Happy New Year!

Hi everyone!

I love New Year – somehow the idea of a “clean slate” and a whole clean shiny year ahead makes me happy.

I have always been a “goal setter” – it’s probably in my DNA after 30 years of corporate life! I still set goals but of course but now it’s all around the development of World Without Wine together with some personal goals.

Before I quit drinking I would always set a goal to “cut down” on alcohol – what a waste of time that was! Now that I have educated myself about alcohol I can see that it was rather a futile goal. Not only is alcohol chemically designed to be addictive but I am one of those people who don’t possess an “off” switch and will never be able to “drink responsibly”.

By using will power alone I would usually manage a dry (ish) January but inevitably come February I would be out of control again – and feeling miserable.

These days it gives me such a thrill to just jot down “maintain sobriety” and be fairly confident that it will happen. My life has changed so much since I stopped drinking on May 23rd 2015 that I agree 100% with sober celeb Matthew Perry who says:-

“The thing is if I don’t have my sobriety I don’t have anything”

 

Our Dry January Challenge is flying!  We have already raised R26,000 which is enough to provide yoga classes for more than 100 children in Khayelitsha and Lavender Hill schools.  I will be on the Eusebius McKaiser Show (Cape Talk/702) on Monday 8th January to talk more about Dry January so hopefully that will shake out a few more donations!

The Challenge is open until the end of January so you can even register on 31st January and do a “Dry February” – after all it is the shortest month 😉

All you need to do is to make a small donation to a good cause and we will send you an email every day full of tools, tips and motivation to get you through an alcohol free month.  If you have the slightest doubt that taking just one month off alcohol has significant health benefits then you need to read THIS.

If you are looking to make a permanent change and go for an Alcohol Free Life (spoiler alert:  it’s awesome) then this Challenge could give you just the start you need.  We are in touch with most of the people who have been through our workshops (that’s nearly 200 people) and I have come to an interesting conclusion recently.  A bit of an a-ha moment for me.

Of the people who want to quit completely most of them find:-

The first 30 days is the toughest time (so it makes sense to use the Dry January Challenge to get access some online support)

As people complete their first 100 days it gets easier as the brain gets “rewired”, the body begins to heal and not drinking becomes the new normal.  During this time people say that they get GLIMPSES of the benefits of alcohol free living – and they like what they see.

After 6 months people tend to be in a completely different place mentally and physically.  Anxiety levels have plummeted, energy is sky high, they have lost weight and no longer fear socialising without alcohol as they have learned the survival tricks.

The sad thing is that many people (and I was one) spend their lives getting on and off the wagon which means that they do those first few weeks over and over again – and of course those first few weeks are the hardest and you never get to experience any of the many benefits of sober living.  The result of wallowing in these dark days of trying and failing is that your subconscious mind picks up the idea that this is what sobriety is all about – and it sucks… – that could be why sobriety gets such a bad press and is labelled as boring and difficult.

So whether you want to use the Dry January Challenge to get you through those tough early days on the way to permanent sobriety, or whether you just fancy a 30 day “detox” please click HERE and register right now!

janet xxx

 

6 Reasons to do Dry January

1.To Reset

If you dropped a frog in a pan of boiling water he would use those strong legs to leap straight out again. Yet if you put that frog in a pan of cold water and gradually heated the water he would sit there until he was boiled alive.

Well it’s a bit like that with alcohol which can sneak up on you over the years.

What starts off as literally “a glass of wine” to unwind after a day at work can easily become several glasses or even a bottle.

Doing a Dry January gives your body (and more importantly your mind) a bit of space. Space to recover, space to think about your relationship with alcohol and to decide whether you want to make any permanent changes.

 

2. To Detox

 

If you have been drinking a glass (or two) of wine every evening for years then your body is permanently in a state of mild “withdrawal”, which feels a bit like mild anxiety.

This is because it can take between 7 – 10 days for all traces of the alcohol to leave your system.

This is why that first glass of wine in the evening tastes so good – it’s ending your state of withdrawal and feels like a massive “relief”

Doing a Dry January gives your body and mind a chance to heal, to feel less anxious as your system becomes alcohol free

 

3. To Reduce your Anxiety

If you are in the habit of drinking alcohol to make you less anxious then you should know that it has now been scientifically proved that alcohol actually increases your anxiety.

A batch of lab rats were injected with alcohol every day for a month. The control batch got to stay sober.

Then all the rats were put through a very stressful “obstacle race” and guess what – the control group way outperformed the rats with alcohol in their system.

Conclusion is that alcohol will actually reduce your ability to manage anxiety.

You can even test this for yourself:-

On Day One of your alcohol free month write a list of things in your life that are currently making you stressed or anxious.

On Day Thirty revisit that list and you may just find that you can deal with it!

 

4.  To Freshen up your Looks

This is Nicola who came to one of our workshops – before and after she stopped drinking for 100 days.

Even if you are not up for 100 days of sobriety you will notice some immediate changes – you will lose the puffy face and tired eyes within a few days.

Within a couple of weeks your skin will improve – no more dull and dry skin – and no more broken veins or red blotches.

We make bad food choices when we drink alcohol so the combination of no booze, healthy food and lots of water means you are bound to drop a couple of kilos!

Next time you are at a party check out the most fresh-faced person in the room – the one with a natural looking glow – she’s probably not drinking!

 

5.  To get some High Quality Sleep!

If you have been relying on a glass or two of wine to get you to sleep you should know this:-

Although you get a few hours of “deep sleep” you may find you are awake and feeling anxious in the early hours of the morning as the alcohol leaves your body. Alcohol also reduces your essential REM cycles from 5-7 to about 1 or 2.

Another interesting fact is that when a non-drinker starts getting ready for bed their brain will naturally start to “dampen things down” to get them feeling sleepy.

However if you are a regular drinker your body won’t do that because it will be used to depending on the artificial effect of alcohol to get you to sleep.

That’s why for the first few nights of your Dry January you might not sleep so well – your body is just not used to doing that natural “winding down” thing…

The good news is that after 4 or 5 nights your brain will re-adjust and the quality of your sleep will dramatically improve!

 

6. To help a Disadvantaged Child

For the third year WorldWithoutWine has teamed up with the fabulous Earthchild Project in a fundraising project to provide children in Khayelitsha and Lavender Hill with yoga and life-skills classes.

Over the past 12 years Earthchild have taught yoga to thousands of children in disadvantaged areas.

Yoga empowers vulnerable children to transform their lives and communities.

Just R250 provides a child with weekly yoga and life-skills classes for a year.

You can start your Dry January right now or anytime up to the end of January – just decide on your 30 day alcohol free window and we will send you a Daily Mail – full of tips, tools and motivation to get you through..

Click HERE to donate and help us to sponsor some more little yogis!

 

 

 

Do you Dare to go Dry this December?

10 Reasons to be Dry this December

It’s the last day of November and the traffic is hectic, the shops are heaving, the party invites are flooding in and your relatives are already squabbling over whose turn it is to host the Christmas get-together.  Your head is spinning and your to-do list is getting longer by the day.

Same old, same old – every flippin’ year… but… why not make this year just a bit DIFFERENT?

No I’m not talking about cancelling Christmas but I am talking about a whole new way of coping.  Yes I’m talking about a DRY DECEMBER!

I know it’s crazy, I know it’s “off the wall” but sometimes it feels good to swim against the tide…

So here we go – 10 reasons to be dry this December…

  1. December is a madly busy time – chances are that whatever your profession you will be busy at work, busy socially – and of course busy creating that “perfect Christmas” for your family.  If you give up alcohol for December you can actually claw back a lot of time.  Time usually devoted to planning drinking sessions, drinking and then getting over the drinking.
  2. Everybody does “Dry January” but only the seriously cool people do “Dry December” and then start the new year feeling fantastic – rather than exhausted and poisoned with excess food and alcohol. Always remember that “sober is sexy”
  3. There is never a perfect time to give up or cut down on alcohol – there will always be a party, a wedding or that “teambuilding” event coming up.  In fact December is just about the most crazy time to take a break from the booze – but maybe crazy is how you roll?
  4. You will reduce your stress as you “take control” – you will sleep better and steam through your “to-do” list and even begin to feel slightly superior to your pals as they struggle with their hangovers…if your friends give you a hard time just tell them you are doing 30 dry days to raise money for Earthchild – maybe they will even join you…
  5. You will have a wonderful excuse for avoiding the dreaded “office party” – “I’m taking a break from alcohol at the moment so think I will give it a miss this year” – let somebody else do the “walk of shame” through the open plan office the morning after the office Christmas party.  You can be sure you will hear about exactly who did what to whom before the day draws to a close.
  6. You won’t have that anxiety in your heart about the amount you are drinking and the nagging thought that you really must do something about it come January – you will be way ahead of the game this year…
  7. Action is the key – “Just Do It” – at least get through those first few days in December “alcohol free” – and if you can’t manage it then maybe you do need to seriously think about addressing your relationship with alcohol.
  8. You will lose weight!  We are surrounded by super-fattening foods during December and after a glass of wine or two we just get stuck in.  Staying sober means you can stay in control of what you are eating and drinking.  As an extra bonus you can opt out of the dieting misery train that we are all supposed to board come January 1st.
  9. A lot of people worry that they cannot enjoy themselves without alcohol – but think about it – what makes a good Christmas?  – being with your family and seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they open their presents – or knocking back the booze?
  10. At the very least a sober Christmas will be an interesting experiment – even if you hate it you will have tried – and who knows – you may even discover a whole new side of yourself…

To help you on your way WorldWithoutWine have launched their “Dry January Challenge” which in fact can also be “Dry December” if you dare – just make a small donation by clicking HERE

In return you will receive a daily motivational e-mail from WorldWithoutWine to keep you on track for 30 days.

We are raising money for the Earthchild Project – just as we did last year –  check out this 5 minute movie we made about how we spent the R30,000 we raised last year..

Thanks for reading!

Guest blog – Tina’s story

My lovely workshop “graduates” are hitting their milestones and some of them are even sending me their stories – thanks guys – we love stories and I am always humbled by the way people open their hearts and “share” at the beginning of our workshops.

All our stories around alcohol are different but by sharing our angst about the booze we can all become stronger – there is a great benefit to being open and honest and that is how we will change our relationship with alcohol – as well as inspire other people.

A couple of weeks ago I posted “Nick’s Story”, today it is Tina’s turn and “Jamie’s story” is in the pipeline – so watch this space!

TINA’s STORY

Alcohol was my best friend, my go to strategy when feeling blessed, stressed or depressed.

I grew up with alcohol – from my first party at 14 to girls holidays in Ibiza – from countless afternoons in the wine bars of London with work colleagues to milestone birthdays in Vegas. It was fun, it made a good night out great and gave me unbridled confidence.

I always turned up for work – I worked hard and played hard – I never drank on Mondays and thought that meant my health wouldn’t be impacted because I often took breaks of 2-3 days, sometimes weeks at a time.

The years of partying continued into my late forties. But then thing started to change, I noticed it was taking longer and longer for me to reach that ‘buzz’ and even longer to recover from a ‘big night out’ or ‘legendary lunch’.

The hangovers were getting worse and the frequency of waking up not entirely sure what had gone on the night before were increasing (I now know these to be blackouts) I particularly didn’t enjoy the feeling of waking up and having to retrace my steps through bar and taxi receipts (let alone text messages).

My health was also suffering. I was bloated, had chronic indigestion, my skin was dehydrated and my diet was generally poor – the hangover days were fueled with carb and sugar frenzies.

I slowly started to resent how alcohol was dominating my social life. Days and nights out were built around alcohol – even going to the theatre had to involve pre, during and post show drinks.

Still I carried on consuming way over the recommended amount of 14 units (I mean who sticks to that, really?). It was normal to get plastered at the weekend- everyone drank as much as I did…. Right?

The problem was my conscience was nagging me. It wouldn’t let up. I had known for years that I drank way too much – I’d often thought about stopping but knew I needed help. I kept minimizing the adverse side effects and attempted to cut down on my own but that lead to drinking more and eventually my consumption began to negatively impact my relationships and so I decided enough was enough and last October I made the decision to quit.

It wasn’t an easy decision and it’s been a challenging journey but with the help of support groups I am looking forward to celebrating my one year soberversary.

A lot of people questioned why I would want to give up alcohol and now one year later I frequently get asked how I feel and have I experienced any benefits.

Truth is there are many benefits – I’ve listed a few below.

My anxiety has dramatically reduced

I can focus better

I stick to my commitments (like training for a half marathon)

My sight has improved and my skin is clearer

My face is not bloated or puffy

I don’t binge all day on pizza, crisps and coca cola

I listen to others instead of talking about myself all the time

I’ve not injured myself or anyone else

I’ve met some amazingly cool and fun sober people

I still party like its 1999 – I just remember everything and don’t lose the next day to a hangover.

If you’re thinking of quitting for 30 days, 100 days, a year, forever the best thing you can do is join a support group. I had stopped for a few weeks but was struggling, then I attended the World Without Wine Workshop in Cape Town. It helped me enormously.and now, 1 year later, I want to help others on their sober journey.

If I ever doubt my decision to quit I only have to ask myself this … is my life better or worse with alcohol…

Tina

getting the sparkle back…

This is my first blogpost for more than a year – not because I “fell off the wagon” but because I have been busy building my alcohol free life – and making it awesome.

I started blogging the day I stopped drinking and used it to track my first year of sobriety – first blogpost was May 2015 so if you want the whole story just click HERE

I hope this new post is reaching some of those kind people who encouraged me through those tough early months – would love to hear from you and anyone else who would like to leave a comment!

One of the best things about sobriety has been the opportunity to help other people via the worldwithoutwine workshops – we run them in Cape Town and Joburg and more than a hundred people have attended – about a third of those people have stopped drinking completely, another third of them have cut down and the rest did not reply to our survey so I have concluded that they are still “in contemplation”.

Contemplation is actually a vital part of the change process – my decade of trying (and failing) to moderate was definitely “contemplation” before I finally accepted that I would have to stop drinking completely.

My biggest learning as I begin my third year of sobriety is that putting down that last alcoholic drink is just the beginning. If you don’t make some serious changes in your life then you end up trying to live your normal life with a big hole in it – where the booze used to be. I certainly went through that phase, feeling depressed – and stuck because I couldn’t even chase away the blues with wine. I used say that I felt as if I had lost more than I had gained – but now I feel the opposite. Now I know that you need to fill that big hole with stuff that’s going to lift you up, connect you with others and broaden your horizons.

I have learned so much about addiction since I got sober so am planning to share some of those learnings, as well as some personal insights, via a weekly blogpost – please follow me if you’d like to get notification when I post.

Never forget that the opposite of addiction is connection.

I leave you with a quote from Mary Karr:-

“When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite”

That’s when the sparkle started for me”.

janet x

 

 

Sexy Soberversary…

A whole year without alcohol – I did it!

It was certainly tough to begin with – but after about 6 months it got easier as the benefits started coming through – Year 2 here I come!

When I made the momentous decision to quit I tried to envisage my life without alcohol.  I imagined it would be just the same – only a little greyer, quieter and even a bit “boring”.  Little did I know my life was about to change significantly – in the most positive ways possible.

In fact I have been reflecting on the benefits of sobriety but decided there were so many that I would make that my next blog –  watch this space for my “top ten benefits of sobriety”.

So how did I celebrate that first Soberversary? – obviously champagne was out of question although a bottle of Pom Royale was a good start…

In fact I found multiple ways to celebrate:-

  • after a year of sobriety decided it was safe to write my “Goodbye Letter to Alcohol” – had an awesome response on Facebook to this letter – nearly 500 likes and 134 shares! – Son announced that meant it had “gone viral” which (I think) is a good thing – if you missed it then you can find it HERE
  • the lovely Fiona McCosh invited me to model for next year’s Sober and Sexy Calendar –  last year I did a feature on the launch of her 2016 calendar which you can see HERE   – the shoot was fun – you can see a “teaser” in the picture above – if you want to see more then you will just have to buy the calendar 😉  All proceeds to CTDCC (The Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre) and
  • submitted synopsis and sample chapters for my book proposal  – initial reactions from publisher are positive so now I must write another 50,000 words – provisional publication date February 2017.  Publisher not keen on my title which was to be “Living in a World Without Wine” as she said bookshops would place me next to the wine guides :-0.  Am now thinking one word title “SOBER” with subheading – “getting sober and loving your sober life”  but title definitely still work in progress – if you can think of anything better please send me a comment!
  • last but not least we went to fancy restaurant to celebrate in time honoured fashion – charming barman made me a Special Soberversary Mocktail…Talking of Mocktails hope you are enjoying “The Mocktail Series” with Linda and Jorja – love these guys – we had such fun making these videos – if you havn’t seen it then you can catch up with all 5 episodes HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sober and Sexy Calendar 2017 – looking for sponsors!

Fiona McCosh is busy putting together her calendar for 2017 – and looking for sponsors!

Her 2016 calendar was awesome and raised money for CTDCC (Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre)

Time to repost the interview I did with her last September:-

 

15 September 2015

Interview with Fiona McCosh, Irish-born Photographer
Irish-born photographer, Fiona McCosh, will be launching her Sober & Sexy exhibition on 29 September in Cape Town. The models in the Sober & Sexy calendar are all in long term recovery and Fiona, who celebrates her 4th year of sobriety on 19 September 2015 – a photo of herself illustrates September month.

Fiona sat down with Janet Gourand, Founder of World Without Wine (www.worldwithoutwine.com), to tell her story.

I come from a family with a history of alcoholism and depression. I always felt different and when I got drunk for the first time I took to it with such enthusiasm that I got alcohol poisoning! Later, I went to Art School and worked in a pub in the evenings. Speed, ecstacy and cocaine all featured in my life and boyfriends tended to share my enthusiasm for drugs and alcohol.

At the age of 36, someone introduced me to GHB. I used this drug to try to moderate my alcohol intake. For four years I was using alcohol and GHB (which is also called the ‘date rape’ drug as it causes users to pass out). One day, I dropped some GHB on my laptop and it melted the keyboard!

My ‘rock bottom’ lasted for about a year. I was living with a boyfriend and we would be awake for about two hours at a time – get high – then pass out again. We didn’t wash or clean our teeth or go out.

One day, I rang my mother who was so shocked by my appearance that she took me straight to the Priory – a rehab centre in the UK.

The Priory didn’t work for me but they suggested a rehab in South Africa. After 28 days in the South African rehab I was still a mess so I extended my stay for three months. After another two months in a sober house, I relapsed and managed to nip down the road and drink a bottle of vodka. There then followed a further four months of ‘research’ into why I needed to put down the red wine.

It took yet another stay in one more rehab centre in SA for me to finally get clean. The relapse had given me the necessary rude awakening I needed and I was able to work the “12 steps”. I still go to about four meetings a week and have an addiction counsellor but I have absolutely no cravings now and feel totally secure in my sobriety. I can socialise with people who drink although most of my friends are in recovery. I appreciate the laughter of people who have ‘suffered’ – somehow it’s more authentic. Cape Town has a vibrant recovery community and I now live here permanently. I feel like I have been given a new lease of life – a second chance.

Last year, I had the idea for the calendar. My passion for photography has been re-ignited and I was inspired by the Calendar Girls story based on women posing nude for a calendar in order to raise funds for a cancer charity. I actually had no trouble finding people to pose for me, so will probably publish a calendar every year!

My passion with the calendar is to spread a message of hope. If I can get clean, then anybody can! I want to raise awareness as well as money for a good cause. I am grateful for the gift of recovery and want to start a dialogue and encourage people to seek help. I am hoping that the Sober is Sexy show and calendar will help make it clear that there is a solution, that recovery is not only possible, but pleasurable – and even sexy sometimes!

Proceeds will be donated to the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre.

Anyone wanting to sponsor Fiona’s calendar for 2017 please make contact with Fiona or myself.


World Without Wine is a social network
that enables men and women to successfully moderate their drinking and become sober by developing tools to support their journey to sobriety. Workshops, sobriety coaching and support groups all work together to provide the encouragement needed.

 

For more information:
Website: www.worldwithoutwine.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/worldwithoutwine
Twitter: @WorldWoutWine

 

For more information contact:-

Fiona McCosh at Sober & Sexy on info@soberandsexy.co.za / 079 127 5357
or Dougie Dudgeon at Cape Town Recovery on bfd@butterflyeffect.co.za / 082 560 2296
or Janet Gourand at World Without Wine on janet@worldwithoutwine.com / 072 213 6064