normalized.
  • It was the perfect sub-culture to slot into with her ever-growing addiction.
  • She was taking MDMA, Crystal Meth, LSD, and Ecstacy.
  • Just like drinkers, she had her “rules” and vowed she would never take crack cocaine or heroin – but just like drinkers, she broke that rule.
  • She fell in love with a heroin addict.
  • When he told her about his addiction, she was unphased – she could cope – after all she’d seen the movie Trainspotting so knew how it all worked!
  • She stuck by him because her parent’s marriage had showed her that you stuck together “no matter what.”
  • However, the “no matter what” that Desiree was dealing with led to her trying heroin herself.
  • She vomited after her first hit but she persevered! (as she put it)…
  • It was like a warm blanket that blanked out all her emotions.
  • It takes years, sometimes decades for people using alcohol to become dependent, but hard drugs like heroin are a different matter.
  • Desiree was hooked within a matter of weeks until eventually, she needed it just to feel normal.
  • Her daily struggle became keeping the withdrawal at bay.
  • A friend dragged her to AA/NA – she did attend meetings now and then but was usually high – she would lie about her clean time because she wanted the praise.
  • Her rehab journey began when her dad drove her out into the middle of nowhere to a rehab that Desiree describes as a concrete tank for people to withdraw from whatever they were taking – no support or rehabilitation included – just a few goats hanging around!
  • She managed to get expelled from that rehab for fraternizing.
  • Then she went to live with her mom who did everything she could to control her (including locking her in).
  • All that interested Desiree was escaping so that she could get her hands on some heroin.
  • Eventually, she ran out of resources to fund her drug habit so had to resort to sex work, which of course led to a lot of shame, which of course led to more drugs to cope with the shame – a terrible spiral to be trapped in.
  • Her long-suffering mother found another rehab – and finally, things began to change.
  • Desiree was so tired from secrets and shame which she felt were rotting her from the inside out that she began to “tell her story” – she began “speaking her truth.”
  • She made the choice to get clean – to choose life – and she told her story over and over.
  • This rehab worked because it taught her to speak her truth, which set her free.
  • Once she decided to use the 12 steps she was “all in” – we see that at Tribe Sober – the people who go “all in”, the ones who “throw the book at it” are the ones who succeed.
  • Desiree’s first year of recovery was mainly about “not using” and meant a complete overhaul of her lifestyle.
  • She felt a great sense of loss, she mourned the loss of heroin and had to learn to deal with her feelings again.
  • In the beginning, her feelings were either good – or bad – but gradually they became more complex which was difficult as she could no longer use heroin to numb them out.
  • She also discovered that she had mental health issues which had been masked by her drug taking so she began therapy.
  • She learned that the drinking and the using had been symptomatic of the multiple traumas she had dealt with over the years.
  • Many people in our community love the work of Gabor Mate which emphasizes the link between trauma and developing an addiction.
  • Desiree has finally shed the shame, is now 18 years sober, and spends her time helping and inspiring others.
  • At the age of 41 she published her memoir “We don’t want to talk about it – ever.” Her story continues to give people hope that shows that there is a way out.
  • If you want to learn more about Desiree or book a counseling session with her you can go to her website which is desreeannemartin.com and her book 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

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).

 

Happy Soberversary to Tribe Member Ros!

 

I always love featuring a Tribe Member on the podcast but this week it’s particularly special as Tribe member Ros is celebrating her first Soberversary.

All of those Sober Firsts are important – the first time we socialize without alcohol, the first time we go on holiday.

Even Sober Packing (!) – it seems to be a thing for some of our members and of course, the Soberversary is a culmination of all of those Sober Firsts.

A whole year of sobriety is enough for most people to nail the “not drinking” part – and then to start reconfiguring their lives – creating a life they don’t want to escape from!

I often say that if we really want to stop drinking we have to throw the book at it – and Ros is a fantastic example of the results you get if you do that.

Ros had been drinking for decades and knew that she would have to make a change so she joined the Tribe.

She turned up on Day One – looking wobbly and tearful at our weekly Zoom Café.  She came to Zoom every single week and it was such a joy to see her getting stronger and looking happier as time went by.  Ros put the work in and as a result she only ever had One Day One.

She used the Tribe Roadmap and worked her way systematically through our 7 steps – she got connected, she did the prep, she did the work and then she moved into healing her body and mind. 

In this Episode

  • Ros came from a non-drinking household and apart from the odd half-a-pint of beer in the pub with her friends, her teenage years were alcohol-free.
  • As she entered her 20s Ros left the UK and began a career in tourism – where drinking was very much part of the work hard/play hard culture.
  • She began to drink regularly and with enthusiasm.
  • Ros lived in Mexico for a couple of years and discovered that there was a drink that was stronger than tequila – strong enough to put her in hospital in fact.
  • As she says, “if it was there I would drink it”.
  • Like many of us, Ros was into healthy eating and going to the gym but no way was she going to relinquish the booze!
  • In fact, she was blissfully unaware of the toxicity of alcohol and had no idea that the “low risk” limits of alcohol are one and a half bottles of wine a week.
  • In fact, the WHO now recommends that if we want to be healthy we don’t drink any alcohol at all.
  • I could do a whole episode on the toxicity of alcohol but let me just give you Russell Brand’s brilliant answer when people ask him why he’s not drinking – he simply says “that stuff’s flammable you know”…
  • Thanks to our workshop, Ros is now more than aware of just how much damage alcohol does.
  • She lost both her sisters to cancer and reflected back to the time she spent in a hospice with one of her sisters – there were lots of health experts coming in to talk about healthy eating but not one word about alcohol!
  • Not a word about the fact that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and that drinking more than 3 small glasses of wine a week raises your risk of breast cancer by 15%.
  • We both agreed with the research that says it takes most people about a decade to recognise that we have a problem – and then to actually do something about it.
  • We both wasted far too long setting rules around our drinking and trying to moderate!
  • Ros recognised that she needed help about 10 years before joining Tribe Sober but once she did join, everything changed for her.
  • She felt such a sense of relief when she met other people who had the same “problem” with alcohol and she realised that she was not alone in this.
  • If you’re feeling alone in your struggle then please check out Tribe Sober – we are here for you and nothing makes us happier than helping people to ditch the booze and change their life.
  • Ros took all of our advice to heart and accepted that sobriety is not something we do “on the side” or “tinker round the edges” – we have to make it a priority, forget the people pleasing, and learn to put ourselves first.
  • Ros coped with her social life by taking our advice to “be an anthropologist” – learn to be an observer and watch how people change as the drinking progresses – no need to judge anyone, come from a place of curiosity.
  • She got through her Sober Firsts, taking pleasure in every achievement and sharing them with us at the Zoom Café – she even did a Sober Cruise!
  • We talked about the value of the Annual Trackers we use – although it might seem a bit low-tech to have a piece of paper divided into 365 squares it works better than the trackers on your phone which just take you back to zero if you have a slip-up.
  • With our trackers, you colour in every single alcohol-free day so that you can observe your Sober Stretches and see that they are getting longer.
  • As Ros didn’t have a single slip up she took great pleasure in colouring in her tracker and then posting it on our chatgroup on Screenshot Saturday.
  • Our Annual trackers give perspective and keep us motivated – if you would like one just email me – at janet@nulltribesober.com
  • As she enters her second year of sobriety Ros is planning to relax into it – it’s the new normal and her husband is also sober.
  • After a few months of watching Ros, her husband decided to do our Sober Spring Challenge to keep her company – and he’s been sober ever since!

    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).

Learning from a Relapse – With Dan

“Getting sober is not necessarily easy, but it truly offers the best life you can have. Alcohol does nothing but dull and confuses your mind.”

Dan should know. He stopped drinking a few years ago after decades of alcohol consumption. He has spent the past two years deepening his knowledge about the ravages of alcohol, the degrees of drinking, what it means to get sober, plus how to remain in recovery without relapsing.

Relapsing can Happen to Anyone

For Dan, relapsing is a very real part of getting sober. It happened to him. He stopped drinking later on in his life, for nearly 10 years, and then one day, he thought he could moderate. He was feeling very stressed and depressed, and he had a drink. Which took him straight back to square one, and he found he was drinking even more than before!

“At age 65, I hit another rough patch in my life and foolishly tried moderation drinking which quickly sparked substance dependence that was even worse than the first time I quit.” He was mortified.

He took to the internet and Googled for a community that would help him to get sober. When Dan discovered Tribe Sober quite by chance, he loved the tools this sober community provides for ditching the drink.

“I was Googling various search terms to help me find a support group and stumbled onto it. The search terms that landed me there included the term “cold turkey” because I was concerned about being able to stop drinking without the help of an addiction specialist. I found this page “How to Quit Alcohol Cold Turkey” which I see now that Janis had written. What I read there and on the rest of the Tribe Sober web pages convinced me it sounded like a good match to help me,” says Dan.

 

 

“The key is to engage with the tribe and take advantage of the wisdom and resources that we share with each other,” he says. He is thus a very active member of all social platforms within the tribe.

He thought that Tribe Sober matched his values and these are many and authentic: peace, humanity, empathy, beauty, crafts, nature, work, self-expression, and many more. Dan is someone who exhibits truthfulness, honesty, and faith in himself and others. He has learned more about himself than ever before since ditching the booze.

Self-Care and Inner Knowledge on a Dry Journey

Take it from Dan who notes that the first step in getting sober is practicing self-care. The second step is finding, joining, and participating in a supportive community. And third is doing the cognitive and emotional work needed for change. Sounds easy, but often it isn’t! Considering how long Dan had been a drinker, he is doing remarkably well now on his dry journey.

“I drank from age 18 to 56 including becoming a homebrewer for many years. Although I certainly binged from time to time, I generally did not consume more than the recommended allowance until a particularly stressful life event pushed me over the edge at age 54 when I became dependent on overconsumption of alcohol to help me cope with trauma-related stress,” acknowledges Dan.

He spoke with a psychiatrist who told him to get clean and he immediately went to outpatient rehab, learned about this disorder, did sobriety work, and found a support group. Alcohol disappeared from his life for 8.5 years!

It was later, at age 65, that he had that fatal relapse drink that took him backward, like an out-of-control train.

“I hit another rough patch in my life and foolishly tried moderation drinking which quickly sparked substance dependence that was even worse than the first time I quit. The cravings were stronger, the rule-breaking was more frequent, and for the first time, I found myself hiding my drinking – even after I accepted that I had crossed all these lines, it still took me several more weeks to decide to stop. In the run-up to quitting, I actually increased my consumption perhaps in desperation about missing out once I gave it up. But once I made the decision to quit, I stuck to it and engaged deeply in the things needed to rebuild my sobriety firewall,” acknowledges Dan.

Many of you reading this blog will identify with Dan, I know I do,  and I know people in my life who would benefit from hearing these brave words.

Moderation is for the Birds

Taking this moderation failure to heart, Dan became introspective and humble. He realized that as a drinker, he had been drinking for almost every possible reason. But the reason that seemed to be the cause of the downward spiraling was to cope with stress and drown out negative thoughts. Looking back on his life to trace his drinking, its causes, and effects, and the things he did and said was difficult and frightening for him.

“The worst part is that despite them, I kept on drinking and piling up more embarrassing and potentially disastrous events in my life history.”

He notes that the interesting thing about his relapse is that the same pattern repeated itself but in an accelerated form – he took the first few drinks for pleasure (as he did in his youth) and quickly reverted to drinking more for dissociation from pain.

Finally, he did it – he ditched the booze! And he healed himself both physically and emotionally.

Dan is a nature lover with a penchant for walking in the woods with his dog, all seasons, just to get out and be healthy and strong.  He is a professor and college administrator now in semi-retirement and he is interested in so many different things the mind boggles: music, reading, writing, gardening, cooking, and food preservation, the list is endless. All his family members live hundreds of miles away, leaving him to keep busy with his hobbies and monitor the many ups and downs of life.

 

Dan has thought a lot about how he managed to stop drinking.  He recognized that he had a problem and that he needed help.

“I realized that I could not do it alone. Upon my relapse, I knew that finding a support group was an essential part of recovery – fortunately, I found Tribe Sober. I also realized that I needed to return to “doing the work” of learning more about alcohol and addiction and myself. I did that pretty intensively for 6 months, gradually moving from working on alcohol and addiction to working on my thoughts and emotions.”

Now alcohol is not intruding on Dan’s thoughts much and he is able to focus more on his work and family and self-care. However, he still follows Tribe Sober chats and has interactions with that community at least multiple times per week. He is hoping to return to more interaction once he retires again.

Does this story make you feel empathy with Dan? Maybe you too have something to share about how you stopped drinking. Please share it with us all!

 

Get your free Pdf “16 Relapse Symptoms to Watch Out For – Anytime, Any Place, Anywhere” when you click on the image below!

Follow my blogs when you click on this image!

Join our Tribe here, by clicking on this image!

 

 

The Comorbidity of Phobias and Drinking Alcohol

I remember as a little girl growing up in Pietermaritzburg in a large house with a large garden I had a phobia of snakes. I used to scream and perform if I saw a snake or even imagined a snake nearby. I also had a phobia of dentists and used to scream and shout when I got there and throughout the entire appointment.

These phobias are pretty common and I hear that the most common phobia is the fear of heights. It seems that parents can pass on their own fears to their kids just with a shudder at a height or showing their fear of something when their kids are small. Over-protective parents also instill fear into their children which stays with them into their adult life.

Alcohol and Phobias

I am fascinated by the role that alcohol plays in exacerbating phobias. My mother is an alcoholic and she suffered from fear of heights when we were small kids. She also feared going out of her home, preferring to have her friends on the phone or at her own home. This was a type of agoraphobia or social phobia.

For me, my mom’s alcohol dependence played a huge role in this. Do you have a fear or phobia for something? Do you drink or have you been a drinker and recently stopped drinking? Let’s look at how alcohol increases anxiety – yet people who drink alcohol believe that they are de-stressing when they have a drink. Sure, have a drink after a heavy day at work and feel that tension melt away. Then have another drink because the sun is setting and you are cooking dinner. Then pour another drink to have with dinner and a fourth drink to have after that. Why suddenly is your heart rate up, your mood confused and you are irritated with the family? Think about these things!

Many people believe that alcohol helps them to cope with life, with fears and anxieties. You will have heard the expression “Dutch Courage” which goes back to the Anglo-Dutch wars of the 1600s when English soldiers drank a type of gin or jenever, to calm themselves before a battle or when the weather turned cold. Dutch soldiers always seemed brave to the English after they had had their fair share of jenever.

Fake News: Alcohol Does NOT Cure Anxiety!

But scientific research has shown that drinking alcohol to cure anxiety simply does not work. What drinkers don’t realize, and don’t want to know, is that drinking alcohol worsens their anxiety and creates an even bigger problem: anxiety – drink alcohol to calm the nerves – more anxiety – drink more – more anxiety … A vicious cycle and the Anxiety party guy invites his friends to join in – their names are Anger, Shame and Guilt.

Tests have been done to see whether alcohol worsens or reduces phobias. Phobias are described as a state of tension, anxiety, frustration, and fear all mixed up to create an irrational panic state. Think about the person in your life who has a phobia. My mother had a phobia of heights. My husband too. This is one of the most common phobias. My son has a phobia of spiders. These are all very normal phobias but drinking alcohol just tends to make them worse.

Alcoholics have high levels of neuroticism, much of which is caused by alcohol. Ongoing drinking on a daily basis increases all levels of tension, and mood swings become more frenetic too. Many problem drinkers suffer from social phobia or agoraphobia and they drink to be braver in company. I remember those days myself as I am an extreme introvert and when I had a drink, I felt like one of the crowd, blending in, but after a few drinks, I could not follow the conversation anyway.

So many people think that alcohol reduces their anxiety, be they problem drinkers or not. Remember the scale of alcoholism starts at the bottom where one drink a week is enough for some people, and ends at the top of the scale where alcoholics are drinking all day and need rehabilitation. Grey area drinkers are many and fall into the middle of the scale, some drinking daily and still being ‘functional’, others drinking some days but binging. Many grey-area drinkers can put away 2 bottles of wine a night and still think that they are fine! Or they don’t drink during the week but binge all weekend and think that this is fine BUT their habit is creeping up the line to the top of the scale where that rude sign stands, “alcoholic”!

Alcohol Causes Depression, Not Relief

According to the British Journal of Addiction, “If it is accepted that alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and powerful anxiolytic, then it follows that compensatory responses associated with the anticipation of alcohol will be those of increased arousal and anxiety. Such responses should be more apparent in severely alcohol-dependent individuals with a longer reinforcement history. There is indeed evidence to link increased heart rate and hand tremor with the responses of such individuals to alcohol-related cues.”

Doctors see a lot of heavy drinkers causing or being victims of car accidents, and domestic violence – in many instances, this is because alcohol use is related to increased anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research is now revealing that drinking a lot actually rewires the circuitry in the brain which may be why heavy drinkers find it very hard to get over something traumatic in their lives.

Regular consumption of alcohol and excessive drinking can lead to physical dependence on alcohol. Side effects of alcohol dependence include withdrawal symptoms, which can include anxiety. So, in effect, alcohol can actually intensify anxiety and symptoms of a specific phobia, making them worse than they were before.”

Let’s look at some common phobias:

  • Agoraphobia: fear of public places
  • Claustrophobia: fear of enclosed spaces
  • Arachnophobia: fear of spiders
  • Aerophobia: fear of flying
  • Social phobia: fear of social situations and of being judged or viewed negatively
  • Acrophobia: fear of heights
  • Hemophobia: fear of blood
  • Ophidiophobia: fear of snakes
  • Zoophobia: fear of animals

A specific phobia can involve a certain thing, place, animal, event, or situation. Many people who suffer phobias turn to alcohol to self-soothe but those very people are the ones who are susceptible to alcohol abuse thanks to their genetics, brain chemistry, and biological factors.

Sure, having a drink after a nerve-wracking experience may help there and then. How many stories have we read about characters having a slug of brandy or whiskey to calm their nerves? Or how many movies have we watched where adults walk into the house and immediately pour a drink because they had a tough day at work?

Self-medication with alcohol, however, can become the drug that the brain then relies upon. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins love that first slug of alcohol and simply want more of that feel-good sensation. Your brain tells you to have more and more until one day, that one drink does nothing – but 6 drinks is better, then every day it is 6 drinks, until the drinker is the alcoholic and the fear is so deep-seated that the agoraphobia is a crisis!

Heavy Drinkers Experience Phobias

Many people who experience a phobia do also drink a lot and scientists have discovered a co-relationship here. The comorbidity of alcohol use disorder and phobias is now widely reported and each one worsens the other one.  Dr Kathryn McHugh notes that “Anxiety disorders co-occur with substance use disorders at a high rate in both the general population and in treatment-seeking samples. The co-occurrence of these disorders is associated with greater symptom severity, higher levels of disability, and poorer course of illness relative to either disorder alone. “

Do you suffer from a phobia? Do you drink alcohol? Next time you feel that phobia arise, check to see when you had your last drink and how much you drank. If you were drinking heavily the night before the onset of that phobia, the alcohol could be part of the reason. If you drink to quell that anxiety, the alcohol could be part of the problem. It is a good idea to take a step back and become more self-aware of the habits we are creating subconsciously and to see how they are affecting our health in the short and long term.

Talk to someone about your drinking and see if they agree that you are consuming too much. Chat with Tribe Sober and join our Membership programme. We want to meet you!

 

Not-Quite Alcoholics Podcast

Not-Quite Alcoholics  – Listen here 

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.

Getting Sober over 60 Podcast

Getting Sober over 60 – Listen here 

Whether you’ve been drinking for decades or picked up the bottle in midlife, it’s never too late to enjoy the benefits of sobriety. As we age, those benefits far outweigh the quick fix that comes with drinking.

My guest, Janet Gourand knows a thing or two about reaping the sobriety benefits later in life. Janet chose to quit drinking at 63, having no idea at how many opportunities she was giving herself after years of heavy drinking.

When Janet stopped drinking she could find very little support available in South Africa and did not want to go into rehab and decided AA was not for her.

In this episode, you will hear how Janet got sober and the resources that worked for her.

Janet became so passionate about helping people moderate or quit drinking alcohol, that she founded Tribe Sober, an online community that holds workshops and meetings for people all over the world.

You will also hear:

The three pivotal moments in Janet’s drinking that she reflects back on now as “rock bottoms”  The benefits of sobriety later in life  The risks of alcohol use  The importance of community in sobriety The power of being an introvert To read this episode’s full show notes, click here.

To 50 and Beyond

Into the Light Podcast

Into the Light Podcast  – Listen here 

We drink alcohol to escape our reality.

We use drugs to escape our reality.

I explore the trauma and mental health problems that are the reasons for that need to escape.

In this podcast, I interview guests that have gone through hell and back but kept going. In turn, they have transformed into human beings who love themselves, warts and all. Let me share with you how we manage to live a life that most of us could not even dream of in the midst of our trauma.

The past does not equal the future. Every second gives you a new opportunity for change, and only you determine the right direction in your life.

Dr Stephan Neff

Now Sober Podcast

Now Sober Podcast – Listen here 

In this Episode:

In this episode of Back Porch Chats, we talk to Janet Gourand who struggled with alcohol for many years. She tells how she finally got sober in 2015 when she found her “people.” She used her 25 years of experience in training and development to design and facilitate workshops to help people quit drinking. Her membership program, Tribe Sober, provides workshops, coaching, and connection.

Her work has helped hundreds of people go on to live alcohol-free lives. She believes that “getting sober is just the beginning – once we’ve stopped drinking we need to create a life we don’t want to escape from.”

Episode Highlights:

Janet’s story Alcohol as a breast cancer survivor. Using projects to help with sobriety.

Naked Life Story – Janet G

 

So often our society, culture, and those around us tell us that drinking regularly is normal. This is no different for this week’s guest. Janet went from drinking daily, to a decade of trying to moderate using willpower, to finding freedom from alcohol.

Tune in to listen to Janet share her journey from her first wake-up call to finding freedom decades later and everything in between.

The PATH

If you are totally serious about actually truly and forevermore transforming your relationship with alcohol, really leaving it behind in the rearview mirror for once and forever more, and changing your psychology about it, we have a program called The PATH that is created specifically for you. Now it’s not for you if you are still dabbling or still trying to figure out where you want to be or maybe even still want to moderate.

All those things are fine, but if you are beyond that and you’re like, “No, I just want to be done with this. I’m ready to invest some time and I’m ready to just make this happen.” I want you to check out NakedMindPATH.com, and join us in The PATH where you can truly make this lasting change you want in your life. And as always, rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast as it truly helps the message reach somebody who might need to hear it today.

Tribe Sober The Happy Brain – Janet Gourand

 

Janet Gourand helps people stimulate their dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin after they give up alcohol (TribeSober.com).

If you like The Happy Brain Podcast, please rate and review it to help others make peace with their inner mammal.

THE HAPPY BRAIN PODCAST helps you blaze new trails to your dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin. My guests are pioneers in retraining the inner mammal. I love learning from them! Listen in and subscribe so you can turn on your happy chemicals in healthy new ways.

Your host, Loretta Breuning Ph.D., is the founder of the Inner Mammal Institute and author of “Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain your brain to boost your serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin levels.” Details at: https://innermammalinstitute.org

Life is more peaceful and satisfying when you understand the brain we’ve inherited from earlier mammals. Your mammal brain controls the chemicals that make you feel good: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin. These chemicals are released for reasons that don’t make sense to our verbal human brain. When you know what these chemicals do in animals, your ups and downs make sense!

Our happy chemicals evolved to reward survival behavior, not to make you feel good all the time. Each happy chemical has a special job. When it turns on, it paves neural pathways that turn it on more easily in the future. That’s why we repeat behaviors that we’d rather do without. Fortunately, you can re-wire yourself to stimulate them in sustainable ways.

But it’s hard. It’s like learning a foreign language: it takes a lot of repetition. Yet people do it every day. You can be one of them! You can design a new path to your happy chemicals and repeat it until it’s strong enough to turn on easily. The Inner Mammal Institute shows you how.

The Inner Mammal Institute has free resources to help you make peace with your inner mammal: videos, blogs, infographics, and podcasts. Dr. Breuning’s books explain the big picture and help you plot your course step by step. No matter where you are right now, you can enjoy more happy chemicals in healthy ways. Get the details at https://InnerMammalInstitute.org.

Janet Gourand with Annie Grace – This Naked Mind

 

This episode is sponsored by The Path, the coach-guided membership designed to help you make alcohol small and irrelevant to your life by removing your true desire to grab that next drink.

A science-based, compassion-led program allows you to not only shift your behavior and your relationship around alcohol but more importantly recover and reprogramme your subconscious conditioning and neural connections that have been keeping you stuck for years.

With daily live breakthrough coaching and intimate and supportive community regular peer-to-peer connection calls and a complete vault of resources. Join us at nakedmindpath.com.

I am chatting with Janet in this episode…

Janet Gourand with Molly Watts (breaking the bottle legacy) – Alcohol and Aging

 

This is the Breaking the Bottle Legacy with Molly Watts.

Janet and I are going to talk about alcohol and aging.

Listen to the podcast and enjoy.

7 Reasons Why You Should Do Our Sober Sprint

 

Did you know that the average person is an incredible 11 years from the moment that they realise that they might have a problem with alcohol right up until the moment they reach out for help and do something about it? 11 years! That’s amazing, isn’t it? But I know I did. Many of us in the tribe spent our 11 years hopping on and off the wagon trying to cut down, trying to moderate, we couldn’t imagine life without alcohol. What would that be like?So we thought we have got to control this stuff.

But we’re saying to you, rather than wasting all that time, why don’t you start right now? Why don’t you get started on changing your relationship with alcohol? After running Tribe Sober for 6 years, I’ve seen it so many times, I’ve seen people’s lives transform and change. So we have created a free 5-day sober sprint to help you get started, to kickstart this change in your life. The sprint begins on the 17th of October and runs from Monday until Friday. It all happens on Facebook so just look for the Sober Sprint Facebook group and ask to join. You can also go to our Sober Sprint info on our website tribesober.com and see what is going on there.

I have come up with 7 reasons why you should do the Sober Sprint!

  1. You will learn a lot – we call it the Sobriety Bootcamp. Every day you will be given tasks to complete and share on with your fellow participants on Facebook. Every day there will be a 20-30 minute training session to help you reflect on your relationship with alcohol. There’ll be a Q&A board posted at midday every day.
  2. Join a community – connection is the opposite of addiction. We already have 700 amazing people connecting on that Facebook every day!
  3. It is a very short and sweet challenge and it gets results.
  4. It is free and it is worth it!
  5. You’ll get inspired – by your own success, by meeting others who are sober or who are just like you and you can reach out without feeling guilt and shame.
  6. It’s easy.
  7. It starts with a party!

 

 

Ditching Anxiety and Anger with Alcohol-Free Living – Nerina* Shares her Story

 

Nerina and her husband have created a new alcohol-free life. They do the Park Run every Saturday morning they do weekend breakfasts, walking, and hiking. Nerina and her husband do AF family holidays, less socializing and more gardening. Nerina and her husband have ditched the booze for a fun healthy life! Hubby’s sinus has improved, and Nerina has ditched her anxiety and anger. This is her story…

“What’s truly exciting is that this growth just keeps growing!  I have so much more to understand and do.  I feel like the shackles are off and I am stepping into myself.  It could also be that I am in my 50s – but combining ‘caring less’ and growing confidence in my AF mind state is a forceful blend!”

Since Nerina stopped drinking, she has realised these enormous changes in her life:

  • Present for my boys and Hubby… This is my number one, and is reason enough all on its own
  • I get out of my own head and am more interested in others (what a relief )
  • Mornings! I have a new early morning routine of journaling and meditation which has changed everything
  • Stronger body… More time and energy for exercise and better eating habits
  • Growing pride in what I can achieve if I set my mind to it
  • Clarity of thought and more effective at work
  • Time for family and friends… Just so much more time and energy for the people I care about
  • Time and motivation to focus on hobbies and develop new ones
  • NO MORE ANXIETY! No More Anger!

When the Wheels Fall Off

Nerina decided to stop drinking one fine morning when the wheels had fallen off yet again. She joined OneYearNoBeer (OYNB) which really helped her to achieve her 90 days of sobriety. Then through these AF channels, she came across Janet Gourand’s Tribe Sober podcasts and just loved the close-knit community of Tribe Sober. She is a very active Facebooker for the group and enjoys the monthly meetups too.

Nerina drank most of her life from the tender age of 15. In the beginning, it was to boost her confidence, have fun with her friends, and do something they weren’t supposed to be doing.  She was a teenager in the 80s… everyone was drinking Esprit! She joined the London party scene in the 90s with all that booze; she met her husband at a rave in Johannesburg, very much not sober.  “I suppose this was a sign of things to come. I actually used red wine to come down in the mornings after being out all night. Sounds disgusting now, but I remember recommending this to friends.  The mind boggles,” acknowledges Nerina.

The drinking continued through her 30s and married life and having kids.

“I remember drinking wine at all the kid’s birthday parties (that’s what the parties were about… drinking while the kids were entertained) and at braais/ barbecues at our friends with kids’ houses every weekend.  It scares me to think about the lack of attention we paid and the open pools at everyone’s houses.  I am also assuming we drove home not sober with the kids, as there was no Uber around in the 2000s.  My husband and I had a to-be-envied wine collection which was always well stocked, and we often hosted.  For one of our parties, we brought in a cocktail bartender to keep the drinks and entertainment flowing. I also remember telling my youngest that he could play on his tablet in bed before bedtime, instead of us doing Storytime, as I was having adult time with Hubby (in other words, drinking wine).  What message was I giving him and what other opportunities were missed?”

Good point, Nerina!

Drinking in our 40s

Nerina remembers being in her mid-40s and asking Hubby if he thought she should go to AA.  Soon, the habit of outstripping Hubby’s drinking started to surface. She would continue in the evenings, with her laptop, TV and wine in hand, and go to bed a few hours after he said goodnight. She was starting to chase something.  And the end of the day she was about to open a bottle before dinner, to make sure there was maximum impact.

“In my 40s is where I think the ‘real problem’ started.  Or, as made clear in Alcohol Explained, the journey sped up.  Hubby and I loved our weekend dinners with wine and getting home in the evenings to a bottle of wine.  Any stressors created by blending families were dealt with through wine.  Work stress was dealt with through wine.”

She can only see this in hindsight now that she has done all the research and understands how alcohol works. Everything changed one morning in 2019 after a particularly bad night when she awoke feeling extremely crap. She looked up OYNB, joined and started the 90-day challenge.

“One of the first recommendations on the platform from fellow travelers was This Naked Mind.  I listened to the Audiobook while walking, walking, walking (my first few weeks’ entertainment and savior). And if something had clicked before, now it was cemented in place.  I was hungry for knowledge and change.”

“Since going AF three years ago, the major win has been the material reduction in anxiety.  I didn’t KNOW I had anxiety until it went away. I thought what I felt inside was normal and didn’t even recognise I was highly strung.  It made me incredibly judgemental and angry. Not feeling angry all the time is truly amazing.  But I have also grown up while AF and made sure other aspects in my life support my calm mood – from sleep to exercise to healthy emotional distance at work.  Which actually leads to better performance and decision making!”

Nerina is an executive at a Financial Services Technology Provider! She cannot afford to drop any balls! She is now ultra-fit and loves gym, Pilates, walking and hiking. Her values are many and have come to the fore since becoming AF: security, influence, contribution, energy, growth, self-improvement, spirituality, health, empowerment, work. She grew up in a wonderful family that remain close.

She is very lucky. She is divorced and has 4 teenage kids now which is a challenge in itself. She was 40 when she got divorced but it was part of her life path. She then took to the booze again, partying like mad, and acting like a teenager. She fell in love again and tried to reign herself in a bit. But, the 40s is a huge hormonal time for us women and she found herself skidding off the rails somewhat with her penchant for alcohol.

 

WHY, WHY, WHY – Keep Asking Yourself This

Thankfully, Nerina is now AF and loving her sobriety. She has learned so much and is in tune with her own needs. She has these incredible tips for people who want to stop drinking, or who are simply drinking too much:

Revisit your WHYs. They never get old and your biggest power tool.  Make them easily accessible and get back to them even if you are not thinking “why am I doing this again?”.  My biggest WHY is my mental health – which has improved a hundred-fold since going AF.

Get educated. Alcohol is a fascinating topic. This Naked Mind (audio version) and Alcohol Explained (book) are insightful. This Naked Mind is my number one recommendation for all things scientific, logical and psychological.

Get immersed. Slack, Podcasts, Blogs, Testimonials.  Other people’s stories and experiences let you know that this is much bigger than you – and there are many people walking with you. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober (audio version) and LoveSober podcasts (for moms) are my favourite.

Replace, replace, replace.  AF drinks, exercise, hobbies, whatever works.  I got active with my boys, and wonderfully having fun while creating memories for us.

Treat this as an experiment. Use your blips to learn. My two glasses of wine were the best learning of all. It became clear that the next step was back to wine every night. Your stops and starts are all part of the experiment. We learn by doing and experiencing the fantastic things AF brings.  While revisiting our old habits shows us personally that we generally go back to the place we left off.  But me telling you that doesn’t really cut it.

Nerina sums up her life like this: “I don’t regret my youth or my journey. I would like to have been educated earlier on alcohol, but at the same time, I feel so empowered and thankful now, it was almost worth it.”

We are all on our personal journeys – alone and together. Connect with others like you and you will sail.

*Not her real name

 

Relapse Warning Signs with Melissa Witherspoon

 

My podcast guest this week is the author of a very touching memoir called I’m Sober…So Now What?: A Journey of Hope and Healing by Melissa Witherspoon

That’s an excellent question and there’s definitely quite a difficult stage that we reach when we are in early sobriety…

For many of us it’s a bit of a void – a kind of flatness when we suffer from anhedonia – we haven’t found our Sober Feet yet and we are certainly not thriving and enjoying our sobriety.

Our old routines are messed up, our drinking buddies are keeping their distance and we are not entirely sure what to do with ourselves.

That’s why we aim to take people on a 7 stage journey here at Tribe Sober – because there is so much more to recovery than “not drinking”.

We help people to ditch the booze and then introduce them to yoga, coaching, meditation, and art therapy so that they can explore and start to build their alcohol-free lives – a life they won’t want to escape from.

Melissa Witherspoon calls her memoir a journey of hope and healing and it really is.

Anyone who has been struggling for years will take hope from this book – Melissa spent decades struggling with alcohol – in and out of rehab – getting sober and then relapsing – but it finally stuck.

In this Episode

  • Melissa came from a happy home but struggled at school. Suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder and Dyslexia, when neither condition was really acknowledged, meant that either her teachers or her classmates were giving her a hard time.
  • She never really found a friendship group at school – not until she got to High School when she finally found “her people”.
  • Trouble was her new friends were mostly boys and a bit older than her – and they were using drugs and alcohol. But she was happy – she finally felt that she was “fitting in”.
  • She was so influenced by this group that she left home and turned her back on everything she knew.
  • Melissa found herself living with a bunch of drug dealers in what she describes as a “den of inequity”.
  • She felt so free and grown up – she could come and go as she pleased and had access to the drugs and alcohol she wanted – she loved it!
  • However, things got quite “dark” and Melissa was rescued during a police raid!
  • In one way this was a relief but her mum was in denial about what had been happening and Melissa was just expected to slot back into “normal” life…without any help.
  • She was full of shame and guilt and finally managed to get some counseling at the age of 21 but she wasn’t open with her counselors so ended up carrying her shame and guilt into her 20s and 30s.
  • She coped with the pain by drinking and using drugs – and for two decades she was in and out of rehabs, making poor decisions and then dealing with the consequences.
  • For some periods she managed to keep up an external façade that she was coping, but inside she felt she was falling “down the rabbit hole”.
  • Melissa went to one rehab to help her come off alcohol and Xanax – when she left they gave her a bag of pills– pills she subsequently used in a suicide attempt.
  • Her life was only saved when her husband came home unexpectedly.
  • Back in rehab, she remembers how irritated she was with the “one day at a time” mantra – she couldn’t even get the schedule for the following day as she was told to just focus on today.
  • With perspective, she now appreciates how it can work and even today she finds herself saying “one day at a time Melissa” if she feels anxious or stressed – a good habit for all of us, I think.
  • Another mantra she’s learned to love is “progress not perfection”.
  • We use that a lot here at Tribe Sober – we’re currently running our annual 66-day challenge and many people are daunted by the thought of 66 sober days – but we give them a tracker and tell them to mark their Sober Stretches – how many stretches can they do? Are they getting longer?  How many alcohol-free days did they manage out of 66 – that’s progress, not perfection.
  • While we are at it, let’s look at some more Sober Cliches that actually help. How about “this too shall pass” – whether we are reflecting on a tough day resisting the triggers or being hit by one of those “lows” that we feel even when we are sober, “this too shall pass” can help to soothe us.
  • Another one is “one is too many and a thousand isn’t enough”. That’s one to remember if you’ve been sober for a few months and think “ok I’m fine now – I can have just one”. Well, spoiler alert – you probably can’t!
  • Finally, how about “there is no problem that alcohol won’t make worse”? If we’ve been using alcohol as a coping mechanism for years it can be SO difficult not to start drinking again if we get some bad news… but of course, the problem will still be there – along with a crashing hangover when we sober up.
  • These sayings might be clichéd, but they have been really helpful to many of us here at Tribe Sober. I hope that they’ll be just as helpful for you. If anyone has any favorite sobriety sayings, please send them to janet@nulltribesober.com and I’ll read them out on the podcast.
  • Melissa was always worried about becoming a “Dry Drunk” – that happens when you get sober but you don’t “do the work”, you don’t change your life.
  • There is so much more to recovery than “not drinking” and that’s the journey we take you on at Tribe Sober – apart from introducing you to various therapies and offering you coaching, we welcome you to our community where many people are already sober and will inspire you with the creativity and connections they have discovered so they can thrive in their sobriety. Not just get through it as a Dry Drunk does.
  • To join our community just go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe”.
  • Melissa’s husband is in logistics and loves spreadsheets – so he created a spreadsheet of activities and timings to make sure that Melissa kept very busy in early sobriety – and it worked!
  • This is a definite technique that works for many people – we have to keep our minds occupied so we don’t end up thinking about drinking!
  • Have a listen to Tribe Sober episode 105 with Jeff Graham who explains exactly how this technique worked for him.
  • Apart from loving sobriety cliches, I’m very keen on analogies and Melissa talked about the “family in recovery” being like a boat.
  • People get used to their roles and if one of them changes the whole boat needs rebalancing. For example, Melissa’s husband got upset when she was no longer relying on the schedule he had set up for her – she was getting better and no longer needed rescuing.
  • This is linked to co-dependency  – and the whole family may need counseling if these patterns have been fixed for years.
  • From her experiences, Melissa has observed that there are 3 stages of relapse:

Stage 1 is emotional relapse – not even thinking about drinking yet but observing the triggers that seem to be getting more frequent.  Stay in Stage 1 long enough without taking action and you may move to …

Stage 2 is the mental relapse – when you start to feel uncomfortable in your skin – and skip activities like connecting with your sober tribe and sticking to your exercise routine – all things that relieve triggers. Stay in Stage 2 long enough and you may move to …

Stage 3 is physical relapse – when you are back in active addiction.

  • The advantage of knowing about these 3 stages is that you can keep your radar sharp for Relapse Warning Signs – all different for different people but you need to be able to pick up if you are feeling a bit “off” as Melissa puts it – keeping a journal is a great way of monitoring your emotions.
  • For Melissa, it shows up in a lack of self-care – if she starts neglecting things like her hair washing routine she will see it as a warning sign and tune in to what’s going on.
  • You can find plenty more advice and insight in her book which is available on Amazon: the book is called I’m Sober…So Now What?: A Journey of Hope and Healing by Melissa Witherspoon

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

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 show’s name (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 Warriors – with artist Jo Roets

 

My podcast guest this week got sober at about the same time that I did – back in 2015 – which makes us Sober Sisters with 7 years of sobriety.

Jo Roets is an artist and I discovered her excellent work on Instagram one day.  I fell in love with a work of art called:

Anabantoidei

You can find this gorgeous work of art on the cover of this Tribe Sober podcast – according to the artist, Jo, this image “embodies the warrior qualities within the female spirit” and that’s why I decided it was so appropriate for our Tribe – yes we have some awesome guys within our Tribe, but the majority of us are certainly warriors in the battle against the booze. 

In this Episode

  • Jo’s drinking wasn’t too hectic during her college years but when she had a child at 23 she found herself feeling resentful of the way her career had ground to a halt whereas her husband’s life had not been disrupted to the same extent.
  • She had another child after a couple of years so drinking wine every evening became her routine – her way to relax.
  • Jo was working as a college lecturer but by the time it got to 4 pm her mind was filled with thoughts about drinking – where would she get her wine, how much would she get – and the first thing she would do on arriving home was to pour a glass.
  • Like many of us, Jo had no “off” switch – she would continue drinking all evening and what began as one bottle became two – in fact she graduated to wine boxes as it was easier not to think about the quantity she was drinking.
  • She felt that she was trapped and we agreed that daily drinking puts us in a kind of Groundhog Day where we wake up feeling determined not to drink but by late afternoon we’ve changed our mind – basically we’ve been in withdrawal all day and that’s why that first drink tastes so good.
  • One day Jo’s mother-in-law told her that Jo and her husband both had a problem with alcohol.
  • They were still in denial and felt angry but for Jo, the seed had been planted and it was the catalyst for change.
  • The drinking continued for a while and Jo told us the story of passing out in a flower bed in her apartment block – when the caretaker came to help her up she just gave him some money to go and buy some wine – even though she’d already had plenty!
  • One Sunday Jo realised that she would have to get some help and one of her friends took her to an AA meeting –listening to the shares made her realise that she was not alone in this and gave her a language to express how she was feeling about her drinking.
  • She felt “understood” – that’s why it’s so important to join a sober community that knows what we are going through – our friends and family will either tell us to just “cut down” – or if they drink a lot they will reassure us that we are fine and making a fuss about nothing!
  • As Jo said, you need other people in recovery to understand the “depth” of it … secrets will make you sick and there is no need for any secrets with your sober community – they’ve been there!
  • Jo threw the book at her alcohol problem – she went to 3 meetings a week and spent her evenings reading about sobriety rather than drinking with her husband.
  • Of course, those early months are tough and we agreed that the only priority is to “not drink” and to stack up those alcohol-free days – we really need a year of sobriety so that it becomes the new normal.
  • Although AA was not right for Jo’s husband he did eventually ditch the booze and follow Jo’s example – she is so delighted that they are both going to be better role models for their children.
  • The biggest benefit of sobriety has been rediscovering who she really is – Jo had lost her true self and has even discovered that as an artist she can connect with a creative force on a much deeper level than when she was painting with a glass of wine next to her.
  • We agreed that the link between alcohol and creativity is yet another myth and Jo is able to work much longer and produce better quality work now that she is sober and that alcohol is no longer sapping her energy and motivation.
  • She no longer just “has ideas” – she now actually implements them.
  • Jo still goes to meetings to sustain her sobriety and now has sponsees of her own, she’s also inspiring our Tribe members as a member of Tribe Sober – join our tribe here.
  • It’s so important to stay connected to your sober community – here at Tribe Sober we have people at all stages of the journey – we have people just starting out, people struggling, people doing well and people with several years of sobriety – all inspiring and supporting each other.
  • We have had members leaving our Tribe after a few months of sobriety as they feel that they are “cured” but then they often return and have to start all over again. The danger of going it alone is that you may get to that stage when you think “surely I can have just one glass of wine now”…  spoiler alert:  you probably can’t!
  • Even if you have been sober for months that doesn’t mean the work is done – it probably does mean the emphasis can shift to discovering new interests to make sure that you thrive in your sobriety.
  • Paying it forward in the sober community is a wonderful way to stay connected, stay on track, and to help others – that’s what Jo has done by becoming an AA sponsor – and that’s what our Sober Buddies here at Tribe Sober do.
  • Check out Jo’s amazing art by going to her Instagram page.

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 show’s name (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 rank without writing too but it’s always good to read your experience).

Alcohol is Not the Medicine you Think it is – with Jason Lewis Williams

“The only point I’d like to make is that if you’re struggling, then know that your drinking is about you.  There’s nothing to be gained from comparing your drinking to anyone else. What are you doing here if you don’t have a problem?”

Wise words from Jason Lewis Williams who found his way out of a dark place into the light – from being a heavy drinker to being sober. A media specialist at a university, Jason hails from Cambridgeshire in the UK. Sharing his story has been an enlightening journey for him and his anecdotes may be hilarious, but they are also toe-curlingly honest.

The Dark Truth about Drinking

“Alcohol – you’re paying for poison thinking it’s medicine. It’s you who is waking up ill, you are in debt, you who is waking up feeling guilty and anxious.   I’d also say that some things that you may think aren’t anything to do with drinking may get fixed when you give up.  The top thing I have on my list is that when I sobered up, I stopped mourning my parents.  The drink was perpetuating that for decades after the point.  I thought that was me. It wasn’t.  You may also be amazed how many friends want to talk to you about how, not why, you gave up.”

Jason started drinking when he was 15. And he recently gave up at the age of 48.  His father was an alcoholic (the booze killed him) and his mother died of cancer when he was 18. That was when his relationship with the booze changed – and changed his life forever.

“I started to drink around the age of 15 (through to 48). But my ‘problem drinking’ started after my mum died when I was 18. I continued because I thought that I couldn’t ‘be me’ and be in contact with my true feelings if I wasn’t drunk, and I was not able to do social situations without the old Dutch courage.   So, I stayed topped up for decades. I didn’t feel like I could feel anything without it… and that didn’t seem odd to me at the time. “

Blinded by the Light

Thirty years later, Jason saw the light – which had been blinding him for years, but he just kept on turning his head away from it and wearing dark shades.  In retrospect, Jason acknowledges that stopping drinking for good is hard but possible.  “Moderating is completely impossible for me, and I spent many, many years proving it. “

He has discovered his health. His mental and physical health have returned to him in good order after he nearly killed himself with alcohol. He forced himself to stop drinking when he got stuck in that ‘trying to cut back’ rut, that false sense of moderation lie. He thought he could do it, but he only drank more.

“I spent over a decade trying to cut down, and it only made me drink more.   It was giving me lots of illnesses.   I’d stand outside pubs at lunchtime taunting myself with images of my children standing by my grave or watching me die of some god-awful cancer due to drink, and nothing would stop me.”

Jason hadn’t realized that he needed to give up for himself first, an idea that he thought was as hatefully cheesy as ‘learning to love yourself’.  One weekend he went out and drank so much that he made himself ill. So, he promised himself he would have a few days off the booze. But he didn’t. Instead, he went out again and drank even more than before, and then he realised that he could NOT control his drinking.   “I stood in a bar in London alone, drinking shots, listening to Life’s What you Make it by Talk Talk at deafening levels over and over and over again. I have no idea how I got home, or how I went to work the next day.  So, I stopped. I made a pact with myself that I would stop,100%, no more forever. “That was 5 November 2018.

Today, Jason is running, something he never thought he would do. He got up from the couch and joined a running programme thanks to a running App called Couch to 5k he found. Now he runs half marathons which he says is nothing short of miraculous considering the alcohol-soaked state he had been in most of his couch potato life. He has had epiphanies since he quit.

 

The Benefits of Quitting

“I made a list of things that have changed since giving up booze.  It has 52 items on it so far and is growing the further away I get from the drink.  It includes everything from persistent rashes that have disappeared, losing 28 pounds after giving up my 40 burgers worth of drink calories a week (go do the maths people), mental health benefits in so many ways, money (no longer have to have 2 jobs, no longer taking out loan after loan), etc.”

In short ‘the list’ underlines the fact that EVERYTHING that was wrong was created or exacerbated by drinking.  This is not an exaggeration. He is getting in touch with real values, things he never even thought about: he values truth and he detests fallacious reasoning and arguments. He loves the environment, and, above all, he loves his health, and his family is the most valuable thing to him. Music is his life, his first love. He loves listening to it, playing it, writing it, recording it, and performing it.

Sobriety has shown him how to cook for his family – his wife and two sons aged 13 and 18 – in newfound patience and creativity. Before, he would have sat in bars, mindlessly sipping drinks and spending every penny on something that was killing him.

Jason was trawling the internet one day, looking for a friendly place that was private where he could communicate and read about other people’s existences. He found Tribe Sober, liked it, liked the people, and stayed. Connection is healing and it can be done physically or online. Connection heals the brain and the body. If we think about the happy chemicals, the happy hormones, we know that simply being with special people turns us on. Who needs substances to feel high?

According to Healthline, happy hormones include dopamine, a neurotransmitter connected to pleasure, learning, memory and rewards; serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates moods, sleep, appetite, digestion, learning and memory; oxytocin, the love hormone that needs hugs, parent-child bonding, relationship bonding and affection; and endorphins that relieve pain, stress and need rewards, sex and eating.

We don’t need to drink to boost our happy hormones. We need to get outside in nature, exercise, laugh with a friend, cook with a loved one, take natural supplements like green tea and lavender oils, vitamin B, and probiotics, listen to music and meditate. Voila!

Knowing what YOU Need

Jason has triggered his happy hormones by trial and error. Of course, he has his music, and he has also discovered audiobooks and videos to do with giving up alcohol. He absolutely clicked with The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Grey which he says was like an old friend who just ‘knows’.  He also listens to Habits Unplugged on YouTube by a guy who has inside knowledge on stopping drinking and who Jason says, “has never put a foot wrong as far as I am concerned.”

Jason believes that the first step is knowing that you have to give up, on your own. The decision has to be your own, to give up alcohol. “I don’t think you can buy, exercise, watch, read, be argued with, or listen to your way out of drinking.  I had to make the decision to give up first.  I found my window and my chance and took it.”

Sober for 4 years now, Jason believes that this is it, he is healed, and his head is clear. “My head is clear enough to know that alcohol is a bad idea for me.  It’s insidious and tampers/distorts my rationality.  Being alcohol-free is not a daily battle for me, and I think that’s an important thing to say out loud.  It’s a relief. A deep sense of relief.”

Moderation sucks and I agree with Jason on that one. Yes, moderation sucks for people who have a drinking issue. You may be reading this right now because you have worries about your own drinking.

Tips From Jason:

  • Stopping drinking is a binary thing. Stop, or carry on.  There’s no ‘trying’ for me.  Sorry if that sounds harsh.  Everyone is different, I know.  I can only speak for myself.
  • Make the decision to actually give up.   Moderation and taking breaks is just a waiting room to go back to drinking – and you will most likely be even more thirsty when you get out.
  • Don’t compare your drinking to anyone else. You’re just looking for excuses to continue.
  • If you have given up, then be sure to be kind and careful with yourself. Know that your social life will come back.
  • You will stop wondering what to do with your time once the mist clears. I clearly remember saying to my wife, “Well, what the hell am I supposed to do with my time now?!” when I first gave up.
  • Be ready to forgive yourself.  You’re getting it right now.  Carry on. It gets better and better; I can testify to it.
  • You do not owe anyone an explanation for giving up. I like to say now that I have completed that level.  But you don’t.
  • Be aware that you can leave a party or place if you’ve had enough, and have an escape plan.
  • Get yourself ready for sugar cravings!

Jason saw the light and is now living in the light. He has rediscovered authentic health and the lies that alcohol tells us.  Jason believes in connecting with others who are/were struggling and sharing his story. I love that.

 

Get your free Pdf here, when you click on this image.

 

 

Read my blogs here when you click on the image:

Join Tribe Sober today – just click on the image below!

 

 

The Sober Inspiration Project – with Anthea Parker

“I’m so grateful to be free from alcohol now.  Why should so many be lonely and suffer at the hands of this normalized, insidious drug? Alcohol breaks my heart.  I wish I hadn’t given it so much power for so long, but I’m so grateful I have come through to the other side now.”

Anthea Parker is a married mother of twins, a boy, and a girl, aged 18. She loves attending Zoom meetings around quitting alcohol as this is where she feels the real connection and support happen.

Her first experience of a Zoom meeting around quitting alcohol was daunting, but now she makes it a daily habit.

She has found a smaller group of people just like herself and she has developed an amazing friendship group in a challenge.  These people continue to be as important to her today as they were then. It has made all the difference to Anthea in her sober life, and she says that she has found her tribe.

“Finding an online world of recovery changed my life.  I had tried AA and rehab, and SMART recovery and so many wonderful gems of information that I collected on the way were suddenly making sense….  I had found my own personal recipe for sobriety.  The main change was learning about the science from Alcohol Explained.  And how alcohol lies to us…. This information completely opened my eyes.

I have a loved one too who has not been very well with alcohol use… I’ve seen other friends not survive alcohol addiction.  The impact that alcohol has on an alcohol-saturated society breaks my heart.

So, if I can reach out to just one person on the street, who doesn’t think that there is any hope, who is feeling isolated and alone in their addiction, then me putting myself out there is worth it.   The beautiful thing about meeting other people in recovery from alcohol addiction is that we want to share the freedom that we have found and give hope to others that they can too.  I’ve met people from all walks of life on these forums… from others like me who were addicted to people who realize that alcohol isn’t helpful and want to leave it behind to live a happier, healthier life.  We are a kaleidoscope of backgrounds and experience.”

How it All Began

Anthea stopped drinking on her 48th birthday, just like that. Because it was time. There was no other day to do it. To stop alcohol. Ten years earlier she had been very ill with depression. She was in and out of the hospital because she was so unwell.  During this time, she could not continue her job as an occupational therapist so she completed a diploma in art and design. She also invested in therapy, mindful-based stress reduction and dialectical behavioral therapy.

This was the beginning of her ‘recovery’. It was therapy, medication and art combined that enabled her to see that life was worth living again. How ironic then that this was when the alcohol intake began to rise!

When she awoke this year on her 48th birthday she knew she had to quit drinking. But how? She had already discovered William Porter’s book, Alcohol Explained the previous October.  She remembered reading it and thinking “I have to get this, no matter what.”

So, she read the book over and over. She also started a new routine that day.  Come wine time, she would make a fresh ginger, lemon, and honey tea.  Days one, to 5 were brutal.  She experienced some withdrawal symptoms, and she kept some alcohol around in case she felt too awful.  She knew the risks of withdrawal.

“I slowly started peeking into the Facebook group, also called Alcohol Explained.  I couldn’t believe that there were around 17,000 others using this site to get sober….  And loving life!  Yes, please!!!  On day 5, I went to my first zoom meeting in Alcohol Explained.   And what a huge difference that made.  I was so nervous, but I was scooped up by people who had lots of sobrieties under their belts, and I just knew I was in the right place.”

Anthea reads posts every day. Her new Friday nights were tuning into William Porter’s lives … She listened to many podcasts and watched films and YouTube videos.  And she wrote in her journal.

Around day 90 something changed…. “I was walking home from work one day and felt so alone. I was going to the weekly online Zoom meetings, but I didn’t have anyone I could call.  I needed someone to talk to. I must have written a post about it because before I knew it I was suddenly in another sober group.”

 

The Idea for the Sober Inspiration Project was Born

Anthea was tidying up her loft space and came across some old postcards and letters…this sowed the seed for a way to reach out to other people just like she, who shied away from seeing others live a seemingly wonderful life on social media.

“The project began when I asked friends whom I had met through online groups to make and send me a postcard to share their tips to inspire others to continue their alcohol-free journeys. I was thrilled with the response!  What better way to find out how to live an alcohol-free life than to ask the people who are succeeding!!”

The post office box was open for 6 months and she received around 100 cards!  These have all been photocopied and laminated and then taken into the streets and trees and hung up.

The project has continued with great success. It now has a list of fabulous resources that people are using.  They write and share their favorite books, podcasts, YouTube links, and online groups.  There is also a list of free online Zooms that people can attend.   The group is currently using this platform to share their inspiring stories about how they have found freedom from alcohol in the hope that their story will also inspire someone else.

“It really is making connections that help us succeed in finding our new sober lives.  We learn from people who are succeeding!” says Anthea.

One Year Sober

Since celebrating her soberversay, the story for Anthea has changed over the past 6 months.  It isn’t about the alcohol any longer.

“I stay vigilant, I post in groups daily, and continue to learn from people ahead of me in my journey. I try my best to reach out and support others who are finding their way into a new sober life.  Yes, it is hard, in an alcohol-soaked society, and yes, it is hard learning to cope with feelings and emotions in a different way than drowning them with alcohol, but my goodness it’s worth it. “

A Final Word of Advice

“My advice to anyone starting out is to get a pen and paper and write what your reasons are. How are you going to do this?  And commit.  100%   Try a few groups to see where you fit in and stick with it. Be brave!!  Reach out and ask questions. There are so many people succeeding in the groups, and they want you to succeed too because it’s much better over here… away from the self-destruction of ethanol.   We all deserve a happier healthier future. Let’s not make alcohol a reason to stop us any longer.”

 

The Online Fitness Revolution – with Johno Meintjes from JEFF

 

Here at Tribe Sober, we enable people to quit drinking and then go on and thrive in their alcohol-free lives.  Experience has taught us that six months of “doing the work” can rewire our habits so that we no longer reach for that glass of wine at 6 pm.

Six months without booze will result in more energy as well as more time.

That’s why a Tribe membership will link you to various practitioners who will gently introduce you to yoga, hypnotherapy, meditation, art therapy.. and all manner of things that you can try out – either for free or at a minimal cost.

Ditching the drink takes you on a journey of self-discovery – it’s such an opportunity to reconnect with your true self – who actually are you – and what do you really want out of your life?

I’m always on the lookout for new activities which may be of interest to our Tribe members which is why I was so delighted to meet Johno Meintjies.

Johno is an international performance coach.  During his career, he’s worked with South Africa’s top national sports teams.

He is also the founder and the inspiration behind the fabulous JEFF fitness community.

Have a listen to our conversation to hear how the Pandemic completely transformed Johno’s business model and how he has empowered and connected his global community with simple, yet profoundly effective tools.

Not only does he share his fascinating story but he’s got a very generous offer for Tribe members so do have a listen.

 

In this Episode

  • After a career coaching SA’s top sports teams, Johno was looking to build a business where he could spend more time at home with his young family.
  • He had plenty of innovative ideas, had moved into new premises and was just getting his JEFF fitness community started…
  • and then Covid hit.
  • Like many businesses, JEFF had to do a massive and unexpected pivot – Johno re-designed his fitness programs to be “at home” sessions –  he designed the workouts to suit all ages and all levels of ability
  • In fact, 65% of the people who joined up had never exercised before!
  • There would be a feeling of overwhelm when walking into a huge gym full of fit-looking people.  Now there would be no body shaming as people could work out in the privacy of their own homes and no one could see them.
  • He started finding ways to link his community as they went through the various fitness programs and discovered that the connections which were taking place were strong.
  • During those difficult and uncertain Covid days, people needed to share their feelings as well as exercise their bodies.
  • To get things started, he did an online fitness show via FaceBook every morning at 8 am – he got his wife involved and it got a huge following – 100 new people signing up every day.
  • He discovered that people needed a new routine – because suddenly they found themselves working from home without much idea of what tomorrow would bring.
  • We agreed on the power of community – Johno has his pillars of nutrition and exercise with community wrapped around them.
  • We also touched on the power of vulnerability and how it’s down to us as facilitators to create the right environment – a safe space where people feel able to share.
  • Johno set up an amazing 6,500 WhatsApp groups in 75 countries – small groups who kept each other accountable and even met up physically sometimes.
  • JEFF also created their very own app.
  • Johno has very kindly put together a special deal for Tribe Sober members – he’s offering a 50% discount on the first month’s membership of JEFF so you can see what it’s all about.
  • You’ll be able to download the JEFF app, send in your goals and preferences and you’ll get a program that has been tailored to your needs.
  • Have a look at the awesome JEFF website – it’s just jeff.fitness – you can access it HERE.
  • Johno and I agreed that whether its fitness or sobriety the early days are difficult and we have to find innovative ways to keep people on track.
  • During the early days, it just feels like hard work and there are no real benefits coming in.
  • We are both very keen on challenges – and in fact in fact here at Tribe Sober we are busy with our annual #Sober66 Challenge – that’s audio, online, and community support to get you through 66 days of sobriety.  66 days is long enough to change a habit – to build a whole new neural pathway.
  • Sign up any day during September and your 66 days of support will start from that day so just go to tribesober.com, hit the #Sober66 button, and join our 100+ people on the Sober Bus!

 

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

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).

Finding Meaning in Recovery with Anthony Eldridge-Rogers

 

During my corporate career, I had worked as an executive coach and when I founded Tribe Sober I decided I needed to add recovery coaching to my skillset.  I asked around for recommendations and was told that I must contact Anthony Eldridge-Rogers as he is the pioneer of Recovery Coaching in the UK.  So I enrolled in his recovery and wellness coaching course and learned all about his meaning-centered coaching model.

Anthony started his adult life as a survivor of a whole heap of challenges from addiction to homelessness. Over several years he managed to turn it around and learn to thrive in spite of his difficult start in life.

 

In this Episode

  • Anthony told us about his difficult childhood and how his mother became an addict and spent time in psychiatric hospitals.
  • Along with his siblings, he moved in with his grandmother who was also addicted to drugs.
  • The only way the children could find to deal with the trauma was to use drugs themselves.
  • Anthony discovered the power of a mood-altering substance at a very young age and was drinking alcohol at 9 years old.
  • He loved the way it made him feel – the way his shyness and anxiety just fell away.
  • He continued to abuse alcohol into his teens, adding drugs into the mix.
  • Anthony’s mother got worse and (as he puts it) he had a front-row seat to the horror show.
  • Intuitively he knew that her psychiatric issues were linked to her drug use.
  • Her doctors were desperate so shipped her off to a rehab where she arrived with a suitcase full of drugs.
  • It took 3 or 4 months to wean her off the drugs and then to encourage her to mix with the other people as she began work on the 12 steps.
  • Much to everyone’s amazement the program worked and Anthony’s mother rose “as a phoenix from the ashes” – from a “basket case to a sane and loving woman”.
  • Someone who was truly contrite about the damage she had inflicted on her 3 children.
  • Anthony found all this emotion totally overwhelming – along with the shock of getting his mother back after all these years.
  • So he hit the bottle, hard, for months – but the miracle of what had happened to his mother was by then firmly lodged in his brain.
  • When attending family therapy his counselor told him he had a drinking problem – he was annoyed by this comment but it stuck in his brain.
  • At the age of 19, he had a “road to Damascus” moment and knew that he would have to stop drinking so he started going to AA meetings.
  • Anthony reflected that giving people hope is such an important part of the work that we do in recovery – and the people who Anthony was meeting during that period were giving him hope.
  • They were telling him he was “treatable” and of course, his mom had shown him that it was possible.
  • So he got sober with a mix of rehab and 12-step meetings.
  • Anthony had a career in the film industry but when he became a dad he decided to train as a coach.
  • We reflected that whereas therapy tends to look back into our childhoods, coaching was more about looking into the future.
  • Anthony had been in therapy for many years and no longer wanted to talk about his relationship with his mother which of course all the therapists wanted to focus on – that approach no longer worked for him.
  • As he went through his coaching training he had a massive ‘aha’ moment – he felt like he had found the missing part of the puzzle.
  • It occurred to him that the coaching skills that he was learning could be of great help to people as they move through their recovery.
  • He came up with a great analogy about the intensive work done in rehab and how after detox and treatment the rehab will shoot the client out into orbit – but without the requisite coping skills they will just fall back to earth.
  • Although they may have learned a lot in rehab and been weaned off the drugs, they need coaching when they leave – to help them develop the coping skills to manage in the outside world.
  • As Anthony put it – let’s get the wheels back on the truck in rehab and then look at recovery coaching after that. Because the therapeutic approach, not even having a sponsor, was hitting the spot.
  • As he began to research his coaching model he looked at the metrics of recovery. His research showed him that meaning and purpose were integral to recovery.
  • Take away meaning and purpose from someone’s life and it will psychologically collapse.
  • We are very conscious of that here at Tribe Sober – conscious that recovery is about so much more than “not drinking” – once our members have managed to quit drinking we then help them to learn to thrive in their alcohol-free life which of course means discovering their meaning and purpose.
  • If you want to take a look at our 7-step model that guides our members through this journey just go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe”.
  • Finding our meaning and purpose makes us more resilient, unlocks our energy, and gives us a feeling of connection.
  • I love what he says about coaching being recoding the brain – just as we paste a bit of code into our computer – we can do that with our brain via coaching.
  • You heard us talking about neural pathways and at the moment we are running our annual 66-day alcohol-free challenge – its called #Sober66 and you can sign up any day during September. You will get 66 days of community, online and audio support from the date you sign up.
  • I asked Anthony what he would say to someone who was struggling – his message is one of hope: millions of people have conquered their addiction and gone on to have wonderful lives.
  • So reach out for help and don’t go it alone – go to tribe sober and hit “join our tribe” if you’d like to give us a try.
  • The best way to connect with Anthony is via LinkedIn.


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

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).

Mandy’s Success Story

“Sobriety is hard…
Dealing with the devastating effects of alcohol is hard (broken relationships, the hangovers, the shame, the guilt, hiding alcohol, convincing yourself you don’t have a problem, wanting a drink after a difficult day, only relaxing when you have a glass of wine in your hand) ….
Choose your hard …”

These are such wise words from a wonderful woman called Mandy who comes from Cape Town and recently found her way to sobriety. It is not surprising that Mandy has been able to do this as she is a very motivated person with a penchant for helping others and achieving personal goals.

Achieving Goals for a Healthy Body and Mind

In fact, Mandy is a part-time wellness coach who runs 10-day challenges in which her clients can lose anything from 2 to 5 kilograms in that time frame. Some of her clients have lost even more than 10 kgs over a certain period of time. She is also running a boot camp twice a week in her area.

While Mandy is a fit, strong walker and runner who has completed several marathons, she had a knee op a few years ago so her dreams of running a Comrades Marathon are on hold for now. Meanwhile, she is grateful to have found the boot camp and 10-day challenge as not only is she helping herself, but she is also helping others “to feel better in their own skins” she says.

“I believe in kindness and treating people how you would like to be treated. I’ve always had a deep desire to help people but could never find a way in which I could do that professionally. I love helping people to reach their respective goals and playing a part in them transforming their lives through consistency and hard work.”

Since Mandy stopped drinking about 5 months ago, she has slowed her clock down and tuned into her own needs, therefore the needs of those around her.

“I am more present in my home life and have started appreciating the small and simple things in life, like watching a movie with the family, sitting in front of the fireplace on a Friday night or spending time in the park with the kids. I have made better and deeper connections with my family.”

Mandy has two beautiful kids with her college sweetheart and comes from a family of 4 siblings.  She acknowledged that there were traumas in her childhood that caused low self-esteem issues – which many of us can identify with.

Self-Esteem and Alcohol

Plenty of research has been done into low self-esteem and according to Addiction Helper, “Many will have suffered abuse or neglect as a child and may feel unloved and unworthy as a result. Children find it difficult to understand why some adults act the way they do and will blame themselves for the neglect or abuse they suffered. The feeling of being to blame can last right up to adulthood, and it can affect many decisions they make… If an individual is constantly told that he or she is a failure or not good enough, they will start to believe it. Continual criticism growing up can affect individuals, resulting in low self-esteem. Children can find it difficult to value themselves if they do not feel valued by their parents.”

For Mandy, drinking started on the weekends when she was at college. She was one of those drinkers who drinks a lot at one time, but not every day. This is called binge drinking and can be just as bad as habitual, daily drinking, if not worse. Binge drinking is when an adult consumes 4 to 5 drinks in 2 hours, and we know that many adults drink more than this in 2 hours.

The USA National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism claims that binge drinking can cause cancer. Suppose you think about how alcohol affects virtually all tissues in the body, damaging the functioning of the immune system. In that case, you will understand that alcohol is a precursor to cancer.

“…even one episode of binge drinking can … lead to acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in individuals with underlying pancreatic damage. Alcohol misuse, including repeated episodes of binge drinking, over time contributes to liver and other chronic diseases, as well as increases in the risk of several types of cancer, including head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal cancers.”

For Mandy, this was not an issue, but she is aware about the damaging effects of alcohol, and she notes that when she stopped drinking in May this year, she learned that her mother had stage 1 breast cancer. “This was a huge eye opener for me as I heard how alcohol was linked to several types of cancer,” says Mandy.

About a year ago, she told her psychologist that she was concerned about her drinking habits. She had started to drink more heavily during the lockdown and when her two grannies passed away within 6 months of each other, Mandy struggled to process their deaths. Her psychologist pointed her towards Tribe Sober – so she joined.

Following Goals into Sobriety

This is how Mandy stuck to her goals and stayed sober:

I did the spring challenge last year. I listened to the daily message on how your body changes in those 66 days and I realised for the first time how dangerous alcohol really is. My hubby also listened in on the podcasts and has since also decided to stop drinking as it was also an eye-opener for him.

After a few months, I felt like I could moderate and left the Tribe at the end of last year. I soon discovered that it is better to be plugged into a community. I re-joined the Tribe in April 2022 but wasn’t ready just yet to say goodbye to alcohol.

I committed to starting on the 1st of May 2022. It was around this time that I attended the weekly zoom meetings, and was active on the WhatsApp group. I attended the monthly coffee meetings and the Saturday meetings and made connections with a few Tribe members who are still my lifelines in times of need. I also attended the Saturday workshop a few months ago.

She advises other people who want to stop drinking to:

  • Stay connected to your tribe
  • Use as many of the toolkits in the members’ area
  • Find what works for you whether it is reading the articles, listening to podcasts, or attending the weekly meetings
  • Reach out when you need help.

“I heard someone saying that addiction stands on the legs of secrecy and guilt. By showing up for yourself and sharing your struggle you are breaking the secrecy aspect and there is no place for guilt or shame in this hard journey,” concludes Mandy.

Mandy looks back on her drinking days with newfound insights. She closed the door on two friendships that were draining her and knows that this had to happen.  “Sometimes life throws us these painful situations for us to learn, to grow, and to re-discover ourselves. I have felt a sense of relief since the friendships ended and made a few beautiful connections with new people that entered my life.”

Click here for your free Pdf, 7 Ways to Become and Stay Sober Curious:

To join Tribe Sober, click on this image:

 

To read my blogs, click on this image:

 

Mandy Chooses Sobriety and Fitness

“Sobriety is hard…
Dealing with the devastating effects of alcohol is hard (broken relationships, the hangovers, the shame, the guilt, hiding alcohol, convincing yourself you don’t have a problem, wanting a drink after a difficult day, only relaxing when you have a glass of wine in your hand) ….
Choose your hard …”

These are such wise words from a wonderful woman called Mandy who comes from Cape Town and recently found her way to sobriety. It is not surprising that Mandy has been able to do this as she is a very motivated person with a penchant for helping others and achieving personal goals.

Achieving Goals for a Healthy Body and Mind

In fact, Mandy is a part-time wellness coach who runs 10-day challenges in which her clients can lose anything from 2 to 5 kilograms in that time frame. Some of her clients have lost even more than 10 kgs over a certain period of time. She is also running a boot camp twice a week in her area.

While Mandy is a fit, strong walker and runner who has completed several marathons, she had a knee op a few years ago so her dreams of running a Comrades Marathon are on hold for now. Meanwhile, she is grateful to have found the boot camp and 10-day challenge as not only is she helping herself, but she is also helping others “to feel better in their own skins” she says.

“I believe in kindness and treating people how you would like to be treated. I’ve always had a deep desire to help people but could never find a way in which I could do that professionally. I love helping people to reach their respective goals and playing a part in them transforming their lives through consistency and hard work.”

Since Mandy stopped drinking about 5 months ago, she has slowed her clock down and tuned into her own needs, therefore the needs of those around her.

“I am more present in my home life and have started appreciating the small and simple things in life, like watching a movie with the family, sitting in front of the fireplace on a Friday night or spending time in the park with the kids. I have made better and deeper connections with my family.”

Mandy has two beautiful kids with her college sweetheart and comes from a family of 4 siblings.  She acknowledged that there were traumas in her childhood that caused low self-esteem issues – which many of us can identify with.

Self-Esteem and Alcohol

Plenty of research has been done into low self-esteem and according to Addiction Helper, “Many will have suffered abuse or neglect as a child and may feel unloved and unworthy as a result. Children find it difficult to understand why some adults act the way they do and will blame themselves for the neglect or abuse they suffered. The feeling of being to blame can last right up to adulthood, and it can affect many decisions they make… If an individual is constantly told that he or she is a failure or not good enough, they will start to believe it. Continual criticism growing up can affect individuals, resulting in low self-esteem. Children can find it difficult to value themselves if they do not feel valued by their parents.”

For Mandy, drinking started on the weekends when she was at college. She was one of those drinkers who drinks a lot at one time, but not every day. This is called binge drinking and can be just as bad as habitual, daily drinking, if not worse. Binge drinking is when an adult consumes 4 to 5 drinks in 2 hours, and we know that many adults drink more than this in 2 hours.

The USA National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism claims that binge drinking can cause cancer. Suppose you think about how alcohol affects virtually all tissues in the body, damaging the functioning of the immune system. In that case, you will understand that alcohol is a precursor to cancer.

“…even one episode of binge drinking can … lead to acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in individuals with underlying pancreatic damage. Alcohol misuse, including repeated episodes of binge drinking, over time contributes to liver and other chronic diseases, as well as increases in the risk of several types of cancer, including head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal cancers.”

For Mandy, this was not an issue, but she is aware about the damaging effects of alcohol, and she notes that when she stopped drinking in May this year, she learned that her mother had stage 1 breast cancer. “This was a huge eye opener for me as I heard how alcohol was linked to several types of cancer,” says Mandy.

About a year ago, she told her psychologist that she was concerned about her drinking habits. She had started to drink more heavily during the lockdown and when her two grannies passed away within 6 months of each other, Mandy struggled to process their deaths. Her psychologist pointed her towards Tribe Sober – so she joined.

Following Goals into Sobriety

This is how Mandy stuck to her goals and stayed sober:

I did the spring challenge last year. I listened to the daily message on how your body changes in those 66 days and I realised for the first time how dangerous alcohol really is. My hubby also listened in on the podcasts and has since also decided to stop drinking as it was also an eye-opener for him.

After a few months, I felt like I could moderate and left the Tribe at the end of last year. I soon discovered that it is better to be plugged into a community. I re-joined the Tribe in April 2022 but wasn’t ready just yet to say goodbye to alcohol.

I committed to starting on the 1st of May 2022. It was around this time that I attended the weekly zoom meetings, and was active on the WhatsApp group. I attended the monthly coffee meetings and the Saturday meetings and made connections with a few Tribe members who are still my lifelines in times of need. I also attended the Saturday workshop a few months ago.

She advises other people who want to stop drinking to:

  • Stay connected to your tribe
  • Use as many of the toolkits in the members’ area
  • Find what works for you whether it is reading the articles, listening to podcasts, or attending the weekly meetings
  • Reach out when you need help.

“I heard someone saying that addiction stands on the legs of secrecy and guilt. By showing up for yourself and sharing your struggle you are breaking the secrecy aspect and there is no place for guilt or shame in this hard journey,” concludes Mandy.

Mandy looks back on her drinking days with newfound insights. She closed the door on two friendships that were draining her and knows that this had to happen.  “Sometimes life throws us these painful situations for us to learn, to grow, and to re-discover ourselves. I have felt a sense of relief since the friendships ended and made a few beautiful connections with new people that entered my life.”

Click here for your free Pdf, 7 Ways to Become and Stay Sober Curious:

To join Tribe Sober, click on this image:

 

To read my blogs, click on this image:

 

Burnout and My Friend Jade – a Real Story

My friend Jade* lives in Johannesburg and she has dealt with her own burnout a few times. She has offered this story as a shared insight into her experience of burnout. I am publishing this here as I am hoping that we can all benefit from this story.

* Name has been changed.

Burnout – Jade’s Real Story

It was at a very young age – 29 – when burnout first happened. I was a country bumpkin who arrived in the big city at age 25. I came to Joburg to finish my dancing qualifications and the lure of the bright city lights drove me to live life to the fullest.

By the age of 29, my lifestyle was full!!

  1. Advertising sales, which was a full-time day job, 8 to 4:30 Mon to Fri:  I was awarded the sales person of the month for 10 months of the 12, top achiever. I had danced since the age of 3, and was qualified as a teacher in six different disciplines.  I did not want to teach, and by the age of 29 realised that I needed to get a job.  I fell into advertising sales and was good at it.
  2. Dance teacher at Arthur Murrays on Mon to Fri evening 5 to 10pm: I could not give up my addiction to the dance, the bonus was the glitz and glamour and the additional income.
  3. Student – In order to understand advertising, I thought it important to get an education in the field, so I enrolled at Damelin for the Institute of Marketing Management on a part time basis. After my first year, I came top ten in the country for my law exam.
  4. Socialising – of course, this could not be left off the agenda, so on weekends there were parties and sometimes all nighters on a Friday and/or Saturday. Those of course included the imbibing of much alcohol as was fashion at the time (and still is in many circles).  Note, at this time, drinking was only on Fridays and Saturdays, albeit it binge drinking on those days.

I was an all-round achiever, driven to succeed, but I forgot all about the little me inside, that needed some nurturing too. I had been someone that had come from Clarens and had spent hours, weekends and weeks communing with nature – I had been someone who had spent her days filled with dancing, music and creativity.

Now my lifestyle had changed (my choice) in order for me to be what I thought was important. A high achiever, who had it all. I had to live up to what others thought were the high standards of success – getting it all right and getting to the top.

The Result

Burnout. There are many reasons for burnout, but the symptoms are the same. They can be genetic, or it can be reactive due to external pressures, such as ill health, death, loss, etc.

As a dancer, I had the obligatory occupational hazard – anorexia.  Adding to that I was a vegetarian. Malnutrition!! A lack of fat and protein to the brain means it is not functional. As a result, my neurotransmitters slowed down and I was diagnosed with depression.

I was tearful all of the time, I felt that I was weak because I could no longer keep up with the demands of all that I had put onto my plate. I was having car accidents (minor) and being clumsy and forgetful.

I felt suicidal.

Life had lost it’s colour and joy. I felt self-loathing because of my weakness. I lost weight. I stopped caring about myself. My brain was foggy. I wanted to run away.

These are all symptoms of depression – and in my case my severely depleted system (body) had become non functional due to neglect and lack of self-care. To the world though, I made sure that I kept up the façade that all was well and I drove myself even harder, being a most severe task master. No-one had an inkling of my inner turmoil. It felt as though I was dragging around a ten ton weight around my ankle whilst trying to run a race.

I started seeing a therapist and during that time, I got a bee in my bonnet that I needed to pack up my bags, run away and leave the city behind.  I was going to give up all I had achieved and travel through Africa.

Luckily, my therapist convinced me to see a psychiatrist and as they are wont to do, he prescribed anti- depressants and convinced me that I needed to spend some time in hospital. I was admitted to Tara with the diagnosis of Anorexia and depression. The treatment protocol was not medicine (other than one tablet a day for depression). I learnt how to do stained glass, smell the roses, read books like I used to, switch off from the world, talk about my feelings and how to relax.

I was so ashamed, though, because of the stigma, that I swore I would use this six-week opportunity to never ever put myself in that place again.

When being discharged I had strict instructions to simplify my life. Choose one thing of the four and stick to that for a year, so I gave up my studies and dancing.  I kept my day job and took up knitting and watching tv with only the occasional wild party thrown into the quiet mix.

I took up hiking so that I could once again spend lengthy times in nature, this eventually led to summiting Kilimanjaro, and two major treks, the Inca Trail in Peru and the Ana Purna in the Himalayas.

I gave up the tablets and got into healthy nutrition, to feed my brain instead. So, what I had been ashamed of instead had given me an education and had changed my life. Now at 61, once again, I find myself in a burnout situation.

Life had put me through the mill a few times, a divorce, three armed robberies and my father with Alzheimers come to mind. This time it was taking care of my elderly mother with dementia and the devastating destruction of my business due to covid and state capture.

It is at times like this that I think back to 29 and realise what a blessing those lessons had been.

The most important point is to recognise the feeling, see the slide, feel the suction of the black quagmire that one is being drawn or dragged into. See the symptoms.

Dealing with Burnout Again

My reaction this time was unplanned, but was swift and decisive. One would think, given my experience, that I would have done something sooner. I switched myself off from the noise.  I switched my phone off, turned on an out of office notice, closed my laptop and booked myself off from the world for ten days.

I lay on my bed for five days, getting up sporadically to open the fridge or to feed my gorgeous animals. I could not stop crying and when I did, all I was capable of doing was staring blankly into nothingness, so I switched on Netflix and binged unashamedly.

I did not stop until my heart ceased pounding caused by the anxiety. I felt that I could breath again rather than hyperventilating – the foggy brain was clearing and I could once again start to think.

I need to take stock of the situation and figure out what the first steps should be.

 

A Burnout Toolbox

At 29, I had been issued with a toolbox and it was time to pull out the tools.

  • Healthy nutrition – I had read Patrick Holford’s book The Feel Good Factor and realised that I needed healthy nutrition and not tablets. Although in severe cases, I had taken them for three months at a time over the past thirty years.
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Introspection
  • Rest
  • Relaxation
  • Noise reduction (Digital detox)

 

Today is the first day of spring. (This was written on 1 September 2022).

My switch on date is Monday, which would be 10 days since switch-off.  I am feeling stronger, I have addressed my nutritional needs by adding the right supplements to the daily routine. There is no pressure in my day to get anything done other than feed my animals and that is because I have made the decision to give myself that time.

What is one working week and two weekends in a lifetime? I am on day 7 and I feel that I can once again tackle life although, I have also decided that September will be regimental in that I will not overdo it. I cannot opt out of life, but I can make choices about whether what I do is moving me towards my goal. I am once again simplifying my life.

September will be spring cleaning my life, solitude not socialising, as much as my many friends bring much love and support, they also bring too much of their thoughts and issues into my life.

September is about me – it is about simplicity and single-minded focus on what matters. I am not going to master the rest of my life in one day, but I am going to master the day and I will keep doing that every day.

I did not come this far only to get this far. Sometimes I just need a break in a quiet place alone to figure it out. I am grateful for all the lessons learnt along the way that have helped me to pick myself up again when I fell over. I am grateful for the therapist that I met at 29 and 32 years later, she is still there, not a constant, but a phone call way a few times a year or like now when life falls over. I am grateful for the resilience muscles that have been built. I am grateful for a new tomorrow with unexpected surprises or opportunities.

I promise to be gentle with myself until I can pull the plasters off and feel whole and healed again.

 

Read more about Burnout HERE!

 

 

 

 

Burnout and You

“Burnout for me starts when I’ve been running too fast for too long. The faster I spin, the less time I have for stillness, calm, and recharging my batteries. Eventually, it’s as if all the water in the bathtub has drained away and there’s nothing left for me to give.”

My friend described burnout to me and I read between the lines to learn that she has had it more than once. My friend is a very balanced and intelligent being who is excelling in her corporate job and loving her social life, her dogs, and her new neighborhood. But she too has stress and stress can be unique for everyone – some people get stressed just because they have run out of milk.

I thought about all the people I know who are burning out or have burned out at least once in their lives, or who know partners or friends who have burned out or are burning out. Burnout is a huge and growing phenomenon and a sign of our times in our modern world. All around us, the climate is changing, money is losing its value and crazy diseases pop their heads up. Crime, traffic, lack of space, and lack of time – are things that drive our lives and intensify our stress levels.

The Big Burnout of 2022

Well, the biggest reason for the exacerbated burnout of 2022 has surely got to do with what went before – the previous two years of the Covid 19 pandemic, that’s what. Many of us lost loved ones and lived in the uncertain moment of not knowing who would be next, me or my partner, my kids or my friends? Lockdowns sure took their toll on families, partnerships, and friendships, and many people lost their jobs, and their livelihoods.

Burnout can get so bad it turns into exhaustion and is linked to depression. How can you be happy when burning out? Think of a log on fire – it burns brightly and shows us beautiful golden hues, coppers, and bronzes – then red then – dead! Black! Coals are all that are left. Think about your heart. If you cannot feel emotion, then your heart must be dead, black. Your heart chakra must be blocked.

Natural energy healers say that burnout is an illness of energy that begins in the chakras. Let me explain.

Isabelle Morton notes that burnout “causes a deterioration of the central channel to the point that it can no longer funnel Heaven and Earth energy as it should. This deterioration tends to begin locally, behind certain chakras. Because each chakra influences a different aspect of our life, we can expect a certain type of burnout symptom to occur depending on where the deterioration is located and which chakra is most affected.”

Isabelle uses gemstone therapy to heal the chakras.

Let’s take a look at each chakra then, to see what the signs are if the central channel is not funneling energy to these areas:

  • Crown chakra – feel cynical, bad attitude, headaches
  • Brow chakra – can’t focus during the day and have insomnia at night; feel distant or separate, headaches
  • Throat chakra – reduced creativity, battling to communicate, not wanting to acknowledge burnout
  • Heart chakra – mood swings, anger, emotionally exhausted, numb
  • Stomach chakra – unable to cope, detached, stomachache, digestion not healthy
  • Sacral chakra – lack of relating to others, alienation
  • Root chakra – lack of commitment, motivation, listless

What Exactly is Burnout?

Burnout is based on stress and many of us feel very stressed in personal ways. Some of us have busy corporate lives, working all day for a boss, then getting home to sort out the children, make food, do some housework, shop, and still have time to feed the dogs and look at Facebook!

Others are stay-at-home moms or dads who get trapped by the chores lists and the garden and the courier at the door and the broken swing and the vegies dying of fungal diseases and the blocked drains. There is traffic, shortages of money, and no time in the day to do it all. The children come home with so many things expected of them, and they need help with everything. When they don’t ask for help and don’t pass, you feel bad, and you blame yourself.

Weekends are spent out for sport and lunch and teas and helping charities and getting a surf in or a gym workout in and seeing friends and then doing it all again.

This is burnout.

Our ancestors used to survive, wake up with the birds, make a fire, hunt and gather, sort out the children, eat, and sleep at sunset. There were plenty of natural dangers around but that was survival.

An article in the National Library of Medicine’s InformedHealth.org [Internet]  states that three main symptoms or signs of burnout are:

  • Exhaustion: feeling drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and lacking energy. Physical symptoms include pain and gastrointestinal (stomach or bowel) problems.
  • Alienation from (work-related) activities: jobs become increasingly stressful and frustrating. Feeling cynical about working conditions and colleagues. Emotionally distant, feeling numb.
  • Reduced performance: Everyday tasks at work affected, at home, or when caring for family members. Very negative about tasks, find it hard to concentrate, listless, and lack creativity.

Do you feel any of these symptoms? I must say, I have felt them. I think there are many of us who can agree that these symptoms can be overwhelming. I mean, the literature says don’t worry be happy and if we feel sad, we feel guilty as hell. But my friend Caroline reminded me that without the downs we would not have the ups and that is the yin and yang of life, not so? Do you agree that we humans were not meant to smell the roses all day long – really?

Burnout vs Depression

It is important to remember that some of these symptoms are also causes or signs of depression – such as extreme exhaustion, feeling down or melancholy and lacking motivation, energy, or performance. Depression is longer term than burnout and is not only related to work issues or caring for others’ issues (many burnout cases stem from work stress and being a carer or parent with too many responsibilities). Depression can show up as low self-esteem, hopelessness, and suicidal tendencies.

So now we need to learn the five stages of burnout so that we can be ready to recognise and tackle them when they arise. Burnout is a long, drawn-out illness that must be addressed through proper self-care and rest. Talk about it, don’t hide it. Be accountable for your own happiness and sit with all feelings of worthlessness until they pass, even if that takes months or years.

 

 

Integris health has this to say about the five stages of burnout:

  1. Honeymoon phase – Like a honeymoon phase in a marriage, this stage comes with energy and optimism. Whether it is starting a new job or tackling a new task, it’s common to experience satisfaction that leads to periods of productivity and the ability to tap into your creative side. 
  2. Onset of stress phase – Eventually, the honeymoon phase dwindles, and you begin to experience stress. Not every second of your day is stressful, but there are more frequent times when stress takes over. As this stage begins, take notice of any physical or mental signs. You may start to lose focus more easily or be less productive when completing tasks. Physically, fatigue can start to set in, making it more difficult to sleep or enjoy activities outside of work. 
  3. Chronic stress phase – You’ll reach a point where the stress becomes more persistent, or chronic. As the pressure mounts, the stress is likely to consistently affect your work. Examples include feelings of apathy, not completing work on time, being late for work or procrastinating during tasks. Socially, you may withdraw from normal work-related conversations. In other cases, you may become angry and lash out at co-workers. Sometimes, these feelings follow you home and can affect relationships with friends and family. 
  4. Burnout phase – This phase is when you reach your limit and can no longer function as you normally would. Problems at work begin to consume you to the point where you obsess over them. At times, you may also feel numb and experience extreme self-doubt. Physical symptoms will become intense, leading to chronic headaches, stomach issues and gastrointestinal problems. Friends and family members may also notice behavioral changes. 
  5. Habitual burnout phase – If left untreated, burnout can become a part of your everyday life and eventually lead to anxiety or depression. You can also begin to experience chronic mental and physical fatigue that prevents you from working. Your job status may be put in jeopardy if you continue on this path.

Physical symptoms of burnout can include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Experiencing a change in appetite
  • Dealing with headaches or muscle pain

Emotional symptoms:

  • Lacking motivation
  • Experiencing feelings of self-doubt
  • Failure or loneliness
  • An overall feeling of dissatisfaction

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Social isolation
  • Not performing your responsibilities
  • Work-related anger outbursts

There are many ways to get better from burnout, but it can take time. Start to listen to your body and to your mind and make time and space for you. Mediation, reading, journaling, and taking long walks in nature are excellent cures for burnout. Tell your family and get help from your doctor. Be careful of medications and try some alternative therapies – such as fixing the chakras with energy healing, gemstone therapy, and more.

Let me know if you suffer from burnout.

The bottom line is don’t drink! Alcohol will only make things worse.

Read my friend Jade’s personal account of burnout right HERE.

Read my blogs here: click on the image below!

To Join Tribe Sober, click on the image below:

Goodbye to Alcohol – Mon

Goodbye Alcohol.

I say this with a smile on my face with a feeling of accomplishment, excitement, happiness, relief and comfort.  All the feelings that I thought were waiting for me at the bottom of a bottle.  Turns out that what lay at the bottom of that bottle was anger, shame, despair, hurt and dullness.

You lied to me and gave me a false sense of confidence. The ability to act mindlessly and make short sighted decisions.  You took more than you gave and led me to believe life would be better with you.  I often acted recklessly under your influence and listened to your voice that told me I couldn’t live without you. I thought I needed you to celebrate, to socialize, to help me get my words out, to be that “fun mom”.  I gave birth to my son and you were there that night as I lay recovering and absorbing the thought of what parenthood meant while my son lay in ICU.  You helped me block out the feelings I needed to deal with while he lay very ill and may not make it to see the next day. I thought that you would keep me calm but in fact you made me more anxious.

You slowly destroyed my confidence and led me to believe that if I had you in my life everyday I was being “normal”. I realize now, that there is nothing normal about going to bed under your influence and waking up and doing it again.

This is our final goodbye, you can move along and I am now free from your trap.  I have met real people that have helped me pick up the pieces, that have encouraged me and given my life meaning.  Things that give me more value that you can ever imagine.  I have gotten to know who I am, I am learning more about myself everyday and I like it. Since I left you 1.5 years ago I have moved to another country, dealt with the stress, anxiety and celebrated the joys and achievements. I am creating a future that I can be proud of, enjoying the experience, going to bed peacefully and talking to myself lovingly. Without you I have the time to do more, be more and have the ability to do it more sensibly.  The chaos you caused blocked my vision, left me numb and trapped.

Doing life without you has given me a life that you would never be capable of giving and I won’t let you be part of this chapter, so goodbye for now and forever!

 

Your old friend

Monica

#Sober66 – Your Annual Sober Challenge!

 

One of the ways we’ve been helping people is via our regular alcohol-free challenges – which are a great way to dip your toes into the waters of sobriety and also to test your dependence.  If you find our challenges a breeze then that’s awesome – but if you find them really difficult then that’s a clear sign that you need to make a few changes.

As a result of the pandemic and also of this podcast, Tribe Sober had become much more international these days.

Our Sober Spring Challenge used to be full of locals but over the last few years we’ve been joined by Brits, Europeans, and Americans – and of course, in those countries, it’s not Spring at all!  Even if it’s not Spring where you live, September is a great month for a new start. It’s often a month when those daily routines shift a bit… a time when the kids go back to school or even leave the nest for college.

So to make our Sober Spring more international we are rebranding it.

You’ve all heard of Route 66 – well our challenge is going to be called #Sober66 – it’s 66 alcohol-free days…with plenty of support to get you through.

In this episode

  • This challenge really is life-changing and if you have any doubts about that just dig into some of our previous Tribe Sober podcasts: Episode 12 with Chez, episode 15 with Kai, 16 with Christelle, 17 with Sheila and 21 with Lebo…
  • Each of those episodes is called “How the Sober Spring Challenge Changed my Life.”
  • There are SO many reasons to take a 66 day break from the booze but I’ll constrain myself to just 10:-

REASON 1 – ITS LONG ENOUGH TO SEE THE BENEFITS

REASON 2 – YOU’LL GO FROM FEELING MERELY MOTIVATED TO FEELING INSPIRED!

REASON 3 – YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

REASON 4 – YOUR LOOKS!

REASON 5 – YOUR WEIGHT

REASON 6 – YOUR SLEEP

REASON 7 – YOUR GENERAL HEALTH

REASON 8 – BUILD A NEW NEURAL PATHWAY

REASON 9 – TO CHECK YOUR DEPENDENCE

REASON 10 – THE DOMINO EFFECT

  • We picked 66 days because that’s how long it takes to change a habit – so if you are thinking about making alcohol-free living a permanent lifestyle choice, then you will find it SO much easier after 66 days — you will have built a whole new neural pathway!
  • If you are just looking to cut down, then do the challenge and you will find it SO much easier to drink within the low-risk levels of one and a half bottles of wine (or six beers) a week.

     HOW IT WORKS

  • The Challenge will run for 66 days — starting on 1st September. That’s long enough to assess your relationship with alcohol and to build a new and healthy habit.
  • You will receive a daily email, packed with tips, tools and inspiration for 66 days. You’ll also have access to 66 motivatonal mini-podcasts.
  • You will be added to a WhatsApp Chat Group to connect with other Sober Springers. To share tips and encourage each other to stay on the bus!
  • You will also receive an invitation to join our Sober Sprinters Facebook Group and our Zoom Cafe every Saturday.
    • More Info

    Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

    Episode Sponsor

    The Tribe Sober Membership Program sponsors this episode.  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).

Burnout … and Alcohol Dependence with Jax

 

My guest this week is Tribe Member Jax – an educator who is passionate about her work and who has struggled with both alcohol dependence and burnout.  One of those rare people who only ever had one ‘Day One’, Jax found Tribe Sober one week into her sobriety and she’s been inspiring and motivating our members ever since!

In this episode

  • Jax was a late developer when it came to alcohol – coming from a non-drinking family and mixing with a serious crowd who didn’t drink alcohol was just not “on her radar” as she puts it.
  • Things changed when she got to her late 30’s/early 40’s.  She found herself wanting an “extra glass” of champagne or wine when she was at a restaurant or a dinner party.
  • Her non-drinking partner noticed and remarked that she got quite “animated” – even argumentative by the end of the evening.
  • Then he came out with that line that so many of us are familiar with “why can’t you have just one?”
  • Like the rest of us, Jax of course tried to have “just one” and in fact, there would be a little dialogue going on in her head as she got ready to go out along the lines of “I must just have one tonight.”
  • Like the rest of us, that rarely worked out – I can still remember that sense of failure because I couldn’t have “just one” or even “just three” in my case.
  • That’s why you need a sober community – you need people that would never tell you to have “just one.”
  • Join tribesober.com to learn to quit completely and then go on and thrive in sobriety.
  • A worrying development for Jax was that she wanted to drink during the week as her habit escalated from occasional to habitual.
  • She began to love drinking alone which is a real red flag – moving from using alcohol to socialise to using alcohol to self-medicate for stress.
  • She was still in denial and would never acknowledge her hangovers which she would write off as a “bit of a headache.”
  • As her career developed, Jax found herself taking on more and more responsibility – working 70-hour weeks.
  • This workload was a major trigger for Jax as it left her no time to refresh and recharge with hobbies and personal development.
  • She fell victim to Burnout and her only respite seemed to be putting her feet up with a glass of wine.
  • Completely exhausted, she could no longer find any pleasure in anything.
  • Jax withdrew from her partner and her friends, became isolated, and drank more.
  • She felt a mix of despair and despondency and knew she would need to quit drinking – she researched the subject of alcohol dependence and found Tribe Sober.
  • She discovered the power of community and just what it meant to meet people who understood her – they had been in exactly the same situation.
  • Jax didn’t see her sobriety as a punishment, instead, she saw it as an opportunity to change her life and to find herself again – a perfect mindset.
  • As Jax so rightly said – if we go into sobriety feeling sorry for ourselves and being annoyed with others for drinking then we are setting ourselves up for failure.
  • Day One of sobriety dawned and she never looked back – her first year of sobriety will be completed in December 2022.
  • Jax set boundaries with her friends – she took them out individually to explain her plans and they offered their support.
  • We agreed that it was best to be upfront with people and our tribe members often text their friends to explain they won’t be drinking that evening.
  • Her first month was difficult with detox symptoms and her PAWS lasted several months.
  • PAWS can include anhedonia so if you suffer from this please listen to Tribe Sober podcasts episode 55 when Dr Loretta Breuning will explain how to keep your happy brain chemicals triggered.

More info

  • Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

    Episode Sponsor

    The Tribe Sober Membership Program sponsors this episode.  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).

Hlengiwe Chooses Swimming to Quit Drinking

 

One day in 1996, when she was 32 years old, a traffic cop stopped Hlengiwe* because her taillight was not working. This was after a Christmas lunch, around 6/7 pm.

“The cop asked if I drank some wine. I said, ‘No, I did not drink wine.’ He asked me to stand on one leg which I successfully did. He probably could smell the alcohol on my breath, and he asked me to blow, and promptly told me I was over the limit. I told him that I did not have wine, but ciders and his question was specifically about wine. Needless to say, he was not amused with me and gave me a ‘stern’ warning.”

I laughed when Hlengiwe told me this story. I first met her a year ago when she wanted to chat about her drinking habit. She told me that she grew up during the turmoil of the Soweto Uprisings in 1976. I heard how she and her friends would drink quarts on the trains in KwaZulu-Natal. I too am from KwaZulu-Natal and like Hlengiwe, I too had my first taste of alcohol around the age of 17.

Reasons for Drinking, then Quitting

When I met Hlengiwe, she had just discovered Tribe Sober. It was the year that South Africa was still in lockdown for Covid-19 and many people were looking for therapy or a connection of some sort.

I smiled when Hlengiwe told me about her Autumn Harvest and gemmer (ginger) habit – it reminded me of my own university habit of a R1 bottle of Tassies before we even started our night out on the town in Grahamstown! Luckily for Hlengiwe, her drinking habit never consumed her, and she was able to stop drinking for long periods – such as for 5 to 6 years when she fell pregnant and had her daughter.

The trauma of separation and divorce from her husband brought alcohol back into her life – she was only 30 years old, and things were tough.

Hlengiwe is frank about her drinking: “Truth be told, I was never proud about being a drinker, probably because I grew up in an all-girls Catholic Boarding School.  I joined the school at the Primary level and alcohol was actually frowned upon.  My mother does not drink and never did. My late father drank, not moderately.”

Then, around late 2019, she began to feel tired, and this wave of fatigue just got worse in 2020 during the hard lockdown and continued until 2021. Hlengiwe deliberately only bought two bottles of wine the day before hard lockdown (when alcohol was banned in South Africa) as she had always avoided buying bulk alcohol. She learned to only ever buy enough alcohol for immediate consumption because “I am a binge drinker when I drink.”

Coming to Terms with Needs and Values

During the lockdown, she came face to face with her feelings about alcohol and it bothered her that it was a habit and that she needed alcohol. Being forced to take a break from booze started to become a challenge. The only negative effect was that Hlengiwe turned to sweets and chocolates to satisfy her sugar cravings and gained too much weight.

Hlengiwe notes that she did not put rules in place about her alcohol consumption but when she had a nervous breakdown some years ago, she stopped drinking for a full 3 years. “I was warned about the effect of alcohol on my mental wellbeing; therefore, I started being cautious and aware of my drinking then.”

“On a personal level, looking back, I think I lost the plot when I started drinking just to do the house chores during the holidays when I did not have the help around. I would drink alcohol just so that I could finish the ironing or even clean the house, do the cooking – even watching tv and reading. Then the reading habit declined.” Something had to give.

Then, when she was on medication, she was told that 1 to 2 glasses of alcohol should be fine. In retrospect, says Hlengiwe, that statement was not true. “Alcohol + medication is dangerous.”

Hlengiwe discovered Tribe Sober on the internet, around August 2021, when she surfed for a support system other than AA. She urges other people who want to stop drinking to reach out for support, support, support, and podcasts.

Do the Work!

“I have listened to all Tribe Sober recordings (some of them twice) and still listen, keeping track of new releases,” smiles Hlengiwe. “When Janet mentioned her blackouts in one of her podcasts, I realised that I had somehow had a similar experience but I did not know it at the time.  All along I had thought that blackouts referred to drinking to a point of passing out while still socialising and so on.”

Good point. We learn every day more about our drinking, our reasons for our drinking, and what the effects are on ourselves and those around us!

Hlengiwe joined the 2021 Spring Challenge and remembers that her dry mouth symptom was the worst – and of course the cravings.  “The dry mouth pushed me to increase my water intake, which was not so great prior to deciding to cut down on alcohol. Alcohol-free gin helped too but I started developing a sweet tooth – which I am slowly cutting down on. I started about 2 weeks ago to reduce my sugar intake… The highlight was hitting the first 112/3 days through the Spring 66 days challenge – that was the first in 16 years!”

Swimming Instead of Drinking

Hlengiwe turned to movement, she started to swim. “Taking up swimming was just a cherry on top as an alternative to drinking. I used to hit the pool most evenings and use the steam room/sauna – and by the time I left the gym, the alcohol retailers would be closed.”

She now loves swimming regularly at her local gym, jogging, and hiking with friends. She is firmly in touch with her values: independency, humility, kindness, respect, and spirituality.

“I want to be an alcohol-free pensioner,” smiles Hlengiwe, who retires from her long-term corporate job in 2 years. She won’t stop working, of course, and is studying online to ensure that she can continue consulting into her old age.

Hlengiwe has some tips for people who want to stop drinking or at least tone down their alcohol intake a bit: support, podcasts, and quit lit. Read Annie Grace’s The Naked Mind, read Alcohol Explained, and listen to all Tribe Sober podcasts. Join several Facebook groups to connect and share. Not a day goes by without Hlengiwe reading something on her sober groups.

She agrees that we need to play the movie forward if we even think about having a drink: what will be the consequences? Health is wealth and we can all set goals to be sober forever if we really want to.

Money spent on swimming lessons instead of alcohol is always worthwhile – after all, you can’t drink and swim!

*Names have been changed.

If you want to quit drinking and get some support, join Tribe Sober today – just click on this image:

Get your free Pdf information, Stages of Change, here when you click on this image:

 

For more of my blogs, click on this image!

 

”My Unfurling” – with Lisa Bennett

 

My guest this week is author Lisa Bennett.  After a career in marketing, she ditched the booze in her early 50s, left her job, and wrote a book about the joys of sobriety.  Her book is called “My Unfurling” and emphasises how many aspects of our lives will change when we stop using alcohol to numb our feelings and our dreams.

Lisa lives in Maryland with her husband, her mom, two cats, and a dog.  She enjoys paddleboarding, yoga, and dancing in the kitchen!

In this Episode

  • Lisa started drinking in her teens and says that her first 6 years of drinking created deep pathways in her brain.
  • The heady combination of being away from home and having access to cheap alcohol, together with the fact that she was a bit shy, meant drinking was a great way to connect and fit in with the other students.
  • On reflection, Lisa realises she could have done so much better at college if she hadn’t been partying so much!
  • After college, she went to live in the heart of New York City where the party continued! So easy to go out drinking and pour herself into a cab to get home.
  • So she left NY at the age of 29 with a very well-established drinking habit – 3 or 4 nights out a week was the norm and like many of us, Lisa discovered she had no “off” switch.
  • She ended up in an AA meeting to do research for a work-related project.  That experience simply confirmed to her that she was “not an alcoholic” as she didn’t relate to the people there – so she had a drink on the way home to celebrate!
  • This also happened to me and with hindsight, we agreed that we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves with some of the hard-core alcoholics in AA. We should be comparing ourselves with the best version of ourselves that we could be – quite simply, alcohol will prevent us from reaching our potential in life.
  • Going back to Lisa: she of course tried to moderate – and set and broke “the rules” many times.
  • We talked about “rock bottom” and how crazy it is to wait for “rock bottom” – the trick is to get off that slippery slope the moment you realise you are on it!
  • We talked about wake-up calls – as she reached her 40’s Lisa found she could no longer predict the effect that a few drinks were going to have on her – I also experienced that and now realise that it’s a real warning sign of dependence.
  • She explained how a relatively modest amount of alcohol had led her to a blackout which ended in her throwing charcoal up to her bedroom window to wake up her husband in the early hours – as she puts in “she will never forget the disappointed look on her husband’s face as he came downstairs to let her in!”
  • We talked of the difficulty of being a woman who drinks – we mustn’t “get drunk” because that’s not cool but if we don’t drink we are no fun!
  • In fact, Lisa’s husband told her that he didn’t think she had to give up drinking completely – this was a few months into sobriety so Lisa was able to remind him of all the things she had started doing that she never would have done had she still been drinking.
  • This attitude of well-meaning friends and relatives is another reason why we need a sober community – they will just tell us to “cut down” – not realising that we’ve crossed the line into dependence and cutting down is not an option.
  • Go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe” if you need a community that understands what it’s like to have tried (and failed) to cut down over and over again.
  • One day Lisa very wisely realised that she was getting no “joy” from her drinking anymore – and that it was taking too much away from her.
  • For most of us, it actually takes a period of sobriety before we recognise that we gain so much more than we lose when we ditch the booze. So, well done to Lisa for having that insight when she was still drinking!
  • Lisa’s turning point was reading an essay by Laura McCowen called “Am I an Alcoholic” –  https://www.lauramckowen.com/blog/am-i-an-alcoholic.
  • We are great fans of Laura here at Tribe Sober and her book title “We are the Luckiest” just about sums up how we feel once we’ve ditched the booze and learned to thrive in our sobriety.
  • Like all of us, Lisa had to “do the work” in early sobriety – her husband and friends were still drinking so she would often go to bed early when the socialising got difficult.
  • She also had to work on “uncoupling” everyday experiences from alcohol – as she put it, alcohol was so woven into her daily life she was not entirely sure whether she enjoyed various activities or if it was just the alcohol she was enjoying.
  • For example, she thought she enjoyed cooking and it was part of her identity that she was a “good cook” but once she removed the wine from her cooking experience she realised it wasn’t really her passion after all!
  • This raises an interesting point about how we lose touch with what we really like doing when we drink – for example, you may discover that your Drinking Buddies are not that fascinating after all and that you would rather be learning to do something creative instead of spending time with them!
  • Sobriety really is a journey of self-discovery – bumpy at first and then full of joy. It’s an “Unfurling” of who we really are.
  • Lisa explained that she has built a lot of emotional strength in sobriety – by pushing out of her comfort zone and engaging in new activities and just by learning how to socialise sober.
  • She’s gained so much confidence since being sober – confidence non-drinkers would have built up at a much younger age!
  • Alcohol saps our motivation to “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” to quote one of my favourite book titles. We stay trapped in our boozy little rut.
  • Lisa’s been trying so many new things since she got sober – aerial yoga, spinning classes, and creative writing – and she’s written and published a book.
  • Her accomplishments are a reminder that we will never reach our potential in life if we are drinking – as she says “I’m so glad I gave myself a chance to see what I could do in sobriety”.
  • I asked her for some tips for newbies and she suggested journaling – obviously, not everybody is a writer like Lisa but she recommended getting some journal prompts from people like Glennon Doyle.
  • Getting outside in nature is essential – it helps us to realise we are part of something so much bigger – and to be in the moment.
  • She also recommended doing a Challenge and finding Facebook Groups which means I’m going to give ours a plug.
  • We have a brand new Facebook Group called “Sober Sprinters” where we hosted our recent “5-day Sober Sprint” – that Sprint is over now but there is so much engagement on there we decided to keep it open as a home for all future Challenges.  Just search Sober Sprinters on FB and come join the conversation.
  • Lisa’s book is called “My Unfurling” and describes how different aspects of her life “unfurled” as she quit drinking – it’s available on Amazon and you can also find it on her website which is called www.lisamaybennett.com   
  • I loved Lisa’s book which is a mixture of her story mixed with plenty of inspiration – her time in New York City as a twenty-something made me think of all that cocktail drinking we used to watch in the Sex and the City series!
  • We both agreed that stopping drinking was just the beginning and that’s what makes the decision to quit such a gamechanger – it really alters the trajectory of your future.

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

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.

 

Coming Out … Again – with Andrew Addie

 

This week my guest is from Australia.  Andrew Addie is the CEO of an organisation called Untoxicated which is a registered charity.  They are a thriving tribe of sober and sober curious people -passionate about having a laugh, meeting new mates, and smashing social norms along the way!

In a nutshell, they teach people how to socialise without alcohol – which for many of us was a whole new skillset.

In this Episode

  • Andrew recommends telling people – getting on the front foot as he calls it – take charge, tell people in advance that you are a non-drinker.
  • We agreed that alcohol controls much of the world – it’s almost like a cult and operates as a well-oiled machine.
  • Big alcohol, governments, and the marketing industry – all working together to keep us drinking!
  • Andrew was still recovering from the trauma of coming out as gay and then he had to come out as a non-drinker too – which was in fact MUCH more difficult!
  • If anyone had made homophobic remarks to him as a gay man he always felt he had the weight of the community to support him, but when he would explain that he didn’t drink he was often met with astonishment and there was no support at all!
  • Andrew explained that research has shown that the LGBTQ community does drink much more than the heterosexual community – and much of that drinking is due to a feeling of not fitting in.
  • Andrew shared his story about being a binge drinker – his weekends would disappear as he was either wasted or sleeping – and gradually the drinking started creeping into the weekdays.
  • He went through what he describes as a “perfect storm” – a difficult breakup triggered a serious depression.
  • He managed to hold it all together and would set rules – even taking a month off the booze now and again. But then he would go back to it – harder than ever.
  • We agreed that these sober months (like Dry January) could sometimes be counterproductive – people tend to white knuckle their way through them, there are few real benefits and the subconscious mind just registers sobriety as a miserable place to live.
  • I indeed used to do Dry January every year just to prove that I didn’t have a problem – and then, like Andrew, I would make up for lost drinking time the following month!
  • With years of sobriety under our belts, we can testify to the numerous benefits of not drinking – but you have to keep going longer than a month to experience them.
  • Going back to Andrew’s story: he started to work on his mental health – he went to a psychologist but refused the advice to stop drinking. He started to take anti-depressants to cope.
  • Anti-depressants and alcohol are not a great mix and Andrews’s drinking grew worse and he had a breakdown.
  • Through sheer luck he met a GP who got him into a program – he did a home detox under supervision from a clinic, used medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms, and got through a couple of months of sobriety.
  • It really struck me when he said that he felt OK sometimes – instead of feeling dreadful all of the time.
  • I heard a woman in our community say that it was so nice to wake up in the morning feeling ok instead of terrible.
  • It’s amazing how we get used to feeling rubbish every morning and just kind of accept it! Just because we have to give in to that urge to drink that hits us during the day.
  • Andrew began to participate in sober online communities which he found really helpful for sharing tips.
  • Then he saw an Untoxicated event – he was very nervous but went along anyway.
  • There were about 20 people with nothing in common except their struggles with alcohol – he discovered that magic connection – he’d found his people.
  • Like me, Andrew went through a bit of a low in early sobriety – he tried to hang out with the same people but started getting bored.
  • It was time to find new interests – Andrew got into swimming and eventually took over Untoxicated as their CEO.
  • We have both discovered the joy of connection and of helping others!
  • You can follow Andrew on Instagram untoxicated_aus.
  • I know we have some listeners in Australia so why not go to the website which is untoxicated.com.au and check out the social events?

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

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).

Kay Tells Her Success Story

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to take the first steps to quit drinking.  There are so many sober communities out there that you can join – connect for support and to learn from others’ experiences.  Read the quit lit.  Find a “sober buddy” to be accountable with – I am fortunate to have a sober buddy whom I met through Tribe Sober.”

Kay is 58 years old and has decided to stop drinking. She says it is for good. I believe her. Kay knows her own mind. She is a woman of integrity with good values: as an honest, loyal, respectful, and kind American citizen, she cares about getting sober.

Right now, Kay is experiencing her early days of sobriety, for the third time around.

Getting Sober is a Challenge

“I am very new in my journey – Day 10,” noted Kay when this article was written. “I just completed the 5 Day Sober Sprint and have now started the new online Kickstart program. I may be new on my journey but I’m doing the work and determined to become completely AF.”

She will do it. Kay was never the kind of drinker who drank her whole life. In fact, her first few sips of alcohol at the tender age of seven did not turn her into a raging alcoholic. She was a true moderator during her formative, high school years – enjoying a few glasses with friends on nights out and maybe feeling a bit under the weather the next day.

Remembers Kay: “I wasn’t a drinker in high school – I didn’t go to parties with the ‘cool’ kids.  After high school friends and I would go to the local bars on Friday and Saturday nights.  Some nights I’d overdrink and may have a slight hangover the next day but then I’d be off the stuff.  Some weekends we didn’t drink.”

But this all changed in 2016, a mere 6 years ago. Kay was already in her 50s. That was the year that Kay had major, life-changing surgery.

“In 2016, I had bariatric surgery.  We were strongly advised NOT TO DRINK any alcohol from then on due to the high chance of a shift from overeating to alcohol.”

Bariatric Surgery and Alcohol

In fact, there is now “strong empirical evidence showing that individuals who undergo bariatric surgery are at an elevated risk of developing problems with alcohol, ranging from increased alcohol use to alcohol use disorder (AUD),” according to an article in Current Psychiatry Reports.

Samantha Stavola adds that is usually advised to avoid alcohol for six months after bariatric surgery. “When you undergo bariatric surgery, the large fundus, or reservoir, a portion of the stomach has either been totally bypassed or removed from the rest of the GI tract.  Because of this, alcohol enters the body more rapidly for processing, which can increase your risk of developing alcohol poisoning.”

This means that one drink is equal to three or four drinks and this kind of effect can increase the patient’s risk of developing a stomach ulcer by eroding the lining of the stomach wall. Remember that the intoxicating effects of alcohol occur a lot sooner than before surgery, and alcohol can slow down weight loss.

Kay was told that alcohol slides too easily down the throat when you can’t eat any great amount of food.  She was fearful about this, and she wanted to heed the advice but one of her colleagues also had the surgery and proclaimed that she was drinking alcohol and it was not so bad!

“So, about 8 months after my surgery, I slowly began testing the waters, so to speak, to see how the alcohol would affect me. “

The Wheels Fall Off After Surgery

Needless to say, the alcohol did go down super easily – Kay did not get deathly ill, and it made her “feel good!”.  So, Kay would then go out with friends and have a glass or two of wine.  A glass or two for someone who has had weight loss surgery is very different because “it affects us a lot quicker, and it doesn’t take much at all for us to become intoxicated.”

Kay says that eventually, she started drinking more nights a week until it came to the point that she was drinking at least a bottle of wine a night or more, and maybe a can or two of beer.

That was when Kay started to search sober podcasts and blogs because she was concerned about her drinking. Quite by chance, she found the podcast featuring Janet on “To 50 and Beyond” and then she listened to podcast Episode 182, “Getting Sober over 60 Janet Gourand”.  Some things happen for a reason, it is our destiny, for sure!

“I feel very fortunate to have caught this episode.  I was very interested in what Janet had to share and speak about.  I found her very comfortable, so I immediately looked Tribe Sober up and joined The Tribe soon after. I learned that I was drinking for emotional reasons due to stress and to numb out any feelings.”

Right now, Kay is on a personal mission to stop drinking. She is practical about it and admits that she has reached two months sober on two Tribe Sober challenges.

“The first time I stopped by participating The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace of This Naked Mind.  The second time I participated in Tribe Sober’s January 2022 Fundraiser and was AF for 66 days,” says Kay.

She recently completed Tribe Sobers 5 Day Sober Sprint (successfully) and immediately joined the Online Kickstart program.

Finding the Shift

“This time around, my mind is shifting the way I’m seeing the effects of alcohol.  During the 5-Day Sober Sprint – for the first time – I actually DID the work!  I wrote down my “Why’s” – being very honest with myself and was amazed at how the words just flowed down on the paper.  It really lit a flame under me and really has motivated me to keep going.  I have “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace that I’ll be re-reading but right now I’m listening to “Alcohol Explained” by William Porter and I am getting so much out of this book.  Things are just really clicking and I can feel it tying in with what Tribe Sober is talking about.  I feel like I’m on the right path and not “white knuckling” it like before.  I don’t have the strong desire to drink now.”

This is such good news and just shows that we all can persevere and get through the walls and troughs that life throws at us. How can we have highs in life if we don’t have the lows?

Kay can giggle at some incidents when she was drinking: “Once my son and now ex-husband and I were on a weekend vacation, staying in a hotel.  I had a little too much to drink and went to bed.  The next thing I heard my son saying “Mom, that’s not a door! What are you doing?!”  I “came to” and found that I was trying to get out a window – thinking it was a door!  Thankfully, our room was on the first floor.  Ugh!  How embarrassing! The next morning, my son had to remind me of what I did.  Of course, I laughed it off but really, I was very ashamed.  It was awful!”

Kay is an ordinary woman, just like you and me. She works at a community college, she loves reading true crime books and watching true crime shows. She is divorced and lives with her 21-year-old son.

Great Tips for Fellow Drinkers Wanting to Quit

Kay has some tips for people who are just giving up alcohol right now: “Just take that first step – not drinking for one day.  That, to me, is the hardest step – but also the most courageous step because it can be so scary.  Then make the choice not to drink on the second and third day.  Once you get a few days under your belt you start to feel a little more confident and prouder of yourself.  You’ll look back and not want to have to repeat those days.  I’d also say join a community such as Tribe Sober where there are people just like you and the group is so supportive.  Also, listen to different podcasts.  One podcast or podcast episode may not resonate with you but then you listen to a different one and … BAM … it settles into your brain just right and you feel like you’re starting to “get it” a little more.  It “clicks!”.”

In a nutshell, Kay urges all of us to DO THE WORK. She urges every one of you reading this blog to do the work or exercises suggested or provided in any challenge you take on and don’t just skip through that part and think that it is just for everyone else to do, and not you.

Connection is the opposite of addiction and that’s why it is SO difficult to quit drinking alone. 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.

Are you Doing the Work?

Do you chat daily on Slack  – share and listen to wisdom from others?
Attend the Zoom Cafe – every Saturday at 4.30 pm 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?

An AF life is so much more than you can imagine. Try it.

If you want the latest pdf on 16 Relapse Symptoms to Watch out for, click on this image:

 

Join Tribe Sober, just click on this image:

 

The Gut-Brain Axis – and Alcohol

You are what you eat – how often have you heard this little phrase? And how often did you just ignore it and think, “What a load of *&^%$”?

Scientists never stop researching and we should never stop reading. The more you read, the more you know (another useful little phrase!). This blog is all about that body-mind interconnection. Bodily health is mental health and mental health is bodily health. Think about it.

When you think about something pleasant, like a rose in a garden, you feel soft and dreamy. When you think about strawberry ice cream, your mouth waters. When you think about climbing a mountain in 6 hours, you feel stressed about the physical pain and time limit. When you sit in traffic and are going to be late for a meeting, you get sweaty armpits and a racing heart as your blood pressure rises.

That Mind-Body Connection

Yoga is one way to learn how to get on top of the body-mind connection. When you are on your mat, involved in complicated or challenging asanas, your mind focuses on just that, moving your body into the pose and being there, in pain or in comfort. The mind is empty of thoughts, just for that present moment.

This is what we should all be striving for, every day – a healthy mind free of poisonous judgmental and critical thoughts – critical of ourselves and of others. Resentful of the people around us who achieve more, love more or seem happier than we are.

Negative emotions can make us sick, and sickness can be cured by positive emotions. Our bodies hold our emotions so that they reflect what is going on inside us. Picture a monk beside a waterfall – empty of all thoughts, monks look serene, have healthy bodies, and live right there, now, at the waterfall.

Unlike most of us, rushing around in cars, in buses, and in planes, Whatsapping every five minutes, checking emails and social media every 6 minutes – our phones are our new appendages and addictions and we cannot see the roses for the apps. We are making ourselves sick!

Sickness vs Awareness

When last did you look, really look, at your garden? When last did you listen to the birds, watch them in their true, happy presence? When last did you hike in nature? Swim in a river or the ocean? Walk barefoot? Yea… think about it.

One of my favorite naturalists, Henry David Thoreau said “I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil – to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.”

He advocated sauntering in Nature as much as possible. He knew that it was essential for body and mind health: “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least … sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”

Our modern society is obsessed with worldly engagements! It is making us sick.

Have you ever heard of the gut-brain axis? When the gut suffers from dis-ease, the brain also suffers. Anxiety, depression, even dementia, have been linked to inflammation in the gut and imbalanced gut microbiota.

According to Wikipedia, dysbiosis is “characterized by a disruption to the microbiome resulting in an imbalance in the microbiota, changes in their functional composition and metabolic activities, or a shift in their local distribution. For example, a part of the human microbiota such as the skin flora, gut flora, or vaginal flora, can become deranged, with normally dominating species underrepresented and normally outcompeted or contained species increasing to fill the void.”

This condition is known to cause anxiety and depression. This means that there is communication within the central nervous system between the gut and the brain. Amazing!

Serotonin and the Gut

We know that serotonin is one of our essential happy hormones, a chemical that is produced by nerve cells and ensures a feeling of well-being and balance, contentedness with life. The catch with serotonin is that it is made mostly in the gut wall, not the brain, and circulates in the body.

It is also found in blood platelets, so is spread around the central nervous system. You can eat nuts, cheese and meat to get enough essential amino acid tryptophan, serotonin. Serotonin reduces anxiety and depression and helps with moods, digestion and sleeping. When doctors try to treat serotonin in the brain, there are side effects in the gut.

So, what happens when someone drinks alcohol? A lot! The gut becomes very unhappy! The brain becomes very confused. People know how drinking makes them feel – confused, unwieldy, happy then sad, happy then angry, happy then empty.

This is because the alcohol flows directly into the digestive tract and causes disruption in the intestinal flora. This then influences the brain via the vagus nerve and the immune endocrine pathway to cause behaviour that is simply not normal. Drunk people walk crooked and talk crooked!

The vagus nerve is one of our most important nerves, controlling mood, immune response, digestion and heart rate.

“It establishes one of the connections between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and sends information about the state of the inner organs to the brain via afferent fibers…the vagus nerve [is] an attractive target in treating psychiatric and gastrointestinal disorders.”

Alcohol and the Gut-Brain Axis

It is fascinating to know that “studies have shown that alcohol-induced intestinal flora imbalance could influence the patient’s cognitive function, mood change, and drinking behavior through the interactions with the immuno-endocrine system and vagus nerve.

Alcohol in the digestive system is an immediate cause of issues in the brain including abnormal behaviour, depression, anxiety, and inflammation.  An “imbalance of intestinal flora alteration caused by alcohol leads to mood disorders through the vagus nerve.”

When someone stops drinking, they can get very depressed because their central nervous system is affected from being overactive to now being under active. If a drinker knows this when trying to get sober, steps can be taken to address it through diet, supplements and time, patience, serotonin boosting and therapy.

The gut-brain axis is an important physiological connection that we should all learn more about. Downing glasses of wine every night is sure to blot out your intelligence, from the gut to the brain, and vice versa. Think about it. You have choices in life – do you want to get depressed or do you want eternal happiness?

Click on this delightful image to get your free pdf: 10 Reasons to Take a Break from the Booze:

 

Click on this image to join our tribe!

 

 

Click on my image below to read more of my blogs…

 

Kickstart your Sober Life! with Janet Gourand

 

This week I’m doing a solo episode about our brand new online course called Kickstart Your Sober Life!

In this Episode

  • We’re launching the course via a 5-day Sober Sprint which takes place in a Facebook group.
  • The Sprint runs from 1st to 5th August and you can join up here.
  • There will be daily tasks and training as well as lots of community support during the Sprint.
  • On August 5th we will be launching our brand new online course – Kickstart your Sober Life!
  • We’ve been running workshops since 2015 so have plenty of experience – almost 100 workshops on how to quit drinking!
  • With my 25 years of corporate experience in training and development, I’ve designed an online version of our workshop.
  • To ensure that people remain motivated and engaged throughout the workshop, we’ve built in touchpoints.
  • You begin the course with a Zoom call with me so I can explore your relationship with alcohol and guide you through the course – another Zoom call for a mid-course review and then you’ll be booked in for a coaching session at the end.
  • The course content is divided into 7 lessons – each lesson begins with an overview video from me and then we drill down into the topic with relevant podcasts, Facebook Lives, and reading recommendations.
  • At the end of every lesson is a multiple choice test to ensure that you’ve understood the principles of that lesson.
  • Lesson 1 is about mindset – about exploring and overturning the limiting beliefs we hold in our minds about alcohol.
  • Lesson 2 is about alcohol and your health – overview video and podcasts on the immune system and cancer risk plus a BBC doccie called “Is Binge Drinking really that Bad?”
  • Lesson 3 is about how alcohol works – includes podcasts about “hangxiety” from William Porter and “dependence” from Ken Middleton, plus an overview video, FB lives, and reading recommendations.
  • Lesson 4 is about finding your why – this is the key to getting (and staying) motivated – Tribe Sober team member Lucy will take you through an exercise to “Find Your Why” and Lynette does a video on “Loving Your Why”.
  • Lesson 5 is about the toolkit – the heart of our courses – 15 tried and tested tools and strategies to enable you to quit drinking and then to go on and thrive in your alcohol-free life.
  • Lesson 6 is about coaching – our Recovery Coach Lynette will explain what coaching is and how it can help you navigate those early tricky months of recovery – backed up by podcasts and lots of reading about coaching.
  • Lesson 7 is about getting started – an overview video from me with advice on how to take all this theory and apply it to your life – also podcasts on beginning the healing journey with yoga, nutrition, meditation, and various therapies.
  • The course ends with you creating an Action Plan and booking yourself in with Lynette for a coaching session to enable you to start the implementation of everything you’ve learned.
  • If you’re listening to this episode way after the launch date, then just go to tribesober.com and look for the Kickstart Course.
  • To get our PDF 10 Steps to Kickstart your Sober Life just email janet@nulltribesober.com.

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

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).

Recovery Nutrition with Lindsey Beveridge

 

My podcast guest this week is Lindsey Beveridge whom I met 7 years ago at a “how to quit drinking” workshop in London!

We were both hungover and grumpy so we didn’t even connect on that day – so it’s been amazing to meet her again here in Soberland.  Shout out to Club Soda who ran that workshop as we are both 7 years sober now!  Not only are we sober, but so too do we both help other people to quit drinking and then go on and thrive in their sobriety.

Lindsey qualified as a nutritionist in 2019 and helps people to implement changes to their diet and lifestyle to feel better.  She uses a functional medicine approach to enable her clients to change their patterns of behaviour.

In this Episode

  • Lindsey was a teenage drinker and enjoyed the confidence it gave her.
  • Like many of us, her drinking got heavier as she matured – until she became dependent.
  • At the age of 47, she was taking “Are You an Alcoholic?” quizzes and ticking all the boxes.
  • Her excessive drinking began to frighten her and as a single parent, she feared that her young daughter might find her dead one day.
  • Lindsey realised that she should go for a medically-assisted detox but she was afraid to do this in case her daughter was taken away from her.
  • She tapered off her drinking to avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms but she would not recommend tapering to anyone.
  • We discussed how difficult tapering is and how similar it is to the moderation battle.
  • In retrospect, she realises she should have gone to rehab for a detox.
  • We agreed that for anyone with a serious drinking problem, Rehab for a week and then connecting with a community to keep them on track was the best strategy.
  • I always say to people that for the first few months they need to make their sobriety a priority and “throw the book at it” and Lindsey certainly did that!
  • As you heard, she listened to podcasts, read books, did yoga, ate well, and spent quality time with her daughter.
  • Lindsey agreed that we need projects to keep the dopamine triggered in early sobriety – for Lindsey it was exercise, learning new things, and voluntary work that kept her happy.
  • She used this time to explore lots of different things and during that exploration, she found some things that she absolutely loved.
  • Early sobriety is indeed a journey of self-discovery and here at Tribe Sober, we’ve set up a 7-step journey for our members. They can try out things like coaching, yoga, hypnotherapy, meditation, and art therapy – either for free or at significantly discounted rates.  Just CLICK HERE and check out what we can offer you.
  • Year 1 was tough for Lindsey – she was tired all the time, lacking in nutrition with gut issues – so she had to build herself up again.
  • Year 2 was about dealing with the underlying trauma that she’d been drinking away for years – she went through a lot of intense therapy but…
  • By Year 3 it was done a dusted and she felt great!
  • This is so important to hear for those people who have been sober for a while but don’t really feel they are thriving or enjoying life more – the message here is to be patient.
  • Remember how long you’ve been drinking and remember the guideline we learned from Dr Dawn (podcast number 61 – Sept 2021). From her extensive experience as a rehab doctor, Dawn has observed that it takes a month of recovery for every year that we drank for all of the benefits to manifest.
  • As you do the maths and come up with 40 months (as in my case), don’t be discouraged as you will start to feel better almost immediately and of course, for those people who are already a couple of years sober, this is great news as it means that the benefits will just keep coming!
  • Lyndsey is a qualified and experienced nutritionist so she gave us some really useful advice about Menopause. Drinking during menopause will disrupt our endocrine system and make us more estrogen-dominant which can lead to breast cancer – that’s a fact that I wish I’d learned before I got my breast cancer!
  • In fact, alcohol disrupts all our hormones, it throws out our thyroid, affects our insulin levels, and also prevents us from absorbing vital nutrients from our food.
  • The resulting nutritional deficiency affects our DNA replication and repair which of course has implications for cancer.
  • As Lyndsey explained taking a handful of supplements will do nothing if we are drinking – the alcohol will simply cancel out any benefits – a bit like taking meds and drinking.
  • Of course, we talked about gut health – the fact that alcohol affects not only our gut lining but also the microbiome which in turn affects many other parts of our body.
  • Another interesting fact that I learned from Lyndsey was the fact that some of us have naturally low levels of dopamine, so we turn to alcohol to make us feel good.
  • Other people (including Lyndsey) have low levels of Gaba (the calming neurotransmitter) so will use alcohol to calm themselves down.
  • So in early sobriety, we need to build up those neurotransmitters – if we tend to be dopamine deficient we can do more exercise to raise it and if we used alcohol to calm ourselves we need to find calming activities – like yoga, meditation, or having or even having a hot bath.
  • We talked about the effect alcohol has on cognitive function – of course, we all know that alcohol kills brain cells and the scary fact is that just as women’s drinking has increased significantly over the last 40 years, so has the number of dementia cases in the female population.
  • When I asked Lyndsey to list her benefits of sobriety she quite simply said, “It changed everything.” She loves her work as a nutritionist, she loves her yoga, and she got married and has better relationships.
  • Lyndsey has the most amazing Instagram feed which is packed with information that will help you in that first year of recovery – her Instagram is called recoverynutrition and her website is called www.recovery-nutrition.co.uk/

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).

Be a Cheetah, not a Snail – Join the Sober Sprint!

Sprinting to the Sober Finish Line

Click on the pic to join the first-ever Tribe Sober Sprint!

Have you ever thought about quitting drinking and living life sober? Real, authentic life? Have you ever stopped and wondered WHY on earth you drink? Are you maybe uncomfortable with how much you drink, or with your need to drink?

This is the place to be right now if your thinking keeps going back to your drinking. And what better way to start your new sober journey than to join the Tribe Sober Sober Sprint!

It is always better to start a challenge with a new month so this challenge starts on 1 August, just around the corner. It is a five-day supported online retreat. It assists you to change your thinking about drinking and stop consuming alcohol for all those reasons you thought were good reasons.

Let’s think of some good reasons to join the Sober Sprint:

  • You get incredible support from people just like you. Every day you will receive a task that will enable you to reflect on your relationship with alcohol and you will participate in a 20-minute training on Facebook Live to help you change your mindsets and your habits.
  • Connect with people all around the world who want to try sobriety and open up their lives to new awakenings and new commitments. We now know that connection is the opposite of addiction. So far, we have more than 300 Sober Sprinters signed up via our Facebook page! All sharing their experiences as excitement builds for the Sprint!  You can join the conversation right here.
  • There is no fee for this wonderful alcohol-free challenge so join something free that will pay huge dividends in your personal life.
  • Your health will take off into new, vibrant territory and with that, your mind will want to tackle new goals and projects. Your dopamine highs will come from authentic living instead of dumbed-down alcohol-soaked semi-living! Get a new lease on life when you kick the booze habit and choose health.

When you join Sober Sprint, there is no obligation – just hang out, connect with others on the same path, ask questions and connect.

Sprint Rules

Before we start the Sprint, it’s important that we all commit to some simple ground rules.

Following these rules means that we’re all on the same page. You’ll know what to expect from Janet and team Tribe Sober during the next 5 days, and everyone can get the most out of the sprint whilst also having the most fun!

Rules for the Sober Sprint challenge:

  • Do the tasks! Set reminders and block out 15 minutes each day to do it.
  • Be coachable. I may not have the answers to everything, but I know how to help people stay sober! Trust the process and the breakthroughs will happen. You can also book coaching sessions with our own coaches.
  • Engage. Participate fully to get the most value from this Sprint. Engaging means responding to comments in a positive, supportive manner.
  • Only reply to the tasks in the comments below the task – then we can find them easily and give you some feedback.
  • The first port of call for help is to check the comments for each task or AMA post. After that, it’s to email janet@nulltribesober.com for anything that’s not directly related to the task.
  • Finally, have FUN! It’s going to be a blast.
  • Follow the daily posts –

FB Live from Janet with a daily task post at 8 am UK.

Ask Janet anything post at 2 pm UK.

FB live training (10-15 mins) inside the group at 4 pm UK each day. The videos will stay in the feed so don’t worry if you miss the live show.

Each task will include a video and a worksheet covering the key points and action steps you need to post in the comments for each task. If you get stuck, please re-watch the video and re-read the worksheet before asking for help.

End Sober with the New You!

The sprint ends on Friday 5 August with the Closing Party at 4 pm UK time – this will be on Zoom and Janet will launch the new Tribe Sober online course with a 20% discount for you Sober Sprinters. The group will close on Saturday.

Let’s see what our new Sober Sprinters are saying about the Sprint on the special Facebook page:

  • I have been trying to moderate, and blamed my husband for my drinking thinking it would be easier if he didn’t drink. However, he has been sober 120-plus days due to health reasons, and I still drink so I can’t blame him. I want to stop drinking while he is not drinking, and I am having a difficult time which is why I am reaching out. I am 61, retired, and I am taking care of my 97-year-old mother, and grandchildren which I find taxing at times. I am looking forward to the sprint.
  • I am actually really excited about it. I am so looking forward to feeling like I have had a holiday rather than getting home feeling like I need another!!
  • I like a glass of wine with my evening meal. Am I allowed to drink de-alcoholized wine?
  • Moderation doesn’t work – I think many of us wasted far too many years hanging out with Moderation Mary – along with the Wine Witch and the Beer Bully she is one of the 3 “Bad Guys” who will try to trip you up – thanks to the super talented Tribe Sober cartoonist we now have images for those guys…..as Lucy always says – just tell them to F**k Off!
  • I’ve never heard of Moderation Mary but she’s never been my friend. Trips me always. I believe I’m on to her now and with the support of this group and belief in myself, she can turn into “Muffled Moderation Mary”. I won’t be listening.
  • I’m excited, I’m looking forward to accountability. I’m in need of change. Drinking is boring to me, but I still do it.

If you too have any comments to add to the Sober Sprint Facebook page, go here today!

https://www.tribesober.com/sober-sprint/

 

 

30 Days to a Healthier YOU

30 Days to a Healthier YOU – with thanks to Lori Deschene, Tiny Buddha founder.

This blog is borrowed from someone I hugely admire. Thanks to Tiny Buddha for such amazing inspiration.

I would like to know if you can tick off some of these in August – try your best to get 30 out of 30. If not, try your best to be at least a bit more sober every day.

5-4-3-2-1 and GO!

The first 10 days

Day 1: Drink an extra glass of water.

Day 2: Jot down five things you’re grateful for after waking up to start the morning on a positive note.

Day 3: Replace an unhealthy snack with fruit or vegetables.

Day 4: Spend five minutes meditating or taking deep breaths to calm your mind.

Day 5: Go the whole day without drinking anything with added sugar or sweetener in it.

Day 6: Listen to a guided meditation before bed to help you get better sleep. You’ll find tons of free options on YouTube!

Day 7: Break a sweat, whether you do cardio, dance, or simply jog in place.

Day 8: Spend five to ten minutes enjoying nature to create inner calm. Walk outside, make a snowman, watch the sunrise or sunset, stargaze, stare up at the clouds—the possibilities are endless!

Day 9: Every time you use the bathroom today, do five squats before you leave the room.

Day 10: Start the day with a positive intention and check in with yourself throughout the day to assess how you’re honoring it.

 

 

The second 10 days

Day 11: Get up and walk for two minutes (or more!) for every hour you spend sitting.

Day 12: Write down all your worries before bed and one possible solution for each to help you let them go so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Day 13: Ask yourself before snacking, “Am I hungry for food or feeling something that I need to address instead of eating?” Then do something constructive to address the real issue.

Day 14: Write a forgiveness letter to someone who hurt you (that you don’t have to send), trying to empathize with why they did what they did.

Day 15: Make every meal mindful—no TV, no phone, no other distractions. Solely focus on the textures and tastes and savor the experience.

Day 16: Spend at least fifteen minutes doing something that will make you laugh or smile—watch comedy clips, play with your dog, call your funniest friend.

Day 17: Skip caffeine today, or drink one fewer caffeinated beverage than usual.

Day 18: Write empowering messages on five sticky notes and leave them around your house.

Day 19: Chew your food ten times before swallowing to improve your digestion.

Day 20: Spend an hour before bed disconnected from technology to help you wind down and get a good night’s sleep.

 

The third 10 days 

Day 21: Measure all your meals to ensure your portion sizes are healthy.

Day 22: Make your shower meditative. Tune into the sensations of the water and soap of your body and visualize your worries going down the drain.

Day 23: Do a brain exercise to keep your mind sharp (search for “free brain game” and you’ll find a ton!)

Day 24: Commit one random act of kindness (or more!) to boost your mood and someone else’s.

Day 25: Take a short walk on your lunch break, inside or out.

Day 26: Practice being a non-judgmental observer of your thoughts so you can let them go instead of getting caught up in the mental drama.

Day 27: Replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats (for example, put avocado on your sandwich instead of mayonnaise).

Day 28: Do five minutes (or more!) of yoga on your own or using a YouTube video for guidance. (Search for “five-minute yoga videos” and you’ll find a ton!)

Day 29: Go to sleep a half-hour earlier than usual so you’re more rested tomorrow.

Day 30: Write down five things you did well at night to celebrate your small wins and boost your self-esteem.

 

 

Congrats!

Congrats! You made it through the month and are now well on your way to a healthier, happier you. I hope you enjoyed the challenges.

From Tribe Sober – sign up for the Sober Sprint here – click on the image.

 

The Push and Pull of Recovery with Jeanna Fox

 

My podcast guest this week is Jeanna Fox – she’s a sobriety coach, podcaster, and writer.

As a college professor, she inspired thousands of young adults to pursue their dreams. These days, she uses her own experience to help women recover from addiction and childhood trauma.

In this Episode

  • Jeanna was a late starter with her drinking – in fact, it wasn’t until after her gastric bypass operation at the age of 36 that she started to develop a drinking problem.
  • Many people who have this operation to lose weight go on to develop a problem with alcohol – because alcohol becomes a new alternative to overeating.
  • Not only did Jeanna turn to drinking instead of eating to numb her feelings, but so stood did she struggle to regulate her intake. Sometimes she would pass out after one drink and other times she could have several and be fine – her reactions to alcohol became unpredictable.
  • She had lots of blackouts so, of course, she introduced the “rules”.
  • Only drinking at certain times, restricting to certain amounts, tipping barmen to ensure all her drinks were alcohol-free – and no texting. Of course, like all of us who set rules around our drinking, she then went on to break them!
  • Tragically, Jeanna lost her son to suicide and turned to alcohol to numb the pain –she drank for seven straight months and had several drinking-related accidents which ended up in hospital.
  • She also got arrested for drunken behavior so was in real trouble.
  • However, one day she came across a Medium who helped her to feel a connection to her son.
  • This was a spiritual experience that became part of her recovery.
  • She got sober with AA and almost immediately wanted to help others.
  • Geanna had been abused as a child and she felt that this experience, combined with her alcoholism, gave her the insight she needed to help others.
  • She explained how she loves to use Plato’s allegory of the Cave – and how as we escape from our addiction it’s our duty to go back in and get people out!
  • We talked about AA and the way that they don’t like to talk about childhood abuse in the rooms – which annoys Jeanna because its one of the causes of her alcoholism – and for many others as well.
  • Jeanna is working with her partner, Vince, to set up a membership program.
  • The membership is for families of alcoholics – we agreed that many people go to rehab, then return to the family. The family expects them to be “cured” but in fact, the whole family needs to work together to make things change.
  • Jeanna has a byline on her Linkedin Profile that says “If you’re successful with alcohol just imagine what you could be without it”. I love that and think it’s so true – even if alcohol doesn’t destroy us it will stop us from reaching our potential.
  • We talked about how pleasure and pain are big motivators – in early sobriety, we are motivated by pain as our memories of the trouble alcohol caused us are fresh – but as those memories fade we are at risk of convincing ourselves we can have “just one”.
  • William Porter describes this as Fading Affect Bias.
  • The Challenge is to push through this and then the pleasures of sobriety will take over as the motivator – and the awesome thing is that those pleasures keep coming as you discover the “surprising joy of being sober”.
  • We talked about warning signs and agreed that feeling that you may have a problem with alcohol is a big one – the fact that you are listening to this podcast is a bit of a clue…
  • Jeanna’s advice to someone trying to get started is to join a community and just listen and learn – even if you carry on drinking just listen and learn for a while…

Jeanna has a podcast (Backporch Chats) and a website nowsobercoach.com

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

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).

Building Recovery Capital with David Collins

 

David Collins is well known in the recovery world.  He is the founder of the Foundation Clinic and U-ACT here in South Africa.  He is a Master Recovery Coach with a keen sense of social responsibility.  Through his Ubuntu Addiction Community Trust, he’s trained a team of Recovery Coaches who are addressing South Africa’s need to build recovery capital.

In this Episode

  • David’s father was an alcoholic and he told us the touching story of creating a picture of his family in school at the age of 10 – then a classmate looked at the picture and said that his parents were drug addicts.
  • That makes me think of our last workshop. There were several people there who had alcoholism in the family.  There was also a young guy who had small children and he told us that just listening to the sad stories of people who had grown up with an alcoholic parent had made him determined to change.
  • David made the decision that he would never be like his father – so he turned to hard drugs rather than alcohol!
  • We talked about the false beliefs we all have about addiction – the stories we tell ourselves – for example, that wine is “better” than cocaine – but of course it’s all about drugs.
  • He told us that it took about 3 years for him to go from “I’ve got a problem” to “This is hell and I need help” –  I’ve often talked about the average length of time it takes someone with an alcohol problem to reach out for help being 11 years, so it seems that hard drugs will take you down faster!
  • David hit his rock bottom when he became addicted to heroin and crack cocaine and lost his kids to foster care.
  • As a result of a medical at the Japanese bank where he was working, David was sent to his first rehab but it took a few rehab stays before he got clean.
  • He began his journey into recovery 26 years ago – when there was nothing else available except the 12-step approach.
  • However, the 12-step model worked for him and he was abstinent for 15 years – in fact, he called himself Captain Recovery and collected all the chips and keyrings going!
  • He was back in banking, remarried, and was ticking all the boxes for a happy life – the only problem was that he wasn’t happy!
  • David did some personal development with the Mankind Project and then studied business coaching. It occurred to him that the coaching model would fit very well into recovery processes.
  • As he explained, the discipline of the 12 steps kept him clean for 12 years but then he needed more – rather than being told to keep to the steps, he was ready to be empowered to discover what recovery actually meant for him – and recovery coaching was the perfect mechanism for that.
  • The role of the recovery coach is to facilitate the growth of Recovery Capital.
  • David explained that Recovery Capital is about building internal resources so that we can stay clean and be fulfilled in our lives.
  • Here at Tribe Sober, we enable you to quit drinking and then go on and thrive in your alcohol-free life – we have our own Recovery Coaches who can help you to build those inner resources needed to thrive.
  • David talked about shame – the internal shame we all feel when we are struggling – and the communal shame felt by the family – and then of course the stigma society places on addiction which perpetuates the problem. We have to find a way to lift the shame and let the healing begin.
  • We talked about the wider problems of alcohol and drug abuse here in SA and David is personally involved in training and sending recovery coaches into communities.
  • He strongly believes that recovery capital is key and research has shown for every $1 spent on education there is a saving of $7 ($3 on medical costs and $4 on criminal justice interventions).
  • That’s a pretty impressive return on investment!
  • With the work he does in the world of recovery, David feels that he has connected to his soul’s purpose.
  • You can find out more about David on his website which is  https://davidcollinscoaching.com. He’s on Instagram and I also spotted him doing some crazy stuff on TikTok the other day so do check him out!

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

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).

Are You a Perfectionist?

Are You a Perfectionist?

 

The world spins relentlessly and we never feel this movement. Yet most of us are spinning around in our own orbits, trying to make our lives perfect. I find that city life is usually the cause of perfectionist syndrome. Living in the country removes the reasons to be perfect.

The city is this life of relentless instant gratification – disposable everything, frenetic jobs that may earn some money but never quite seem to pay the bills. The city is a treadmill in a hamster’s cage – wading through the sawdust, swimming through mud, and endless traffic jams and pollution.

City Life vs Country Life

On that note, do you live in a city? Do you perfect everything that you do? Are you raising the perfect children who must go to the perfect schools? Is your husband’s job good for your reputation or should he still perfect that? Is your amazing work the best ever or do you try to perfect your role day in and day out on the grind?

Psychology Today has many articles on perfectionism, which they describe as “a trait that makes life an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. When healthy, it can be self-motivating and drive you to overcome adversity and achieve success. When unhealthy, it can be a fast and enduring track to unhappiness.”

But being the perfect you, you have probably already Googled that and checked to see whether you do in fact suffer from perfectionism? The worst part about perfectionism, this 21st-century autoimmune disease, is that it is toxic. There is nothing positive about perfectionism, a form of extremism.

“What makes extreme perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, resulting in a negative orientation … Perfectionism is driven primarily by internal pressures, such as the desire to avoid failure or harsh judgment.”

Many perfectionists are addicted to toxic social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. Their pages are caked with selfies and memes, all linked to how you look, what you earn, what you do for fun and how amazing your gorgeous kids are.

Toxic Comparisons

These people compare and criticize constantly – a happy family on Facebook makes them feel inadequate and useless so they post their own happy family picture to rival that one. They find fault, looking for mistakes and errors in other people’s Instagram posts. Or they react negatively to Twitter feeds and to Whatsapp groups they belong to.

You can never compliment a perfectionist – part of their role is to be a victim and a martyr. They do seek approval and validation but only from people who are doing well in society, in their eyes.

You may be reading this blog because you have issues with drinking too much. Throw your mind back to the days when you were an innocent child. How was your childhood? Was it a bubble of pure happiness or was there trauma?

I grew up with alcoholic parents and my bubble burst when my parents fought, threw glasses, were shockingly outrageous, and were constantly drunk. My trauma was neglect and abandonment in terms of a parent meeting all my inner child’s needs. Mom chose wine above mothering.

Childhood Traumas

 

This is just one example of what Psychology Today calls “adverse childhood experiences”.

The term “adverse childhood experience” refers to a range of negative situations a child may face or witness while growing up. These experiences include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; emotional or physical neglect; parental separation or divorce; or living in a household in which domestic violence occurs. Other difficult situations include living in a household with an alcoholic or substance-abuser, or with family members who suffer mental disorders, or in a household with an incarcerated family member.

I understand now how the desire to be a perfectionist arises from such a childhood as the need to control becomes a safety net for the now-adult. My own need to control is evident in the way I eat, exercise, cling to the Great Outdoors, and read all about health and positivity. I love a clean house, washing on the line, and the perfect garden. I get stressed when the dogs dirty my house, the garden is over-grown and there are no fresh vegetables to eat in my fridge.

On that note, I tried taking cannabis oil to destress. I found that it sorted out my perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms – yes, it really worked! It is a panacea for all kinds of issues, even perfectionism – and it helped me to sleep like a dream. In fact, JustCBD is one of the best places to get your health kick in a bottle!

Controls Make us Feel Perfect

There are dangers in our controlling behaviors, and they are strongly linked to perfectionism. Growing up, I was always the star of the class and got very good grades and I strived to do well at sports too. In my middle age, I still strive to do things well, not half-half. Are you like that too?

“Perfection, of course, is an abstraction, an impossibility in reality. When taken too far, the striving for perfection can lead to negative outcomes, like procrastination, a tendency to avoid challenges, rigid all-or-nothing thinking, toxic comparisons, and a lack of creativity. Maladaptive perfectionism is often accompanied by depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and even suicidal impulses.”

Think about it: many people who strive to be perfect are doing it without realizing or acknowledging that they are fearing failure.  They worry constantly about what others think of them. I can guarantee you that no one notices your fancy clothes, fast car, perfect house, and matching couch covers because they are so busy making sure their own things are perfect. OR they are so busy trying to make ends meet that they notice only their immediate surroundings.

Distraction and Ego Rule

Look around you at people driving while on cell phones, taking selfies, checking Facebook, answering all their WhatsApp, and moving files around?! This is city life and these people don’t notice your perfect life! Who cares if your boss notices your latest research paper or your latest sale? Who cares if you get a bonus this month or were featured in an article last month? Only you care.

Many perfectionists drink too much and are high-functioning alcoholics. They work, drink, hardly eat, work some more, and drink some more. They are high achievers and we sometimes call them A-type personalities. The irony is that many people who stop drinking become high achievers and perfectionists! Their next addictions take over – it could be work, it could be exercise, diet, or family. We are all susceptible.

If you recognize yourself in this blog, take note. Get help, try to change, and try to find simplicity. The rural lifestyle is for me. Waking up to the birds and to the silence of nature is what I dream of. One day. It will be mine. What is your dream? No, not the dream of your boss or your child or your perfect husband! What is YOUR dream?

“Since perfection is an illusion, the pursuit of it is never complete–and neither are your projects. You may get things done, but you are in a constant battle with the decisions and motivation to complete certain things. The “what ifs” and expectation of a negative consequence or result preoccupies you and the pressure can be overwhelming.”

Perfectionists Hide from People

So says Marla Tabaka in her article on IncAfrica about perfectionism. She notes that perfectionists feel safe in a stress-free environment and don’t want to try new things in case they look bad doing something new and out of their zone.

“Perfectionists are intensely afraid of being judged by others. They often want the outside world to view them, not only as being perfect, but making perfection easy. Even when your world is a disaster zone, you put up a front to lead others to think it’s all just perfect.

Perfectionists like to stick with what they know. If you’re presented with an opportunity that means you’ll have to develop more skills or move outside of your comfort zone, you’re likely to turn it down. You’re afraid that you’re not smart enough to tackle a new learning curve and will be seen as a failure or let someone down.”

If this is you, have you tried writing your daily journal to offload and see the patterns emerging from your “perfect” life? Do you ever laugh? Do you ever take up a new challenge or creativity? No? You are too scared to try in case you fail? Do you believe in YOU or in what others think of you?

If you want to take on the world confidently, maybe it is time to change your look? Check out Loxa Beauty for all your hair and beauty needs and find something that treats you. Or, even better, go to Olio Lusso for a range of the perfect fragrances that will change your world forever.

“Hewitt and Flett say that perfectionism is a risk factor for psychological disorders–not a disorder itself. If it leads to depression, anxiety, or other exhausting mental states, therapy can help. Yes, you can develop a healthy mindset and make life much easier and more rewarding for yourself.”

It is time to be imperfect for a change – do something outrageous this month, and no selfies allowed!

NEWS:

Dive into August with our Sober Sprint! Join the pop-up Facebook Group where you will find other people on this path, already chatting about their relationship with alcohol. The Sprint will run from August 1st to 5th.  So, jump in the Sober Sprint Express now!

 

Read my blogs here, just click on the image:

 

How My Child’s Stay in the NICU Fueled My Alcoholism

It was my first ultrasound during my very first pregnancy. I was only twenty years old. I naively thought that this day was going to be one of the best days of my life. I was wrong. What I was right about, however, was that this would be one of the most memorable days of my life…even if it was for all the wrong reasons.

I was laying on my back, with the icy cold gel spread out on my stomach. The ultrasound tech was going over every inch of my newly forming fetus, informing me that everything looked great. Then, without me even noticing at first, she paused. That pause was my world crashing down. She quickly slapped a smile on her face and told me she needed to step out to talk to the other doctors.

When she came back in, her tone was noticeably more serious. She said she needed to sit us down and talk to us about our baby. I instantly felt my heartbeat skyrocket, and my stomach sink. She proceeded to tell us that our baby’s stomach hadn’t fully formed. The stomach didn’t form enough skin to close, so the baby’s intestines were on the outside of the body. It is a condition called gastroschisis. My baby would be born with his intestines hanging outside of him.

How was this possible? Why was this happening to my innocent baby? To me? What did I do to deserve this?

The rest of my pregnancy was spent going to weekly doctor appointments and stress tests. I lost count of all the ultrasounds we had done. My very first pregnancy, which I was ecstatic about from the start, was quickly ruined in one fell swoop. My sweet baby boy was born on January 28th, 2014 and spent 10 weeks in the NICU. At one point, he became septic and almost died. To say that this NICU stay was traumatic for all of us would be a huge understatement. I would eventually be diagnosed with PTSD.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that this NICU stay and the PTSD I got from it, would work together and show up in my life as alcoholism. It started innocently, as it always does, with a drink of wine here and there because “dammit I deserve it for what we’re going through”. “Mommy Wine Culture” only perpetuated my drinking. I thought it was cute and quirky to have a bottle of wine a night. I thought I deserved it. My nightly wine habits turned into nightly liquor habits because the wine just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I wanted to forget the NICU. I wanted to forget the horrible things I saw in there. Deep down, I think I wanted to punish myself.

I blamed myself for my body creating my baby the “wrong” way. I felt like I failed him and caused him trauma. I was young with no real support system, so these thoughts occurred to me every single day. I didn’t know any better. I only knew self-hatred and self-blame. The kind of self-hatred that drives you to drink it away.

My drinking habits continued to worsen for the next few years. Along the way I would collect two DUI’s, and a suicide attempt.

Then, one day in November of 2020, amid a global pandemic, I decided enough was enough.

I went to therapy, I attended AA, and I told everyone close to me that I quit drinking. And I did, for good. I thought I deserved alcohol. That it was this magical potion that could cure me and my thoughts. I didn’t know that what I actually deserved was sobriety. My children deserved my sobriety. Our world is obsessed with booze. One of the saddest parts of my addiction was that when I stopped drinking, the most common comment I got was, “I didn’t even know you had a problem!”. That’s how easily alcoholism is accepted. Yes, I did hide my addiction well, but there was also a social norm involved with drinking that kept me complacent. Everybody else was doing shots, blacking out, throwing up, etc. Why couldn’t I? I used to normalize blacking out. Now, I normalize sobriety.

As I write this, I am 601 days sober. My life is incredibly beautiful now. I’ve worked so hard to be in a spot in my life where I no longer hate or blame myself. I know now that what happened to my baby was nobody’s “fault”, and I did everything I was supposed to. There was nothing I could have done better. Instead of looking at our NICU experience as something that broke me, I look at it as something that made us stronger as a family. Through sobriety, I have a completely different outlook on life. Sobriety has given my children and I a new life. I know in my heart that I would not be here had I not put the bottle down. Are there hard days? Absolutely. But those days are much more manageable while sober. My child is absolutely thriving, and for the first time in my life- so am I.

Lacey Fox

Visiting my Alcoholic Mom

Visiting my alcoholic mom is difficult. She is at that stage of entering her last phase of life, where she needs a frail care home. She has lived alone for the past 5 years since dad passed away. She loves being alone, yet she complains about being lonely.

My alcoholic mom continues to drink. She has fallen twice, causing her own broken leg and a broken hip. Her legs are very unstable thanks to terrible circulation caused by her alcoholism. She has never been a physical person and just shuffles around her small home every day.

When I was growing up, mom only drank Tassies and Taverna, the same cheap wines we bought at Rhodes University for R1 a bottle! She bought the 2 l green jugs which were used as vases and other ornaments all over the house. She drank cheap white wine too in a 5 l box in the fridge where of course it took precedence over all our foodstuffs.

Mom has fallen two or three times thanks to her drinking. She had a minor stroke which meant she lost the use of her left arm. She suffers from psoriasis which has also affected her joints. But all along, she has refused all help and soldiered on.

But now Mom needs help. I am visiting my alcoholic mom, as it is time for her to move. She needs professional care in a frail care home with kind nurses. Where there is food and where she can chat with other people her age. But she cannot bear this idea. Understandably. Her main dread is the policy of no alcohol.

Growing up with Alcoholic Parents

Do you have an alcoholic mom or dad? Did you grow up with an alcoholic parent? I found Sharon Martin of PsychCentral and read her blogs avidly.

She notes that “If you grew up in an alcoholic or addicted family, chances are it had a profound impact on you. Often, the full impact isn’t realized until many years later. The feelings, personality traits, and relationship patterns that you developed to cope with an alcoholic parent, come with you to work, romantic relationships, parenting, and friendships. They show up as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, stress, anger, and relationship problems.”

Well, I did not know any of this until I stopped drinking! I then started to read and found these articles. I began to put two and two together and I made five! I realised that while yes, we did have a happy childhood, there was an enormous dysfunction going on. My parents drank all the time and they normalised it. We also thought it was cool to drink and get drunk and celebrate continuously.

My research tells me that we experienced an abandonment of sorts, neglect in the form of a lack of cherishing affection and warm protection against all odds.

When Martin states that “An alcoholic home is chaotic and unpredictable” I get that cold goose-bumpy feeling. I remember it well, the parties, the shouting, the mood swings galore! We ducked and dived around mom who was so down then so up, so disconnected from us in her books and her wine.

I would get off the two buses home from school, a long, tiring afternoon home, to find mom and her friends drinking and shrieking around the table, food everywhere, and music on. Often. And the times mom drove me home drunk, or forgot me after sport, sitting on the side of the road at dusk. These memories are part of me.

Were Your Needs Met as a Child?

Says Martin:

Children crave and need predictability. Your needs must be met consistently in order for you to feel safe and develop secure attachments. This didn’t happen in your dysfunctional family. Alcoholic families are in “survival mode.” Usually, everyone is tiptoeing around the alcoholic, trying to keep the peace and avoid a blow-up. Denial is prolific. You really can’t understand addiction as a child, so you blame yourself and feel “crazy” because your experiences didn’t line up with what adults were telling you (namely that everything is fine and normal).

This hit home to me big time. And then I decided to look for some research into the effect that drinking in the home has on teenagers.

I discovered that the effect of parental drinking on adolescents is enormous too: Michael Windle researches this topic for Alcohol Health and Research World. He notes that “Adolescence brings with it many biological, psychological, and social changes. Parents continue to play an important role in their children’s development during this time. Parental problem drinking can adversely affect adolescent development and adjustment by interfering with parenting skills and marital relations. It also can lead parents to model ineffective coping strategies and other problem behaviors. Children with problem-drinking parents are at risk for alcohol and other drug use as well as for psychological problems. Protective factors, such as relatively stable patterns of family behavior around meals and holidays, can help offset the negative effects of parental drinking.”

Suffice to say, I abhor alcohol now and I have turned to nature, being a true nature lover who craves the great outdoors.

Windle goes on to say that “parental alcohol abuse may contribute to poorer monitoring of adolescent behaviors. … The research literature has consistently indicated that higher levels of parental monitoring are associated with lower levels of adolescent alcohol and other drug use as well as other forms of delinquent behavior.”

I find this interesting as all three of us kids drank alcohol (many kids of our era did as their parents did). My brother and sister also smoked cigarettes.

“Problem-drinking parents also may provide lower levels of parental nurturing and emotional availability, thereby increasing the risk for adolescent drinking. … Higher levels of parental nurturance and warmth of expression consistently have been associated with lower levels of alcohol and substance use and higher levels of general mental health and well-being among adolescents.”

Wow! Food for thought. This blog could become a novel!  I am visiting my alcoholic mom. I will not talk about the past. I will be present. The tables have turned. Mom needs help. To end her life gracefully. With dignity. Not shame. Only the children can help with that. That means me.

Lessons I Have Learned Growing Up With my Mom

  • It is not her fault – she is a product of her era
  • It is not her fault – she was a traumatized only child who turned to self-medication in an era of drinking
  • Some people get help for their issues, others don’t – so be it
  • If you have an issue that impacts those around you, and your own quality of life, then get help
  • Alcoholism is rife, but there are countless organisations and individuals who can help.
  • I have broken the cycle from my mom. I must now live my best life.
  • Nothing is static, everything changes. Be you, do whatever it takes to make you happy. Just don’t drink!

So, on that note, if you want this Pdf, click on the image:

 

 

Join our Tribe – click on the image below.


 

Read my blogs when you click on this image:

 

Walking Talking Blackouts with Anneke Roussel

 

Anneke Roussel is a Tribe Sober member who knows all about the work hard/hard play culture.  She worked overseas in Afghanistan and Somalia and often found herself sharing bottles of scotch with her male colleagues in Mogadishu.  The combination of retirement from her exciting career and the isolation of the pandemic saw her continuing with her scotch but adding a couple of bottles of wine into the mix.

In this Episode

  • Anneke married an alcoholic – he stopped drinking via AA and Anneke went to AA so she became well aware of the 12 Steps and became a sponsor.
  • She never imagined that she would become an alcoholic herself which shows that we should never become complacent.
  • Anneke had a corporate career but she also owned a restaurant which became the heart of her social life.
  • She had a severely disabled child and turned to alcohol to cope with the stress of managing her career and looking after her child.
  • Tragically, her daughter died at the age of 10, and Anneke turned to drink to try to numb the pain.
  • She took a job in Afghanistan where she worked with a bunch of hard-drinking men. Only whisky was available so that’s where she learned to love her whisky.
  • She moved from Afghanistan to Somalia where she stayed for 5 years – another high-stress job where sitting under the trees drinking whisky with her colleagues was the daily after-work activity.
  • Anneke returned to South Africa planning to retire and then travel the world – however Covid hit which meant that she had to live on her farm which was fairly isolated.
  • She managed to keep to her father’s rule of no booze before 5 pm but at 5 it was a whisky followed by two bottles of wine.
  • We talked about how we get to the stage where we actually prefer drinking alone to being with other people – which is a real warning sign of dependence.
  • It means we are creating a relationship with alcohol, it’s fast becoming our best friend.
  • Anneke felt that drinking had become part of her identity – that happens to many of us and that’s why our friends are so horrified when we say we are going to quit drinking!
  • Like me, Anneke suffered from walking-talking blackouts – and like me, she was horrified to learn that those kinds of blackouts mean that the brain becomes so soaked in alcohol that it cannot even make memories – it’s not just that we have forgotten stuff!
  • It was lockdown and SA’s alcohol ban that made Anneke realise the severity of her problem. She found herself searching for liquor on the black market and didn’t care how much she paid.
  • She would go out to a restaurant, drink a bottle of wine alone and then purchase another bottle to bring home.
  • She went to look at rehab but the 12 Steps didn’t appeal to her as she definitely didn’t feel powerless over alcohol.
  • At Tribe Sober, we believe in putting down our glass and taking back our power!
  • So, at Tribe Sober, Anneke found “her people” and an approach that worked for her. Tribe Sober coach Lynette helped her to find her power and to learn to be kind to herself.
  • She’s worked on her “inner child” – or inner children perhaps we should say. Anneke still has the saboteur and the inner critic – she now visualises them as children sitting on a bus – but these days Anneke is in the driving seat and just tells them to be quiet!
  • These days she is thoroughly enjoying her retirement and is so relieved that she made a conscious decision to quit so that she doesn’t risk drinking her retirement away like so many people do.
  • If you are a bit older and worried about your drinking, have a listen to my interview with British Psychiatrist Dr Tony – Tribe Sober podcast episode 35.

Anneke is now in her second year of sobriety so I asked her why she stuck around with the tribe – she had 3 reasons:
1.   She gets a reminder of just how hard it used to be when she sees new members starting out.
2.  She loves the connection – with a group of people who understand you straight away.
3.  It keeps her grounded and reminds her never to think that she might be able to moderate!

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).

Escaping the Vampire Lifestyle with Dennis Berry

 

 

Dennis Berry is a Life Mastery Coach and has been working with people worldwide for over 15 years.  He has been sober since April 8, 2003, during which time he became a successful businessman, athlete, and family man. His journey in recovery helped him find his mission in life, which is to help others achieve inner peace and success, and master every area of their lives.

In this Episode

  • Dennis took us behind the scenes of what he calls the “vampire lifestyle” that he led when he was working in restaurants – vodka and coke stashed in the freezer.
  • He was caught in a vicious cycle – waking up feeling awful and resolving to go straight home after work, drinking all day during his shift at the restaurants, and then finding himself at the bar after work – again – over and over – he didn’t know how to escape.
  • He got out of the restaurant trade at the age of 27 and got sober at 31 when (as he puts it) his life began…
  • Dennis got sober by going to rehab and doing the work – he did absolutely everything they recommended and it worked.
  • At Tribe Sober we recommend that people prioritise their sobriety and “throw the book” at it – listen to the podcasts, read the quitlit, stay connected with the community – do everything you can for at least 6 months and your life will change.
  • As Dennis says, rehab is about discovery but it’s only when he left that his recovery began – at the age of 31 Dennis was hungry for life.
  • He made the very interesting point that although ditching the booze can help us “recover” ourselves, for people like Dennis it meant learning to live his life for the first time!
  • That made me think of the fact that our emotional maturity stalls at the age that we start drinking heavily – so if we start drinking at a young age, we never get the chance to learn how to handle our feelings and our emotions.
  • We agreed that although AA can be a good start, we need to do the work and then go out and live – we can’t spend 30 years going to the rooms for meetings!
  • He feels that the best thing about AA is the community and all sobriety groups can offer this – connection is the opposite of addiction.
  • Fix the drinking and then you can address other parts of your life – this is called the Domino Effect. Check out Tribe Sober podcast episode 52 for more info.
  • Dennis came up with a nice analogy – if we are going through a divorce, an addiction, or financial problems we sometimes feel as if our life is falling apart. We should try reframing that because often it means that our lives are actually falling into place – it’s the beginning rather than the end.
  • That made me think of the JK Rowling quote: Rock Bottom became the foundation on which I built my life.
  • Dennis discovered that helping others gave him purpose – he wanted a life of service.
  • In his book “Funky Wisdom” Dennis uses the acronym HOW: Honesty (admit there is a problem); O = be open-minded; W= new way of life.
  • We’ve been taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but in fact, it’s a sign of strength.
  • He explained that when a normal drinker feels a bit tipsy, that will be a red light for him to stop – whereas for us dependent drinkers, we get a green light to keep going!
  • We talked about how the whole world is manipulated by various forms of marketing and he raised an interesting point about the placement of TV commercials – the news will pump fear into us for 10 minutes and then show us an ad for booze or junk food to trigger us to numb the pain.
  • As Dennis said, our subconscious mind is “running the show” and those limiting beliefs we hold about drinking being fun, etc, will keep us drinking. BUT the good news is that we CAN reprogram our subconscious which is what we teach in our 4-hour Zoom workshops.
  • Dennis talked about the dangers of cross-addiction – to smoking and eating sugary foods, for example. They are just another distraction to numb our feelings.
  • In fact, smoking and sugar will damage our immune system – and a strong immune system will help us to cope with cravings.
  • We need to stop the harmful habits and add in healthy habits – which can take up to a year.
  • Dennis believes in starting his day by getting “centred” and his 6 steps (which he explains in Funky Wisdom) enable him to get and stay centred.
  • These days he uses meditation, mindfulness, and CBT to process his feelings so he no longer feels the need to numb them away.
  • We talked about the importance of having a project when we get sober – we have to start building something worthwhile rather than just waiting for life to happen.
  • Building a purposeful and healthy life takes years whereas drinking is just a quick fix.

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).

Courage

 

In this blog, I am talking about courage. Bravery. Perseverance. What does courage mean to you?

The dictionary tells me that courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It is to be brave and confident enough to do what you believe in and it is the ability to control fear and to be willing to deal with something that is dangerous, difficult or unpleasant.

Let’s read these words about courage, from Frictionless Living:

Courage arrives when we finally decide we have had enough.

Courage is always present, but standing in the background, waiting to be called upon.

Courage is not selective. It is available to anyone and everyone who seeks it.

Courage allows us to pursue our dreams, even when the world says our dreams are impossible.

Every person on this planet has tapped into courage, whether they know it or not.

Courage keeps us from being stagnant.

Courage inspires us.

Courage steps out from the shadows to shine Light on our dreams.

Life is always giving us signs, pointing the way for us. Sometimes there are many roads that will lead us to one of our life destinations. The key is having the courage to take one of those roads.

I think it’s safe to say that both fear and courage will always show up in our lives. Which one will we choose to be our tour guide?  

Courage is Bravery

I agree with these words 100 % – I know that giving up something takes courage. Making changes takes courage. Facing another day takes courage. But humans are courageous, you are courageous. I believe that courage comes from self-belief. I know that many people lack self-belief.

If you are reading my blog because you want to stop drinking, that takes courage. Yes, it is time to find the courage to say NO. Say no to alcohol, wine, beer, whiskey – whatever it is that you are/were drinking to be “happy” and “like everyone else”.

Why do people drink? I remember my drinking days – I used to look forward to that first wine glass and then the other 3 or 4. But the next day, I did not look forward to the guilt, the puffy face, and the slow body. NO.

Sobriety is Courageous

If you have decided to be sober, you are more courageous than you think. When you choose to take a different path from the herd, to be the real you, you are already probably going to make your friends uncomfortable. You will meet fellow sober people who are happy and bright and healthy. You will open doors to the real you and to authentic living. YES.

According to the Renaissance Recovery Centre, you are wise if you “know that courage isn’t the absence of fear. Many see courage as an absence of fear, but in reality, it is the ability to move forward despite the fears that come your way. If you are harboring feelings of fear when reflecting on the road to recovery ahead — be it fear of leaving friends behind, fear of creating a new lifestyle, or fear of the unknown — it doesn’t mean that you don’t have courage. Your courage will be defined, rather, by how you respond to these fears.”

Courage is made up of different dimensions – we can call them bravery, honesty and perseverance. Be honest to yourself and to your family when you stop drinking – be honest about how much you are drinking and about how much you have lost and how much you have got to win now.

Stand up for the Real You

Be brave when you stand up for your inner child, your inner belief system and if that means losing friends along the way, so be it. Other doors will open. Be perseverant in the face of criticism and judgement from those who still drink. The stigma of NOT drinking sucks because why should we drink if everyone else does? There will be challenges along your sober path, but you will keep putting one foot in front of the other as you create the life you want and deserve.

It was Nelson Mandela who recognised that courage is not the absence of fear, “but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Why do so many people feel the need to self-medicate when they are sad or lonely and stressed? Johann Hari said “To end loneliness, you need other people – plus something else. You also need … to feel you are sharing something with the other person, or the group, that is meaningful to both of you. You have to be in it together – and “it” can be anything that you both think has meaning and value.

He also said that “something has gone badly wrong with our culture. We’ve created a culture where really large numbers of the people around us can’t bear to be present in their daily lives. They need to medicate themselves to get through their day.

Watch Johann Hari’s famous “Connection is the opposite of addiction” video here!

To be fearful is to be human. To be human is not to be weak, but to be authentic. Authenticity is a major goal of recovery. Bravery and courage help men confront and walk through their fears, whatever their fears may be. Life is able to be lived without limitations. Learning to confront the limitations of the self and walk bravely through them is the start of a life lived courageously.

The day you wake up and decide that you want to stop drinking is the day your courage drives you. When you admit to yourself that something is not right with your life, you are being brave. When you look up from your smallness and look around, you see others struggling too. You see that if you climb out of this quagmire, you can help them too. I come from a drinking family and I can hardly bear to see now how people’s drinking affects their children.

If you need professional help when you decide to quit, get it. It makes you even more courageous to reach out and find that help. “Asking for help takes courage … If you have the courage to relentlessly pursue sobriety, your life will infinitely grow.”

Ernest Hemingway said that “courage is grace under pressure” and Christopher Reeve said that either you “decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.”

What do you think? Do you have courage inside you? How many day ones have you had? Why? Do you believe in yourself? Have you ever looked at yourself from a distance and noticed your strengths? Did you know that you have so much to offer society? Why are you here? Is it to drink?

Making Changes Takes Courage

When you start to learn about the addictive brain and why some people drink, take drugs, smoke, gamble, shop, eat sugar, and more you start to realise that our bodies are ruled by hormones and chemicals.

Before modern times, people were surviving – they were only concerned about basic human needs: food, water, shelter, sex, social connection. The invention of money changed all of that! Now we all work for money and the earth is being plundered for money. WHY?

We drink to escape and as Johann Hari notes,  “What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief – for our own lives not being as they should? What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost, yet still need?

There is a stigma attached to people who are addicted to anything. And many people have an opinion that addiction shows a lack of courage. What do YOU think? Addiction is a complex issue. Much of society’s addiction problems stem from childhood trauma. If you have experienced childhood trauma, it is a good idea to investigate this and seek help.

The truth is that any kind of life change is scary – whether you’re an addict or not. The comfort and familiarity of the way it has been makes it challenging and intimidating to step into a new life.  Sometimes, even though one’s old way of life is hard, it’s common for a person to stay in the difficulty of their old life out of fear of making a change. The fear of what it might be like, the fear of losing a part of you, and the fear of not being able to make it can easily keep someone stuck in the cycle of addiction.”

Dr Gabor Mate suffered deep trauma as a child and has recognised that “it’s not what happens to you externally that defines the trauma but what happens internally to you as a result of it.”

That pain and wounding can happen when a little infant is not picked up when they’re crying. That child experiences a wound, and there will be a corresponding constriction in the psyche and in the self. There will also be compensatory mechanisms to prevent that pain from happening again. Those mechanisms could be trying to be pleasant and nice to others while ignoring one’s own feelings, or it could be trying to soothe oneself through various behaviors. Kids may rock themselves or suck their thumbs or masturbate or overeat and then, later on, may use drugs. With those compensations, one is either trying to make oneself more acceptable to others by constricting one’s own self-expression or trying to soothe the pain when it becomes too much. Either way, it’s a pathology.

Pathology is disease and most of society suffers from dis-ease. I believe that. Dis-ease goes hand in hand with addiction. What do you think about all of this?

But let’s get back to our theme of courage. Do you have courage? Are you willing to make changes to your life? Connect with us and send me a mail about your dreams and goals.

Get your free Pdf here when you click on the image:

 

 

 

 

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

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).

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 read our latest podcasts:

Click on the dog to get our latest pdf from Janet.

Read my blogs when you click on the image below:

 

 

                

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.

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).

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. 

Get your free pdf on The Stages of Change when you click on this image:

Join our Tribe – click on this image:

Click on this image for more of my blogs…

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.

Check out our Courses – Kickstart online , Zoom Private or Group – you can get more info! 

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. 

 

 

Email Janet for your free Pdf – click on this image:

 

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