DRY JANUARY 2020... SOBER DAVE HELPS YOU THROUGH THE LAST PUSH!
@soberdave burst (or maybe stumbled) into the sober world just over a year ago when he realised that his life had to change for the sake of his health and his marriage. In a short space of time he has become a real character and influential champion of the sober movement and good friend of ours! Sober doesn't care what sex you are but in a space dominated by empowered sober women speaking out about their sober journeys, Dave has brought a different perspective to the issues that effect us all.
Dave has had a crazy year, talking, motivating, pushing his sober journey and opening up channels for others to take that leap. How are you feeling now January is coming to a close? We hand it over to Dave to to tell you a little more about is journey and how to take your learnings from this month into 2020!
Another day, another hangover... When is this going to end? Trouble is, I’m the only one that can do something about it and I’m not sure how.
My drinking had taken me to an all time low. Hiding alcohol from my wife like it was part of a normal day. Downing a bottle of Sauvignon during the, ‘I’m having a quick shower’ routine. Hiding the empty bottle somewhere I would forget about later. My marriage, my health and my self esteem was at rock bottom. Christmas was a blur as usual. Standard arguments about the noise of the kids, the constant mess and the plate spinning around getting my daily fix as my daily habit was more on view during the holidays. “I know I’ve got to sort it out,’ was the regular statement that fell from my lips. After a while I think it was a bit like Peter and the wolf. It started to mean nothing. January came and I had no real plan.
Wouldn’t the Dry January campaign be an ideal start for me to think about my toxic relationship with the dreaded booze? Maybe, but the thought of it made me shudder. Driving to work on that first morning back after the New Year, I received a text message from a very good friend of mine. “How do you feel about giving up alcohol for three months, to see where you are with your marriage, life and your health?’ I laughed out loud, chucked the phone onto the passenger seat and continued on my journey to work. “Bloody hell, you look like shit!” my colleague said. I knew I did.
That night I went to see my friend who sent the message. Within ten minutes I shook his hand and the deal was done. It was perfect timing as I had only missed the first few days of dry January. I felt strangely elated! That very night, I changed my instagram handle to @soberdave as I felt the urge to document my journey. The first few days felt remarkably easy, I think it was the euphoria of finally making the decision. After doing some online research, I changed my diet in order to address the impending cravings. I read that food like broccoli, salmon and nuts increased dopamine levels* and I also had several early nights to avoid the temptation of drinking. Putting my headphones on and listening to sober podcasts also helped and made me feel like I wasn’t alone on this new journey. It wasn’t long before I realised that the benefits of giving up drinking were far out weighing the old binging of before but I also knew that after the three months had come to an end, it wouldn’t take long to go back to how they were before. I woke up one day and shouted to the world ( well to my wife and my instagram followers!) that this was it! No more drinking! Ever.
We had an early spring and a mini heatwave. I walked across the common with our little chihuahua and noticed the sea of picnic blankets covering the grass. The clinking of champagne glasses and the chorus of bottle lids popping was like torture. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the local pub, garden full and the smoke from the freshly lit barbecue swirling into the air. I felt suffocated. This was my first challenge. Ironically it was around the three month mark. I turned and walked briskly home. I barked at my wife, and went to bed. It was two o clock in the afternoon! I googled my symptoms and bang, there it was - the pink cloud, the honeymoon period was over. Time to knuckle down Daveyboy or this would all be in vein. I had a few of these difficult moments but the more I rode the storm, the easier they became. I organised a sober event in London in September and I also trained to ride my bike from London to Paris. Fitness regimes are a huge part of my sobriety. Weight loss and increased levels of fitness reduced my blood pressure* from critically high to almost perfect within a few months. Finally, I could put my socks on without feeling winded!
I am now nearing the end of my first year of sobriety. I hosted another event at the Redemption Bar in Covent Garden which was amazing and it hit me that night just how far I’d come. I have spoken about my journey on several panels and already my “Dry January” calendar is almost fully booked for other speaking events and podcast appearances. Sharing my journey has been such a crucial part of my recovery and hopefully, along the way, I have managed to help others too. If you have decided to do Dry January I would suggest you prepare for it like you would do for a 5K or any other physical and mental challenge. Diet is key, sleep is definitely a huge part especially for me as I didn’t have a solid nights sleep in years. Exercise well as this will help raise your dopamine levels. Read. There are so many Quick Lit books on the market, one of my favourites is written by my now lovely friend Clare Pooley, called “The Sober diaries.” Listen to podcasts. This will encourage you to feel part of this incredible community rather than feeling alone. Tell people. You will be surprised how many of your friends and family will support you. Be safe. This isn’t a competition. If you really can’t do it you can always start again another time, the fact you have tried. is amazing in itself. Finally, maybe it's time to reflect on your drinking routine. You don’t have to go on a massive blow out on the first of February. You will be surprised with just how good you will feel after a month of abstinence. Maybe it’s simply time to be more mindful. Sobriety is a journey and you will know inside what you want to do, but going a month without alcohol is a great achievement. I have just celebrated my first Soberversary and I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing!
Follow @Soberdave on insta and check out one of his podcasts from last year below...Cheers Dave!
Club Soda is more than just a community, it’s a movement, towards a world ‘where nobody feels out of place for not drinking’ and their first book is a filled with proven tips and tricks on how we can all change our relationship with booze. It’s also a great guide to simple mindfulness, and how becoming aware of how and why we drink now can help us make important changes going forward.
FOR SCIENCE AND FACT-LOVERS
Drink? The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health By Prof David Nutt Take a trip on what happens to your body – and brain – from that very first sip. Straight-forward and straight-talking, this book from the one-time government drugs advisor aims to arm you with all the information you need to make the best decisions for you and your health going forward.
FOR SEEKERS and WELLBEING WARRIORS
Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington What’s the point in doing yoga, meditating, drinking green juice and/or working on yourself in any way, if every Friday you drink so much you cringe at your receipts (and behavior) the morning after? This book from The Numinous founder Warrington invites us to look at the more spiritual side of imbibing poisonous, er, spirits.
FOR THE REBELS
Kick the Drink…Easily! By Jason Vale Think you drink because you choose to? Think again (says Vale) because we have actually all just been sucked into the mega marketing machine that is the alcohol industry. In this book Vale tackles loads of myths around what and why we drink (It’s glamorous! It’s relaxing! I only drink expensive stuff and/or on special occasions. It’s rock and roll!) and encourages us to re-think who’s really in charge when it comes to our drinking habits (newsflash: vintage wine doesn’t affect your brain chemistry any differently than a bottle of Buckfast).
FOR THOSE SERIOUS ABOUT GOING – AND STAYING - SOBER
This book couldn’t come soon enough for Holly’s army of female Instagram fans who are hooked on her raw, honest and sometimes uncomfortable accounts of life in recovery (@holly)A call-to-arms to go your own way in a culture obsessed with alcohol, this could be the wake-up call that you – or someone you know – needs to make a drastic change.
MOTIVATION...COME JOIN US! Join Shelf Help and Redemption in Shoreditch later this month for an evening with Comparison Coach Lucy Sheridan as we celebrate the launch of her new book The Comparison Cure. This stylish self-development event at Clean Prose (London’s first members club for writers) will kick off with a ‘Mocktail Hour’ featuring delicious plant-based canapes and zero-proof drinks from Redemption, followed by an interview and Q and A session with Lucy, who will be sharing strategies on ‘how to be less them and more you’ designed to help you improve your self-worth and self-confidence immediately. No booze-required. Shelf Help in Conversation with Lucy Sheridan Thursday 30th Jan 6pm-8.30pm (Mocktail Hour 6-7pm) Tickets £15 to include drinks and canapes and expert chat (signed books available to buy on the evening) as well as 5-day pass to Clean Prose
As soon as we met the awesome team behind Humble Warrior we knew our paths were aligned! Founded by dream team Rosh and Andy, inspired by Rosh's childhood in Sir Lanka and their deep respect for the power of plants and living a healthier lifestyle. This naturally lead to creating kick ass botanical drinks. Along with the expert eye of herbalist and all round wizard Micheal Isted, founder of the Herballthey have harnessed the awesome power of ancient plants to do, well, what natured intended! To help us thrive and work in harmony with our bodies and mind. Its pretty powerful stuff....
We are fascinated by this world of plants and wanted to learn more about not only what plants they use but how they can have powerful effects on our body. We are so excited to be hosting a one off masterclass with Micheal in our Covent Garden deli this Sunday 19th January! Together with the team behind Humble Warrior they will be taking us through the ancient properties of plants and how to create amazing drinks. You will get the chance to make your own botanical concoctions and learn more about the world of plant alchemy...There are only a few places left so book now to get involved!
We took some time out to talk to the humble Rosh about all things plants!
What inspired you to start HW? I use to drink Amla juice (made with indian gooseberries) as a child. My parents migrated from Sri Lanka to Australia, and we grew up there enjoying the incredible roots, barks, leaves and spices they'd source in small Sri Lankan off-licences! When we moved to London, I found that these plants I'd grown up with were relegated to powders or tablets here. That was the moment, Andy and I realised that there are so many extraordinary plants hidden from half the world...we knew we had to bring them out of the shadows and into the everyday.
What is your favourite herb and why? I love gotu kola. It is a parsley shaped leaf and quite bitter to taste. My dad used to give it to me and my brothers before exams - it is awesome to get the mind in gear and focused. It's in our reishi & pineapple, and is a mindblowing treat! What does 2020 have in hold for you? The Roaring 20s are going to be big for HW! It may or may not be a coincidence that the last time we were in this decade - the 1920s - we saw prohibition in the US! What a time that was, and while we would never EVER want to return to those times, we have great plans for hw to keep giving people delicious, genuinely healthy and exciting drinks to enjoy when they're out. Expect to see new formats and more flavours!
Top tips for more mindful drinking through January and beyond... 1. Use the month to do more! One of the best things about not drinking, is the time you get back the next day. You can be completely productive from the moment you wake up. It's an awesome feeling knowing you've squeezed every second out of your day.
2. Try out something you haven't done before! So with the help of 1), it can be fun to try something completely knew. Start bike lessons (most boroughs offer free lessons to encourage more of us to away from cars!), teach yourself the piano (there are great lessons online), get into a new exercise, start knitting, get into spoken word...you get me!
3. If you break the commitment, that's ok. There's always tomorrow, next weekend, next month, next year, next February, next March...hey even next January! Dry is dry no matter when or where or for how long! Enjoy the journey you're on.