How to Rock an Alcohol-Free Life with Janey Lee Grace

Episode 162 April 24, 2024 00:55:33
How to Rock an Alcohol-Free Life with Janey Lee Grace
Alcohol Tipping Point
How to Rock an Alcohol-Free Life with Janey Lee Grace

Apr 24 2024 | 00:55:33

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Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

Janey Lee Grace is an author, sober coach, founder of The Sober Club and host of the podcast Alcohol Free Life. She has a very colorful background life including singing with George Michael, having a top singles pop hit, and co-hosting on BBC Radio 2 for 23 years. She has written five books on Holistic living including the #1 Amazon best seller ‘Imperfectly Natural Woman’. In 2018 she quit drinking for ‘Dry January’ and never looked back. 

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Find Janey: @janeyleegrace https://www.thesoberclub.com/  

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: Welcome to the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. I'm your host, Deb Masner. I'm a registered nurse, health coach, and alcohol free badass. I have found that there's more than one way to address drinking. If you've ever asked yourself if drinking is taking more than it's giving, or if you found that you're drinking more than usual, you may have reached your own alcohol tipping point. The alcohol tipping point is a podcast for you to find tips, tools, and thoughts to change your drinking. Whether you're ready to quit forever or a week, this is the place for you. You are not stuck and you can change. Let's get started. [00:00:44] Speaker B: Welcome. [00:00:45] Speaker A: Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate you. I want to take a sec to invite you to the next alcoholiday. It's a monthly dry group where I help people practice not drinking. This is for you. If you feel like you're struggling, if you feel like you're stuck, if you feel like you're broken, you're never going to get it. I want to just support you and arm you with lots of different tools to battle cravings. Work on your thinking about drinking. Be more kind and compassionate to yourself as you're doing this. You know, drinking is a habit and it's probably something you've done for years or decades. Even so, it takes a while to unwind. And that's why I'm so passionate about focusing on practicing, not drinking, working on progress, not perfection. I love the saying focus on the direction, not perfection. And I think it's important just to have these types of groups, programs that just give you a safe place that has no shame, no judgment. A safe place where you can just learn new tools and just start unwinding the habit so that it gets easier and easier for you to drink less or not at all. I would love to have you join the next alcoholiday. It starts the first of every month. As a podcast listener, you always get 20% off by using the code love love and it is hosted on a private platform. It is a HIPAA protected platform. It's really important to me as a nurse just to have privacy and a safe place for you. And what you get is daily emails, lessons, accountability. You get lots and lots of tools to battle cravings. You get a really detailed guidebook journal to help you out during those 30 days, 31 days, whatever the length of the month is. And then you get downloadable audio meditations. Just something to go to when you're feeling a craving. We also do weekly group chats, weekly group support calls led by me and another sober coach twice a week. And then there's also a private chat where you can just share with others, support others, and it's just a great place to practice not drinking. The cost is $89 us dollars. That is so it's less than $3 a day. Plus use that lov code to get your discount. And just a little background on me. I have been a registered nurse for 20 years. I'm a board certified health coach. I'm a smart recovery certified facilitator, an addiction certified mental health professional. I'm a mindfulness instructor. And then you all know I like to call myself an alcohol free badass. I've been alcohol free for almost four and a half years now, so I would love to see you in the next group. You can sign [email protected] alcoholiday and join there. I also will link it in my show notes. Wherever you are with your drinking journey, just know that I am rooting for you, that you are not broken and you can change. Thanks so much. Welcome back to the alcohol tipping point. On the show today is Janie Lee Grace. She is an author, sober coach, founder of the Sober Club and host of the podcast Alcohol Free Life. In 2018, she quit drinking for dry January and she never looked back. And that's just a little bit about Janie Lee and in this sober world. But she has a really colorful background life that I hope that we can get into, including singing with George Michael for wham and being on BBC Radio two for 23 years, one of the UK's biggest radio shows she was on. So welcome to the show, Janie. Thank you so much for being here. [00:05:05] Speaker B: Oh, thank you. I really appreciate it. It's great fun to chat to you. [00:05:09] Speaker A: Well, I would love to hear more about you because you've had quite a career, quite a colorful background, like I was saying. And I just want to hear a little bit more about you, especially for our listeners who might not be as familiar with your background. [00:05:25] Speaker B: Yeah, sure. So yes, as you said, for many years I was a singer, session singer, and did all the tours with Wham, which was fantastic fun, including China, which was really amazing. And then I had my own five minutes of fame as well with number eight top ten hits. That was good fun. So I had my kind of pop star days as it were, trying to be a pop star and then sort of moved into radio. So I was still doing some singing, but I started to work in radio. Absolutely loved presenting in radio. It's very addictive, as you probably know, as a podcast host. So that was very much a big part of my life. I was with radio two for 24 years. In fact, it's incredible. But then also across that period of time, I wrote my. A series of books. So my first book came out, gosh, 17 years ago, and it was called imperfectly natural Woman. And I sometimes look back and think, I'm very grateful that I thought of that title, because I'm definitely imperfect, not least because although I was, I became quite well known for holistic living for, you know, talking about organic food and skincare without chemicals and wearing sustainable fabrics, and just about everything you can think of that is holistic. I was the person downing a bottle of wine a night, pretty much. But that, for me, just sort of fitted my imperfectly natural piece, and I just thought that of it as entirely normal. So, yeah, there's a little bit of history. And the drinking piece, as I say, I was never at rock bottom. So I make it very clear, that lovely expression, I was high bottomed. Oh, how I wish. But I was. The term that's typically used now is gray area drinker, as Jolene park used that phrase in her TEDx talk. And then in my TEDx talk, I said, there are at least 50 shades of grey and none of them sexy. And that's where I was. I was a gray area drinker for so many years, you know, waking up at 03:00 a.m. And thinking, what the hell is going on here? This doesn't fit with who you're meant to be. I'll shut up now. That was a very long answer. [00:07:41] Speaker A: Oh, I mean, so when did you start drinking? You know, it sounds like it was just kind of part of your life. And when you think back to it, like, how did it begin? And then when did you realize that it was no longer serving you? [00:07:58] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, I started when I was probably kind of at uni University. I'm quite grateful that back then I don't. I wasn't drinking too much. I think I was really very afraid of being out of control. People have often said to me, oh, you're in the music industry, you know, so you must have been doing loads of, you know, it must have been all sex and drugs and rock and roll. And actually, it really wasn't for me because largely because I. I was very alone. I didn't really have supportive parents or any kind of a safety net, so I was genuinely afraid of losing control. I remember thinking, oh, my goodness, you know, I mean, I saw a lot of destruction going on around me. But I remember thinking, if I. If I go down that slippery slope, I haven't got anyone to kind of catch me. So I think that was the reason. I mean, it's not the best reason, but now I'm grateful for it, that I. That I didn't ever start taking drugs and I didn't drink too much. I, you know, I would have the occasional. The occasional drink, but it really wasn't very much back in the day. So what's interesting is I got through all the kind of touring days and the music biz days without. Without drinking too much. When it ramped up was when I had my children. When I had my kids late, and my first child is. My first son is 25. And it was when he was born that, well, his brother came along very quickly. So within 18 months, I had two babies and. Or certainly within sort of 20 months, you know, and that's when the drinking ramped up, because suddenly we had an unbelievably busy life. Just ridiculous. I was still, you know, working six days a week at the radio station, five days a week on the radio, and one day a week and on tv. I was still, you know, writing and doing my stuff around holistic living. And there seemed to be this. This network of people who had the answer, you know, you could go to a. Take your kids to a, I don't know, a little playdate, and there was a whole group of mums down in the booth, you know, so I really did become part of that mummy wine culture. And then we moved house and was living literally around the corner from a deli. And that became my. What I thought of as my self care. So if I got a moment to myself and someone was looking after the children, I would think, oh, thank goodness. I can feel grown up for an hour, you know, so I'd take myself off to this deli with a book, thinking that that was my self care. And that's when it really ramped up and went on like that for a good number of years. And I see it all the time. I see it even now. You know, mothers are just, you know, that kind of mummy wine culture. It's just so unbelievably invasive, that terrible idea that, you know, in fact, isn't there that expression, you know, baby on the hips, wine on the lips? God, I mean, you can't think of anything worse. But that's. I was absolutely part of that, you know, when went on for a long time. [00:11:15] Speaker A: And I can relate to that a lot. I was part of that, too. And my drinking got worse when my kids were young and just trying to manage it all. And just culturally, I think that that must have been like, what, early two thousands, mid two thousands. It just seemed to be socially acceptable. Playdates and wine. We were making jokes and memes about it, and I thought of it as my treat, too, and my way to escape. And I'm out. And also similar to you. So. Excuse me. I was really concerned with my health. You know, I'm a registered nurse. I was working in a wellness department. I was doing all the things, all the exercise and the eating right. It was just this one little thing, drinking, and it was almost like I was overcompensating in these other areas, fitness, food, health, to justify my drinking. [00:12:26] Speaker B: Yeah, that really resonates. I mean, you know, I'm grateful that I was eating well and taking all the right supplements. Otherwise, goodness knows what would have happened. You know, I'm really grateful for that because, God, I really was putting away a lot of booze. But, yes, it's just bizarre, really. Now I think back that. And it just shows how. How society teaches us, you know, that this is what people do. This is the normal thing to do. This is a treat. Because I was so, or at least I thought I was so conscious of well being and holistic living. And I really thought that I was ticking all of the boxes and telling other people what to do, by the way, which I'm ashamed of now I think about it, right? Because literally I was stepping around this elephant in the room, this huge elephant that was alcohol. It just wasn't looking at it for many years. I really did not even notice it. And then when I did start to notice it, it became this kind of awful secret. It was literally between me and my thoughts, like, what was going on here? Because I didn't know anyone else that had a problem. I mean, of course I knew of people who were clinically dependent and needed rehabilitation. That's completely different. I knew I didn't fit that picture. So I didn't know a single person who had ever, you know, expressed any of the stuff that was happening to me. Now, I now realize that the majority of the other mothers probably felt the same way, but they weren't going to share it either. And this is what I think is so important about the work that we're doing now. You know, we need to raise awareness that this is, there are so many of us, you know, who are over drinking and. And it's not, you know, it's absolutely not okay, but you aren't the only one. I really thought I was the only person. And then, of course, that got sort of underlined even more when I. When I did eventually reach out a little bit for help, very tentatively, you know, I would go and have a massage, or I'd go and have some energy healing. I remember going for energy healing and, you know, and got on really well with the therapist. And so they'd say, oh, you know, is everything okay? And if I felt comfortable, you know, I'd say, well, actually, there's something else. You know, if I'm. I'm just going to share with you that I'm a bit worried, but I'm drinking too much. And, you know, I'm kind of waking up and 03:00 a.m. And I'm a bit worried about it. And the answer would always be, oh, well, you know, just have a glass of water, have an alcohol free day every now and then. I mean, like, I hadn't thought of that. You know, and it sounds really normal. And the GP would say that, too. On the very rare occasion that I was brave enough to, you know, I'd go for something else. I went for a vitamin D test once, and on the way out, you know, I mentioned, actually, can I just ask you something else? And I'm worried about my drinking. And, God, when I think back now, you know, the, I'm not expecting those therapists or the GPS to have necessarily stopped drinking themselves. That's not the, you know, that's not necessarily very realistic, but what they should have done is recognize that it was a cry for help, you know, and it was actually took a lot for me to be brave enough to share. That really took a lot. And so what all they needed to do was say to me, well, well done, you for noticing that. And let me point you in the direction of, you know, somewhere that might be able to support you. That's what I needed to hear. Not, oh, you're perfectly fine, because what that did was kept me stuck for another five, six years. [00:16:06] Speaker A: Oh, my gosh, I'm just, like, nodding along like a little bobbing doll because I had similar experiences, too, and I've heard again and again, people sharing similar experiences, and I'm sure you have, too. In all the work you do where, you know, it's like you're checking all the boxes, like, oh, you're still married, check. You have your working, check your, you know, all this stuff, like, oh, you're fine. And it just kind of gets brushed away. Whereas, you know, if you were telling your doctor that you were smoking too much, it would be like. And you were concerned they would offer you help, they would encourage you, they would, you know, it's just. Oh, it's so interesting. [00:16:50] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah, it is. It's, you know, it's this. That phrase, isn't it, that alcohol is the only drug we have to, you know, justify not taking. It's literally, so invasive within our culture. And, you know, the medical profession is the worst blessing. So then how. [00:17:08] Speaker A: How did you get to the point where you were, you know, got help or unwound the habit? [00:17:15] Speaker B: Yeah, so I. I tried a few times. I did some stop for a little while and then went back. And that happened a few times. And then the final. The final time, I. Because I was a presenter on BBC Radio Two, we often interviewed celebrities and authors. And just before Christmas 2017, I was given a book to read over the. Over the Christmas break. Now, that never happens because if you're an interviewer on radio, you get someone's book the night before. If you're lucky, you might not even get it till the day. So to be given two weeks to read a book, because it was. The holiday, was really unusual. So the producer sort of said to me, oh, here you go, you know, you've got two weeks to read this one. We're interviewing the author in January. And I looked at the book and it was the sober diaries by Claire Pooley. And I looked at the title and in that. In that moment, I knew. I just knew that was going to be it. So, of course, I didn't even start reading the book till after Christmas. I didn't want to ruin my Christmas. So I got, you know, a very boozy Christmas out of the way and then started reading this book on Boxing Day. And it was so relatable. That was the very first time that I had ever, ever come across someone else just like me. Not at rock bottom, not going to be going anywhere near aa, not believing they have a disease, you know, just. Just caught in the trap, caught in the habit. And life felt impossible without it. Busy mum, you know, playdates, drinking, the whole. The whole shebang. And. And she explained, you know, exactly what happened to her and she quit. And then life got better. And I had never considered that life could get better. You know, I'd. I had this kind of vague possible hope that maybe I could survive, you know, survive not drinking, somehow grit my teeth, hang on for dear life, change my personality. But I'd never considered that there were other people, normal people, just like me. And so it was, it was just a game changer. It was an absolute game changer. And so I stopped on New Year's Eve, the day before New Year's Eve, actually, 30 December. I didn't tell anybody. I just offered to drive to a New Year's Eve party. And then I got some alcohol free drinks so that if my family were having a drink, I would just pour myself something else. I didn't tell anybody. I now find that bit very interesting because I realized that what was going on was shame. Because as soon as I was realizing just how bad I'd allowed myself to get, I felt such unbelievable shame that I really didn't want to speak about it at all. But anyway, I didn't tell anybody until Claire Pooley came into the show on the 4 January. And I told her, I said, you know, I've stopped. I'm going to do dry January, you know, just in your honor. And she was just so lovely and gave me a big hug and said, oh, he's fantastic, and I'm so pleased. And here's my email address. You can. You can email me. And that was it. That was literally it. It was the, it was the fact that I'd been, I'd been allowed to be. To have a glimpse of a better life without alcohol. And that's what. That's the piece that is so often missing. People talk about wanting to quit. They talk about needing to quit. The amount of people you hear say, oh, my God, I can't carry on like this. My partner will leave me. This will happen. That will happen. It's all, it's that sort of desperate feeling of, I've got to stop something. I've got to feel, you know, like I'm deprived. I've got to deprive myself of something that everyone else is lucky enough to be able to do, but not, poor me, I can't do this, you know? And that was my perception. And suddenly it was all flipped on its head and I was able to see. I was able to just catch a glimpse of the fact that, hold on a minute, you know, I'm going to get to a point where I don't even desire this. How exciting is that? And, you know, it was tough for the first few months because you have to feel the feels and, you know, and face the emotions, and it was really tough. But, yeah, thank goodness that was the last day one, so nearly six and a half years. [00:21:38] Speaker A: Well, congratulations. I have to say that the sober Diaries by Claire Pooley is one of my favorite books, too, for Quitlet, and it's been neat to see her go on and write fiction. [00:21:51] Speaker B: I know her novels are fantastic. They really are amazing. Yeah. Yeah. I interviewed her for my podcast, and she did a live, a live show with us as well. And it was just great because it's really interesting when Claire shares a lot about the therapeutic benefits of writing, you know? And of course, she. She wrote the sober diaries purely as a blog because she didn't want to tell anyone else. So she just literally wrote it down. And, you know, if you're early stages, it really, it really can be very therapeutic just to write for yourself. Just a journal, you know, you don't have to publish it. [00:22:25] Speaker A: Yeah, I agree. And then, because you were in the public eye, you had this radio show. So did you then start to talk about being alcohol free? Like, how did you make the transition to where you are now, which is a sober coach, and you're founder of the Sober club, and you have your podcast, alcohol free life. So how did you get to this? [00:22:49] Speaker B: Yeah, well, that's interesting in the sense that for the first, at least, I think it's about six, seven months. I. I really barely told anyone. I didn't tell anyone at all other than Claire for three months. That's the actual truth. I mean, I guess my family probably guessed because there were piles of quitlet arriving through the door. I remember my sons buying me a couple of bottles of wine for mother's day, and I just had to take myself off and cry because I just, you know, I. I couldn't tell them, and I felt so ashamed that they thought that was the perfect gift, you know, of course, it would have been every other year, but. But, you know, I really. I really had to just work through this, and it wasn't something I could share with anybody else. I now realize, looking back, that I could so have used some great support and connection. It would have been brilliant for me, but at the time, I didn't have it. And again, I'm kind of grateful because it's. It's made me a better coach because I'm now able to see a lot of the things that I didn't do that I wish I had. So the first few months were tough, but I did, after about four months, manage to get connected with club soda, who now, of course, have an alcohol free bar in London. At the time they were hosting events. I went along to a mindful drinking festival and just thought, oh, my goodness, I can't believe it. Look, at these people. This is amazing. So I started to kind of make some connections, and that started to feel. Everything just starts to feel much more possible. And then when I was about eight months sober, I don't know what flipped the switch, but somehow, suddenly, I kind of thought, right, wait a minute. I can keep these two worlds completely separate so I can carry on with the stuff I, you know, with. With the work that I do with holistic living. I was writing blog posts. My book would had been a number one Amazon bestseller, and I'd written several other books. And obviously I was on the radio speaking about holistic living. Sometimes it was very much part of who I was. So I figured I can carry on talking about all of that, but never mention the sobriety piece. And then something must have clicked in my brain. I was, hold on a minute. Isn't that the exact problem that you had, stepping around the elephant in the room? Maybe you do have to bring it all together. So I, you know, I kind of realized, hold on. You know, ditching the booze was the missing piece of the holistic living jigsaw for me. So, of course I have to talk about it. Of course I have to share it. So I went on YouTube and did a very shaky kind of coming out video, which is probably still there when I was so nervous. So nervous. And I figured, well, maybe nobody will watch it, so it doesn't matter, but I'll record it anyway, and I'll just share the truth of what's happened to me. And I did. And amazingly, you know, the sky didn't fall in. And so I figured, well, this is okay then. And then I applied to do a TEDx talk sometime a little bit later. And so things just started to happen. I got accepted for the TEDx talk, so I knew I was going to be doing that. Then I got to interview a few people, like Claire at a mindful drinking festival. And then from that, I figured, you know what? I'll start a podcast. And again, it really doesn't matter if nobody listens, but I've got access to some great people by then. The podcasts that I'd been listening to, I'd kind of run out of episodes. So I figured I'd better start my own. So I started the podcast, and then a few months after that, did the TEDx talk, which was called sobriety Rocks. Who knew? And actually, it was at the TEDx talk event that I. I realized that there was, again, still so many people who hadn't, who, you know, were just like me. They didn't know that there was this whole world out there, and where could they go when they. When they found that there were. There was some. You know, there was other pieces to this. Where could they go? And that's when I decided to start the sober club. So, yeah, all of it took some time, but it kind of brought me back to where I started, which was trying to be holistic. You have to kind of bring it all together. [00:27:07] Speaker A: Oh, lovely. Yeah. And I think that, you know, the connection, the community, because, like, you were saying, you felt like you were so alone. And I remember feeling that way, too. I was like, I felt so alone. And that's why I wanted to start what I'm doing, too. Like, I just want people to know, like, you're okay. There's nothing wrong with you. You're not broken. Like, you just have become, you know, this has become a habit. You've become addicted to this addictive substance. [00:27:41] Speaker B: Yeah, exactly that. [00:27:42] Speaker A: Yeah. Well, I would love to hear some of your top tips. If someone is looking either to drink less or quit altogether, what are your top tips? [00:27:54] Speaker B: Well, I think the first thing is to just ask yourself the important question, which is not, am I drinking too much? The question is, could my life be better, physically and emotionally without alcohol? And, you know, there may be people who go, no, I'm good. You know, I have one sherry every Christmas and a shandy in the summer, and once, and that's it, I'm good. In which case, fine, we don't need to campaign for prohibition. But if you ask that question of yourself and a little voice says, yes, I absolutely know my life would be better without alcohol, for whatever reason, you know, I know that I would have more clarity. I know that I would function better. I know I'd be a better parent, a better partner, a better, you know, better, more creative. I know I'd have more time. I know my health conditions would be, if the answer to any of those things is, well, yes, then you absolutely can give yourself the best gift ever and see it as that, you know, so set yourself a challenge. Don't. Don't tell yourself, I'm going to do this forever, because forever feels too big and your unconscious mind won't be able to cope with that. So just simply say, I'm going to do a challenge and set yourself challenge. Ideally, do 100 days, because then you're going to see some benefits, but minimum 30 days. And then in those 30 days, there's a few things that will help this be a success. And number one is never use the phrase giving up. I won't allow anyone to ever say giving up. And every time you do, you've got to catch yourself and change it. You can use the phrase quitting alcohol or ditching the booze or, or stopping drinking or whatever you want, but not giving up, because the more you say the word giving up, you're fueling that bit of your unconscious mind that feels deprived, like, oh, I'm having to give something up. No, you're not. You know, you're really not. You're only gaining. So number one is to keep reminding yourself, there's nothing to give up here. I'm only gaining. And then you focus only on what you're gaining and what you're adding in. So rather than focusing on what you're not doing, you focus on what you are doing. And that has to include really good nutrition. And this is a part that lots of people miss out, you know, but I've done a lot of study on this and I now really know that having really good nutrition in those early weeks can make a huge difference to whether you succeed, because your brain chemistry is all out of whack. So in order to help that along, you've really got to eat well. When you stop drinking, it is not the time to be thinking, oh, I think I'll drop a few pounds and stop eating as well. Absolutely not. So it really becomes about self care. So that, you know, that first 90 days or 30 days, if that's all you can do, you need to be focusing fully on the self care. So how can I really take care of myself and support myself for this period of time? You know, maybe you can't do that extreme self care forever, but, you know, you can do it for 30 days. You can buy yourself really good food and great snacks and make yourself fresh juices and take yourself off somewhere nice for a walk and, you know, buy yourself a little bunch of flowers or, you know, it's lots and lots and lots of little things that you probably haven't done for yourself in years, if ever. Because when you're drinking, you know, drinking really is self harming. We think it's our treat, but it isn't. It's really self harming. So you tend to find you've got a bit more time on your hands. So you can ask yourself, you know, what did I used to enjoy when I was a kid? Or what can I go and do to do something different? Have some fun? You know, the times when you used to just sit about drinking, you know, do something different, go roller skating or whatever, you know, but it's about that focusing on that self care and focusing on what you're adding in. So that would be the first couple of tips, and then the next one would be, get connected. Because doing this on your own is, it isn't really on your own. It's you and the voice in your head. You might want to call that the wine witch or the beer beast or everyone call it, but when it is just you and the voice in your head, unfortunately, what happens is you have a day that's not so good or a phone call that upsets you or, I don't know, it can be anything. Life happens, right? Some kind of curveball comes flying in and the voice in your head says, oh, well, that was really awful. And so to support you, you deserve a drink now. And I know you're meant to not be drinking, but, you know, you've done really well, so you can just have one. You've proved that you're not an alcoholic, and so why don't you just have one? Because you really deserve it and there's nobody judging you. It really doesn't matter. You can just have one and it's absolutely fine. And you've got this noun and on and on and on. And that's how the, the voice in the head takes over. And before you know it, you're reaching for a drink and you're back, straight back down the slippery slope. So when you get connected, when you get some kind of level of accountability, number one, you have the support and the encouragement of like minded people. You can read their stories, you can, you can ask them questions, you can, you can cheerlead them on their successes, but also, you know that they're doing the same for you. And one little bit of you will, will definitely have the thought, oh, right. So if I do decide to drink again, oh, God, I've got to go and post on the group and tell them I've written. Oh, really? And there's that, you know, just delivers another layer of accountability. That might just be the thing that stops you doing this. Within the sober club, it's. It's absolutely amazing to see that people will come and they'll share a post. Sometimes it can be a long time down the line and they might come on the group and they might say, oh, I've been sober for eight months and, but it's my daughter's wedding next week and I've got all these thoughts going around my head about, should I raise a toast? I mean, they're having you know, they've got the best champagne, and I'm wondering whether it's going to look like it's a bit rude if I don't drink. And I feel as though I should. It's this long rambling, you know, all the thoughts that were inside her head, you know, so maybe it'd be okay just to have one drink and, you know, and what, what do you all think? And then, of course, one by one, the messages come back. Not in any way judgmental, just messages saying, you know, something, oh, man, I wish I'd been sober at my daughter's wedding. I wish I hadn't ended up in the gutter the way I did, you know, and people saying, oh, don't. Don't risk eight months because why would you do that? It's crazy. Just have some amazing alcohol free fears and just really enjoy the day and look forward to seeing you post here and just message after message after message. And then a week later, you know, the day after the daughter's wedding, there's a picture of her absolutely glowing, you know, saying, oh, my God, thank you. I had the best day. You know, I had some alcohol free fears. I danced all night. It was absolutely amazing. And yes, I was able to drive my sister home because she'd made a fool of herself. And I'm awake, fresh as a daisy, and everybody else is suffering, you know, and that's the benefit of having a community, of having connection, because without that, it's just you and the voice in your head. [00:35:47] Speaker A: That's such a good point. You know, going back to feeling alone, like having people who get it, like they get it, because not everyone gets it. And, you know, especially in our people close to us in our lives. Like, my husband doesn't get it. He's someone who can take it or leave it. [00:36:07] Speaker B: No, exactly. And that's often. You're right. And that's often the case. And I often tell my clients, because sometimes I'll ask clients, you know, are you connected? Have you thought about joining the sober club or another community? And often their answer will be, no. No, I don't need to. I'm so lucky. My partner is so supportive of me. Okay, well, that's really good, but what's going to happen when you roll in from work one day and you are furious and you're absolutely fed up and the wine witch is beating a path to the door and, you know, you walk in and you're exhausted and furious and fed up, you know, the lovely, supportive partner is very likely to say, oh, bless you. You've done so well. You can just have one. Come and have one with me, keep me company. They don't mean any harm. They really don't mean any harm. It's just. It's not their thing. They've not been there, done it, got the t shirt. And so I actually suggest in the early weeks, we don't say that much to close family because they're not on the same page, so we're much better saving that for the people that are alongside us on the journey. [00:37:12] Speaker A: Absolutely. And so you were talking about holistic, bringing that into sobriety. You talked about nutrition and focusing on nutrition. Can you kind of talk more about that and maybe some practical tools or things you would advise? [00:37:32] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, I think it's so key, and yet it's often overlooked because we think of those early weeks as a time when we're taking something away in inverted commas. And the danger then is if we're focused only on what we're not having. I mean, from a mindset perspective, you know, as I've already said, the unconscious mind starts to feel deprived, like, oh, where's my. Where's my treat? Where's my dopamine hit? But also from a purely physiological perspective, the brain chemistry is going to be out of whack, because you can imagine that what's going on inside your body is, you know, there's a little voice somewhere going, where's my dopamine hit? What's going on here? I don't seem to have had my serotonin shot, so everything is messed up. And rather than allow this to just take over till the craving becomes really powerful, by far the easiest way is to help yourself both physically and emotionally, feel satiated, feel satisfied, so that you're not craving something, so that you're not hungry, so that you're not desperate for sugar. And, I mean, I know the sweetness thing is a big one, so, you know, that that plays its part. And, you know, I do think to a certain extent, we have to cut ourselves a little bit of slack in the early weeks. And if you want some, you know, a bit of sugar, for goodness sake, have a bit of sugar, but do some healthier swaps if you can. You know, there are many ways of getting a sugar hit without it being, you know, too terrifying. You know, we can have some squares of dark chocolate with some almonds, or we can put some date. Putting dates in the freezer is a fantastic one because they taste a bit like truffles when they've been in the freezer, but the nutrition piece is key. And I would say for at least the first kind of four to six weeks, and we need to eat really well. And I'm. By that, I just mean proper food, you know, three meals a day, just real food. So no snacking? No, no, you know, not, not just kind of grabbing breakfast bar on the run. You've got to actually put a bit of time into this because if this is your self care project, you know, for a few weeks, you've got to think to yourself, right, well, how do I need to look after myself? And if you've been kind of rolling out of bed at 07:00 a.m. And literally, you know, running for the bus with a. With a coffee and a snack bar, it's not going to cut it and you're going to start to feel a bit fed up and it really is kind of physically and emotionally. So if necessary, you have to get up earlier so that you can make breakfast. You have to order. Order some food or ask, you know, whoever you can get to support you to do some shopping for you, because you've got to have real food and you do need protein and you do need good fats, preferably with every meal. So, you know, it's not forever, but for a period of time, you've got to really support that brain chemistry with proper food, proper nutrition and, you know, don't. I think it's important not to forget that food really can heal. Food isn't really an amazing healer and we tend to forget that. We think, oh, you know, I'll do a five two diet, you know, and I won't eat for 16 hours, 24. No, forget all of that. This is so much more important than you losing a pound. Right. It's not about that. This is about so much more. This is the most important thing you'll ever do for your health and well being. So give it everything, you know, give it everything. And by that I mean give it the time it needs for the planning, for the shopping, for the cooking of the meals, for the eating of the meals, for the, you know, enjoyment of good food and proper self care. [00:41:28] Speaker A: Yeah. And just nourishing your body and your mind. [00:41:32] Speaker B: Exactly that. Yeah. [00:41:33] Speaker A: Yeah. And I just think hunger, letting yourself get hungry, like hunger, low blood sugar, it mimics cravings for alcohol. So if you can set yourself up for biological success, then that's going to make it easier for your mind and your thinking. [00:41:53] Speaker B: Exactly. I regularly used to drink purely because I was hungry. I now don't realize, didn't you know, at the time, I didn't realize that. But, you know, there's that acronym, isn't there? So always check in. Is it actually that I am halt. I'm hungry, angry, lonely or tired. And so often it's just that you're hungry. A lot of mums will say, oh, well, you know, I really get a craving for alcohol when I'm making the kids tea, you know, and. But the problem is I don't really eat my, you know, my dinner till my husband comes home at 08:00 p.m. But I get such a craving for alcohol when I'm making the kids tea at 530. Well, no, you're probably just hungry, you know, change the. Change the plan. Eat with the kids, you know, even if it's only for a few weeks, change it up. It's not that you're craving alcohol that you don't need toxic liquid. Nobody does. What you need is food. So if you're hungry, eat. That's. That's the end of it, you know? And if you're angry, obviously go for a run or punch a cushion or whatever. If you're lonely, get, get connected. But if you're tired, have a nap. And so often it's those basics. [00:43:01] Speaker A: Yeah. And even just thirst. Like, address your thirst first. Like, drink a large eight ounce cup of water. [00:43:09] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:43:10] Speaker A: You know, a lot of times we're thirsty, and that makes us tired. [00:43:13] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And fresh juice is another one. If you can have a freshly squeezed juice, you know, if you. If you make a, you know, get that kind of dip in the middle of the day or the early evening or whatever, if you make a green juice, nobody, but nobody can drink alcohol after that. So it's a good one. [00:43:32] Speaker A: Juice is so interesting because when, when you were talking about, like, doing all the things when you were still drinking and you were eating right and exercising and all that, I remember I was like, oh, I could never drink juice. I would never just drink orange juice. That's too much sugar. But, yeah, I would drink, like, a bottle of wine. [00:43:55] Speaker B: Oh, no, absolutely. Totally. Yeah. [00:43:59] Speaker A: Yeah. Well, something else you talk about is the role of self esteem when we're making these changes. Can you elaborate on that? [00:44:11] Speaker B: Yeah, I think that most of us, I think that lack of self esteem, lack of self love, if you can, if you're brave enough to use that word, you know, it might feel too big a word for most people, but it underpins everything. It's almost always the. What underpins the other stuff. You know, we start drinking for a whole variety of reasons. It might be some kind of trauma that we're using alcohol to numb, whether that's trauma with a big t or trauma with a little t, or it might just be a habitual thing that we've fallen into. But whichever way around, it's very difficult to really understand self esteem, to have good self awareness, good self esteem, proper self love. If you're drinking alcohol, I really think it's hard, because ultimately, alcohol, it's poison, it's toxic. And drinking alcohol is really self harming. It really is. And, you know, I used to wonder why I couldn't, even though I was, on paper, queen of spirituality, and I used to. I was a hay house author. I used to get to. I did their radio show as well, and I used to get to interview all these amazing spiritual gurus and work with Louise Hay and all these incredible people. So there was nothing on paper that I didn't know about self love and meditation and spirituality. And yet, if you'd asked me about my own experience, my own practice, my own outworking, if you like, of self love. I love. I just laughed and said, well, oh, no, it's not. No, no, don't ask me about me. I'll tell you what you should do. And because the truth of it is, I could not focus on meditation or self love. I couldn't. I had no idea what self love meant for me. I thought that was something that everyone else could work on. I couldn't experience that. And at the time, I didn't realize why. And then when I stopped drinking, I realized the reason I couldn't access that part was because of that. The conscience. That was somewhere deep down trying to say to me, this isn't authentic. You know, that's why I was waking up at 03:00 a.m. Like, 03:00 a.m. The voice would say, what are you doing? What are you doing putting another bottle of alcohol in your head? When you're meant to be holistic, you're meant to care about your own health and well being. You're meant to be looking at, you know, organic food and eating well and supporting your well being and caring about your. Your mindset and your, you know, but you've just poured another bottle of really toxic liquid. What is going on? You're not authentic. So at some level, I knew, and that's why I couldn't sit down to meditate or focus on self love. I absolutely did not even like myself because I had this horrible secret. This horrible secret. That secretly I'm self harming. And so when you stop. When you stop that, it doesn't mean that you automatically, instantly go, oh, how fantastic. I love myself now. I'm great. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. Most of us go through a period of, if we're not careful, we can delve into, you know, sort of deep dive into absolute loathing, because we have to feel all the. Feels, right? We have to go, oh, my God. What. What was I doing for all those years? So, you know, we. There is a. There's work to be done, without a doubt. But we can come to the point of acceptance. We can't change what's happened in the past, but we can sure as heck start afresh, right? And we can. We can embrace all of who we are. And when we can do that authentically, you know, I still don't know that I'm the world's best at meditation. I still find it difficult sometimes, but I can show up. I can show up because I'm not full of shame the way I was. And that's one of the most incredible benefits of sobriety, is that freedom that you get back your authentic self. You get to know who you really are. And you know something? I've never met anybody who prefers themselves drunk. Right? I mean, sober people are just nicer, aren't they? They're just kinder. Wouldn't the world be better if more people were sober? Because sober people are kind because they've. They've. They've had. They've had to come through something, and they've got that sense of compassion. So that brings in the authenticity. And from that place, you can start to become. Well, I always recommend just become curious. You know, we know the word sober. Curious. I I like to bring in self love. Curious. Just become curious. It's not instant, unfortunately, it isn't that simple. But we can become curious about. About self esteem, about self love. [00:49:25] Speaker A: Thank you for sharing that. And it's something I really promote, just self kindness and self compassion as you are making a change, because it's so, so hard. And we can't shame ourselves into recovery. We can't hate ourselves to love. So just really working on that piece of the puzzle while you're changing your drinking, you know, and. And reminding yourself, too, like, what you beverage you drink has nothing to do with the value of you as a person. And I think we get caught up in it either way, whatever side we're on, you know, especially when we're changing our drinking, where we. We get where? Oh, well, if I'm sober, then I'm a good person. Then I'm worthy of love. And if I'm drinking, I'm bad, I'm awful. But it. That doesn't have anything to do with your value as a person, that you are enough just as is. Oh, that is, you know, I don't know. Somewhere along the line of when we were born and we were babies, you know, we never had to prove anything. But somewhere along the line, we've gotten to this place where we have to prove just existing, and you shouldn't have to do that. You're here, and you're enough just because you are, because you were born and letting all that other stuff go. [00:50:50] Speaker B: Yeah. I do think it's great that when people stop drinking, often they start on this journey of all the other bits of personal growth, and it's. It's. It's super exciting to see, you know, when people start to dig into all sorts of other things. And in the sober club, I love covering all kinds of things and members who kind of say to me, you know, a couple of years before I met you, I would never have considered going to a gong bath or having an angel card reading, what have you done to me? But the reality is, it doesn't matter what you do. That works for some people. You know, lots of people do different things, but once you stop drinking, you start to discover what you do enjoy. And some people find they become so much more creative, they discover a new sense of purpose. They discover they really do want to focus on spirituality or just whatever it is. And there's something really exciting about that. [00:51:46] Speaker A: Yeah. I have a friend who doesn't use the word recovery. She says discovery. [00:51:51] Speaker B: Yeah, exactly that. [00:51:54] Speaker A: Well, what would you say to someone who is struggling with their drinking and they're listening right now? [00:52:02] Speaker B: I would say if you take anything away from this, just take away a little glimpse of the excitement, you know, of just how that this is the thing for me. I wish someone had told me how fantastic life without alcohol is. Nobody ever said that. All they ever said was, oh, you know, well, just try having. Try just having one. Or, you know, you can limit it or to try, you know, in other words, oh, how can we help you to drink better, you know, than you are? Nobody. I never heard until I read Claire's book that life could be better. So grasp hold of that little carrot on the end of the stick, right. Just. Just catch sight of the possibility of a better life without alcohol, because you're just gonna have to trust me on this one. My only regret is not doing it sooner. So if you're hearing this now and a little voice is saying, oh, I wonder whether she's right. Well, I mean, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot, right? You've got absolutely nothing to lose. There is nothing to give up and everything to gain. So give it a go. But just put those pieces in place and get connected. [00:53:17] Speaker A: Yeah. Well, tell us what you offer and then how someone can find you. [00:53:24] Speaker B: Yeah, so I work as a coach, so I do work one to one with people. I also run the sober club, which is very low cost, amazing, high value, fantastic community, though I say so myself. And people can just find [email protected]. I write blog posts and stuff there as well, so you can just have a little look around if you don't want to join us straight away. There's also an online course included in that in the soberclub.com. So if you're right at the very beginning of your journey, it's great place to start. And you can find me on social media. Grace, that's kind of the name everywhere. And yeah, I still do my imperfectly natural stuff as well. So my website there is imperfectlynatural.com for all the holistic living pieces. Although they, you know, they do all, they do all come together. And I also train people to be holistic sober coaches. So that's another little hat that I wear. And of course, the podcast, quite, quite a lot there, isn't there? [00:54:20] Speaker A: Oh, that is wonderful. Well, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show and share your story and your gems that you have to offer. I really appreciate you and it was just lovely meeting you. [00:54:35] Speaker B: Yeah, it was great to chat to you. I think we've probably got some things in common, haven't we, on the sober journey? [00:54:41] Speaker A: Absolutely. Well, have a wonderful evening. [00:54:44] Speaker B: And you. Thank you. [00:54:48] Speaker A: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. Please share and review the show so you can help other people, too. I want you to know I'm always here for you, so please reach out and talk to me on instagram at alcoholtippingpoint and check out my website, alcoholtippingpoint.com, for free resources and help. No matter where you are on your drinking journey, I want to encourage you to just keep practicing, keep going. I promise you are not alone and you are worth it. Every day you practice not drinking is a day you can learn from. I hope you can use these tips we talked about for the rest of your week. And until then, talk to you next time.

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