What is Gray Area Drinking? Interview with Sarah Rusbatch

Episode 83 October 19, 2022 00:36:51
What is Gray Area Drinking? Interview with Sarah Rusbatch
Alcohol Tipping Point
What is Gray Area Drinking? Interview with Sarah Rusbatch

Oct 19 2022 | 00:36:51

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Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

Sarah Rusbatch joins the show to talk about gray area drinking. 

Sarah is a certified Women's Health and Wellbeing Coach, an accredited Grey Area Drinking Coach and a Key-Note speaker who shares her journey to sobriety and the impact of alcohol on mental health with global audiences.  

We chat about: 

Find Sarah: 

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Episode Transcript

Pod 83 Sarah Rusbatch Deb: Welcome back to the Alcohol Tipping Point Podcast. I am your host, Deb Masner. I'm a registered nurse, health coach and alcohol free badass, and today on the show all the way from Australia, I have Sarah Rusbatch. Sarah is a certified women's health and wellbeing coach. And accredited gray area drinking coach, and she's a keynote speaker who shares about her journey to sobriety and the impact of alcohol on mental health to global audiences. So I'm delighted to have you on the show and just talk to you all the way from Australia. Welcome, Sarah. Sarah: Thank you so much for having me. It's so good to be here. Can you Deb: just share a little bit about like who you are, where you're at, and what you do? Sarah: Sure. So I'm originally from the uk but I met my husband who's from New Zealand when I was backpacking around Australia in my twenties. And so I dragged him back to London with me and we lived there and got married and had a baby. And then he said, Right, that's it. I'm not staying in this cold, wet country a minute longer. Let's go lift somewhere hot. So we moved to Australia in 2010. So we've been living over here on the west coast of Australia. For 12 years. I have had a very dysfunctional relationship with alcohol probably my entire life. And I finally quit alcohol, and I'll share a bit more about that in a moment in April, 2019. And so that was when I had my last drink. And so coming up to three and a half years now, and I now then kind of had this whole big life epiphany. And decided to retrain and became a health and wellness coach and a gray area drinking coach. And I launched my business in January 21. So it has been nonstop, so busy since I launched. There is such a. Need to be talking about the gray area of drinking, because I think up until recently, the conversation has been you're an alcoholic or you're not. And what no one's doing is talking about the gray area, which is what I do. Because most people don't fall into the alcoholic category or they don't give themselves that label, but they still have a problem with alcohol. So where do they go to get support if that's the category that they fall into? And that's where I've stepped in. So I work mostly with women. Most of my women tend to be. I'd say between 35 and 65. It's that real middle age level where I think women are so stressed and managing so much, and perhaps they're raising kids, they're looking after elderly parents, they're running jobs. They've got pressure to look good, to be cooking home cook meals, to be making kids outfits for book fair to be, You know, we're doing all the things and we are so stressed. I'm so overwhelmed that alcohol becomes a really, really quick fix to mitigate that. What I do is really help my ladies to find other soothing techniques to manage stress and anxiety without alcohol. And, Deb: and yeah, you're right. There is such a need for that. And, and just like you were talking about the gray area drinking and I'm, I was telling you before we started recording, I was like, I'm so glad you're coming on the show to talk about that. You know, I that because I considered myself a gray area drinker and I was, I just felt like I was so glad that that term got coined because like you were saying, I just felt. I didn't fit in anywhere. You know, I just, I was like, well, I'm, you know, I'm not gonna do AA and I don't need inpatient rehab and I'm still functioning. And so it, it, it's just this really gray area, like it, like it's name. Can you talk a little bit more like about what is gray area drinking and like how someone would know that they are a gray area drinker. Sarah: Yeah, sure. So I think of gray area drinking as being that scale of one to 10. So one is someone who very rarely drinks, maybe they have a glass of champagne at a wedding to toast the bride and groom, and other than that, they don't think about alcohol. 10 is someone end stage physical dependency. So they need to have medical support to withdraw from alcohol because their body has become physically dependent on it. So their two ends of the spectrum that are actually not that common. Most people don't fit into a one or a 10, and I think of gray area drinking as probably being between a five and an eight on that scale. So where we've passed the point of that tipping point where we've passed the point where alcohol is starting to take more than it's giving, but we've developed a level of addiction with it. Like I wouldn't have called myself an alcoholic, but I definitely had an addiction to alcohol because let's. Not forget that alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and so there is no shame in anyone saying, Yes, I've developed an addiction to alcohol. It's highly addictive. That's exactly how it works on the dopamine responders in the brain. So we do become addicted to it, but some of the signs, the clear signs that we are falling into that gray area drinking category. So number one would be we make rules around our drinking. Because here's the thing there, people that don't have a problem with alcohol don't need to make rules around their drinking. I was the queen of rules. My rules involved. I don't drink on a Monday and Tuesday. I don't drink after 5:00 PM I don't drink white wine unless it's with dinner. I don't drink at lunchtime unless it's out of the house. I'm only allowed to drink on a Wednesday if it's at a social event and never on my own at home. Like I constantly had rules around my drinking and it took up so much mental head space. But I also broke the rules quite often as well. And so I would make the rules and I would break the rules, and then I would be stuck in this cycle of shame and remorse and self-loathing because I was a bad person because I had no willpower, cuz I couldn't stick to the rules. And then that made me feel even worse about myself. And then I craved alcohol to escape the oblivion of how awful I was feeling about myself. So that making rules around drinking is often a clear. Second thing is we are, we set out to only have one or two, and we find that we never stick to one or two. So again, I was the queen of that. I'm just having one. And then as soon as I had one, well definitely as soon as I had two, all bets were off. And that was me. I definitely would finish the bottle. But you know, one or two. And now I understand the neuroscience behind that. I can. I can be kind to myself because it's not that I didn't have enough willpower. It wasn't that I was weak or that I just needed to try harder. There's a neurochemical imbalance that starts to take place in our brain the minute we consume alcohol. That actually makes it really hard to just have one. So the the other points that I would suggest that someone. Is falling into that gray area drinking category is, we're starting to think about alcohol quite a lot. So we're starting to make plans around when we're next drinking we like and, and we feel disappointed if we have to be the sober driver for a night. So like for me, if my husband would say to me, Oh, you are driving tonight. Like literally my heart. Sink. Like that was the worst news ever because in my head I was planning my oblivion. I was drinking to get pissed and to forget about my stress of the day and everything like that. So when we get to that point where we feel disappointed, when we know that we, we can't drink for any reason. And maybe we're starting to have some internal chatter. Maybe we started to say to ourselves, Mm, I think you're drinking a bit too much, or, Mm, there you go again. And even when we just started to have a few of those conversations, maybe we've Googled what's the sign of an alcoholic? Maybe we've thought about, gosh, I maybe need, I need to take a break. Alcohol's not serving me anymore and we've really. In the anxiety, maybe you are noticing every time you drink, you're waking up at 3:00 AM That was a classic one for me. And unable to get back to sleep. So I would say to myself at 3:00 AM Oh, I'm not drinking tonight. This is terrible. I can't do this again. And then by five o'clock I'd be pouring a wine. And so when we get stuck in that cycle, those are the clear signs of gray area drinking. Deb: Yeah, I can relate, I can relate to all of those. I see you nothing Sarah: a lot to everything I'm saying that I know. I getting some Deb: points there. Yeah. Yeah. And I just think it, it's, it's a more palatable term. You know, I know that the term alcoholic isn't the term that we use in the medical community. You know, it's alcohol use disorder. On a spectrum from mild to moderate to severe, which is basically kind of what you're describing with gray area drinking. It's just packaged a little differently. Right. Yeah. But I Sarah: think I, I love the fact that you said that you, you, you're not using the term alcoholic. And I think that that's a, a word that really should be abolished because it puts people into one category or another. And if they don't identify as being an alcoholic, then what are they? A social drink. You know. Deb: Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah. I, and, and so that's why I, like, get really passionate about labels and just terminology and, and what, what you call yourself and what others call you and. You know, but it's changing, starting to change. But you know, it's slow. So I'm glad that there's people out, out there like you, that are promoting, helping people with gray area drinking. Yeah. What, what was your experience with drinking? Sarah: So I'd always been a big social drinker. Like looking back, I was always the party girl. I was always the one that, you know, would, was the last one standing. Didn't want the party to end, was always the one having pre-drinks before the drinks and so was always. That big party girl, but never identified as that being problematic. Didn't drink on my own, you know, back in the twenties. But then looking back, I was socializing all the time. I was living in London, I was out partying, and so it was a very hedonistic lifestyle, but I was drinking in the same way that everyone around me was drinking. You know, like it was just that twenties first job in London had disposable income, rooftop bars. It was the era of sex in the city feeling so sophisticated, drinking my cosmopolitans, you know. And it was probably, for me, the turning point with when my drinking became more dysfunctional was after having kids. Because what I noticed was, well, a, a few big things happened to me at that time. I left the UK and moved to Australia, so I left my entire support network behind. I had two kids under two. My husband was out setting up a business, so he was working all the hours. I had no friends. I had no family I'd had a really successful career, and all of a sudden I wasn't working anymore, and I was literally just cleaning up baby poo and singing nursery brides all day, and I'd lost my whole sense of identity, and I was terribly, terribly homesick. And that was when alcohol for me became a crutch. It became something that I was looking forward to at the end of each day. It became something that I was doing on my own. It became something that I became really, really reliant on. And it slowly started creeping up. You know, half a bottle wasn't enough anymore, and then it was finishing the bottle. But I still had rules, and if I stuck to the rules, I convinced myself I didn't have a problem. So I didn't drink on Monday and Tuesday, and I, you know, would I still ran half marathons. I still drank my kale smoothies. I still kind of did everything possible to justify that my drinking wasn't a problem. And. Through my forties, my early, early forties, it definitely started to have a real physical impact on me. So I mentioned earlier about sleep. The 3:00 AM wake up, pretty much every time I drank I would wake up at 3:00 AM So I got to the point where I was drinking a bottle of wine and then I was taking a sleeping tablet so that I didn't wake up at 3:00 AM But you could imagine how you feel after a bottle of wine and a sleeping tablet and then getting up and starting the day. And by this point I was running my own recruitment business from home, but some days I was so. And I wouldn't even say I was hungover cause I think my tolerance had increased so much that I didn't feel hungover, but I just felt, oh, you know, that feeling of just no energy, no motivation, can't be asked. Artists just like I would get up, take the kids to school, come home, get back into bed and play Candy Crush until it was time to go pick them up. And that for someone like me who's quite driven and quite dynamic and quite passionate, it was killing my soul. Like, ah, there is nothing worse than lying in a darkened room on a hot sunny day, unable to even open the curtains cuz you can't even bear to see daylight. Like it was just killing me inside. And at this point, my anxiety had got so bad. And I'd gone to my GP and I said I was a mess. I was crying. I was like, I'm just, I can't, I'm like a shell of myself. I don't know what's wrong with me. And at no point did she say to me, How much are you're drinking? Like alcohol didn't even come up in the conversation. Happily wrote me a prescription for anti-anxiety meds, which I now. Should never be mixed with alcohol. I didn't take the meds. I I had a feeling that there was something else going on, and then it was just, you know how these things happen. I had had a really, really booy boozy lunch with some girlfriends, and it had turned into a 12 hour champagne drinking session. I'd got home at like one, two in the morning and the next morning I had to go up and take my son to cricket and I couldn't drive him to cricket because I was still over the limit. And I knew I was over the limit. Like I was literally shaking and every time I stood up, my head was spinning and my husband was out fishing, so there was no way for my son to get to his cricket game. And he was just stood there with his whole cricket outfit on and his bag just looking at me and I was like mom's not well and she can't drive you to cricket. And he was like, What do you mean? And he said, Well, can't one of the other mums take me? But I was so ashamed that I couldn't possibly bring myself to phone another cricket mum and say, Can you come and pick up William and take him to cricket? So he missed out. And I remember running myself a bath and getting in the bath and just crying my eyes out and just being like, This can't carry on like you, this just isn't a way to live anymore. And that day I was scrolling Facebook in my running group and someone had posted that they'd read Annie Grace's book, this Naked Mine, and it changed their relationship with alcohol. So I bought the book, I read it, I intended to do 21 days, and I thought like 21 days, I'm just gonna do a reset. That's how much everyone says that you should do to change your habits. And I did a hundred. And I was like, Wow, gosh, this is what it's like to feel clearheaded every day. This is what it's like to feel positive and happy and energized and, and all of those things. And then it got to a hundred days and I was like, Okay, I'm fixed now. Everything's gonna be fine because I clearly don't have a problem because if I had a problem I wouldn't have been able to take a hundred days off. So everything is all gonna be normal now. I'm gonna be a normal drinker that just has one or two every now and then, and the world will be wonderful. So I went back to drinking. Within two weeks. I was back to the same level as before, but that came as such a shock to me because this was back in 2017 and there wasn't the same information available that there is now in terms of podcasts and books. And and I was just like, Wow, why has this happened? And so what followed for me was two years of. Taking a break, going back to drinking, taking a break, going back to drinking. I couldn't let go of the fact that I couldn't imagine life long term without alcohol because I was still so wedded to the idea that, and the identity that I had. I was Sarah, the party girl who was, who was I if I didn't have alcohol in my life anymore? And finally, finally, April, 2019, I think I just, I just knew in my heart that this is it. I'm done like life for me. I am a better person. I'm a better mom. I'm happier. Like everything in my life goes better when I don't drink. So why do I keep going back to drinking? And after doing a lot of soul searching? April, 2019 was when I had my last drink. Well, Deb: congratulations. Good for you, . I can relate a lot to your story all the way down to Candy Crush . Struggling being a mom and drinking and and just feeling like crap. Still functioning, still like going to the y going to work out being healthy and just having this kind of hidden problem, honestly. Yeah. And, and feeling so alone. I think that was part of it too. And I, I think that is, is such a common process too, is to, you know, you see it all the time with people that that's kind of how you go through changing your drinking is like, okay, become more aware and then you take these breaks. But you're not quite ready to give it up, and so you kind of do these, this cycling of on and off, on and off before you come to a point where you're like, You know what? I'm just better off without it. Sarah: Yeah, and it's so interesting because so many of my ladies. Will I run alcohol free programs quite regularly and I bring people together into the community because there is so much joy and so much, it's so much easier when you see that you are not alone. Right? And so, and I will say to them, I wish that I could make it easier for you. I wish I could take away that period of. Trying to stop trying to moderate not being able to. I said, but at the same time, I don't because it's in that, that the learning happens and that you finally reach a point of going, No, I'm done. And you have to spend time in that kind of merry go round of trying to moderate, going back to drinking, taking breaks, and, and we all have to go through that. My hope is that through working with me in the programs that I have, that people, it becomes shorter. You know, like for me it was two years of that. And I've got clients, It's been, you know, years and years. But I do believe when we're ready, we are definitely ready. Yeah. Deb: Yeah. And I think creating a. Space for people to try to change their drinking and, and be okay, like it's normal not to get it the first time. It's normal to like take breaks and then go back and then, you know, nobody gets to a hundred percent right away. I mean, perfection, just, it's not possible. Right? It, it's, it's really unrealistic. And so just having a safe place to. That, that's why I use the term like, I help people practice not drinking. Like, okay, we're just gonna practice this. Yeah. Very cool. Very cool. Well, I had some other questions to ask you. One, one was about Just your views of the impact of alcohol on anxiety and mental health and, and women's health overall since you specialize in women? Sarah: Yeah, so it's, it's interesting you asked this because actually over here in October in Australia right now it's Mental Health Awareness Month and I'm sharing a lot of information about the fact that alcohol And, and, and all of the work that I've done when we drink alcohol, because the brain wants this level of homeostasis, of everything being exactly the right amount. Alcohol is a depressant, it's a sedative. So it really, really smashes through and, and, and, and. If you think about a scale those old fashioned weighing scales, where you've got two things that sit evenly and as soon as we drink alcohol, we, we really, really massively impact the, the depressant and the sedative part of the brain. And the brain wants homeostasis. It wants everything to be equal. So it releases loads of cortisol, the stress hormone to bring us back to being equal. So what we don't realize is that when we drink alcohol, we release more of the stress hormone cortisol to counter the impact of the alcohol. But the problem is when the alcohol wears off, we are left with this excess cortisol that leaves us feeling stressed and anxious. So alcohol sets us off on this spiral of. When the alcohol wears off, we feel more stressed and anxious than we were before we had the first drink. So then we crave another drink simply to get rid of the feeling that's been created because we had the first drink in the first place. And it's the number one thing that my ladies notice when they come and work with me and they take that break from alcohol is how quickly their anxiety dissipates. And they're just like, Wow. I would never have imagined that because I thought that alcohol was helping my anxiety. Because in that initial moment, it makes everything go away, right? And we feel calm, but in actual fact, over long term, it's causing it. Deb: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I was just thinking when you said October for Australia is mental health awareness month and October for the United States is breast cancer awareness month. And now, you know, we know more and more that alcohol is directly linked to breast cancer and women. And so it just kind of stood out to me like. . Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Why do you think women are drinking in higher levels than ever before? Sarah: And it's interesting, they, they recently had a report done over here in Australia where they categorized middle-aged women as the category, the demographic that's drinking the most. And, well, there's a couple of reasons. Number one, Big alcohol have deliberately targeted women and done everything possible to try and make us believe that alcohol is the answer to all our problems. That we need to have that glass of why we deserve it. It's a reward at the end of the day, like the marketing that has been done by big alcohol deliberately focused on women, has seen a direct correlation in the number of women developing alcohol use disorder. Right. It's, it's, it's not rocket science to see what, what's happened there. Second thing is that women are, More stress than ever before. Like Ga Marte had done a post not that long ago saying it's the most difficult time to be a mother since it's the second world war, because we have got so much that we are dealing with. Most of us are, you know, we're working perhaps full time, we're raising kids, we're looking after elderly parents, we're running our house. We might have money worries. We've had gone through a pandemic, like there has been so much going on and. Alcohol is a really quick fix in that initial moment to make everything go away. And when I did a poll in my group, and I've got a community with 11,000 women, and I said, Why do you drink? And the number one reason was stress and anxiety and overwhelm. And women like there. There was a study that was done that showed that men drink to enhance a good mood and to socialize and women drink for oblivion. And that just says it all right. Yeah, Deb: definitely. I, That's interesting. I did a poll for my group too, and stress and anxiety was hands down, the number one reason that people drink. So common. Well, what would you say are like your top tips for anyone who is looking to change their relationship with alcohol? Sarah: I think finding a community is number one, because the thing about gray area drinkers is I think gray area drinkers tend to surround themselves with other gray area drinkers because it lulls us into that place of going, Well, my drinking can't be that bad because everyone around me drinks the same amount as me. So it's not normal to drink a bottle of wine a night, but you are, If you are in a cohort, cohort of friends that are all drinking a bottle of wine a night, then you kind of go, Well, that's just normal. At least I'm not having. But a bottle of wine a night is still 17 units a week. And I dunno what it is in America, but in the Australia, it's 12 units a week is the recommended maximum amount for women, and there can be up to 10 units in one bottle of wine. So to actually be able to surround yourself with other people. And that's why the online world can be so brilliant. There are many, many negatives about the online world, but when it comes to sobriety, that's what got me sober, was joining, you know, online groups because I didn't know anyone. Who wanted to change their relationship with alcohol because everybody in my friendship circle either didn't have a problem with alcohol or didn't wanna admit that they had a problem with alcohol. So no one was looking to change at the time that I was. So, I felt so incredibly alone. So joining a community where you've got other women who are going. Yeah, yeah. I've been there, I've done that. I'm six months ahead of you. Let me hold your hand. Let me tell you, this is normal. Like going through all of that is really important. I think identifying your triggers and identifying well, what is causing you stress and what can I change in my life? And then doing that deeper work, like I think that we have to, The thing about alcohol is that it makes our world really small and it makes. Dull things more interesting. So we've become very lazy in our life in terms of not needing to do that much stuff. To get a bit of a dopamine hit, like you could literally just sit on the couch, watch a Netflix show, drink a bottle of wine, and feel great in that moment because you've had that big dopamine hit in the brain, but you've not had to move a muscle. So if all we do is remove alcohol, But do nothing else. We're gonna be left feeling pretty flat because we're not getting any dopamine hit anymore. We're not doing, we're not adding anything in. And so I always say to my ladies, When you remove alcohol, what are you adding? We've got to be intentional with creating the life that we want. And so for me, that has involved having a really good morning routine exercising, making sure that I'm getting connection. I don't go out, obviously boozing every night, but I make sure that I have couple of catchups a week with girlfriends. It might be a walk, it might be breakfast, it might be lunch. I practice in yoga to soothe my nervous system. I do stuff that interests me, so I'm always learning. I'm always reading about something like it's been the greatest gift to actually at 47 years old to start to to to learn again and to start to be interested in things because alcohol robbed me of all of that. But I think the main thing to say is it takes effort, right? Because when we get that dopamine here, sitting on the sofa and doing nothing but drinking a bottle of wine, we're making their. And if we wanna get effort based, dopamine reward, we've got to be intentional with doing stuff. And so I always say like, think about what do you wanna add in? If you're taking out the alcohol, what's missing in your life? Those are, Deb: those are great tips. I really appreciate that. I think those are gonna help a lot. How have you seen like drinking culture change, you know, across the years and countries? Cause you, you're, you've been in London, your husband's from New Zealand, you're in Australia. Like, have you seen changes and what are Sarah: they? Yeah, I would say, look, I think Covid has had a massive impact on people's drinking. Melbourne was the most locked down city in the world. I think that in Melbourne, they were pretty much locked down for nearly two years in terms of sometimes only being out allowed out of their homes for an hour a day. And so I think that that has had a massive impact. Cause I've seen lots and lots of ladies who drank a lot during Covid and said, Right, okay, I'm gonna stop once, once life returns to normal. And then they found that they. because we build up tolerance and we build up an addiction to alcohol. So I think that has played a massive part. I also think it's interesting the Australian drinking culture is, is similar in some ways to the uk, but it's also quite different. So in the UK you have lots of pubs. So every village has a pub and the whole of the community of that village is centered around the pub. But the pub is family friendly, so it will have a playground and it. It's not a place that's designed for you to go and get pissed. It's a place for you, designed for you to have a nice lunch, maybe have a point of beer or a glass of wine with your lunch, and that be it. Australia doesn't really have that. We have bars that are set up that are not kid friendly, where the kind of goal and the mission of that is to just go and get drunk. Right? And so the culture here, I would say is very much more focused. Less moderate drinking and more heavy drinking. And there's also the very heavy kind of social drinking over here in terms of barbecues, in terms of, you know, like lots of people drink much more at home than I would say happens in the uk. But in many ways, Still very, very similar and still very much alcohol is the only drug you have to justify not taking and where you are like ridiculed or peer pressured if you say you're not drinking. And I would say Australia is hugely behind the UK when it comes to offering alcohol free alternatives when it comes to being more inclusive of people choosing not to drink. Deb: Yeah, I just think it's so interesting to see like what regions are doing, and I was talking to someone from Ireland and they were saying like, they are getting a bigger non alcohol movement and even ness has made a trap, right? And so it's always like, well that's super cool, but it sounds like Australia's still. Getting more sober. Curious . Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. We're getting there though. Like there's a lot happening over here. But it just takes time. Deb: Yeah. And people like you who are like just out living out loud and just showing like, you feel so much better. Life is better. And just like getting into the media and speaking about it and having these groups. Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. So slowly but surely the tide is. Deb: That is so fantastic. So what would you say to someone who's listening right now and they're thinking, I guess, you know, I'm a gray area drinker. What do I do? I mean, you kind of gave your tips and Yeah, Sarah: go ahead. Yeah. Like, join any of the, the communities out there. The Women's Wellbeing Collective is my free community. That on, on Facebook, you can start to find start reading some of the books, listening to the podcast. Just start inspiring yourself and start to be aware of what are the options that are available to you. Because the biggest message I have is you don't have to be an alcoholic to decide to stop drinking. You can simply answer the question, is alcohol taking more than it's giving? And if it is, it's okay to say, Right, I'm gonna take a break and I'm just gonna see it as an experiment. You're not necessarily having to say, Right, I'm stopping forever. What you're saying is, I'm gonna give myself a decent amount of time off alcohol and I'm gonna review and I'm gonna see, well, what version of me do I like better? What version of my life do I like better? Because the fact of the matter is that most people in the western world will never take a long enough break from alcohol to know what their real potential is in life without it, you know, cuz whatever happens, alcohol stays in your system for 72 hours. And even if you have one or two drinks, it still massively impacts your sleep. So you are still never gonna be waking up feeling motivated, energized, ready to take on the world, and living at your full potential to give yourself that chance. You know, I started drinking at 14. And if I lived to be, you know, 85, then that's what, 70, 71 years of only ever doing life one way. But imagine just giving yourself three months out of 80, you know, 70 years to just see, well, what really is it like to wake up every single day? Clearheaded positive, happy, energized and not having the impacts of alcohol inhibit me in any. Deb: Yeah, I, I love that. It's just so, you know, just being curious and it's just so doable. Like, you don't have to quit forever. And I, you know, speaking of Annie Grace, I was listening to one of her, her podcast, and she's like, I don't say forever because how do you know you've achieved your goal? You don't know until you're dead. Exactly. And I was like, Exactly. Wow, Okay. Yeah. So it's just like right now drinking is not serving me. You know. Exactly. And, and you're so right. Like you don't have to have a drinking problem to give up drinking. You can just give it up because it's shit for your health. Right. And so, yeah. Yeah. It's, it's such a good message to get out there and just try it and see how you feel and just be curious, be a scientist about it. So that's fantastic. Sarah: Yeah, exactly. And You don't have to be completely black or white about it, you know, it doesn't have to be, as you say that, that forever. But just give yourself that chance because what ways, This is your one truly wonderful life, and if at any point you are realizing that alcohol isn't serving you in any way, give yourself a chance to see what your life would be like. Deb: Yeah. Because you have a lot of years to live on this. Exactly. This rock hurling through the universe Exactly. Well, what do you see for your future? Sarah: So I've just started to, I will continue supporting women, like supporting women in sobriety is my number one passion. And I work with women all over the world. The States, Canada, uk, New Zealand, Australia, Asia. And I run these alcohol free challenges four times a year, and they really are incredible because it just gives people the opportunity to really connect with others. But what I'm starting to do more of that's really exciting is corporate work. So I've just run an alcohol free program for a big mining company here in Western Australia because to go into, like, for me, the missing piece that so many corporates are missing is they're, they're talking about. You know, employee wellbeing and employee mental health, and yet they're not talking about alcohol. And yet it's still an environment where if you don't go down the pub with your workmates, you are let, you are ostracized or you are, you know, put pressure on. And so to be able to go into corporates and talk to them about, well, This is how alcohol impacts sleep. This is how alcohol impacts your mental health. Why are you not sharing this information with your employees so that they are feeling the best that they can feel? So that's a big part that for me, will be my focus for, for 2023. Oh, I love Deb: it. Yeah, cuz I'm, I'm actually a nurse with corporate health and wellness and so it's true. We still don't talk about alcohol. We ask about tobacco use and we do all this preventative care and we target pre-diabetes and pre-hypertension and, you know, we're also talking about mental health and stress, but we don't talk about alcohol at. And so that needs to change, so very, very cool that you're doing that. Yeah. Well, how can someone find you? Sarah: Sure, like Instagram is just app Sarah Raba. So it's Sarah with an h r u s b a T C H. My website is sarah raba.com and my Facebook community it's a global community, completely free is the Women's Wellbeing Collective. And we don't just talk about alcohol in there. We talk a lot about menopause and. Sugar cravings and energy and just kind of getting to that point in your life where you want to be feeling your best and what can I do to achieve? Deb: Oh, that's wonderful. I'll put those in the show notes so people can find you, cuz I'm sure that they can identify with a lot of what you said. And so thank you. I'm just really grateful for you and all the work you're doing on the other side of the world. Glad that we could connect in this way, in this online realm. So it's wonderful to have you on the show. Thank you so much. Sarah: Thank you so much for having.

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