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03. Not Allowing Anything to Have Dominion Over Your Creativity — Drink Less to Live Better ft. Sarah Williamson

🌙 In this episode, I'm chatting with sobriety coach Sarah Williamson, and y'all... I almost wish I was joking when I tell you how much of a difference deciding I no longer wanted to be "a drinker" has had on my creativity, energy, and mental health. If you're looking for the missing piece to what's holding back your creativity, that extra glass of wine just may be it.

03. Not Allowing Anything to Have Dominion Over Your Creativity — Drink Less to Live Better ft. Sarah Williamson

In this episode, I’m chatting with sobriety coach Sarah Williamson, and y’all… I almost wish I was joking when I tell you how much of a difference deciding I no longer wanted to be “a drinker” has had on my creativity, energy, and mental health.

If you’re looking for the missing piece to what’s holding back your creativity, that extra glass of wine just may be it.

Sarah has spent the last 12 years coaching and mentoring people who’ve struggled with their addictions and mental health, she feels that choosing to change your relationship with alcohol before you hit rock bottom is a powerful and positive choice to make.

She is passionate about spreading the message that our lives can be joyful and fun on the other side of our drinking careers and there’s no need to feel lonely, stressed or bored on this journey.

 Sarah is a coach, trainer, public speaker, writer, podcaster and published author.

Connect with Sarah

www.drinklesslivebetter.com

https://www.instagram.com/drinklesslivebetter/

https://www.facebook.com/sarahwilliamson.drinklesslivebetter

https://drinklesslivebetter.captivate.fm/listen


 So one of the things that has been kind of a big part of my late summer since the beginning of July, is that I have decided. That I don’t want anything to have dominion over me. And what I mean by that is I’m tired of feeling like I must do something or must have something before I can do something else. And the two major examples of that are caffeine and alcohol. I gave up caffeine when I got pregnant. Back in, um, late 2017 and. Never really wanted, I never got the caffeine hangovers or any, the withdrawal hangovers from it. So I never really went back to caffeine. I will have a cap coffee with full calf every now and then if we’re out somewhere, but I only buy decaf and that’s what make it home. But. I stopped. Actually wanting to make any coffee and. I realized that it wasn’t anything to do with caffeine. It was that I was just tired of having to have to have it. Tired of having to have to have it. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning and say, I cannot start my day until I’ve had a cup of coffee. Even if it’s decaf, you know, it’s just all psychological at that point. I didn’t want that. And then in July I decided to do what amounted to a dry July, and I didn’t go into it going, I’m going to do a dry July. I went into it because, um,

I have an auto-immune issue. And I was trying to do some, like heal my gut sort of thing, and cutting out alcohol was part of that. And at first I thought I just have to do this for 21 days. And then I will realize that this was not the factor. That I needed to eliminate from my diet and I’ll be able to have another glass of wine if I want to. And I didn’t drink a lot really before, maybe just a couple of glasses of wine. Maybe once a week. Um, a couple of gloss of glasses of wine a week, which wasn’t much, but it was still like, anytime I went out with friends, we would have wine or they would have beer and I’m gluten-free so I don’t drink the beer, but, um, What it made me think. Was that. I would be able to go back to her. And then as the days progressed and the weeks progressed, I realized I didn’t want it anymore. It was just it wasn’t. I have to give this up so that I can find out if I need to eliminate it. It was, I want to give this up because I just don’t want us to have dominion over me anymore. I don’t want this to be affecting my ability to say yes or no to a social event or something like that. And so, um, I recently connected with, uh, Sarah Williamson. And she is a sobriety coach and I invited her onto the podcast because I wanted to ask her. About her journey. Making this choice to be sober and how it’s affected her creativity. I think that you’re going to find a lot of really interesting tidbits in this interview with her. She is. Uh, full of inspiration and enthusiasm, and it is. Such a nonjudgmental space. And I think that you would be really surprised by how much your creativity can flow. And. And grow. Just by deciding to maybe drink a little bit less. And you decide what that is for you. For me, I don’t think I wanted anymore. We’re going on two months now and I have not felt the urge despite being out with friends in. Uh, clearly drinking spaces, drinking events multiple times, and I just haven’t had the urge. So maybe that will be the same for you. And if not, maybe you will find that having maybe one less improves your creativity. So give it a listen and let us know what you think.

 Okay, I’m really excited to be here today with Sarah Williamson. Sarah has spent the last 12 years coaching and mentoring people who have struggled with their addictions and mental health. She feels that choosing to change your relationship with alcohol before you hit rock bottom is a powerful and positive choice to make.

She’s passionate about spreading the message that our lives can be joyful and fun on the other side of our drinking careers, and there’s no need to feel lonely, stressed, or bored on this journey. Sarah is a coach. trainer, public speaker, writer, podcaster, and published author. Really excited to have you today, Sarah.

Thank you so much. Lovely to be with you. Great. So, um, when we connected, I was really interested to hear about your journey, um, to sobriety because, um, in July, I decided that I was going to do dry July. And I would not say that I’m a heavy, I was a heavy drinker, but I would have a glass of wine like probably twice a week and, um, and my friends, of course, you know, I have friends, we have, our kids are the same age and so we spend a lot of time together and then a lot of the time we spent together would be at one of these like food hall places where we’d have a few drinks and the kids would play in this like astroturf area and they would all have a great time.

And I realized during my dry July, July, July, That I did not want to go back in August. So I think right now, uh, and going forward, I am also a sober person and I have not missed it at all. I thought that maybe it would feel as if, um It was difficult to hang out with my friends when I wasn’t drinking, but I’ve been out with them three or four times now and the urge is just not there.

I’m having a great time without having it. So just tell me about your journey there. Congratulations. That sounds amazing for you. Um, yeah, I, certainly now for me also the urge just isn’t there and it feels like a massive freedom. It feels like a real release from a place that I didn’t know that I needed releasing from.

Um, my journey, um, towards thinking about sobriety probably started, uh, a little over, well, over five years ago. Um, and it actually took me, um, a really long time. a run up to being able to, um, get to a place where I could say, okay, I’m going to try an alcohol free way of living for a while and see how it goes.

Um, at, at the point at which I knew I wanted things to be different. My. Drinking habits were probably fairly what we would consider in the UK to be standard. Um, I didn’t necessarily drink every day of the week. Um, certainly I might have had A G& T on a Thursday night. I might have had a couple of glasses of wine on a Friday night.

If I’d have gone out with my girlfriends, I certainly would have drunk too much. Um, but that wasn’t necessarily a really regular occurrence. Um. I got to a place where I recognized that alcohol was actually taking more than it was giving. Um, I recognized that the hangovers that I was experiencing, the lethargy, the low level anxiety, the brain fog, all of these things that I was trying to attribute to other things, um, such as getting older or, um, sleeping less well or Perhaps I was telling myself, Oh, you know, I’m not looking after myself enough in other ways and, and trying desperately to consider things like, um, how about if I take these supplements?

How about if I just run more, if I do more yoga, if I drink more green smoothies, and It was really a start, you know, the biggest game changer was actually just choosing to cut one thing out instead of keep adding things in. Um, I went through a long period of… What I would, I didn’t have the language for it then, but what I would now call moderation or harm reduction.

I went through a long period where I very consciously chose to drink less than I had been drinking previously. I could see that, um, a lot of The narrative in society, perhaps in movies, um, in, in television programs, in books I was reading was about people stopping drinking because they had no choice.

There was either a big rock bottom where, um, they crashed their car, or they lost their job, or blew up their relationship, or perhaps there had to be a family intervention, and a diversion into rehab, or stories that involved a lot of drama, and a lot of energy. And I thought to myself, I, I could see that one day a rock bottom might be something that was on my horizon and I realized I had this opportunity to divert from, from that path that I could choose something different.

And in that period where I. Started to moderate my drinking, cut it right down, was in a situation where I might only have ever had two glasses of wine if I went out with my girlfriends. I stopped drinking at home. I reserved drinking for celebratory occasions. Like birthdays and christenings and weddings and stuff.

And at that point, other people, as bystanders, might have said, Oh, there’s nothing wrong with her drinking. You know, she’s fine. You know, nothing to see here. There’s, you know, in the UK, we have recommended government guidelines that are not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. I was drinking less than 14 units.

By then, so you might have said, no problem, crack on. But I very much began to realize that it was a case of not feeling good enough. Yes, it wasn’t that bad, but it also wasn’t good enough. And I recognized that I did feel better when I didn’t drink, didn’t drink. Um, so the way that I came to sobriety was choosing.

Very specifically to do a year long experiment without alcohol. And I thought, if I go into this, I will run an experiment where I will very clearly get to experience the physical, the emotional, the spiritual benefits of being sober, if there are any, because I didn’t know at that point, whether there were or not.

I already knew that I could do a dry January or a dry July because I had done them previously. So that didn’t feel like enough of a challenge for me. I felt like I wanted to take a big chunk of time and run that experiment, and then I’d be able to evaluate at the end, you know, has this year been better than other years?

Do I now just carry on with it? Or, or, Will I choose to go back to, to drinking? And as you know, you know, that was in 2019. I have chosen not to go back to drinking. I am perfectly delighted with the results of my experiment and therefore it carries on. That’s awesome. And even COVID didn’t drive you back to drink.

I mean, who could have predicted that in the first place? Um, you know, that was a difficult time. Of course, there were tricky situations to navigate. It felt like, I don’t know if it was the same your side of the pond, but for us, it felt like You know, for a long time there, the only socializing potential activities were sitting in your back garden and drinking wine or, you know, meeting when we were allowed to eventually see people meeting people in the park and drinking wine, you know, drinking became such a huge part of that time in our lives.

People were using it. Yes, of course, um, as, as some sort of social lubricant when they could, but also to numb all of those feelings around isolation, around loneliness, around overwhelm, around the being out of control of a situation where you, you had so much taken away from you, around the hurt, around how you could spend your time or not with your family, with your friends.

being confined. You know, it was such a peculiar time. I consider myself now lucky to have been able to ride that time without the drink. I, you know, it is no surprise to me that other people found themselves further down an avenue that so easily could have been me. Of course. Yes. Yeah. And how has it changed, uh, when you go out with your girlfriends now?

Yeah, um, I definitely recognize that we now socialize in a slightly different way. Um, so we used to regularly have nights out in our local town that would have involved, um, Either drinks before dinner or dinner and cocktails, um, uh, you know, would have been based, the activity would have been based around having some drinks with whatever we were, were doing.

And partly because of COVID, but also possibly partly because of the way that we’d rather spend our time together. Shifted a lot of our activities to daytime rather than evening, which lends itself to drinking less in the first place. That’s true. So we have really shifted to as a friendship group and this.

This wasn’t driven by my, um, choice to be a non drinker. This was, um, a kind of unspoken collaboration between ourselves that we’ve shifted towards, um, going for really long walks now. So we often, instead of booking a Saturday night out together, we’ll say, right. This particular Saturday or Sunday in a month’s time, let’s all book that day or that afternoon and we’ll do a particularly, we’ll do a long hike, we’ll go for 25 kilometers or something, we’ll pick a route.

We’re lucky we live in beautiful countryside. We will very definitely make sure there’s a really nice tea and cake shop along the way. We’ll definitely be refueling and refreshing. And we have found amongst ourselves that it’s brought a different depth to our relationships because… We walk and we talk and we discuss the stuff that’s going on in our lives in a way that has a bit more meaning.

Because we have found that what used to happen on a night out, we might have had in depth conversations, but elements of those conversations would be forgotten by the next morning. Because, you know… You discuss things that seem important, but then the conversation moves on, you forget to come back and check in with your friend about that particular subject that was causing them an issue at that time because, you know, that brain fog, that hangover thing happens.

You, you don’t necessarily keep it at the forefront of your mind. Whereas, when we are walking and we’re clear headed and we remember to come back and pick up conversations that we had previously and check in with each other about how things were when we last saw each other and how things are progressing now.

Um, so it feels like we’re without. It being an original intention, we’re moving on in our relationships with each other, and we’re better able to support each other. So, whilst… I am the only one amongst that particular friendship group that happens to be sober. And I absolutely don’t mind when we do still go out for dinners and nights out together.

I don’t mind if everyone else is drinking and I’m not. That happens not to bother me. Um, but I love the fact that now we also have this different way of socializing, which feels really nice. To me, and doesn’t make me feel as if I’m the odd one out on those occasions. Mm hmm. It sounds like you’ve had so many lovely, um, repercussions, it’s not the right word, but, uh, happy side effects from this choice that you’ve made.

And it, it makes you wonder kind of why other people don’t do it. And before I decided to do Dry July, I thought it would be really hard. I thought that I would also feel like I’m being left out or I just am not fitting into the group if we’re if I’m not having a drink. But when you said that you made the choice not to drink, that really struck with me because it’s, it is such a choice and I don’t think we really We don’t really clock onto that quite that once you make the decision, I don’t want it.

It’s different from making the decision that I’m not gonna have it. And I made the decision, I don’t want it anymore, and it has made all of that go away. But when I’m trying to do dry January before years ago, and I just said, okay, I don’t want it, I’m not gonna do it this year, uh, or this month. It was a lot harder.

So I think it’s all about how you make the decision to do it. Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I, I think a lot of that internal chatter, where we consider other people’s thoughts, other people’s feelings about our choice. It, it really is irrelevant. I, I know this sounds hard, but other people are thinking about us far less than they actually are.

And we get tied up in, oh, you know, what’s their judgment going to be about me? What will they think? You know, if, if I choose not to drink, will other people think that’s because I had a problem? Well, you know, a problem. This is all relative, isn’t it? You know, what’s somebody else’s problem is not my problem.

What’s my problem is not somebody else’s problem. And that idea that, um, what other people think is actually none of our business, that they’re going to have thoughts, whatever thoughts they’re going to have. They’re going to have them, those thoughts are out of our control. And I think for me, a really key part in all of this, which wasn’t obvious to me right at the beginning of my sober journey, but is, you did become clear as I went along was questioning what my values are.

What are the things that are really, really important to me? You know, if lots of other things fell away from the side tomorrow. I need to know that I am living a life whereby I feel like I’m showing kindness to the people around me, that I’m living courageously, that I am trusting my own intuition, that I’ve got a belief that people are innately good, that people are resourceful.

These are the things that I really value. If I’m drinking a whole bunch of alcohol and numbing out some of the stuff in my life that feels less than good, I’m also numbing out the stuff that feels really great and missing the opportunity to really live into who I am. Yeah. And, and that’s going to affect everything in your life from, from how you, uh, interact with other people to your creativity and what you’re able to get done because.

You can’t just stay this constant level numbness forever and expect to, expect to be triumphant or, or make progress. Yeah, and you know, we are sold such a lie that alcohol, you know, it’s something that we turn to when we celebrate all the great stuff. And guess what? It’s something that we turn to when all of the stuff is rubbish.

You know, we serve it at the funeral always. We serve it, you know, when, you know, when your friend is feeling desperately sad, we rock up with a bottle of wine or, you know. It cannot be if we think about it logically, there cannot be one tool, one drug that serves the purpose of either end of the spectrum.

It just isn’t possible. It’s alcohol is a depressant. It is a toxin that we put in our system. What is the point in drinking all the green smoothies, doing all the yoga, going for the runs, you know, feeding our kids organic, fabulous home cooked recipes and eating that organic food ourselves if what we’re then going to do after all of that is, is neck a couple of glasses of wine.

I would say don’t bother then with the smoothies, the exercise and the supplements because you, you would just be so much better off cutting out the one thing rather than adding in. All of those other, other things and when we make it as a choice that feels powerful and is claiming something for ourselves that we don’t need to apologize for, we don’t need to say to what we, in fact, we never need to explain ourselves to other people anyway, but we often find ourselves, you know, being apologetic if we’re Not drinking or our friends might say to us, Oh, go on.

You can just have one. Oh, you know, why do you need to cut it out completely? You’re no worse than the rest of us. You know, this, this herd mentality that is around. Our fear of them being outcast, being an outlier, if we’re choosing something different, are we afraid that other people will hold up that mirror and then think, well, what, does she think she’s better than us or does she, you know, why would she be making that choice?

She’s making the rest of us feel rubbish. And some of that stuff is painful for us to look at, to consider. It’s really hurtful. People do think. Tend to make your decision about them when it’s something like this, and it’s, it’s not, it’s your decision for you. But I have, I have noticed to, um, when I’ve been asked, Oh, are you still doing that?

I thought that was last month and, and it wasn’t pressure, but it was also like, Um, I didn’t expect it to still be going. I didn’t expect you to hold out this long, and it doesn’t even feel like that anymore. But, um, all super interesting, and, um, I would love to know, um, because of this journey that you’ve been on, you know, what kind of, um, changes has it brought to transitions in your career, and how you spend your free time, um, while you said the hiking and everything, um, how has it made changes for you in other areas?

Um, so I would say. It, it has had a huge impact, um, both personally and professionally. Um, up until, um, last year, um, I was still working, um, in local government. My, my role for the pre 12 years prior to that had been working with young people within the youth justice system, a huge part of which was mentoring and coaching young people around there.

addictions, their substance use and misuse, which during the whole of that time, I never ever considered my drinking as something that needed any looking at. Um, I think one of the other myths that we have in society is we talk about drugs and alcohol. If we were being really honest, we would now just say drugs.

Because alcohol is a, is a drug, but, but we don’t because society, you know, likes to keep alcohol as a socially acceptable, um, part of, of what goes on in the world. And I could go down a whole big rabbit hole about that with you, but as it stands, we talk about drugs and alcohol. I was spending a huge amount of my time talking to young people about what was going on for them.

Never considering my own alcohol use during that time. In 2019, I obviously made this big life change and decided to give this a go. Um, I was. Doing my coaching, other formal coaching qualifications also at the same time, and I knew that at some point I was going to leave my job in local government, I was going to be offered the opportunity to be made redundant, which actually eventually then happened.

last year. So by that time I had set up my coaching practice on the side. I’d been sober for two and a bit years by that point. Um, I was ready to leave that job in local government and fly solo in my coaching practice. So my professional life has changed. Completely. I now work for myself, enjoy my coaching clients, which I mostly do one to one.

I do a little bit of group coaching. I do a lot of public speaking. Um, I really enjoy, um, running workplace events as well. I’m really, really keen on being able to tell a story of positivity about. Living a really fun, exciting, normal life on the other side of drinking because I was in a place where I assumed that if I was going to run this alcohol free experiment for a year, my life was going to be really lonely, miserable and boring.

I just thought that that is how it was going to be and I’d have to endure it. And what a joy. And a surprise to find out it wasn’t like that. Um, of course it wasn’t loads of people knew that already, but, um, that’s the biggest change, I suppose, in my professional life and personally, I would say it has bought a real depth of.

change in friendships and relationships. I am so incredibly glad to be able to model a different way of being with my kids. Um, so my boys are 16 and 15 and I am really, you can tell kids of any age, anything that you like, but. I really enjoy the fact that I can model for them a behavior that is around leading a good life that doesn’t require sitting on the sofa with a couple of beers on a Friday night to fulfill that task that needs ticking on a list of relaxing.

There are other ways. of relaxing, having fun, socializing, that I’m able to actually show, show them. Um, and I would say the benefits as far as, um, uh, other parts of my life, I kind of do, I suppose, split out into physical, emotional, and spiritual. I think it, we can be really quick to say, oh, you know, um, when I choose to have a break from alcohol, I…

No, pretty quickly that I sleep a lot better, that my skin looks clearer, that I feel less brain fog that, um, you know, my hair is definitely glossier through it’s beautiful today. Thank you. And then the emotional benefits, we’re less quick to talk about them, you know, the emotional benefits, all of those brilliant things around, you know, how I’ve got so much more emotional energy and capacity for, you know.

Do it, putting my heart and soul into the work that I love doing and the other activities that I really enjoy and spiritually, you know, how am I feeling? Um, feel so much more authentic. Now, I feel like I have a real, much more developed in a knowing and much, I feel much more spiritual because I haven’t taken that edge off.

In other parts of my life, I really am able to feel more holistically all the things that go on for myself at the moment. So, you know, I could run you a huge long list of my benefits, but I really recognize that every client I work with has a slightly different list of. Benefits, you know, other people bring me their, you know, really joyful stories of what’s going well for them.

And, and we do take the time to recognize alongside it as well. What isn’t going so well, because. There will, there will often be that transition period where bits of it have felt difficult, you know, awkward, uncomfortable. If it was easy, surely everybody would do it and we would never have any need for any kind of support services.

There are support services because often it is hard. Can you share some of the experiences your clients have had working with you? Yeah, I mean, certainly my hard experience I would share, first of all, would be, you know, the loss of some, some friendships, you know, that is, is hard. And do you think you lost some of those because they felt threatened or because there was just nothing in common?

Um, I think one of the relationships, our relationship absolutely was based upon Um, our shared love of drinking together and, and almost the permission that we gave each other to, to drink like, you know, in a way that then we helped each other to feel normal in our drinking. Um, yeah, it was a shared, um, um, permission to each other.

And, and once I had chosen not, not to drink. Um, we really just fell out of, I suppose, alignment with each other and, and that happened over a period. During the period where I was cutting down my drinking because she did not enjoy the experience that I would then I would be saying, Oh, let’s do something else.

Let’s. Go for a coffee or let’s go for breakfast together, or let’s do something different. And actually the activity that she had loved doing with me was going out drinking. So, you know, there, there comes a point at which, you know, relationships, friendships, stuff does change. People don’t stay in our lives necessarily forever.

And whilst I could tell you now I’ve got a little tiny residual bit of. sadness about that loss of a friendship. Actually, for me in my life, when I weigh up everything else, I’m so much happier, you know, to be on the other side. And yes, I’ve lost, lost a friend, but actually I’ve gained so much more. Um, and You know, perhaps that sounds hard to say, but, but that’s the truth of, of that situation, um, and, and a different friendship was about a complete, um, I was, I was going to say misunderstanding.

It’s not a misunderstanding. It’s. Me choosing to live my life without alcohol and her not understanding why I would choose that. Um, and so her constant, you know, I, I just don’t, I don’t understand why you’ve done it, Sarah. Why, you know, tell me again, why, tell me again, what, you know, like, three why are we still having this conversation?

I, it sounds a bit ironic to say it, bearing in mind the, the role that I play in life, the fact that I’m a sober coach, but. Almost the, the bit about me being sober is the least interesting bit about me. Like it’s the, you know, it’s just a part of who I am. Just a tiny part of who anybody is, who’s sober. We are so much, you know, the sum of who we are is so many different parts that are interesting and creative and exciting.

And, you know, we’re here in this world to experience all of the good things and taking away. That alcohol element gives us a beautiful opportunity to experience all of those things on a much deeper level. So rather than a misunderstanding, perhaps just a, um, coming to a place where we just are not seeing things from the same point of view.

And that is okay. That, that is okay. Yeah, it’s okay. People come and go in your lives. And some of us are, some people are, are meant to be there just for a short time. Just, you know, We don’t have to have friendships forever for them to still have been important or meaningful. Definitely. So tell me, um, perhaps one of the most exciting things that has happened for somebody who’s decided to go sober that you’ve worked with.

I think, um, One of the things that has come as a massive surprise to me is the, um, communities of sober people that I have found and the relationships that I’ve developed through being sober. I think because I very much had that idea of being lonely, miserable, and boring when I was going to choose to be alcohol free for a period.

I hadn’t realized that there were other people out there fabulous lives. I think I’d just been looking down a dark tunnel and thought it was going to be lonely. And just how delightful it is to cross paths with other people, make those sober connections, find other people where. Uh, very often, there’s not a lot of small talk.

I, I host, um, a number of, uh, sober meetups in and around London and Surrey, where I live. And I love how we get together and we kind of, you know, I’ll walk away from a meetup and I’ll think, Oh, I was chatting to that lovely person. I’ve got no idea what they do for a job. I’ve got no idea whether they’re in a relationship or not, whether they’ve got, I don’t know, kids or any of those kinds of things, but I know intimately what they’ve got as their next medium term goal, what they are looking for spiritually, what they are interested in researching next and finding out about, because we kind of don’t bother with any of that.

I’m not saying that Smalltalk doesn’t have a place and I’m not saying I’m not interested in people’s backgrounds and relationships and things like that, but I love how a lot of the, um,

the stripped away stuff, um, it, it kind of doesn’t matter because the conversations just naturally come to a place of more depth and, um, I’m not, I’m not saying you can’t have those conversations if you’re not sober, but they just seem to come a lot more naturally. And I think if we’re in situations where we’re meeting new people, where alcohol is involved, we’re very much often using that as.

In the UK, we would call it Dutch courage, do you call it, you know, how, you know, you use alcohol as a, as a bit of a tool, perhaps if you’re a little bit introvert to give you a bit more energy around other people, or if you don’t enjoy big groups of people, you use it, you know, to take the edge off a bit, those feelings of anxiety.

And if you haven’t had to do with it, any of that, you’ve just turned up as your authentic self, and you’re going to tell the truth about you, that is a lovely place. To be around other people and a really nice surprise. It is. And the more you do it without that, what we call it liquid courage here. Yeah.

The easier it does get and the less vulnerable it feels. But it sounds like maybe that without the drinking, that maybe these people are having more opportunities. And, you know, less brain fog and they’re able to do more experiments and create, start new hobbies and things like that. Do you think that that is something that you’ve experienced?

Oh, definitely. You know, I think, oh, and I say it often, you know, alcohol will take away so many different things, but time, money, and energy. You know, if you were just to consider though, only those three things, you know. Yes, how much money do you spend on the alcohol itself, but also how much money do you spend on the Massive stack of carbs you need to eat the next day or the lost day of work Which matters very very much if you work for yourself, maybe not so much if you’re employed by other people.

I don’t know the Money that you then spend on, um, you know, painkillers the next morning or the takeaway food that you have to order the, perhaps you have to have in a babysitter ’cause you’ve got the worst hangover of your work, you know, of your life or, or whatever. All of those costs, financial, um, of alcohol add up really quickly.

The energy that you lose, that’s. That’s obvious. You know, you expend that energy on, in the evening, perhaps when you’re drinking, or, you know, during the day into the evening, and then you pay the price for that the next day. And the time that we spend on alcohol is massive. You know, if you were to think to yourself, I’m doing the supermarket shop, right?

Whilst I’m buying the food, I’m going to spend time thinking about which alcohol am I going to buy for this weekend. what have I already got in the cupboard at home? What do I need to restock? Then the time we spend perhaps sitting on the sofa or gathered around the kitchen island with our friends when we’re drinking the wine, and then the time, you know, in the night when you wake up a couple of times, and then the time the next morning.

There’s such a lot that you lose, and when you suddenly have these expanses opened up to you, that in an evening you don’t get home and you don’t walk to the fridge and pour a glass of wine whilst you’re cooking the dinner, and instead you find yourself Going for a little walk after dinner, or you find yourself with the energy to listen to a podcast while you’re lying in the bath, or you take up a new stitching habit or knitting habit or painting habit, or you start going to a community class on a Saturday morning because you don’t need to be recovering lying on the sofa.

Those lovely different ways. And, and I think people access that through a variety of, you know. Experimentation, you know, trying different things, seeing if they like it, seeing if something sticks, what was the thing that you loved when you were a kid? Are you going to go back to that? Or are you going to try new stuff?

Are you going to experiment with journaling? Are you going to be creative with words? Or are you going to be creative in a different, you know, how would you like to express yourself if you had the opportunity to not be judged by other people? Just put your private. Creativity out it out. How does it feel?

And, you know, open up those channels and feel unattached to the outcome. I think that’s just a lovely, lovely way to explore who you then want to become next in life in this place where you’ve chosen. Okay, I’m gonna take that one thing out of my life. What should I add in? What would be a much better replacement?

It’s a really joyful question. Oh, I love that. And Your enthusiasm for the topic is catching, so I know already that if I ever start to wonder, hmm, should I just have a glass of wine because it’s Christmas or New Year’s Eve or something, I’m going to think about this conversation. I’m going to remember because it’s making me enthusiastic to stay.

And I had, as I said, I wasn’t feeling like any desire to drink, but you know, something is always going to come up and some event that makes you wonder, should I just see again? And And I don’t even want to experience that I don’t want to, I don’t want to see, see if I want it again, I just want to be done because I want to sleep better and I have noticed that my sleeping is so much better.

I don’t want the brain fog and my brain fog has gotten a lot better. I have an autoimmune issue that makes it kind of foggy but it’s so much better. And, um, I have also noticed that I’m just. I was able to get up earlier in the morning, naturally, without my alarm clock, and that hasn’t happened since, well, ever, probably.

So, so many good things have come from this, and, and as you said, it opens up so many opportunities for people to add creativity in their life and take back some time that, you know, we don’t get our time back. You, you may, you can earn the money back, you can’t get the time back, so. That’s really important to keep in mind.

So, right here in the U. S. right now, we are starting school. My daughters start at kindergarten. And I think you guys over in the U. K., y’all are starting soon, too. So it’s a really wonderful time for transition. So, what kind of advice would you give to somebody listening who wanted to maybe give this sobriety thing a try so they can bring more creativity back into their life?

I would always say that now is a good time. Um, whatever time of year it is, is a perfect time. We will always be able to make an excuse that is, you know, there’s a vacation coming up or there’s a wedding or there’s a Christmas or there’ll always be a thing. So for a start. Don’t ever worry about anything that is in the future.

The, the present is the time that really, really matters. If there’s a wedding next month, you can worry about that next month. Right now, the opportunity to make a choice and to choose it really happily and say, Okay, I’m going to do something different. Will it bring me a different result? Because we know for sure that if we do the same thing over and over again, we’re not going to be surprised.

When we get the same result. So I think this time of year, the new term, new feeling season can really beautifully be ridden on right now for trying something different. So our kids are getting their new school shoes or their new pencil cases or backpacks, that lovely feeling of, you know. Start. Yeah, it’s a bit of a starting again feeling as adults, we can ride on that too and claim our own start again or claim our own project.

And this is a great time of year to do that to really embrace it. I would never ever say to you, let’s wait until the first of the month, you know, this is a project to start on the first of September or the first of October or, or, or whatever. Just start now, just start today. You don’t need to start it on a Monday.

You don’t need to, you know, save yourself for any particular reason. You don’t need to finish that bottle of wine that is sitting in the, in the fridge. you can just pull that down the drain. Yeah, it’s probably gone off anyway. Yeah, just let it go. Let it go. If you’ve got a case of wine sitting in the garage that you think, oh, you know, I can’t start this until I’ve got rid of that, that case of wine.

Leave it on the neighbor’s doorsteps. Get, just get shot of it. You know, don’t think to yourself, I have spent money on that. So I must get the value of drinking it. The value is not drinking. I’d also say the value is probably also not giving it to somebody else. You know, I, I personally choose not to gift alcohol to other people because I can’t, that doesn’t sit right with me, but you can find a way of.

Stopping making the excuses, don’t put the barriers up for yourself, you know, absolutely say, let’s try this change of a season, let’s go for something new, do something different. And, you know, all of those things, particularly I think about school terms, I don’t know if it happens the same for you, but, but this term where we run into autumn and we know that the Christmas, Christmas is kind of the end point of it.

There’s such a tendency to. Um, be in a role that snowballs and ends up with overwhelm over this kind of 16 week period or so. Don’t get yourself into overwhelm. Do the things that can allow you to find space and expansion in your life. You know, one of my, one of my favorite things that I like to do at this time of year is go in my paper diary and put a big cross through every Sunday in December.

I’m not doing anything on Sundays in December. Sundays in December are for us just to kick back as a family. That is. It, if you end up with, you know, endless things, I’m not saying that there isn’t fabulous joy to be had in all of the kids and the grownups activities in December, but choose really carefully what are the things that you want to say yes, because they’re an absolute yes this fills my heart with joy.

And would you go to that activity if it was done tomorrow, or. If you thought about it and that activity was tomorrow and you would right now be feeling a bit twitchy about it, then don’t say yes to it in the first place. Find the way to say bravely, say, no, thanks very much. You know, and if it’s, if the drink let, let’s say the activity is going to the neighbor’s drinks, because traditionally that is what the neighbors always do on the, I don’t know, first Saturday in December.

And it’s always a big bowl of punch and sweetss for the kids and you know, carols and whatever. Maybe it is a fabulous event, but maybe you are going to find it difficult because you might be the only person there who is not drinking. So just give it a swerve this year. You know, choose to take your kids to the cinema on that night this year.

Thanks so much for the invitation. Really sorry to miss it. And are you really sorry to miss it? You might, you might be, you might you know, use this time of year to keep half an eye on December to really, really make the space to keep your goals absolutely achievable for yourself. Oh, I love that. That’s great advice.

Well, I’ve got a special question for you. I would love to know what your favorite thing is about late summer.

My favorite thing is the anticipation of what’s next. I think. Anticipation is such an underrated feeling. We spend such a lot of time in life looking for the next thing, you know, we achieve something and then we almost don’t have a minute to think about it because we’re looking for the next thing, you know.

We come back from holiday already thinking about the next holiday that we’re going to book. We take so little time to really be in the moment and enjoy what’s, what’s happening and look forward to anticipating what’s next. So this period right now, I’m focused on thinking about all of the lovely things that have happened this summer.

And I’m not thinking about what will occur in summer 2024. And this change of season bit for me is about the anticipation of what will change in the natural world around me. I love the smells that come with autumn. I love the changing of the color of the leaves. I love the fall of the leaves. I love the colors that are associated with that.

I love the smell of a bonfire. I love fireworks nights. All of those things around how I feel physically about putting on our log burner at home, about wearing woolly tights. I love a sweater. I love a bobble hat. These are my favorite outfits in my life. So it’s the anticipation right now of the good things that are to come with the change from summer into autumn for me.

And sometimes anticipation is just as good as the event itself. Definitely is. Sometimes better. Sometimes better, yeah. So tell everybody where they could find you online if they’d like to connect. Thank you. That’s so lovely of you. Um, my website is drinklesslivebetter. com. Um, and on my website, you can find out all about my coaching, um, free resources, where to buy my book, also called Drink Less Live Better.

Um, I mostly hang out on Instagram, which my tag is at Drink Less Live Better. And I’m also on Facebook under the same. Um, same name. So that is, those are the main places that I hang out online. My podcast is Drink Less Live Better. Also that’s available on all of the main platforms and it’s a particularly tiny podcast, so it’s a weekly, um, released.

Um, episodic podcast. And generally the episodes are no longer than they’re around five to eight minutes long. So they are intended for that moment when you’re standing in the kitchen on a Thursday night at about five 36 o’clock and you’re thinking, Oh, I’ve got to cook dinner. I don’t know what I’m going to cook.

And actually really a glass of wine is what I want more than anything else right now. In this moment, you flick on a five minute podcast, have a listen to something uplifting that is going to. Perhaps distract you, deviate you, get you into a different way of thinking, and hopefully set you back on the path that you intended.

Oh, that’s lovely. That sounds like a really excellent resource. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, Sarah. It was such a lovely conversation with you. It’s a real pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.


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I guide women and feminine-aligned entrepreneurs who believe in the magic of the universe to share their wisdom & gifts by writing & publishing a life-changing book, so they can change more lives & create a sustainable business without burning themselves out. Are you ready to change lives, starting with your own? Click here to book a free call to chat about how I can help you make your book dreams a reality. No weird/gross sales pitches, just authentic conversations and honest recommendations.

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Holly Ostara
Holly Ostara

I help magical women share their gifts and knowledge by guiding them to write and publish a life-changing book so they can change more lives and create a sustainable business without burning themselves out or losing sight of their own lives.

I meld my experiences as a project manager, senior editor of an educational book imprint, author, and ex-burnout victim to help you write an amazing book in 6 months, without getting overwhelmed or wanting to quit.

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Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours​

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours

Writing Ritual Tracker from Books & Alchemy

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Writing Ritual Tracker from Books & Alchemy

Before you go...

Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours​

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.