Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast

Getting present and sober with Ellie Crowe

June 16, 2024 Isabella Ferguson and Meg Webb Season 2 Episode 86
Getting present and sober with Ellie Crowe
Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast
More Info
Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast
Getting present and sober with Ellie Crowe
Jun 16, 2024 Season 2 Episode 86
Isabella Ferguson and Meg Webb

Have you ever wondered how societal norms around drinking are subtly shaping your habits? This week, we're thrilled to welcome Ellie Crow from the Present and Sober Podcast. Ellie, a This Naked Mind senior certified coach, bravely opens up about her gradual shift from casual social drinking to using alcohol as a coping mechanism after becoming a mother and running a business. Her candid reflections offer invaluable insights into the normalisation of alcohol in our lives and the profound realisations that led her to seek freedom from its grasp.

We also dive into the crucial role of parenting in fostering self-connection and trust in our children. Through heartfelt stories, like Ellie's daughter Pearl's experience, we highlight the importance of open conversations about alcohol and societal pressures. We explore the power of sober retreats, where genuine connections are made, and lasting memories are created, all without the influence of alcohol. Join us for some laughs, some reflections and some great insights! 

You can find Ellie at: 

https://www.pumpupthepresent.com
https://www.instagram.com/pumpupthepresent
https://www.facebook.com/pumpupthepresent
https://podcast.presentandsober.com
https://youtube.com/@presentandsober 

MEG

Megan Webb: https://glassfulfilled.com.au
Instagram: @glassfulfilled
Unwined Bookclub: https://www.alcoholfreedom.com.au/unwinedbookclub
Sober Socialising workshop at Seadrift Distillery: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/confident-and-cozy-alcohol-free-socialising-for-winter-tickets-934198341387?aff=oddtdtcreator

BELLA

Isabella Ferguson: https://isabellaferguson.com.au
Instagram: @alcoholandstresswithisabella
Free 5-Day DO I HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM? Clarify and focus series: https://resources.isabellaferguson.com.au/doIhaveadrinkingproblemwithisabellaferguson
Alcohol Freedom Small Group Challenge - Register here: https://resources.isabellaferguson.com.au/alcoholfreedomchallenge
The Alcohol Revolution 6-Week Program (Online or Podcast): ...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever wondered how societal norms around drinking are subtly shaping your habits? This week, we're thrilled to welcome Ellie Crow from the Present and Sober Podcast. Ellie, a This Naked Mind senior certified coach, bravely opens up about her gradual shift from casual social drinking to using alcohol as a coping mechanism after becoming a mother and running a business. Her candid reflections offer invaluable insights into the normalisation of alcohol in our lives and the profound realisations that led her to seek freedom from its grasp.

We also dive into the crucial role of parenting in fostering self-connection and trust in our children. Through heartfelt stories, like Ellie's daughter Pearl's experience, we highlight the importance of open conversations about alcohol and societal pressures. We explore the power of sober retreats, where genuine connections are made, and lasting memories are created, all without the influence of alcohol. Join us for some laughs, some reflections and some great insights! 

You can find Ellie at: 

https://www.pumpupthepresent.com
https://www.instagram.com/pumpupthepresent
https://www.facebook.com/pumpupthepresent
https://podcast.presentandsober.com
https://youtube.com/@presentandsober 

MEG

Megan Webb: https://glassfulfilled.com.au
Instagram: @glassfulfilled
Unwined Bookclub: https://www.alcoholfreedom.com.au/unwinedbookclub
Sober Socialising workshop at Seadrift Distillery: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/confident-and-cozy-alcohol-free-socialising-for-winter-tickets-934198341387?aff=oddtdtcreator

BELLA

Isabella Ferguson: https://isabellaferguson.com.au
Instagram: @alcoholandstresswithisabella
Free 5-Day DO I HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM? Clarify and focus series: https://resources.isabellaferguson.com.au/doIhaveadrinkingproblemwithisabellaferguson
Alcohol Freedom Small Group Challenge - Register here: https://resources.isabellaferguson.com.au/alcoholfreedomchallenge
The Alcohol Revolution 6-Week Program (Online or Podcast): ...

Speaker 1:

Hey guys, it's Meg here. I just wanted to jump on and quickly tell you about something Bella and I are both offering at the moment. Isabella is offering a five-day free alcohol reset mini course and over the five days you will get emails daily and a video in each, designed to get you started with clear goals and some tools under your belt. To find out more information on this, go to isabellafergusoncomau. And then what I am offering is Unwind Book Club. This is a community for people who are on the alcohol-free journey and are looking for that next step further support, further coaching. So we have community coaching and a book that we read over two months. It's been amazing so far, and our next intake is July 1st. So if you're interested in finding out more, please go to unwindbookclubcom. Unwind is U-N-W-I-N-E-D.

Speaker 1:

Now I'll get on to introducing our guest today. It is Ellie Crow of Present and Sober Podcast. Ellie is a this Naked Minds senior certified coach and a certified grey area drinking coach who helps women in midlife find true freedom by ditching the wine and connecting back with themselves and their deep yearning. I was lucky enough to go on retreat recently and I went with Ellie and a bunch of other women. We had such a great time and so many laughs and I really wanted to get Ellie on to have a chat, so please welcome today's guest, ellie Crow.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, Meg. We're retreat buddies. We had a fucking blast. Oh shit, am I allowed to swear on your podcast Because I just have twice?

Speaker 1:

Yes, you are so good to have you here, so can I ask you to start by sharing your alcohol journey with us?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, of course, of course. So I'm now let's say I'm 43 now, and this all kind of started. For me, the kind of the discovery of the beginning, of the end, the discovery of this naked mind, was when I was 39. What was happening prior to that was that I'd always seen myself just very much as a social drinker, and when I was socialising I drank a lot, but so did everybody else. So you know it was all the badge of honour kind of stuff. And I remember a friend of mine and you know it's all the badge of honor kind of stuff. And I remember a friend of mine. She's a doctor and she would have these major exams to do and she always joked that she kind of did better on these exams after. You know the hideous night out that we'd had the night before and all of this. So it was very much all of that and I never considered it to be in any way shape or form an issue.

Speaker 2:

But my relationship with booze really changed after kids and I'm not blaming the children, but life gets very, very different when you so I'd been traveling the world with my job, which I absolutely loved, and again that was booze field. You're up at all hours traveling different time zones, taking people out for dinner and entertaining them. So booze was just soaked through everything. But the shift was that it went from being a social thing to being a means of coping, and by that I mean relaxation at the end of the day. A means of coping, and by that I mean relaxation at the end of the day. Oh, I've had a really long day. I'm knackered. I deserve a reward and I want to.

Speaker 2:

With having three kids, the thing that I was after was I just wanted to melt into the sofa. I wanted everybody to stop fucking asking me for stuff Yep, just leave me alone. I wanted that racing mind to stop, because all the while that I'm bringing up these kids, I'm trying to run a business at the same time and we didn't have any social support. So I was intermittently experiencing like periods of stress with work and I just I had this association with booze. Oh, that's the thing that relaxes me, and I never, ever questioned it. And so over time, it just became this. Really, I didn't realize how insidious it was, but this insidious habit and you know, you and I being well-versed in how alcohol works with the brain and body, we know why that's the case, but at the time it just seemed so natural and normal to me. But at the time it just seemed so natural and normal to me. And when I looked around for the social proof, everybody else is doing the same thing.

Speaker 2:

We often hear people say, oh, I've had a bad day, I really need a drink. It's the first thing that people often say. Or when people are celebrating something, booze is in the mix, isn't it? So for me, the shift was very much to those two things. It was means of relaxation and it was God I've had. I've either had a really good day, a really bad day. I deserve a drink, I deserve a way to check out.

Speaker 2:

And so that patterning was laid down and ingrained through many, many nights of putting children to bed and then going downstairs getting a wine glass out and only ever really intending on having that one glass of wine at the start of the evening. And then, before I know it, you know I've gone through possibly a bottle, and towards the end, you know I'd wake up on a morning and go down to the fridge and be like, oh, I only had half a bottle last night. Oh no, you didn't, ellie. What you had was a bottle and a half, and so the waking up in the morning then became low level hangover and I just got used to feeling substandard every morning and so I'd be like, oh, I'm not doing that again later on today. You know I started doing that thing of making the rules around. Well, I'll only drink on a weekend. And so I'd start off the day feeling crap, feeling hungover, having to go to these fucking baby groups. Like you know, sing and sign. Actually, I loved sing and sign. That was the one I did enjoy.

Speaker 2:

You know you go to these things and then I'm having to work around the edges. You know you go to these things and then I'm having to work around the edges, and I had at one point I had two under two, which is really really tough. Anyone that's got more than one child, that's that age like it's. It's fucking hard, especially when you haven't got any help around you trying to maintain a household, manage your finances, all the lifey stuff. So there I'd be, hanging at baby group and then by the middle of the day I'd start to feel a bit better and then early afternoon it'd be like, oh yeah, but wouldn't it be nice to have a little drink? Maybe just have the one, and then I'd be worn out towards the end of the day and then I would need I would seemingly need that means of being able to check out again. So there I'd be, putting the kids to bed and then the routine starts all over again.

Speaker 2:

And it wasn't until you know some time of doing that that I started to question it, in that God you know like, I seem to be drinking more than I used to. I don't really like it. I'm kind of worried about my health. I'm approaching 40. And, as I said, introducing these rules, these attempts at moderation, and then kind of wondering, well, why is this so bloody difficult? And the thing that was threaded through all of this was hormonal challenges.

Speaker 2:

So after my son, I really struggled postnatally. I don't know that I had. I don't think I had postnatal depression, but I was diagnosed at one point with something called PMDD, which is premenstrual dysphoric. Struggled postnatally. I don't know that I had, I don't think I had postnatal depression, but I was diagnosed at one point with something called PMDD, which is premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Anybody that's heard of that or knows of it or has been unfortunate to suffer with it, it's really debilitating. It's like a really extreme form of PMS leaves people feeling homicidal, suicidal. It's really really quite extreme and, I think, for women particularly well.

Speaker 2:

I couldn't really only talk about being a woman because I'm in a female gender body. I think there's a lot of shame attached to feelings of anger, rage, and so I recognised there was this volatility. It didn't feel like me. I often felt like I was having an out of body experience, you know, and I would feel such intense levels of emotion, but I had no idea what to do with it and I was really afraid of going and talking to my GP. I did in the end, and this is where the diagnosis came from. But the reason I was afraid of going was because I didn't want to be. I didn't want to be labelled as anything. I didn't want to have additional layers of shame, even if that was self-generated by having some kind of a condition, and I certainly didn't want to take antidepressants.

Speaker 2:

I was really anti that because of when I was very young I was only about 20, my father died and in the midst of the grief I'd gone to my doctor. I was just really struggling. I was in my final year of university and they gave me antidepressants. Now I didn't need antidepressants. I needed assistance and support with allowing grief to flow through me. But that wasn't what was on offer. What was on offer was antidepressants. It was back in the day where I was. I can't remember the name of it, but it was an antidepressant that was then removed from the market for guess what, making people homicidal. So I had a really bad experience with that, and that was. You know that that had made me fearful of going there again. So my initial visit to the doctor was here Would you like some antidepressants? No, thank you very much.

Speaker 2:

And I went on and struggled for a few months more and then it just got to the point where I couldn't do it anymore. I was so, I was just done, and I remember sitting in the doctor's office, my two kids playing at my feet both under two at the time I think they were, and I might've been a little bit older and I was looking at these kids and I was thinking like they deserve better than this, they deserve more. And then my next thought was they'd be better off without me. Like, well, what a fucking thing to think as a, as a mom, you know, but that's how low I was. That's like I was so depleted and so at that point that was when I was like I'm just fucking surrendering now, like I don't give me all the antidepressants in the world, I don't fucking care. Uh, cause I couldn't see anywhere through.

Speaker 2:

And in this visit I was prescribed antidepressants and the the GP said to me cause she was prescribing, and at that moment when I decided I was taking them, there was kind of like a sigh of relief because there was some chink of light, you know, some opportunity to to change my situation. She said to me how much do you do you drink? I said yes. She said how much do you drink? And because I was so dazed, I forgot to lie, because that's what you do when you go to your doctor you half it and then you half it again, don't you? And you lie about how much you drink. I didn't. I told her how much I was drinking and this lovely, middle-aged and middle-class Cambridgeshire lady looked very shocked and she said, well, you need to cut down. And I thought, oh, yeah, I probably do. But like, how do you do that? So I left her office feeling a little bit scolded and a little bit silly and thought, well, yeah, but I don't know how to do that Now.

Speaker 2:

Interestingly, when I started taking the antidepressants, it allowed me to just get my head above water and so with that change in how I felt, I was able to employ different things in my life. I went to see a really good cognitive behavioral therapist, dealt with my anxiety, ignited my yoga practice, and that was a huge thing for me, not just the physical aspect of my yoga practice but the full thing. I did some gut health work. So what naturally happened over that period of time was that my alcohol consumption naturally went down because I was doing these other things. So at this point again didn't really feel too problematic. It didn't feel problematic at all.

Speaker 2:

And then I fell pregnant with my third one, and that was the pregnancy where I really missed drinking. I massively missed it. I'd be like looking at everybody else longing. I remember we had a really hot summer and it's my birthday. So we had this party. I was heavily pregnant, had a party, kind of like a last hurrah before the next baby comes, celebrate my birthday. Everyone was drinking, paddling pool, not full of water for the two kids to play in full of ice to hold all of the booze. I'm not fucking kidding you. That was it. It was ridiculous and everyone was pissed and I was just. There's a picture of me sitting on an inflatable chair with my feet upon an inflatable stool, heavily pregnant, looking entirely pissed off. Because they're all having a great time and there I am, you know, with my whatever my soft drink is. So that gives you a sense of like just how wedded I was to other beliefs. Like I need alcohol to have fun, I need alcohol to socialize because, as I said at the beginning, it was very much a social thing for me. Every single social occasion it was present and if it wasn't, um, if it wasn't the main activity, we'd make it the main activity, you know.

Speaker 2:

So after my last one this is when I think it was quite fast you know, we hear about when you use alcohol as a means of self-medication, and I don't necessarily mean like at the very extreme end, and I don't necessarily mean to medicate pain, I just mean to try and change our feeling state, to try and have ourselves feel better. A feeling state to try and have ourselves feel better. Then the descent is faster because of the way that alcohol works with the pleasure circuit of the brain and so, unwittingly, I was accelerating the dependence. I suppose I don't like really saying that, because it sounds like you know we kind of term that with like oh, and then you're an alcoholic. But it was a dependence, like, if I look at it in the cold light of day, I was relying on it at the end of the day and I didn't like that. I didn't like being beholden to this substance, but I had no fucking idea what to do about it.

Speaker 2:

So I was really really lucky in that I, totally by accident, stumbled upon this Naked Mind. It was a Facebook ad and it's a cut down version of this Naked Mind, the book, and it's a PDF called the Six Vital Things that you Need To Know About Moderation According To Science. Now, of course, because I'm trying to moderate badly, it's like, ah, that's interesting. Moderation, right. What do I need to know about moderation then? And the science aspect? Well, I'm a questioner, so, for me, if I can understand how something works and why I'm sold.

Speaker 2:

So, with trepidation, I read this PDF and this was the first time that I'd learned how alcohol works with the brain and body and, importantly, that main belief that I had around alcohol and relaxation. It proved to me that in non-certain terms, that it was entirely false. And not only was it wrong that it didn't relax me, it was actually exacerbating and potentially causing the stress in my life. I was highly stressed, highly anxious all the time. Well, it's no fucking wonder when you've got exacerbated, you know excess levels of stress, hormones, cortisol and adrenaline circulating in your body. So I was like fuck, this is a fucking scam, like shit. And I was incensed. I can't believe this. And so in that moment it was the weirdest moment, it was like a magic trick. It was like my desire to drink went in a moment, in an instant.

Speaker 2:

And I remember being dumbfounded by this, because the day before, if that had been a non-weekend day and I was telling myself, oh, I can't drink today because it's a Wednesday, I'd have been fucking miserable. I'd have felt like I was missing out, depriving myself, wishing my life away to get to the weekend. And yet there I was on this Wednesday let's call it Wednesday and I'm like I just don't want to drink. And I'd never felt that before because I'd coveted alcohol for so long. So what did I do? I just quietly stopped drinking. I was still with my husband at the time. I didn't tell him. I just stopped drinking and I was like God, this is weird.

Speaker 2:

And about a week later, because I was on Annie's email list, I then received an invitation to the January 2020 live alcohol experiment and at first I remember thinking like what the hell is this all about? And I was kind of intrigued. But it was $47, $47 US dollars and I was like, oh well, I can't spend that on myself. And then I went hang on a minute, I can't spend $47 on myself. Well, I also thought for many, many years, alcohol relaxed me and I was wrong about that. So maybe I can be wrong about spending $47 on myself. And so I decided I'd spend this $47 and then got into the alcohol experiment, and anybody that's been through it will know that the beginning part of the alcohol experiment is a level of pre-work and this is all mindful drinking. I've never done that before. I've never drank and paid attention to what happens, and it's kind of interesting because I didn't.

Speaker 2:

As I said, I didn't have any desire to drink anymore. However, there were three occasions. So this is middle of December. There were three occasions in the lead up to and just after Christmas where I chose to drink, and it was utterly mind-blowing what I discovered about the other beliefs that I had about booze. I liked the taste. I used to have all these expensive bottles of wine and champagne, thinking I was some kind of wine connoisseur. I realised I don't like the taste. Oh my God, you're not incredible. I like the way it makes me feel, oh, or like that tipsy feeling. Well, christmas Eve, wrapping the presents with my champagne, I realised, actually, I don't fucking like it at all. It feels horrible. It doesn't enhance the experience, it detracts from it. Wow.

Speaker 2:

So that Christmas I had the first Christmas day other than pregnancy and childhood, entirely sober, and it was amazing. And I was entirely present with my kids, and it was wonderful. I didn't feel tired and sluggish all day. And so I was amassing these experiences of both mindful drinking that was allowing me to bust my beliefs, and also having these alcohol-free experiences of like who knew? This is actually better when you're not telling yourself that you're missing out. This is better. Oh my God, who knew? And so, prior to January, I had no reason left to drink. Don't like the taste, don't like the way it makes me feel, doesn't relax me, I'm not sure, actually, that it's more fun. So it's like, well, what's the fucking point then?

Speaker 2:

So I went into the alcohol experiment and I was done. I was done and I got a couple of weeks in and I was so passionate about what I was learning and the transformation that I was seeing, not just in me but in the thousands of other people that were in the group, and the transformation I was seeing not just in me but in the thousands of other people that were in the group, that I was like, right, there are so many women like me that are at sing and sign group dying because they're so hung over and they're so fed up, and I don't want anybody else to continue to feel like that, because I know what that feels like and it's shit and it's not necessary. There's this much more fulfilling life where you can actually be present to your life and be there for not just yourself but your children, your family, in a really different way. And so I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I decided I was going to be a coach. I'm just going to find out, like I was looking at these coaches that were coaching the lab. I'm going to do that. I'm going to do that. Coaches that were coaching the lab. I'm going to do that. I'm going to do that.

Speaker 2:

And, by divine hand, the end of January, an email comes in from Annie, and it was basically saying that it was the first time that she was going to open this Naked Mind Institute online. So, prior to that, she'd trained one group of coaches, the OG. She'd trained them in person the year before, and this was the first time she was going to open it up online. And so I had a voice telling me oh, who are you to do that? And I was like fuck you, I'm doing this. And so I signed up, and then I was away, and so that summer of 2020, where we went into lockdown, of course, that was when I was training with Annie, and so I did my initial certification with her.

Speaker 2:

I then went on to train with a lady called Jolene Park, who's famous for her gray area drinking training. Well, actually, sorry, she's more famous for her TED talk about gray area drinking, but I know a lot of us coaches have been through her gray area drinking training. So I did all of that and then set my coaching practice up. I've been coaching. I started out doing a lot of one-to-one. I don't do so much one-to-one these days. I do a lot of small group work. That's really the place that I love to play and I get a lot out of that personally, but it's just incredible to see what can happen when groups of people get together and are willing to be vulnerable and to look in this kind of direction. So that's that's the piece that I really love.

Speaker 2:

And then the um. Obviously you have the podcast. You were one of our guests very, very recently, and so that I buddied up with a guy called Sam Goldfinch, who is also this Naked Mind coach. I met him when we were training with Jolene and his business was the Sober Rebellion. My business was Pump Up the Present. It was all about elevating the only thing that you have the present moment. And so he phoned me up one day and he said I think we should do a podcast together and I've got a name for it. He said it's called Present and Sober and I was like that's so fucking cool. Yes, let's do it. And so here we are. We're kicking the ass of a million downloads, oh my God. And we should be tipping any day. Now we should be tipping into the top one and a half percent podcast globally.

Speaker 2:

So it's like, yeah, how the fuck did that happen? So it's like, yeah, how the fuck did that happen? But but this is the thing and this is the thing I want everyone to know. When you like it doesn't matter whether you want to be a coach or whether you want to host a podcast, that's irrelevant what, what's open to you by looking in this direction, by removing something like alcohol from your life, like everything, like god, god, this endless opportunity. I had no idea how I was keeping myself small and restricting myself and my life by being, you know, in this kind of sleepwalking state with booze. So it's incredible what can happen. You know it's not for the faint-hearted, but like if you're feeling that calling to like something here, then all of the discomfort of growth is worth it, time and time over.

Speaker 1:

Oh, yes, yes, it is. Oh, my God, that was so interesting. I was almost meditating there just listening to you speak. Maybe it's your accent, I don't know. I know, and a lot of it resonated with me, I and, but not the two under two. I can't even comprehend that because, uh, yeah, I've got the 10 year age gap, like well, from my youngest and oldest, so we're complete opposite on that. But that is, it is full-on parenting little tiny ones and it's really sad that you got to that point of thinking they'd be better off without you. But look where you are now. So, amazingly, you shifted that.

Speaker 1:

But and I was talking to someone today about, you know, with our kids and I know yours were younger, so, hopefully, well, they're going to mainly remember you as a non-drinker. But I was talking about my kids and before we do this work, you know there is a lot of shame and blame that we, we go through, and I initially had that with my kids. But the flip side of it is, and where I'm at now is the change I've made and what they've seen me do is the best lesson I think I could ever give my kids. So the positive out of the drinking story is that I'm someone they can look at and go. You can do whatever the hell you put your mind to. You know, if mum's done this and like you, I'm doing the podcast like I couldn't as I've told you before and everyone listening I couldn't speak in front of people for many, many, many years, and to be here now and my kids know that about me, so to be here now doing this is just like it couldn't have happened with alcohol.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's an incredible thing, Megan. This is like I don't think our kids need to see us as, like you know, these perfect beings. I think that's a really dangerous thing, actually, because you know, if you're modelled, you know being this, you know idealistic, human being like nobody's that, nobody's that. We're all fallible, we're all very, very human at times, and so I think it's really important to allow our children to see us as we are and and, of course, like you know, in an age appropriate way. There are certain things that I'm not going to share with with my children, I might show when, when they're older, but I want them. I want them to see my humanness and I want them to feel comfortable, as comfortable as they can be with their own, such that you know they'll see me make mistakes and particularly, you know, in the parenting world I mean God it's like rife with opportunity for fucking up.

Speaker 2:

But with my children. The commitment that they have for me is that I will always repair with them, always. I will never, ever leave anything left undone. And so we I got this from Elena Brower. I was listening to her a few years ago and she was talking about when her son was younger and they would have this thing called a do-over. And so it was a way of basically asking, you know, acknowledging like you know, I've screwed up. I would have liked that to have gone better. I would like some opportunity for forgiveness and to have another chance.

Speaker 2:

And so I employed this with my kids and I said look, you know, there'll be times where I'd perhaps be short with them or, you know, like with kids where they're kind of like arguing with one another. It might feel like I've taken sides with one of them and then one's left feeling abandoned. And so I started to employ this of like you know, can I have a do over that kind? It didn't go how I wanted it to, and there was a moment with my eldest and we'd had like a real difficult situation and she'd acted out and I was really kind of hot from it because it was, you know, it wasn't nice what had happened and, um, and I remember feeling like a lot of tension in my own body Cause I was, I was kind of so cross, you know, like, when your kids like might be, you know, smart mouthed with you or whatever, and really like you know, smart mouth with you or whatever, and and really like you know, take it fucking personally, and and and so I was very much standing in my like you know, I'm right, you're wrong ground. And she came up to me this might be, you know, my sweet little, she was probably only about seven or eight at the time and she, um, this is my daughter, pearl. And she came and she looked up to me and she said, mummy, can I have a do-over please? With tears in her eyes. And, of course, what happens when, you know, do I stay in my? You know, well, I'm writing it no, like the whole thing just fell away and dissolved and then she's in my arms, you know. So there's such a power with our fallibility, our humanness, sharing that age appropriately with our children. Like you say, for them to see what you've done is incredible. And as far as alcohol is concerned, for me, pearl, out of the three of them, pearl is the one that might remember some of it Very little.

Speaker 2:

I think she's only ever really, I think, seen me as a non-drinker, but in the beginning we did talk about it a lot and I remember one day so she would have gosh, I can't do maths on the fly she would have been younger and I remember I heard her in the playroom with her iPad and she was pretending to record videos and she was modelling. She was either modeling me or Annie, annie Grace, and I could hear her doing this video of like yes, um, it's not a good idea to drink alcohol because it's really bad for you. So what you can do is you can drink instead, uh, water, milk, non-alcoholic wine, non-alcoholic beer. I got so sweet. No, she's very cute, but but the point being that, you know I I've talked to her about some aspects of it uh, because there's going to come a point where, for all of my children, you know, irrespective of me being a non-drinker, yeah, they are going to face their own reckoning with the societal bullshit around booze, and I can't be there to police what's going on. Neither do I want to.

Speaker 2:

What I can do is help them to stay connected with themselves in a way that wasn't available to me. You know, we all have this very, very deep part of us, our true self, capital S self, our essence, that is guiding us moment to moment, and that connection is always there. What happens with cultural conditioning and the primal need to fit in is that we start to distance ourselves from that. Obscurations get in the way and and that's how I've effectively abandoned myself. You know, over all of those years where I was, you know I'd like I mentioned about my father's death. I was, I was drinking away that grief. I didn't realize that's what I was doing at the time, but I didn't know how else to face the emotion.

Speaker 2:

And so, with my children, it's really critically important to me that it's not that I'm teaching them how to be connected with themselves, because they already know this. It's the act of helping them to stay connected so that they don't have to go through the process of trying to recover that, but they maintain it such that they will trust themselves first over anybody else, including me. You know how, with kids, we'll do that thing of like they'll be eating their dinner. My son always does this He'll eat all the beige stuff and then he leaves the greens and I'm like son, eat your greens. And he's like, oh no, mummy, I'm full and we do that thing of no, you're not eat your greens. And it's kind of like a bit of a playful example. I mean, this is where we have to temper things. I want to talk to him about why it's important to eat his green stuff, but equally, I don't know whether he feels full in his tummy or not. Only he knows that. So who am I to tell him to abandon himself in favor of what I'm telling him? So I mentioned this because I think that we just want to be cognizant of what we're modeling for our children, but how we're facilitating or not that route to, to connection with self, that trust in self, because when it comes to pearl being offered booze or you know something else, I want her to have the, the steadiness and the, the self-assurance around whatever decision that she makes, notwithstanding the fact, like I'm going to be there to catch whatever she does, I'm going to be there to catch her and she will learn.

Speaker 2:

Either way, I had an example with her recently. It was probably I don't know about six months ago. I don't normally have things like soda, like Coca-Cola, I don't normally have things like that in the house, because I just never really drink it myself and so the kids have always kind of seen those things as treats, like something that they might get on a trip out. And we'd been to the cinema or something and she had this small bottle of Coca-Cola and it's like half of it left. And she said to me this morning mummy, can I take, instead of taking water in my water bottle to school, can I take this Coca-Cola? And I was about to say no, you're bloody well calmed, get your water and let's go to school.

Speaker 2:

And then I thought, oh, hang on a minute, right, this isn't my decision. And I said that to her. I said I'm not making this decision for you. You're going to make this decision. What I'm going to do is I'm going to help you, and how I'm going to help you is I'm going to talk to you about some, some information, like what happens when you wash and bathe your teeth in soda all day. I'm going to talk to you about the rules that the school have and why they have those rules. So we did a little bit of kind of like teaching around the stuff or sharing of information with her and then I said to her right.

Speaker 2:

What I now want you to do is I want you to consider two things. So, firstly, I want you to consider what happens. So imagine, imagine, pearl, that you pour the Coca-Cola into your water bottle and you take it into school. So just, you know. Close your eyes. Imagine what that feels like. Imagine it Right. You got it, yeah, right Now. Imagine how you feel at the end of the day having taken the Coca-Cola in. So the Coca-Cola is long gone. How do you feel at the end of the day, having taken it in? Bear in mind all the things we've talked about Got it, yeah, got it Right Now. What I want you to feel into is how do you feel if you take water into school? So how does that feel at the beginning of the day? Close your eyes, yeah, okay, I got that. How do you feel at the end of the day, having taken the water in? So she thinks about that and balls out of the bath.

Speaker 2:

I had no idea how this was going to go. And, and and I said to her right, you know this is your decision and she did make. Right, you know this is your decision and she did make she. She looked like this. She looked down as if she was looking into herself for the answer. She took a moment and then she turned around. She screwed the cap back on the coca-cola and put it back in the fridge. I was like now that worked, yeah, amazing. But the whole point of that story is I'm not telling her. She has full agency. And look, had she taken the Coca-Cola in, she'd have also learned the lesson which I was positioning for her around delayed gratification versus instant gratification. So we, as parents, we have such a beautiful opportunity, within the sharing of our own vulnerability, our own challenges and, like you said, to to be able to show them the growth that's possible. It's, it's so highly valuable. So I think it's the best thing that we can do for our kids, oh, definitely definitely, and I love that.

Speaker 1:

I love it. There's so many opportunities now for us to, yeah, have learning opportunities with the kids and mine are obviously a lot older, but similar things in different ways. You know, age appropriate ways, and both my girls, 18 and 26, are not big drinkers and my middle daughter we have really good conversations now because she said recently, because in Australia um drinking's at 18 and it might be in the UK I'm not sure America's anyone yeah, so she's going to all these parties and she said, um, oh well, one of the times she said I had some jelly shots but I only had equivalent to um one and a half drinks, like at 18, I wouldn't have. I mean, get as many of those standard drinks as you know would have been my motto, but she, she stopped anyway.

Speaker 1:

The next one was, um. She said, oh, we went to a party and someone threw up and they didn't remember the next day and I said, well, that's called a blackout and she goes. What's that? She goes because I never want one and I got a chance to tell her about it and how it happens and I told her for me I got them because I drank so quickly and and just for her to be educated, because there was other information I told her as well, was a great conversation and she said well, I don't want to have that.

Speaker 1:

I mean the awareness of her at 18 compared to me. It's just so nice that we can have those conversations and my son's 15, so it's yet to come and I don't think he'll be as willing to have chats with me, but he hears these conversations and all my kids know that they can make their own choices and, no matter what, like you said, I will be there to catch them and to pick them up at night. How good is that? Because my kids were at age, yeah, where when I was drinking I couldn't pick them up. I mean, it wasn't like now I could, I was still with my husband and and we get people to drop them home. But I can't even imagine how I would have done this if I was drinking, because they rely so much on me and I want to pick them up in the dark. You know I don't want it's a safety thing, you know. So just the fact I can now. But I say to them all you know, if it's 2am and you're lost, you're off somewhere and you can't get home, call me. You know I don't care if you've been drinking, obviously for me. That's what I'm here for, so it's really is a blessing with the kids.

Speaker 1:

I wanted to have a quick chat about our trip to Thailand, just because I haven't really spoken about it on here. I've sort of alluded to it in some of the the podcasts I've done since then, but it was amazing and I just wondered what your experience was, your biggest takeaways from that week. So for everyone listening, you know, we went over with Kim, who's also this naked mind coach, and there were 11 of us. We went to Phuket and did some amazing things. Um for a week.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so this was a effectively a wellness retreat. Uh, yes, and we were all alcohol free, uh, for the duration. Um, there was, I think, about gosh. Again, I can't do maths in my head. The majority of the ladies there were clients of mine. So I knew I knew them all in in kind of different um contexts, either one-to-one coaching or PATH coaching Sorry, path being the Snake in Mind program. So I've coached them all in different capacities and my role there was to be a guest speaker and to sort of facilitate with Kim, and so I kind of went with this idea of like, almost like, this isn't for me, this is in an act of service for others, and of course that was very much the case.

Speaker 2:

But the thing that was really unexpected for me was that I knew that there would be moments of kind of spiritual blessings in there for me. But the thing that surprised me the most, it was a real spiritual pilgrimage and the depth of experiences that I had totally unexpectedly whilst I was there were just like out of this world. I'm really into the magic and mystery of life and, wow, like it was punctuated with all of that. So there was kind of this real um, I don't even know how to put words to it. You know this kind of spiritual experiencing going on for me but at the same time, being able to witness vast transformation in others and to be able to connect in a way. You know what? Earlier on I was talking about alcohol being fun.

Speaker 2:

I mean, what a fucking lie that is and if anybody, if anybody believes that, they just need a window into that boat trip that we had. So there we all are on a boat in the middle of the Andaman sea and there's not a drop of booze anywhere to be seen and we had the most fucking fun ever. So we go off and we do a bit of snorkeling and we're doing a bit of sunbathing and we and there was some really quiet moments like I sat alongside one of my, you know, long-standing clients. We sat next to each other for, I'd say, a good half an hour and we didn't speak and it wasn't that, you know, we were ignoring each other. We were just in the moment. We were just being present to the moment and having you know that, like just soaking it all in, and you can still be very connected with somebody without any words. So there was lots of moments like that. And then I have to stop you for one second.

Speaker 1:

I'm picturing now. Sorry, I'll let you keep going, but while you were doing that, having this really nice moment, kim and I were snorkeling to land and I didn't realize I had an ear infection and I kept trying to stand up and kept falling. Oh shit, yeah, and yeah, I couldn't work out how to get out of the water onto the beach. I kept falling, turned out I had an ear infection. But then I cut myself on coral. But then, as I was swimming back, kim turned around and went there you go. And I couldn't hear it because you know I snorkel gear, put my head up and go what? And she waves her hand. So I put my head down. Big jellyfish in my face. Oh yeah, you did. Oh, my god hit me. It hit me.

Speaker 1:

But then we got back to the boat and the the two lovely guys bandaged me up. They laughed at me. They laughed at me cutting myself in the coral. I can't stand up. I can't stand up anyway. Um, and then it continued to be the best that was the best ride and I will go, let you get back.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you got, you got looked, you got bandaged up and looked after because we had somebody else got jellyfish stings and then and we had beautiful food and like it was just amazing. But then what was that fruit we had?

Speaker 1:

oh my god, it was like a grapefruit. Whatever it like, it was just amazing. What was that fruit we had? Oh my God, it was like a grapefruit.

Speaker 2:

Whatever it was, it was so good, it began with a P, didn't it? Pamela, or something Pamela or something.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that was bloody good.

Speaker 2:

Towards the end. Everybody is so, bear in mind, like the majority of people haven't met each other before, right, and and yet we were so tight the bonds in that group, and so what it culminated in was, you know, we were having like lots of laughs and conversation and all of these things, and then the music busts out and, and what I remember, one of the first songs that came on so I, my ringtone on my phone is sweet child of mine by guns and roses that comes on and there we've got ali and she's and and they are, like, you know, axl, rose and yeah, away with this, the air guitar and the drums and and it and it got, you know, just really really raucous, very, very, very quickly, and it was just like I haven't fucking laughed like that in such a long time and you're going like not one person, not one person, has drank a thing, and yet we are having the best time, the most fun you know it was. The thing is it was really authentic and natural and wholesome, wholehearted, because everybody was fully present to themselves, fully present to each other, fully present to the situation that we're in. So that for me, I get chills talking about it, because that is fun, that is joy, that is love, that is bliss. That like not this crappy, shitty substance that anesthetizes you and shuts down. You know the workings of the central nervous system. That's not fucking fun, it's not fun.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, thailand was um incredible and you know, if anybody wants to hear more about thailand, then they can come. We talked about it on my podcast, didn't we?

Speaker 1:

yeah, we did so.

Speaker 2:

Come and listen to our conversation about that, because it you know, so much happened there uh it was so much happened.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it was like you said. You know, one of my beliefs was, um, I need alcohol to make friends, but the connections are stronger in that week and, and you know what happened the first day, we were connected like the connections started from then no alcohol, but strong bonds, and it was. It just shows, and the laughter that you said, you know it was everywhere that week and it was really authentic, deep belly laughs. I mean when we were on the beach crawling around doing photos of each other. It was laughs, I mean when we were on the beach crawling around doing photos of each other. It was, you know, hilarious, like we just had so much fun and spiritual and deep and meaningful and funny and everything about it was the most fun I've had in such a long time and way more fun than ever I had drinking.

Speaker 2:

And it endures. Those relationships endure, the memories endure because you can actually fucking remember what happened. You know, we all came back, I think, with a high level of like feeling really fulfilled how many times have you gone on a vacation and come home feeling like you need one because you've dragged crap the whole time, you know? Uh? And so we came back. We were well rested. I mean, funnily enough, when we were there, I think I was, you know, sharing with you guys like I, I was sleeping like four hours a night. I was like this this can't be good for me. Like how can I be sleeping four hours a night and not, you know, being ruined as a result of it? Well, it was because everything else that we were doing was so nourishing and so fulfilling.

Speaker 2:

Yes, you know so absolutely, uh, yeah, it was a very, very special, uh special trip indeed it was, be in our hearts.

Speaker 1:

We will carry it with us. And when you just said, you know the nourishing, you know we did things like um I, one of the breathing exercises we did was just mind-blowing for me the and the meditation and the yoga, it's all like sleep, like when you meditate, like that. It's equivalent to however many hours of sleep. So you're right, you know you didn't need as much sleep and I was the same. I was getting up at the crack of dawn and just having less sleep, I guess, but so much more energy.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, and also, we all came back, I think, a little bit changed for the better. You know, in whatever way that was and you can't say that about a drinking holiday either, oh no, it was such a different and amazing experience. Just, you know, incredible and coming back, like you you said, I've always said I need a holiday to recover from my holiday, but I came back with this, the energy, and it was so different. So and and I really loved it also because it showed me that I can do this for the rest of my life, even if I don't't meet someone probably will very open to manifesting that.

Speaker 2:

As long as they want to live separately.

Speaker 1:

Eh, meg, that is it. So anyone out there? It's just separate homes, but I guarantee the guy will appreciate that. But even whether or not I have that, even if I do have a relationship these holidays like I loved it being with women who didn't drink there's so much. We just bonded so much and that's available, that's available in the future and I'm already signed up to Kim's next one. I couldn't resist and I've actually decided.

Speaker 2:

I think I'll do one like health or wellness retreat a year, whatever, however long, whatever it looks like, and that'll be my thing yeah, well, you know, this is the thing like when, when you don't drink booze in the world, like I used to spend 450 pounds a month on booze. Well, you know, hang on, let me get my calculator out so I can work it out really, really quickly. So how much is that a year? Five and a half thousand pounds a year. Oh, yes, well, there's. There's a decent retreat, right, like, and I mean not not just that, that's a high-end luxury retreat for yourself, or it's a couple of small retreats, like you know. Yeah, so, yeah, there's there's so much value in looking at your relationship with, with booze and and if you feel like, if you're, you know back where I was, where it seemed impossible and it seemed insurmountable, then take some hope from what I've said and and reach out to somebody somewhere, whether it's a coach, whether it's one of the sober communities.

Speaker 2:

Keep listening to podcasts like this, because it's going to inspire you. It's like Laura McCown, on her podcast many years ago, talked about a trail of breadcrumbs. We each have our own trail of breadcrumbs. Yours isn't going to be the same as anybody else's. So, just, very gently, without any kind of pressure that you're putting on yourself, just look for that. What's the next breadcrumb? Don't try and see the end of the journey. Don't try and be like anybody else. Just what's the next breadcrumb? And for now, the next breadcrumb is this podcast, and then it might be. Oh well, maybe I'll have a look into retreats. You know, just follow the break rooms, yeah exactly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's great. I love that. I'm going to use that, but thank you, thank you so much. I have to go and pick my daughter up, otherwise I'd love to keep chatting, but I will definitely have to have you back on if you'll come.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. I would love to Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, thank you so much and Ellie's details will be in the show notes, but you can find her at present and sober podcast and your website. What's the name of that? Yeah?

Speaker 2:

So my, my website is pump up the presentcom. So it's like you know, anybody that's from the eighties remembers pump up the jam. So replace jam with present and that's me and you can. I'm on Instagram at first, but with the same handle and the best place to connect with me is through the podcast. So that's the Present and Sober podcast and that's on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts. You know, anywhere that you find Spotify, anywhere that you find podcasts, you'll find the podcast.

Speaker 1:

Awesome, awesome. Well, thank you so much and I will talk to you soon. Thank you, my love.

Alcohol-Free Lifestyle Support and Coaching
Transformation Through Alcohol-Free Living
Parenting for Self-Connection and Trust
The Power of Parental Influence
Discovering the Value of Sober Retreats
Present and Sober Podcast Promotion