Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast

Sober Dave: One For The Road

July 07, 2024 Isabella Ferguson and Meg Webb
Sober Dave: One For The Road
Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast
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Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast
Sober Dave: One For The Road
Jul 07, 2024
Isabella Ferguson and Meg Webb

Transforming his life in January 2019, David Wilson, Certified Grey Area Drinking Coach and Public Speaker, is dedicated to motivating others to transform their lives, overcome personal challenges and embrace life with a renewed mindset. His Top 10 Apple Podcast 'One For The Road' reaches a global audience with over 300K downloads in the first year. Dave's established Instagram account @soberdave has a loyal and engaged following of over 118K, where he delivers regular live interviews with guests from the sober community all over the world. 

The road to sobriety was not an easy one for Dave, marked by a lifetime of seeking social acceptance through unhealthy means. From moving to a rough school and dealing with tumultuous family dynamics to finding a sense of belonging among streetwise kids through alcohol, Dave's story is one of resilience and redemption. He shares how his early adulthood was filled with excessive drinking to cope with emotional struggles, highlighting the complexities of finding refuge in unhealthy habits. As he navigated through his early 40s, dealing with business pressures, a TV job, and personal loss, it was a friend's supportive invitation that finally set him on the path to sobriety. 

Join us as we reflect on Dave's incredible journey of recovery and self-compassion. Dave's story is a testament to the power of transformation. Learn about the coping mechanisms, fitness routines, and connections that have helped him maintain sobriety, and how he now channels his experiences into coaching others on their path to a healthier life. This episode is a heartfelt conversation filled with personal anecdotes and practical advice, offering hope and inspiration for anyone struggling with alcohol dependency.

CONNECT WITH DAVE

https://www.soberdave.co.uk/

https://www.instagram.com/soberdave/

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/one-for-the-road/id1565341712 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CN86KLT8?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_dp_1MXZRRDXXZ7BGT374RWR_1

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

Transforming his life in January 2019, David Wilson, Certified Grey Area Drinking Coach and Public Speaker, is dedicated to motivating others to transform their lives, overcome personal challenges and embrace life with a renewed mindset. His Top 10 Apple Podcast 'One For The Road' reaches a global audience with over 300K downloads in the first year. Dave's established Instagram account @soberdave has a loyal and engaged following of over 118K, where he delivers regular live interviews with guests from the sober community all over the world. 

The road to sobriety was not an easy one for Dave, marked by a lifetime of seeking social acceptance through unhealthy means. From moving to a rough school and dealing with tumultuous family dynamics to finding a sense of belonging among streetwise kids through alcohol, Dave's story is one of resilience and redemption. He shares how his early adulthood was filled with excessive drinking to cope with emotional struggles, highlighting the complexities of finding refuge in unhealthy habits. As he navigated through his early 40s, dealing with business pressures, a TV job, and personal loss, it was a friend's supportive invitation that finally set him on the path to sobriety. 

Join us as we reflect on Dave's incredible journey of recovery and self-compassion. Dave's story is a testament to the power of transformation. Learn about the coping mechanisms, fitness routines, and connections that have helped him maintain sobriety, and how he now channels his experiences into coaching others on their path to a healthier life. This episode is a heartfelt conversation filled with personal anecdotes and practical advice, offering hope and inspiration for anyone struggling with alcohol dependency.

CONNECT WITH DAVE

https://www.soberdave.co.uk/

https://www.instagram.com/soberdave/

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/one-for-the-road/id1565341712 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CN86KLT8?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_dp_1MXZRRDXXZ7BGT374RWR_1

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:

The 7th of Jan, right, I got a text from a friend. Now, if he had texted me and said Dave mate, you look like shit, you need to sort your drinking out I would have probably told him what to do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

What he said was Dave, would you like to join me to stop drinking for three months to see how you feel at the end of it? And it was that collaboration that worded it in my brain differently, hit differently for me. But I will say that when I read it I just was like are you serious? Do you know where I am Three months? Can't even do three days. But he kind of sat with me all day and I texted him in the afternoon I said are you in? And he's never in. And he said come and see me. And I went round his house and he opened the door and it was like a voice from bloody Jesus or something. It was like something happened. I felt really emotional.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was getting goosebumps. I'm just thinking what a guy, what an invitation, yeah yeah, and do you know what as well?

Speaker 1:

I've just thought of this. A few months before that, we had dinner together and he said do you know what? He's very spiritual, right. He said I have a feeling something absolutely incredible is going to happen for you, but I don't know what it's going to be, but I've got this real feeling. I've had it all day. So on the 7th of January, I shook his hand and I've never drank since.

Speaker 2:

Your story, your delivery, your message resonates. I'm so thrilled to have you on the podcast. A huge welcome.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, Isabella, and it's a joy to be a guest. I appreciate you asking me. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Now Dave, shall I call you Sober Dave?

Speaker 1:

Well, I just might call you, dave, dave's fine, dave's fine, dave's fine.

Speaker 2:

It's such a good name, but whenever I see your account Sober Dave, I feel like it's your name, david Wilson just. Yeah, I know it's not working.

Speaker 1:

It doesn't happen, and sometimes I think, oh, should I just change it to my name? And I think, no, I'd just lose everything then. So it's actually my identity now.

Speaker 2:

For our listeners. Would you mind letting us know where you are right now? What?

Speaker 1:

time is it? Well, as you can probably tell by my accent, I'm in the UK and the time is 9.04 am, so quite a good time for me, but I've already had three clients before this interview. I'm an early bird.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, me too.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, I start work early, because when you're sober, you go to bed about 9 o'clock. It's true, I?

Speaker 2:

had my stepdaughter stay with her partner. She's 27. They couldn't believe it when I was trundling off to bed at 8.30. I said well. I'm going to get up at 4.30. So you know, hold the criticism, Wait till you're nearly 50. Yeah, but look, 9 o'clock is the preferred time of the day. Here I am at 5.30 and it's dark and getting quite weary, Dave am.

Speaker 1:

I right in thinking you're about five years alcohol free right now. Yeah, I was five years in january.

Speaker 1:

There you go, um where it feels amazing, because when I first got sober and I was seeing people at six months, it felt like such a long time. Yeah, so for me now to be five and a half years is incredible. But you kind of get to a stage where you stop counting, in a way, because this is now my way of life. You know, the thought of going back to it just doesn't enter my mind. That's incredible. So it could be five years, ten years, it feels the same.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you've had that wonderful just perspective shift where this is life this is what works for you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've managed to work out my life now that I don't actually need it as a crutch anymore, and we can talk about that later on in the interview. You know, but it's all part of giving up drinking, isn't? It is replacing it with other things.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, and I do want to come to that, replacing it with other things. Yes, yes, and I do want to come to that. I've read that you were well like me, like many of us around that have developed, you know, a problem with alcohol. Later on. That you started fairly young, 13, 14. What do you think drew you to give it it a you know red hot go at that age?

Speaker 1:

well, I wasn't brought up in a family where there was drinking involved. Really, I mean, I was born in the 60s but my dad used to make homemade wine and I always remember looking that little bubble in the demijohn. You know, go round and round, but but I didn't have a clue what drinking was. And also we didn't have it like it is round today, you know, like we know so much more now about it, don't we? Yeah, so if my, say, uncle and auntie used to come over randomly and they'd have a couple of glasses of wine and the laughter would ramp up, I wouldn't think, oh, they're drunk or they're drinking too much alcohol. It just wasn't a thing back then. So, and I remember also, like at Christmas I might have had a glass of half a glass of shandy or something, and you know, nothing was thought of it.

Speaker 1:

But, um, the older I got, I got to about 11, 12 and started secondary school and it was a really rough, rough school and I noticed mum and dad weren't getting on at all. There was a lot of arguing in the house and, you know, shouting and raised voices, but again, being a kid you don't really know about emotions. I was never taught about that. But then we moved out the blue. So now if we move, we consult the children and we say what do you think? And what about this school? But then in that era you just had to go with the flow, right, and went. Oh, by the way, we bought a house in another area and I had to start a different school and it was terrifying because it was in the second year of that school. So they'd all made all their friends and their groups and whatever, and I was walking in as a newbie and I was a little bit wet around the ears, I was not streetwise and where we moved to was quite a rough school. Ah right, so I kind of didn't fit in and for the first few months I had the streetwise kids always saying to me come on, dave, you've got to come up the shops and hang out with us and that. And I always made an excuse and that.

Speaker 1:

But one day I got up and I was 14 years old and there was a letter on the table and they had my mum's handwriting on it and I opened it up and it basically said Dave, I've left your dad, I'll be in touch. Right, yeah, and I wasn't emotionally developed, I didn't understand, and back in those days you didn't have mobiles or anything like that, you know. So when she said I'd be in touch, I didn't know what that meant mobiles or anything like that, you know. So when she started being touched, I didn't know what that meant and I went to school feeling quite numb and came home and my dad was in bits and I kind of went into like freeze mode for weeks where I just didn't understand why she could leave without even could leave without even telling me or explaining why. Yeah, and shortly after that then my dad met someone and I now know why. You know about rebound and stuff but he met someone and she started coming around quite a lot.

Speaker 1:

So one minute my mum's there and I was listening to the carpenters playing on the record player and mum was giving us a roast dinner. And then next I've got this woman in my house that I didn't even know she was and it was like just a blur for a few months. And then one day I went downstairs because the heating had packed up and she was tight and then raising her eyes at me and that and I said what's wrong? And she said I just want privacy with your dad and I looked at my dad for support and he walked into the kitchen and I remember that moment.

Speaker 1:

Now I felt so rejected and alone in this world that I got up, went out the front door, slammed the door and just burst out crying, walking up the road. And as I was walking up the road I saw one of these lads so I wiped the tears away and I said, all right, and he went oh, you're out at last. Come on, we go up the shops and we lived like near this place called the circle, which was in Carshall, near sort of Croydon, where I was born, and they used to like either pinch change off their parents or down the side of the sofa and give it to the adults to buy booze at the offee. And I had my first can of Foster's then and it's like, oh my god, this is amazing. Tastes like crap. Right, because really we no one ever liked the taste of booze, but but then I had two and these lads were going.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you're actually right, you are, dave, you're quite funny. All of a sudden I had a place of worth, I belonged somewhere, I was accepted and I was funny as well. So for me, booze equaled that.

Speaker 2:

It's like a blueprint for how to lead a kid to alcohol and to find refuge in it. You had the you know that feeling of rejection, the flight-fight mode, the brutal change happening and then acceptance in this tribe. Oh, it's such a story, yeah.

Speaker 1:

The trouble is I took to it like a duck with water right, and I had what you could probably say is a normal teen's early 20s where you go out clubbing and meet women and like it's all an adventure and exciting and go on holiday with the lads to Greece and have two weeks on it and stuff like that. But I think it was in my late 20s, early 30s that it changed, because I bought a flat and my neighbor next door fell down the stairs. I was on the first floor so I picked him up in that and helped him up and he was really drunk. And then he knocked on my door the next day and he said to me I'm so grateful, can I buy you a pint down the local and I didn't even know where that was went down the local and it was a young's pub, saloon bar and public bar.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I was in the carpet game so I was straight in the public bar. There's all the roofers and builders and that and again I was accepted. So so I started going down there a bit more, bit more, bit more Drinking. I was named Glugs in the pub because I drink really quickly. Oh, right.

Speaker 1:

And I could do like six, seven pints in an hour. So I've got a reputation. But I started then doing the full shift in the pub where, say Sunday, the bulk came down on the door at midday and would go up at 11pm. I would be in there for the entire time.

Speaker 2:

God. And just to give us some context, because I think when I think about the English pub, the local it really for me has that welcoming feeling, almost like the community town hall meeting point. You feel welcomed, the locals are there, you know who are the ones in for the session, all the families come and go, but I think of it as quite a community hub. It was it like that at your 100, like yeah 100, I mean I.

Speaker 1:

I mean nickname was gl, but I was in the carpet trade, right, so I was actually Dave the Carpet, and so my excuse for going in the pub was I'd get all my work from the pub and that pays for the booze.

Speaker 1:

You know we justify it right. But it was, you know, john the Plaster, colin the Carburettor, the mechanic, and you know there was a proper community. We'd play pool darts On. You know there was a proper community. We played pool darts On a Sunday. They'd have a meat raffle. So Sunday about 5 pm you'd see people walking down the road pissed, with a joint of meat under their arm and a bloody chicken on their shoulder, and you know it was a great community. But one day someone said to me bloody hell, dave, you're always pissed, mate, you're an alcoholic, right, but I'm really sensitive.

Speaker 1:

So those words of you're an alcoholic really hit me hard. And I remember going home that day and I started questioning myself Jesus, am I an alcoholic? But I didn't even know what that meant. Like you know, you Google it and it's that bloke under a bridge with a bag, kind of thing. You know and. But so what I did there? I started to go in there and moderate my drinking, but I was then going to the off license buying takeouts to go home. So your bottle shop, yes, and they had these, these deals on with this diamond white cider, which which was buy four cans, get four cans free. Now, diamond White was 8.4%.

Speaker 1:

So, I was going home fucking these open, no one judging me pass out, and then I was home safe and it was like the ideal answer for me. But what happened after that is that increased, as we know, with our tolerance. So the four cans come the eight, so it'd be two or three down the pub. Eight cans of cider pass out. Then I started getting into wine because, um, cider was really gassy and it gave me heartburn and the supermarket was three bottles of a tenner. So I was thinking that's a cheap night out, I can make that last two nights. But one and a half bottles turned to two and that ended up turning to three. Then I put on tons of weight.

Speaker 2:

So you're not really good about yourself, yeah no, I felt terrible about myself.

Speaker 1:

But not only was I drinking a lot at home, and every morning getting out of a hangover, I was like 20 stone and I wasn't socialising, so the connection wasn't there. So my sofa turned into the park bench, kind of thing, you know because, I was drinking indoors and then I moved because this opportunity had come up for this lovely cottage. So this is an important part here. I then Googled what alcohol has the least amount of calories. Up popped up vodka, right.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I got caught by the vodka trap, so how did that escalate?

Speaker 1:

your drinking Well, I thought oh. I don't like spirits. They make me feel ill. But I buy half a bottle just to see how it goes right, and that lasted 20 minutes because I'm glugs. But it gave me a different hit right, it felt different and it was almost instant.

Speaker 1:

It wasn't like the bloated feeling of three bottles of wine or 10 cans of Stella. So then I bought a bottle and that lasted a night. But eventually I got to Alita. Alita and I was drinking a liter a night most nights on my own, isolated, hidden from everywhere, wouldn't talk to anyone about my drinking, I wasn't socializing at all. In fact, one night my neighbors, they were having a party and they invited me to it, and I thought I won't be able to get as pissed enough as if I stayed in, so I made out.

Speaker 1:

I was going out and I sat in the dark all night behind my sofa using my torch, on my phone to top my drinks up. No telly on, no radio, on pitch black, just so I could, which is horrendous when I think about it now. Yeah, but that that was me, so I could get drunk enough to pass out to get to the next day, rather than go and meet some nice people next door, listen to some music, have great food. But that's where my addiction took me from 14 years old for a can of Fosters outside the off-license or bottle shop to sitting at home on my own in my early 40s drinking a litre of vodka at night.

Speaker 2:

I was going to ask you where were you in age? So your early 40s, and so at that point you're quite socially withdrawn, you're not wanting to go, you're probably drinking to feel normal.

Speaker 1:

I imagine, with the alarm bells going off, were you starting to Google things and trying to get that awareness of something has to change no in in the brief answer to that, because there was part of me that I loved that kind of life because I didn't have to feel anything. I didn't have to think about anything, I was functioning at work, I had my own business still, but but you know, now I think about it. I don't know how I did it, but it's almost like you get used to feeling so bad and you get used to managing people and stuff like that.

Speaker 1:

I went through my 40s. I landed a job on the telly on a makeover show, did you? Yeah, yeah, 60 minute makeover. And I thought, oh my God, what am I going to do now? But I realized then that a lot of people were on it after the makeover in the hotels and we stayed up till 2 in the morning and you know, it was quite a boozy industry. And then I met someone and that was a quick relationship and we ended up getting married.

Speaker 1:

And that's when the cracks started to show, because I was accountable in front of people and kids and that, and you know, I wasn't getting away with it. And after a while, I started thinking this isn't the same my eyes like drinking to then being in a house with people watching me and I tried to like well, I won't even say moderate, because I wasn't even doing that but I said I would. And then I started hiding it, yeah, and I was getting stupid drunk. And then one Easter, 2018 had a 2018 for me. It was a nightmare. Like everything went wrong. I had a builder at the house building an extension and he buggered off and knocked us for 25 grand. Well, I sold a Rolex watch that was then stolen in the post and I did all the right things with a recorded delivery and that.

Speaker 1:

But I was ripped off for 10 grand and then my mum became ill and later on that year died, um, but during that year I hit a sort of a wall with everything, with the marriage, um, it was going downhill drastically and that wasn't just because of my drinking, it was other things, and I ended up going AWOL for a few days down the South Coast. I just got in my van, drove, parked in a side road, went on the pier, 9.30 in the morning, the bar was open, ordered two Peronis sat there and I thought, right, I'm on it and I had four days. But the thing is it was Easter and there was nowhere to stay. It was all booked up. So I had this romantic vision in my head that sitting on the beach with a bottle looking at the stars sounded really perfect. But I drank from half nine in the morning until about 10 at night in this pub Witherspoon's pub which you know attracts drinkers, put it that way yeah there's no judgment there.

Speaker 1:

I made a load of fake friends there, um, and went to the shop, bought a bottle of vodka, sat on the beach. I was like, when I say cold, I was freezing. It was April in the UK and I did that for four days and four nights.

Speaker 2:

And slept on the beach.

Speaker 1:

Slept on the beach. I didn't have anything warm, I had this light jacket and I just went for the motions of a total piss up yeah and I wasn't really eating properly.

Speaker 1:

I fell over on the beach and cut my face open where I couldn't stand up. Um, it was, honestly, you could like make a film out of that period of my life, because I was I'd also been, um, double dosed by antidepressants by a doctor who didn't even ask me if I drank or not, so I almost went psychotic right when I came back, I was like I didn't even know what. I looked in the mirror and I didn't even recognize who I was. I looked homeless, like I really was in a bad way and, guess what, still carried on drinking.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I was going to say. Then you woke up and haven't touched a drop since I had two or three days off it and then I carried on.

Speaker 1:

My mum became ill and she was so thin, she was like a little skeleton. Her bed was at home and I went around there and the the nurses were changing her nappy and I thought my mum, you know, is reduced to this and I was with her when she died and I told her that I loved her and I couldn't have asked for a better mum, even though you know she left when I was 14. I let it all go and I've worked on that as well with my therapist and that and it wasn't just for the sake of forgiving her I'd done a lot of work around forgiveness.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And she died and I went berserk again with drinking Yep and it was the January after, so this was 2018, and January 2019. Something happened on the 7th of Jan that changed my whole life.

Speaker 2:

So, and was that the last drinking day? Yeah, 7 January.

Speaker 1:

The 7th of Jan, right, I got a text from a friend. Now, if he had texted me and said Dave mate, you look like shit, you need to sort your drinking out I would have probably told him what to do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

What he said was Dave, would you like to join me to stop drinking for three months to see how you feel at the end of it?

Speaker 1:

And it was that collaboration yeah that worded it in my brain differently, hit differently for me. But I will say that when I read it I just was like are you serious? Do you know where I am? Three months can't do three days. But he kind of sat with me all day and I and I text him in the office and I said, are you in? And he's never in. He said come and see me. And day and I texted him in the office and I said are you in? And he's never in. And he said come and see me. And I went round his house and he opened the door and it was like a voice from bloody Jesus or something. It was like something happened. I felt really emotional.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was getting goosebumps. I'm just thinking what a guy, what an invitation, yeah yeah, and do you know what as well?

Speaker 1:

I've just thought of this. A few months before that, we had dinner together and he said do you know what? He's very spiritual, right. He said I have a feeling something absolutely incredible is going to happen for you, but I don't know what it's going to be, but I've got this real feeling. I've had it all day.

Speaker 2:

So on the 7th of January, I shook his hand and I've never drank since you know, I just have never heard a story like this, after, you know, must have done over 100 interviews and I haven't heard one that mirrors that. With that decision, I'm doing it. What do you think worked? What do you think happened? How did it all?

Speaker 1:

align Well. I think, like a lot of people could say that spontaneous sobriety, because it appears I just gave up on the day.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

But there were months and months of me repeating to myself I've got to stop this. I've got to stop drinking, I need to sort my life out, yeah. So I was always putting the groundwork in there, without even stopping drinking, and this is why I say it's so important for people who are sober, curious to keep educating themselves, keep following people, keep listening to podcasts, because that goes in right, and one day you will decide enough's enough. Because that's what happened for me and, in hindsight and it's important that I say this I shouldn't have just stopped because it's dangerous.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, that's a really good point.

Speaker 1:

Because of the amount I was drinking. To just stop was dangerous and I could have had seizures, I could have killed myself. But I did stop and I threw myself into exercise. So, me and this lovely guy, pierce he had a big garage and had a turbo trainer in there we did the bike. You know, we trained on a bike every day, each and then we aim to do a London Paris bike ride London, brighton, london, portsmouth towards the end of the year.

Speaker 1:

Um, I educate myself. I started putting myself in the community by sharing my page and basically saying how I was feeling. You know, week two, feeling much better, although the voice is in my head that I really want to drink, but I'm going to resist the urge. And people started messaging me saying oh well, mate, this is incredible, like because I'm of a certain age you know a lot of people in the community in their 40s and now I'm 60 this year yeah yeah, and I'm what you see is what you get kind of bloke, and you know, if I'm having a rough time, even now, after five years, I'll say it on social media.

Speaker 1:

I'm not one of these that will be. Oh well, life is wonderful and you know, life can be bloody hard. Yeah, and I can have tough times.

Speaker 2:

People want to hear that, dave, because I actually get some emails with people saying I feel like such a failure because so many people that come on the podcast or the stories that you hear talk about this. I read a book, listened to some podcasts and now I'm doing cartwheels down the street forever. Life is not like that, is it? No, it isn't the other thing I was just thinking of, and you've certainly given it a whole lot more thought and therapy and analysis over the years than I have, but it was like that time for you that a whole lot of things were actually coming to an end. You know the death of your mother, which was almost the start of it all. You know when she left and you read the letter and you walked out. Well, right just before you stopped, she passed. So it was almost a full circle moment there. But the and then also the. Well, there'd been a lot of going on in your personal life which may have had some cycles ending as well, so it's opening up that space things.

Speaker 1:

You know and and it's important you say that actually I hadn't thought of it like that. But yeah, she left again, but she left on different terms this time and I believe that mum's had a lot to play with this really, because I still feel around me, you know, and it's it's important for me. You know I'm not um, into kind of God and all that and I've got no problem with that, but I feel my mum present in my life a lot of the time and that's helped my sobriety and I've had ups and downs of it. After that I had a couple of years of sobriety. And what happens with sobriety is, they say, the best thing about sobriety is you get to feel your feelings. The worst thing about sobriety is you get to feel your feelings.

Speaker 2:

The worst thing about sobriety is you get to feel your feelings. Feelings, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So you have to find coping mechanisms outside of drinking. So I had intensive therapy with an amazing guy called Richard, who's still present in my life now and I go back and visit him sometimes and have catch-ups and that. But that was really important for me to work out why I was drinking.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know I don't want to put people off by saying giving up drinking is the easy bit, because it can feel out of reach then. But I look at stopping drinking as the start of something. You know the foundations of making your life how you want it to be, and that included my relationship and my work life and my self-worth. All of those things I needed to address because they were all over the place in my life and I didn't know who I was. And it wasn't until I stopped drinking that I started to look at myself and think I don't know who I am. I need to do something about that, because I was 54 when I stopped drinking and it was like getting out of prison for 40 years. I'm standing at the gates looking out, going well, do you know what? This looks? A bit scary. I think I might rob the post office and go back in because I know where I am with that, yeah what now?

Speaker 2:

How do I exist in this world? And on that, because a lot of people talk about needing to create a life that you don't want to escape and numb from, which sounds really easy, but it's actually bloody hard to wake up every day and find purpose and find meaning. To wake up every day and find purpose and find meaning Fitness, nutrition is a large part of it as well and maintaining connections and really jumping into it and I love asking this question to people what is it that? Almost the pillars, or your daily practice, that kind of keeps you know sober, dave, sober each day.

Speaker 1:

Well, I've got to the stage now that I don't really think about it because it's so much part of my life now. I mean, I was at Christmas. I went to a place called Lincoln with my girlfriend and it was a perfect storm there. It was Christmas, it was getting dark. I was walking down this little cobbled street and there's this little pub on the left and had little like square windows with candles in, and I looked through and there's this couple having a glass of wine and a beer and I thought, oh my god, like my association to that image went straight back to my drinking days and.

Speaker 1:

I had probably half an hour of feeling edgy, um, like god, what does this mean? If I, does this mean that I'm not cured I don't think we're ever cured, but we learn to live with it, you know. So I still get the odd fleeting moment, but I suppose I've developed enough tools in my life to manage it now. So it was sitting with that feeling. But I mean this, this. My job now is barely you know, like I work with people every day, trying to support them in in stopping drinking and looking at other things in their life. So in a way, that connection helps me because I'm present with it. And the other thing that not many people could possibly do but I do is I go back to Eastbourne randomly and I go and sit in the pub that I had my fake friends in.

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I go and sit on the beach. I go on the pier and I sit by the, the pub on the pier, because I never want to lose touch of how dreadful that time in my life was. That nearly killed me. Um, I always want to stay present. So for myself, but for other people who are struggling with this terrible addiction that I can still relate to their pain rather than me look at it as, oh, that was so long ago now I've lost touch with it it's really important for me to stay present with it. So I go there probably three or four times a year and I stay over in a hotel and I do the walks that I did and I know eventually where I park my van. I even go there Like it's a little mini tour of my path, just to think do you know what? Now I'm five years, now I'm six years, now that kind of thing just to remind me of how bloody awful that place was.

Speaker 2:

I can hear how important that is to you and I wonder do you shed a tear or is there a degree of fondness for that version of you five years before? No.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's a good question, right?

Speaker 1:

So I did a talk recently and that last minute I asked him to include a picture of me drinking and the screen came up and I looked around and saw the picture and I just welled up and I couldn't talk for about five minutes and that's getting me a big glass of water, and that because seeing that version of me really upset me. Yeah, and I've recently posted a reel on my Instagram as well of all the pictures of me drinking and it breaks my heart, it absolutely break, because I've so much compassion for that version of me of I want to say you were in so much pain when you were drinking, you know, and I had no compassion for myself when I was drinking because I looked at my drinking as a real nightmare problem in my life. I had no self-worth, I didn't understand who I was. But now I've come out the other side, I see what pain I was in and this is why I love helping people address that side and I help them with grieving the loss of alcohol, because no one ever talks about that, right?

Speaker 2:

Because we're in a relationship with it, aren't we?

Speaker 1:

We're giving up something we've used as a coping mechanism for years. Right, of course we're going to grieve the loss for years. Right, of course we're going to grieve the loss. It's so important to process that as well, rather than oh well, I'm not drinking anymore, I'm going to have a lime and soda and my life's going to be great. Grieve all that past and have self-compassion for yourself, because that's all part of your growth.

Speaker 2:

It's a very good point, such a good point, and I think your story also speaks to the power of this mate, those words which were just an olive, a very gentle, not pushy, just a suggestive olive branch to say hey, mate, how about we just try doing this? What do you think?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

How powerful and life-changing was that. Oh, amazing.

Speaker 1:

And I quite often say this to people who don't know how to deal with someone who's got an alcohol addiction I always say have compassion, have understanding, don't preach, don't tell them they've got to do it. I'm sick of you, but equally it's hard for the partner. So they need boundaries as well, because there's a balance there. Do you know what I mean?

Speaker 1:

But it's really taught me the power of compassion and understanding, and one of the biggest things I've noticed about myself since stopping drinking is that I'm just not judgmental with anyone anymore. I was when I was drinking I realised it because I was so bloody miserable in myself.

Speaker 2:

But I wonder if that sort of you know that shadow work it could have. You know, it's almost you being judgmental of yourself.

Speaker 1:

And that's how he believes it.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, dave, I had seen also that, like me, you studied under Jolene Park, which I didn't know until we jumped on just five minutes before. But I've also seen that you've recently trained as a trauma-informed coach and just wanted to touch on this just a little, because I know that there has been trauma in however it's manifested, in your earlier life or later life. It's a red flag for increased susceptibility to alcohol use disorder. What led you to study that type of therapy and how is it showing up in your work with your Well, yeah, as a lot of people who drink too much, they're all or nothing people, right.

Speaker 1:

So I have been a grey area drinking coach for a while now and what kept coming up with my clients and on my podcast were past traumas. And, as we know you probably know that I'm big t's, little t's that it's all trauma. You know you might have been bullied as a kid in the playground. Your, your parents might not have been emotionally available for your childhood, you know, and that can lead you on to being insecure, can lead you on to being people pleasers, or there's there's abuse, there's all sorts of trauma, right, but that can lead on to us using alcohol, um, to be a coping mechanism. So the more I started getting into it, the more I started identifying that there was a lot of trauma in the past, more I wanted to know about it, but I didn't feel qualified enough to talk about it.

Speaker 1:

So I did a course with cavallon strawson, which was fantastic, but all or nothing. I literally obsessed with it. Yeah, hours and hours and hours. I never watched any telly I I got into it and I qualified, um a few weeks ago now, probably six weeks ago and, um, it is so amazing to learn about our nervous system and how it works and how it stores trauma. Um, what different states in our nervous system we can be in. I learned all about internal family systems, which is our protector roles I've learned internal family systems through my therapy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's fascinating when you start to explore that and it's like god.

Speaker 1:

All these protector parts are like sub personalities in our nature where we exhaled the pain and then we go to the firefighter protective parts where we either gamble it's porn addiction or it's alcoholism and it's actually identifying to what parts you've had in your life and having sort of compassion with that side view as well. It's not like getting rid of them because they've been there to protect you all your life, but it's learning about yourself, learning how to regulate your nervous system, learning about the polyvagal theory, how you are in your nervous system, how to help people come out of being in dorsal, which is the falling in where you're like you know you're stuck in your way. You know fight or flight, learning about cortisol adrenaline, which can be addictive.

Speaker 1:

And you know I quite often use my relationship with alcohol with that of being with a narcissistic partner, because it didn't start all bad did it. It starts as a bit of a love story. I fell in love with alcohol but like a lot of relationships, alcohol kind of woos you over and grooms you, and that's what it did to me. It took over, it made it become really, really toxic, almost gas. Gas lit me and it was like being in a narcissistic relationship. But the trouble is with those relationships they become incredibly addictive because you get addicted to the court.

Speaker 1:

so on the adrenaline in the chaos, right yeah, so on one hand you know you shouldn't be in it but on the other hand you can't get out of it and this is why it's important to grieve it, because when you're leaving narcissists there's still that bloody trauma bond in there of that addiction to the chaos, and it's so layered. But I kind of learned all that in the course as well is how to manage my regulating. Where I feel I'm in fight or flight, where you know to stay in this lovely ventral space in my life where I can be quite calm and this is where I like to be in my life. But this is where I like to help people as well is teach people how to regulate their own nervous systems, try and accept to move on from past traumas and manage their lives in a better way so they don't need alcohol to cope with their lives.

Speaker 2:

Yeah well, your clients are so lucky to have you, dave, because it just adds such a very needed layer of depth to the whole process of disentangling yourself from alcohol, which, gosh, has been there for many people at such an early age. Dave, just before I ask you you know, if you've got any final comments that you might want to say to a listener out there that's struggling I just wanted to ask you what have you achieved, do you think in your life that you never would have been able to achieve were you still drinking?

Speaker 1:

That's a great question, you know, and it's like you could ask someone who are you and they will say well, I'm a lawyer and I've got two kids and I've got this, and that's what they've achieved to me.

Speaker 1:

What I've achieved is really finding out who I am through not drinking yeah um what my living up to my core values, um, being my true, authentic self is waking up in the morning and not having to look over my shoulder to something that I might have said or done, and being truthful, honest. All these things make me feel really whole as a person and feeling excited for the future. I mean, everything's changed, like career-wise, but health. You know, when I was drinking, I was on four different medications. I was on antidepressants, anti-reflux tablets, cholesterol tablets and statins, right, and I'm on none of them anymore and, as I say, I'm coming up to 60 in Julyuly and I feel better now than I felt when I was 25.

Speaker 2:

You know just just incredible it is.

Speaker 1:

You know, and there are a lot of people out there that you know. People can say it's toxic, positivity and stuff, but for me it's fact, it's absolute fact. You know, I've lost about four or five stones since I was drinking. Um, I'm not someone that'll run a marathon at 5am, but I go to the gym and last year I climbed a couple of mountains, one in Nepal, one in Morocco, but that's I'll tell you. Why that was was because all my holidays were always ones that were free bars and fully inclusive.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I went interesting travelling to Morocco and Nepal. I was interested in going to Ibiza and Greece where I could drink all day.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm just hearing. This life that was so small, has just you know, has broadened, just you know, geographically, but emotionally the full gamut. Yeah, 100% God if you could bottle the self-worth, live in accordance with your values and purpose. If you could bottle that, we'd make a fortune. That's what people want. And, dave, what would you say? You know, we get lots of listeners who lots of listeners who listen to these podcasts like yours because they're really wanting something to land. They're seeking familiarity. What might you say to them if they're struggling?

Speaker 1:

I think one is never. Compare Comparison's a terrible thing, I think, and we say, well, I'm not as bad as him, or you know, what we compare it to is how we feel in ourselves. And you could be having a couple of glasses of wine at night, yet, you know, it's affecting how you might read your childhood bedtime story or you might not sleep properly or it might raise your anxiety. So it's not about the amount you're drinking, it's about how it makes you feel. And I'd also say that explore the idea of taking a month off, maybe, and seeing how you feel. You don't have to commit to forever and go right, I'm done with it now.

Speaker 1:

Now what dave said is yeah, I've got to grieve it, so I'm going to grieve it then. Then I'm going to deal with the trauma. Oh my God, that feels too difficult. I can't do it. It's like just baby steps, I think. Right, I'm going to take a month off. I'm going to educate myself, I'm going to try and find a community, I'm going to read some stuff, listen to some podcasts, I'm going to save some money so I can treat myself at the end of the month something nice, and then at the end of it I can examine my feelings, how I feel, and see if I can go another week and if that's how you want to do it, it's a healthy way rather than just the full commitment, and it's like just experiment. And what have you got to lose? Honestly nothing. You've got everything to gain by it. It's important you take down the data and you look at it at the end and go right swings and roundabouts. What's better for me, you know, and obviously the answer I'm going to say is to carry on.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, carry on, but at least taking that month gives you the opportunity to see where you are. Brilliant Is what I would say.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, dave. Month gives you the opportunity to see where you are. Brilliant is what I would say. Thanks, dave, and I know that you um you offer aside from your podcast. You've got one-on-one coaching. You've got some online courses there. Um, where can people find you to take um a bit of an explore around what you offer and and how they can work with you?

Speaker 1:

well, Well, literally I'm at a place now. Luckily that if you just Google Sober Dave, everything comes up. But I'm at Sober Dave on Instagram website, soberdavecouk. And yeah, I love my podcast. It makes me feel really happy. You're a great host, by the way.

Speaker 1:

Oh, thanks, dave, thank you, you are honestly, honestly, and I've really enjoyed talking to you. Oh, such a good chat. But you know, yeah, I, I just think it's important for us to give back as well, because I, you know this whole eastbourne thing. When I go back there, I still feel that you know, and if we can help in any way, it's's important, I think, for us as well as them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it keeps me bounding out of bed. I love talking about it as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Well, I just wanted to thank you for coming on. I know there are going to be so much of what you've said that listeners will just go. Yes, thank you. I'm resonating and, you know, because I co-host this podcast with another woman, meg. I think I can count the men on one hand that have been guests and we're trying to change that. So, yeah, thank you. Thank you, dave. We'll put all of your details in the show notes and, yeah, can't wait to see what you do next.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much. I've really enjoyed it. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

If you don't already know, in addition to our podcasting work, we are each sobriety coaches with our own separate businesses helping people to drink less. If you or a loved one want to take a break from alcohol, we invite you to have a look at our individual websites Meg's is glassfulfilledcomau and Bella's is isabellafergusoncomau, so take the next step that feels right for you.

Transformation Through Sobriety
Alcohol's Impact on Social Acceptance
Journey to Sobriety Through Friendship
Reflections on Recovery and Self-Compassion
Discovering Life Beyond Alcohol
Expanding Sobriety Coaching Opportunities