Pride Without Pints: Ali Press’s Alcohol-Free Journey

Episode 168 June 05, 2024 00:49:53
Pride Without Pints: Ali Press’s Alcohol-Free Journey
Alcohol Tipping Point
Pride Without Pints: Ali Press’s Alcohol-Free Journey

Jun 05 2024 | 00:49:53

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Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

On today’s episode, I'm joined by Ali Press, a UK-based therapeutic coach. Ali embarked on their alcohol-free journey in 2017, a challenge they describe as the toughest yet most fulfilling endeavor of their life. As a proud member of the queer community who embraces they/them pronouns, Ali is here to share their story and discuss how they help people drink less, binge less, or go alcohol free. 

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Find Ali: https://alipress.uk/  

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Welcome to the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. I'm your host, Deb Maisner. 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. Welcome back to the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. On the show Today is Allie Press. Allie is a therapeutic coach from the UK, and Allie quit drinking in 2017 and credits quitting as being the single most difficult thing they have ever done, but also the single most rewarding. I can relate. Allie identifies as a queer person and uses the pronouns they them, and they are here to share their story and how they help people drink less, binge less, or go alcohol free. So welcome to the show, Allie. [00:01:18] Speaker B: Thank you. That was such a lovely, warm intro. Thanks, Deborah. It's lovely to meet you, and it's such a privilege to be here today with you. [00:01:27] Speaker A: It's lovely to meet you too. And I'm always delighted to have a conversation with someone from the UK because I adore your accent. [00:01:37] Speaker B: Thank you very much. [00:01:39] Speaker A: Well, can you just give a little intro about who you are and what you do and then we can just dive deeper into your story? [00:01:48] Speaker B: Sure. So, yeah, I'm Ali. I'm a midlife queer person living in London, in the UK, in south London. I'm seven years alcohol free now. Seven years in April, that sort of ping pie. So really happy about that. And what I do, I do like my work stuff. I am a trainee counselor. I finish my training this summer. So things are getting really like, oh, I don't know, it's. I've got to put a portfolio together and I've got all the documents and they're over here and they're over there, and I need to really drag them together into some kind of sense. And I also work as the coach, supporting people who want to change their drinking. Beside of that, I really enjoy hanging out in the garden with my cats. They are absolutely beautiful. Yes. Doing family things with the kids and gardening. It's just getting really, really lovely, springy here in the UK. So we've got lovely sunshine. It's finally gone nice and warm. Somebody's turned the rain off. And, yeah, those are the kind of things that I like to do, and that's a bit about who I am. [00:03:00] Speaker A: Lovely. Well, can you share about your experience with drinking? [00:03:06] Speaker B: Yeah. The way I try and put it now is that I spent the better part of 27 years drinking industrial quantities of alcohol. It was. It was fairly awful. I started probably at about 14. And one of the things I think behind that was just not really feeling like I fitted in and being a bit kind of socially awkward and a bit shy. And then alcohol being a bit disinhibitory was kind of one of the things that helped with that. But also one of the things I also noticed quite early on was how useful I'm going to put them, buddy, is alcohol is for numbing shit out that you don't, like, want to be hanging around in your head. And then that continued for a long, long time. So I was 41 when I finally got my shit together and got quitting, but that was actually my third attempt. One was in probably about 2021, maybe 20, another one at about 30, and then this latest one where I'm on my seven year alcohol free speak now, which just part of life. Yeah. So I was drinking a lot over that period, and I pretty much say, oh, yeah, I was trapped in this repeating daily nightmare that was entirely of biomaking, and I desperately didn't want to be there and be doing what I was doing, and yet I couldn't separate out that kind of compulsion to keep on doing it. Because even though during that time, I wake up in the morning feeling absolutely horrendous, hungover as hell and think, no, I've got to stop this. I cannot keep doing this. And then sort of like mid morning lunch time, I'm starting to think, you know, feeling a bit better. And then I just go home or maybe go out with friends or about my partner or something like that, start drinking, and then the whole thing would. Would start again and it was completely unsustainable. And none of it was really any fun. None of it was. I know there's like one of the stigmatizing ideas around problematic drinking and possibly problematic substance abuse generally, is that you're this kind of wild headedness and all you're really interested in is going out on the dash, getting pissed, having a great time. But that was not my experience at all. I pretty much knew shown the first drinks that I had on any given day. It was like pulling this massive, thick duvet up over my head. The world would get duller. And then I would just kind of carry on, carry on, carry on till bedtime. And as I sort of got closer to the end of that drinking experience, I was really, really struggling to manage that compulsion, because it was. I just had no control. I'd gone from having some control, little control, to absolutely none. And it was frightening, really frightening, because I'd had two previous quitting attempts, like the one in my twenties. Even then, people had been saying to me when I was maybe 17 or so that I had a problem with alcohol. And, you know, my defensive went straight up there, we're not having any. This nonsense. And it was deflect, deflect, deflect. But it got to the point where I really was taking stock of what I was doing, and I quit. And I lasted probably about three months on that occasion. Three months of feeling, like, better and better, kind of, as it goes. And I was working in a pub just around the corner from where I lived. I was still a student at the time. And there was this. This one guy in there who kept saying, transit drink, transit drink, how I say for drink after she fancied drink. And my answer to always, no. No. But this. This guy wasn't able to take no for an answer. And that was like, whoo. Straight back down the slope into, like, awful land. And then the second time, I was maybe 31, at a point where I was really starting to feel like I couldn't do this anymore. I couldn't continue with what I was doing. I went to see my GP. I was a doctor, and he was shocked, but super, super helpful. I ended up doing home detox. He referred me to a counselor at my local doctor's surgery. She was wonderful. Like, there I was feeling like an absolute mess, full of the. Shameful of the stigma, full of all horrible, like, where I've got to, what the hell am I doing here? And she was absolutely lovely. Really accepting, really warm, really compassionate. And again, that was like a sort of a three month stint. I managed to stay off it then, but, yeah, once I went back thinking I was fixed. We'll put that in the ears as well. Oh, my God, was I wrong? And again, within next to no time at all, I'm back to where I was before. Like, it's almost like going down the drop on a roller coaster. Bosch. There you are, back where you started. And, yeah, I lost pretty much another decade of my life. I was still working. I was still in relationships. I was doing all the kind of regular life things, but through this complete haze of either being hungover as hell, or being pissed out my brains. It's sort of like that was maybe an evening thing. And then as I was, yeah, 40, going through my forties, I knew how much worse things were getting for me around my drinking. There was an awful lot more hiding it going on. There was the acceptable kind that I was doing in front of other people. And then the stuff that I was leaking off to do when I went upstairs to check my emails and stupid stuff like that. But I felt really trapped because on the one hand, I knew how dangerous going cold turkey was going to be. The chances of seizures and all of the other stuff that come with that and some of those withdrawals that I went through around that time were pretty awful. And then on the other hand, the amount I was drinking was also giving me these really, really horrible experiences. I was struggling with sleep apnea, for instance. I'd wake up in the night gasping for breath, terrified, because I didn't know if I could just nearly died, or I'm about to nearly die till I sort of managed to get my breath back again. So whichever way I look to do, I seem fairly fucked, because over here, if I carry on drinking like I do, the quantities are going to get me over here, if I quit in the, like, the cold turkey way, that might get me. But I was also absolutely riddled with shame and anxiety and I didn't want people to know where I was at with it. I didn't want people to know how bad I got. And I didn't know anybody who'd quit. I didn't know anybody who'd been in a similar place to where I'd been and come out the other side. I was having a great time of it. I just didn't know that. I thought life was destined to be fairly awful. I quit. So I just felt absolutely trapped with where I'd got to with it. [00:11:42] Speaker A: Yeah. And that shame just keeps us stuck and it's so, you know, hard to overcome. Well, how did you make it stick this last time? [00:11:56] Speaker B: I used to have my hair cut at this barber shop in Hackney, which is in east London. It's fairly small sort of place and I knew the woman that ran it quite well. And in there they had these flyers for this group called Queers without ears. So I would sit there, like on the bench waiting and I'd be eyeing up these. These flyers that were next to me. But I daren't pick one up because just by the mere fact that I did that, everybody would know what a massive, massive problem I had. And there was never. There was next to nobody ever in this shop. It was quite small. So the day that I finally picked one up, there was Clara, who was cutting somebody's hair, customer who was having their hair cut, and me. So I quickly grabbed one of these and I shoved it in my bag. I took it home and I read it. I found the queers without beers group. I found a parent organization, Club soda. I joined their Facebook group. I started one of their courses, which was like an eight week how to moderate your drinking thing. And in that community, that's where I found all the others. All the other people who were just like me that I previously, like, hadn't. Like, I knew. I knew people existed, but I had no idea where they all were. And I can only really, like, liken it to being the only queer person in the city. If you're living a bunch, in a bunch of sort of heteronormative spaces with heterosexual people, and you've got absolutely no idea, like, where. Where you're coming from, you feel so different and out there and unlike the others, and then all of a sudden, one day, you find the building where all the other people are hanging out. You're like, this is it. This is me. This is where I belong. These people are my people. That was. Yeah, that was like the game changer for me, finding the other people who'd been, like, somewhere near where I'd had. All our stories are different because we're all different, but there they all were. And that's where I found my role models, the people who had quit and were having these amazing lives as a result of having done that. And it totally changed my perception that quitting drinking would mean the rest of my life would be double grey, long and boring. I really thought I was going to be, like, really on the outside of life because who's going to invite me to a party if I don't drink? But they still happen. People are considered boring if you don't drink and all this kind of thing. But I knew I had to do something. And then there were all these people who were absolutely having great lies just with no alcohol. It's not that they were doing wild partying or things like that, but they had all, like, their shit together. They had ducks in a row, and they weren't relying on alcohol in this kind of place that I had been, and perhaps they had been too. And it was through them that I learned what I needed to learn. And when I started putting that into practice, with this huge amount of support underneath me, it was life changing. [00:15:14] Speaker A: Well, that's wonderful. And I agree. Finding other people who get it and get you and that community, that connection, because, I mean, I remember feeling so alone as well. I felt like I must be the only person that has this problem. [00:15:35] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:15:35] Speaker A: And finally, for me, it was finding people online, part of Annie Grace's community. She wrote this naked mind. I'm sure you're familiar with the first. [00:15:49] Speaker B: Like, you know, like, sober lit kind of book, quick book that I read, and I was like, oh, this makes so much sense. [00:15:58] Speaker A: Oh, yeah. I mean, like you said, like a game changer. And so it was club soda, and then within club soda was this other group called Queers without Beers. [00:16:11] Speaker B: Yes. [00:16:12] Speaker A: Oh, that's funny. I like that. [00:16:15] Speaker B: It's a little name. [00:16:18] Speaker A: Yeah. That is awesome. So that was kind of the secret sauce for you to get to the point where you could be done with drinking. [00:16:28] Speaker B: Yeah, totally. It took me another six months after joining the groups to. To really get. Yeah. To get done with alcohol. And it was really a process of, try this, try this, try it again, do it again, repeat. And then my. My days. That would be like, from one day, and then I got to three days and then back because, oh, I'm fixed again. Of course I'm not fixed. I was never fixed. And these. These periods of sobriety were getting longer. And I think probably my longest in that time was around about three weeks. That was just coming up to the, like, the last time I slipped. So this three week, kind of like being alcohol free, things were starting to get better. I was feeling better, and then I was. Yeah, I succumbed to a lunchtime glass of wine, thinking, this is fine. But obviously it wasn't. And what I noticed was that every time I slept, things seemed to be getting worse. That was probably one of the most horrible experiences about it, but it didn't matter to anybody else in the group. The number of times you kind of disappear off and then come back again. Nobody was there saying, oh, you can't do this, can you? Oh, no, no, not for you. They were just lovely. It was, okay, come on, let's get things back together. Let's get going again. What is it you've learned that you can use now? And that's what. That's what happened. And then I was coming up to the final critting time. So my day one was the 10 April 2017. I. I was looking at these people, like, this kind of the people that I'm looking up to in the group, and I'm like, it's not like you've got anything special that I have of me? Nobody gave you a handful of magic quitting beans and said, here you go, you'll be all right. Now they literally got serious about what they wanted, clenched their bum cheeks and got on with it. And I'm like, well, yeah, I can do that. And that's what I did. [00:18:46] Speaker A: Yeah. And I wished back then, and even now, like, gosh, I wish there were magic beans that would help you and make. But I think what stands out to me there is like, it's so important to have places to practice not drinking, that are non judgmental, that are safe for you to make mistakes, to slip up, to learn from it so that you can move on. [00:19:20] Speaker B: Totally. Totally. [00:19:23] Speaker A: And what do you think, reflecting back as to what made it stick, you mentioned having the community, having people to look up to. What are other things that made it stick for you? [00:19:40] Speaker B: Oh, so the, the main one was I wrote myself this 50 day plan. So I was sitting there at my desk, I can't remember what day of the week the 10 April was feeling and looking like hell once again. And I'm like, man, this cannot go on. And I knew about this, like, this planning tool. It's called whoop woooop. And there's a website for it, whoop my life. So you've got your wish, you're out on your obstacles and then plan. And I wanted to have, like, give myself a long enough number of days to aim for that, but didn't feel like it was so far out of reach that it was unobtainable. So I knew I'd done these three weeks before. I thought, okay, well, let's, let's do 50 days. Which seemed at the time, I'm like, now I look at it, I think that's not even two months. What were you playing at? But this is me now, looking back at me then. Me then just didn't have the resources and I suppose the resilience to kind of like channel what I needed to do. So in this plan, I had to put in how I was going to manage my regular day to day. Not drinking, but also big events I had coming up. So some friends of mine were getting married pretty soon after I quit. I had my birthday coming up, or just over. It was just over a month after that. I was going on a trip with my wife, now ex wife, all these things, and then how I was going to manage them alcohol free. So I wrote myself this really long, detailed plant and all the obstacles, what I was going to do about them, and that became my mantra. I used to literally sit there going, stick to the plan, stick to the plan. So you know that. You know the phrase white knuckling it? Yeah. That's what I was doing. I was gripping on, thinking, stick to the plan, stick to the plan. But I knew that the longer I kept going, the more I sucked to the plan, the easier it was going to be. Then I'd be able to, like, relax my hands and start using my fingers again for other things because I'm not gripping on so tightly. And that was. That was what did it. So it was the plan and the support I had in, in the group and sort of around that time, club sodas. You know what you're saying about community being important and having places to go to be able to practice being alcohol free. One of the things that they used to do was organize lunches so you could just go along. You'd meet up with a bunch of other people from the Facebook group or maybe from their email newsletter and stuff, and then you would just go and have food. My mate Laura, she would often pick these places that had a great alcohol free menu, so we could just, like, hang out, have really nice drinks and just be sociable without drinking. Because that's a skill in itself. If you're used to all of your time being, oh, let's have a drink, let's have another drink. And being half cup, as you navigate your way through it, it can feel really daunting to actually go out in real life and do stuff like that. Completely dober. So I found that was really useful as well. Like, all these little training grounds that were set up to support us through the group. It was awesome. [00:23:15] Speaker A: Yeah, I like the training and practicing and just kind of having these, like, sober bucket lists, like your first sober dinner out, your first sober party. You know, just places where you can practice having fun without drinking and especially. Yeah. Because you had mentioned one of the reasons you started drinking, like, back when you were 14, was fitting in, wanting to fit in, being comfortable in a group of people, like, and I think a lot of people drink to relieve that social anxiety. Yeah, for sure. [00:23:56] Speaker B: Yeah, definitely. [00:23:58] Speaker A: Well done. Well done to you. Okay. And so after you quit drinking, like, a lot in your life changed and you discovered different things about yourself, can you kind of share what's happened in the last seven years? [00:24:14] Speaker B: Yeah, gosh, it's a long time to give, like, a potted history of seven years. But, like, really key things changed early on. One of them, and I. It's when I look back on it. This has to do with my relationship. When I look back on relationships in general, although I was authentically living my sexuality, I was doing an awful lot of going along with things because I wanted to fit in. I going along with people and sort of choosing people on the basis that they seem to accept me rather than did I particularly like them. And this is a really hard one because once I quit, I started to realize how parts of my relationship whilst I was in a relationship with a really, really lovely woman, we just weren't compatible in lots of ways. And that was probably one of the most difficult early on things that I had to navigate. And, yeah, I still have a lot of sadness about that now because, all things being equal, it wouldn't have happened, but it did. And that was sort of part of finding that authenticity of mine. Another key thing to go was my job, and that took a few years. So I was working as a lecturer in the university and really not having a great time of it because one of the other massive changes was discovering that I'm neurodivergent in a number of different ways. I certainly think now that some of my drinking behavior was a way of dealing with that unknown neurodivergence and that feeling that I was very different to other people simply because I am. That's just how I am. So I had to do something about that. So, I mean, that that wasn't one of the first things to go, but that discomfort I had around what I was doing was, was growing and growing. I think one of the key things was, was around neurodivergence and discovering that I am. And actually that's, I think, where a lot of my kind of social anxiety comes from, my feelings of difference in, sure, I'm queer, I always have been. I've always been gender non conforming. I'm now non binary. That's kind of the word that I find that fits me best. But neurodivergence on the top of that and all that kind of masking that I was doing in order to fit in and then drinking away, all the clanging discordance going on in my head. Yeah, accepting that was quite a biggie. [00:27:14] Speaker A: Thank you for sharing that. And with that neurodivergence, it seems like there have been more and more studies that are linking ADHD with alcohol disorder. And you have shared that your particular combo of neurodivergence is the ADHD, autism and dyspraxia. [00:27:41] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. [00:27:43] Speaker A: Can you just share what those different diagnosis are and how you found out about them and just educate us. [00:27:55] Speaker B: Dyspraxia was the first one that I sought a diagnosis before because, like, I mean, it's also known as developmental coordination disorder. So I always knew that I was really clumsy and walking into things. This is kind of part of the course, and a lot of sort of unexplained bruises that I'd find on my arms and legs, I kind of put down to being a bit pissed. Walking into things get bumps, you know, don't really notice. Look down. The next morning, what is that massive bruise on my leg kind of thing. What I noticed that was that didn't really go away. I was still really walking into a lot of things. I was having sort of difficulty with my hands. One of the weirdest things, I think, was picking through small change in my hand and having that fine motor skill to an audience do it. When I was. When I noticed doing it. And this is sort of part of the shame that goes around with the drinking. I'd be pissed and I'd be looking at it. I'd try to sort through my money, feeling like such a loser because it's a handful of money, yet I can't sort it out. So it must be to do with my alcohol use only that doesn't go away either. And sort of using keys. And I was gonna sign up to work with a personal trainer. I wanted to mention the dyspraxia because of the movement, the coordination, that kind of thing. And not being graceful, but just not being. I mean, because I. What? But as I was looking into it, more about it, I discovered all of these cognitive things that also go along with it. The kind of brain fogginess, the way my brain could, like, latch onto. I can have, like, a perfectly lovely time out with somebody, one thing that was said, just the tiniest thing would dodge in my head. I'd get home. The kind of overall enjoyment of how amazing it'd be would just kind of, like, filter away. And then my brain would just hammer shit out of this tiny little thing that happened and bend it out of all proportion. And I discovered that that was also related to dyspraxia and kind of cognitive stuff that goes on. So I had an assessment, and, yes, there I am, diabetes dyspraxic. But what I also discovered was that that didn't really seem to, like, properly encapsulate what my experience of the world was. And when I was looking again at people who'd been there before me and the great people who'd quit and then, like, come out of the side having all these, like, these great lives and how they were talking about how much more brain power they had. And I'm like, where's mine? When do I get that upgrade? And it just wasn't coming. So I was like, well, this. This just makes no sense. So then I started looking into ADHD, thinking, yeah, that. That's a lot like me. I had a little, like, pinging bell going off in the back of my mind around autism as well. I also thought, not me, because when I think about autistic people that either I knew or knew of, when I started looking at those kind of stereotypical traits of autism, they sort of, they weren't me. None of that really explained my experience of the world. So I just popped that and carried on with the. The ADHD stuff. Then I went through that assessment and yes, there I am. I have ADHD as well. But again, that still didn't really encapsulate fully what it is that I experience and how I kind of get by and go about my life in the world. And then this is actually quite recently this. In the last year or so, I started looking more into autism. And there's this really awesome book by Sarah Hendricks, and it's women and girls with autism spectrum disorders. And I think the title is a bit longer than that. But as I was reading it and reading through all these kind of different experiences that people had talked about in her research and stuff like that, I was hearing more and more resonance with my own experiences. So I started looking into it more, doing more diagnostic things. And yeah, there I am, most likely autistic as well. And now that when I look back at life experiences through that lens, so much more makes sense, I can. It's not just that I was odd or wrong or all the kind of the different reasons that I was feeling like being an imposter, beating myself up for these, like, different failings in different areas. But actually, when I look back through that lens, I'm like, it makes so much sense. That is why I am how I am. It allows me to give myself a break from that, not fitting in all of feeling like I'm different and not like the others. And to be perfectly honest, not being like the others is my superpower, as I'm sure it is for lots of people who discover their kind of neurodivergent identities and actually coming out later in life. Sure, I've got. By all of this time, I've developed all these kind of ways to work around different things, these different kind of coping mechanisms. But now if I look at it through that lens, then I can start. I can understand things better, the things that have happened, but I can also look into the future and kind of plan things out in a way that I know will suit me better because I can give myself a break for all that, not being like the other stuff that. [00:34:03] Speaker A: Yeah, thank you for sharing. That is so interesting because you see that, I think, as humans, we just. We want to make sense of the world around us and of ourselves. And so probably some of the relief with the diagnosis and then the grace that comes with it, like, oh, like you said, I'm giving myself a break. Like, gosh, of course this makes sense. [00:34:30] Speaker B: Never. [00:34:32] Speaker A: And I think with alcohol it does. Maybe it's part of why you started drinking, and then it's also freeing it all up. And so people, once they remove the alcohol, then they can start digging around and seeing what else is going on with me. Maybe I have a mental health disorder or something else is going on. I know in my experience, I had migraines, undiagnosed migraines, and I just thought it was because I was hungover and of course, I deserve this severe headache. Right. And you use drinking to kind of make sense of, like, you were talking about, like, picking around on. At your change and not being able to do it. Like. Well, that must have been because I was drinking or hungover or whatever. Yeah, yeah. So it's. It's interesting, once we remove the alcohol, what we discover. Fine. What we uncover. [00:35:37] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. And it's part of, like, that finding out who you really are thing, because all that time you're using alcohol to help mask whatever it is about you, whoever it is you are, like, with your migraines, you give yourself a massive hard time about it. Because I deserve this. I did this to myself. I need to suck this up and soldier onwards the world, blah, blah, blah. And it's nonsense. No, don't you take that away. You can look at it. You go, actually, no, this is. This is really shit. I need to do something about this. This is not right. Yeah, those. Those kind of revelations, I think are massive and really, really important. [00:36:25] Speaker A: Have you found any research or do you have any information about the correlation of. Of the neurodivergence and alcohol use? [00:36:36] Speaker B: You know, I've been doing some work on this recently because I'm doing a presentation with a friend in a couple of weeks time. And there is. But it's. There's nothing sort of really concrete. There is stuff out there that says, oh, yes, people with ADHD can be more prone to problematic drinking or problematic substance use. Then there are other studies that say people with autism are more susceptible to addiction, and then there are others saying that actually, people with autism are not more susceptible to addictions because I didn't know. They're kind of relating it to that more logical thinking. And I do think very logically, but logic and reasoning kind of go offline when you start putting in alcohol to deal with emotional distress. Yeah. There's nothing concrete that I can pull out and talk to you about. [00:37:34] Speaker A: Yeah, I was just curious, and I appreciate you sharing about your experience. And I think it's helpful for people when they do quit drinking because you're right. Sometimes it seems like, oh, everything should be great. I keep up being like, where's my superpowers? [00:37:57] Speaker B: Just coming back on that. When I had my dyspraxia assessment with this occupational therapist, Rosalind, she was telling me about the sort of. The amount of undiagnosed neurodivergence there was in people that were using alcohol kind of over and above what. What sort of regular members of the population do. Again, it was more anecdotal in what she was saying to me. And it just made sense that, yeah, actually, if you really feel that difference to other people, like, really deep within you, then for sure you're gonna. I don't know. I say you're gonna find ways to kind of quell that. That discord that you have. Not everybody does, obviously, but, yeah, it's easy to, I think, because alcohol being so widely available. [00:38:49] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah. Well, what do you think are some unique challenges in. In the queer community related to drinking? [00:38:58] Speaker B: Yeah. Gosh. I mean, there's. There's a whole bunch of different things, but I think the main one is minority stress. Like, all of that, like, anxiety, all of the kind of mental health issues. All of the. I say clanging discord. Again, that comes with being a minority identity person in an environment or society that's actually quite bigoted and quite horrible. And I'm not saying that this is across the board because, like, certainly in London, where I am, it's way more tolerant than it might be in smaller towns, smaller cities up and down the country. So there's that bigotry that goes along with being queer and then drinking in some ways to kind of, like, help quell all of that stuff. And I think with. Even within. Within that minority stress, there are rather identities within that where people end up feeling even more stigmatized. So trans people, particularly non binary people, and actually bisexual people. Because even though you might imagine that as kind of mainstream queer identities might be, you've got some lesbian gays and bisexuals. And when I went to university, when I was 18, we had the LGB society for those kind of three groups. Trans people were not even on the radar. Trans people existed, always have done, just weren't included in those kind of groups. So there's being a minority within a minority, and then if you're a person of colour within that as well, you're even tiny minorities that end up feeding these kinds of, like, harmful behaviors. And then it's kind of around socializing, because drinking, going to bars, going to clubs, was so wrapped up in queer identities. It was how you met people, how you socialize with people, how you got to have sex with people. All of that dating, mating, relating kind of stuff happened in these drink fueled environments, actually, that's why when I started to quick queers without beers was so important to me, because here I could find the others who were like me but also weren't drinking. And I said, if you look at it from a historical perspective, the stonewall riots that happened around a bar, I mean, the alcohol use was there. And I think when. When you start dealing with things like depression, like anxiety, like with being part of a stigmatized, marginalized identity, I don't know, you might have been ostracized by your family. You might have been kicked out of home when you came out, you might really struggle to find other people who are like you. I think that something that readily available as alcohol becomes quite attractive, because I know firsthand how good it is at numbing out all of that emotional distress. Yeah, that's kind of one of the really big things around. Yeah. I mean, this. This isn't like a queer, queer people specific thing, because when you start looking at adverse childhood experience, like sexual abuse, bullying, harassment, just for simply being who you are, that then leads into this kind of long term feeling out of place, like, you know, and then they're precious to try and fit in and be like the others in these queer spaces, which is why, in part of the work I do, I'm a counselor for an LGBTQ mental health organization in London. Many clients that we have are dealing with chem sex issues. So they're kind of coming to London. They might decide that, I don't know, they live in, don't know, the styx of Staffordshire or something like that, come to London and then want to be able to fit in and kind of be accepted in the scene and sometimes chems, which is drugs and crystal meth, all kinds of different things become part of that experience. And almost in the same way that in my generations, one sort of mid level where alcohol was the way that you met people, socialized, dated, related drugs are now becoming more of an issue. And that's all, all about stigma. It's all about being marginalized just for being who you are. When you think you're a decent person going about your business, you just happen to have a sexuality or a gender identity that's not of the norm. It's horrible, really horrible. [00:43:57] Speaker A: Yeah, well, I'm so appreciative that there are people like you who are out there helping and now you're on the other side. Like you're free of alcohol and now you're helping as a therapeutic coach. Is that the right term? But you call yourself now? [00:44:18] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah, that's what I, I use. Yeah. Because, um, what I, what I am, I'm trying to be a therapist and I can talk to you. Therapist. And I love it. I'm good at it. I have really nice warm connections with my clients where I feel like I can really help them sort through a bunch of stuff. But it's very like here and now looking back towards the past. And of course that's really important. And then when I look at coaching, coaching is okay, so this is where you are right now. Let's ping things into the future and make things better. But in my experience, certainly of changing my own drinking, my drinking didn't happen in a vacuum. It wasn't something I could just go, right, I'm going to pull all these levers, make a bunch of changes and things are going to be great into the future because I still had to take me with myself and a lot of the reasons that informed by drinking, that kind of. Yeah, why I got to. Where I got was an awful lot of unresolved stuff from my past, unresolved traumas. This happens. This happens. And of course, there's no divergence as well. So my view is that you can't like separate the two out. You can't just start here, go back this. Yes, you can. You can start here and go forwards. But if you're looking at something as fundamental as changing your drinking, you could take a very kind of coaching approach. You go right. So this is your goal. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to do it? What's getting in your way? No, no, no. But if you've still got all of this kind of emotional stuff going on that's unresolved that you're not looking at, then there's still that danger that when those same triggers come up again, you're just going to be whoops to where you were before. And, yeah, that's one that I am quite familiar with on a personal level. So I bring both together. Like, I bring that. How did you get to where we are now? And how do you get to where you're going in the healthiest state possible? So, yeah, therapeutic coaching is the bit in the middle. [00:46:31] Speaker A: Oh, my gosh. So needed. Like, what a great skill set you have as a therapeutic coach. That's wonderful. Well, how. How could someone find you and work with you? I mean, I know you're in the UK, but tell us how anyone could contact you. Yeah, that's possible. [00:46:51] Speaker B: Oh, it's possible. Yeah. The best way is through my website, which is Alypress dot UK. To be honest, most of my clients are in states at the moment, so quite happily working internationally and sorting out all of those time differences and stuff. But yeah, the website has like most of the info about me, about what I do, how to do it, and then there's a contact meeting. There's like my email addresses on there, so that's the best way to get in touch. [00:47:24] Speaker A: Wonderful. I will put that link in the show notes. I will say, when I first did my Google search of alipress, there's a store, like an online store called Aliexpress. [00:47:38] Speaker B: And wanting to send me there, I'm. [00:47:41] Speaker A: Like, yeah, so alipress, not the store. [00:47:47] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah, I noticed that not long after I registered my domain name. I mean, I knew about Alex, but I haven't like, connected this, only like a couple of letters different in this, but that's my domain name and I feel, I feel. I feel attached to it and I want to keep it even though I gave this. [00:48:13] Speaker A: No, that's why I'll put it in the show notes. I'll put the full link. But just so everyone knows, I think if you're feeling stuck or looking for someone who gets it, I would strongly suggest you talk to Allie. Thank you. Yeah, I just want to thank you so much for sharing your story and your experience and how you're helping people. It's just wonderful. So thank you. [00:48:43] Speaker B: Thank you. And I just want to thank you as well because it's been an absolute privilege to on the podcast today and to chat with you and talk about all these things, because I think one of the key things is they're not feeling like you're alone with it. And you're not. Because here we all are. We're out here. So thank you. [00:49:03] Speaker A: Oh, you're so welcome. 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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