Time to get rebellious!

A lot of this sobriety game is psychological

When you think of the billions spent by the liquor industry to brainwash us into believing that we need their product it’s little wonder some of us get hooked.

Not to mention the fact that alcohol is chemically designed to be addictive.

And then you have the fact that drinking alcohol has become so “normalised” that it makes it’s appearance at just about every event from a Christening to a Funeral.

It’s the lubricant that oils our social life, it’s the gasoline of fun!

Or is it?

How about we get a bit rebellious here and go against the grain, move out of our comfort zone and even defy social expectations a little.

I know I started to drink because I just wanted to “fit in”.

Yes it takes a fair amount of confidence and courage to socialise sober – and to dare to be different.

But it does get easier.

So maybe it’s time to rise above all that social conditioning.

After all we got wise about cigarettes – we now know they kill you and are not particularly cool or sexy.

Let’s get ahead of the game and see booze for what it really is – a poisonous trap.

janet xxx

7 Ways Alcohol Impacts Your Looks…

Many of us spend a fortune on “beauty treatments” not to mention gym membership and organic food bills but the quickest and certainly the cheapest way to get your freshness back is to ditch the drink…

If you need convincing then just check out Nicola in the photos – Nicola came to one of our workshops and as a result she quit drinking – she took a photo before she stopped and then again after just a few weeks of not drinking – they say a picture speaks a thousand words so I will say no more..

I will just post a quick listicle of how drinking impacts your looks…

  1.  Tired eyes – evening drinking affects your sleep – it cuts REM cycles from 5 or 7 to just 1 or 2 so you wake up feeling tired
  2. Grey skin – alcohol is a diuretic and makes your kidneys pass more fluids.  Skin needs moisture to stay healthy and will become dull
  3. Sagging – regular drinking can leave your skin missing the essential vitamins and minerals that help keep it elastic and smooth
  4. Red blotches – alcohol dilutes the small bood vessels in your skin which can result in red blotches
  5. It ages you – New York nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez always tells his patients “if you want to look older, then go ahead and drink!”
  6. Drinking leads to zinc deficiency which can lead to hairloss so those luscious locks may suffer as well as your face!
  7. We all want to be slim but did you know your body will not even think about burning any fat until its got rid of that deadly alcohol you drank?

We have more workshops coming up in September – make a booking and we will throw in a complimentary online support system called “Take a Break” which will get you through an alcohol free month – a great way to prepare for a workshop and find out how dependent you may have become.

If you don’t live in Cape Town or Joburg then just sign up for “Take a Break” – have an alcohol free month and get your sparkle back!

Just don’t forget to do that selfie at the beginning and end of your alcohol free month – send it to us and we will send you a WorldWithoutWine t-shirt.

janet x

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Cape Town’s first Dry Bar…

WorldWithoutWine team went to check out Cape Town’s first ever pop-up Dry Bar on Valentine’s night – it was great fun – let’s hope we get a permanent Dry Bar very soon!

Thanks to media ninja Linda and son Oli for producing this little movie…

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT!

10 Reasons to be Dry this December

It’s late 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 the new black”.
  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!

Janet x

Top Six Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol

Now those Soberversary Celebrations are done have been taking some time to reflect on some of the benefits of giving up the booze…here are my top six:-

  • Finding my purpose – when wine plays such a big part in your life it is easy to drift through the days in a pleasant haze – giving up is a shock to the system – so much so that it creates a kind of “void” and demands a switch of pace.  It also kickstarts energy and creativity – I used mine to build a community via World Without Wine and it’s been hugely rewarding to know that our workshops have helped some people to quit drinking.  Have had to learn about websites, social media and marketing with the help of some pretty awesome people.  (Oli and Mari – thank you for your endless patience!)
  • Having a happy Husband – and I think Son & Girlfriend are pretty damn impressed as well 😉 Friends have been awesome and have supported me all the way – nobody’s dumped me (yet) for being “boring” – in fact some of them have even joined me in the quest for sobriety.  Have also acquired some new pals – my very own “sober buddy” plus those awesome WWW ladies.
  • Losing weight – without dieting!  Having grown up with Twiggy as role model have obviously been on an eternal “diet” – existed almost entirely on cigarettes and white wine throughout my teens and twenties – then switched to healthy eating and exercising a lot but of course knocking back plenty of alcohol on top.  Well would you believe it – dropped the booze and those stubborn kilo’s just melted away.
  • Emotional maturity – after a lifetime of using alcohol to enhance positive emotions and chase away the negative ones am finally managing to live “in the moment”.  Abusing alcohol is like hiding under a massive and comforting cape – remove that “numbing shield” and there is nowhere to hide – I have had to meet challenges head on, feeling raw and exposed but gradually I got my strength back and and am living my life full on.
  • Health has improved – better sleep, more energy.  As a breast cancer “survivor” I live with the possibility of a recurrence – but at least I don’t feel I am tempting fate by consuming vast amounts of wine.
  • Being in control of my life – no more waking up at 2am agonizing over what I may (or may not) have said the night before.  No more wasted mornings staggering around trying to function through the fog of a hangover. True I have sacrificed some highs but also lost the major lows – the depression that follows yet another failure “to moderate”.  Overall I feel calmer, more balanced – and happier..

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

 

 

The Mocktail Series: Series 1, Episode 5

In the last of our Mocktail Series Linda and Jorja tackle a “Mint Julep” – we hope you have enjoyed the series and will try out some of the recipes…

 

goodbye letter to alcohol

May, 2016

Dear Alcohol,

This is one of the hardest letters I have ever had to write – how can we possibly break up after 40 years together? – my life has involved changing countries, changing jobs, even changing husbands and friends but never changing you – you were always there as my constant companion.

We met when I was still a teenager – you gave me the courage I needed to get through college and to make and sustain relationships. We had some wonderful times together – I flirted with drugs but stayed faithful to you. You were the best – and made me feel special.

You gave me confidence – I was still “me” but just an amplified version. You helped me soothe the pain when things were not so good – why suffer with difficult emotions when you were there to erase them?

As I got into my twenties there were a few warning signs – do you remember that time I got so hammered I passed out in the bath and my flatmate had to ring the fire brigade to knock the door down? That was a great story to tell – especially the bit when I woke up in hospital with a shrink by my bedside. How we laughed at that one!

You were there when I met my first husband who also loved a drink – as did all our friends. I deserted you briefly when I became pregnant with my son but I still remember how much I missed you and how happy I was when we were re-united to toast the baby’s arrival.

You never prevented me from succeeding in my career – surrounded by heavy drinking colleagues we all believed in “work hard play hard” and anyone missing the weekly drinking session was viewed with great suspicion and written off as “boring”.

After more than 20 happy years together trouble came when I married for the second time. For some inexplicable reason my second husband hated you.

He was jealous and resentful of the hold you had over me and I realised that I would have to choose. Much to your fury I chose him.

He made me see that I was lost in you and that you could even kill me. I went through breast cancer but you convinced me you were innocent and I needed you even more to dull the fear of dying.

There followed a decade of trying to “moderate”. The thought of losing you completely was anathema to me but surely we could all live together if you and I were to “cool” our relationship.

This “ménage a trois” worked for a while. For months at a time we would all get along fine. Then you would suddenly exert your power and make sure that we had a crazy time together. Blackouts, injuries and terrible hangovers would follow and I would hate myself for giving in to you. You had become controlling and just wouldn’t let me go. The push and pull was becoming too much to bear.

I came to the jumping off place.

Blackout followed blackout while my husband watched helplessly. Sometimes I could easily drink a couple of bottles of wine and feel nothing at all. I finally realised this could not go on – there would be no going back if I continued on this path.

So on May 23rd 2015 I made my decision. I told you it was over. My heart was heavy but you were ruining my life. That was a whole year ago so I know it’s possible to live without you.

How you struggled at first – every day you harped on and on at me. I had no peace. You told me I would never survive a party or social event with you.

Evenings at home without you beside me were endless – painful and pointless. Socialising was difficult. I could not even get to sleep without you and lay awake for hours wondering if I had done the right thing. Without you to encourage me I felt depressed, angry and resentful of everyone still drinking. You told me I would never cope with the bad times without you – after all what experience did I have of dealing with my emotions?

How I missed the “buzz” – that beautiful high that came after a few glasses of wine (especially on an empty stomach). Never mind that after the high I would sometimes come crashing down and end up in tears.

But I hung on in there – and very slowly it got better. Your voice became fainter, my friends stuck with me and of course my long-suffering husband was thrilled.

I now realise that during all those years of trying to “moderate” our relationship was actually as strong as ever – your hold on me was ever present. You would allow me to “cool it” for a while but then come right back with a vengeance and cause havoc in my life.

You were right, it was hard –and sometimes it still is. Looking back on my year of sobriety I still remember the dismal birthday, Christmas and New Year “celebrations” – how could I celebrate without you beside me. But I am learning – and Year Two is going to be easier now that your power over me has diminished and I have experienced the joy of living without you.

So thanks for the memories – I will never forget you and often smile as I think back to those crazy times we had together – but it’s time for me to try a new life now – and for me to continue to live without you…

Yours sincerely,

Janet