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Today's Podcast Episode

Hi and welcome to today's podcast episode. Thanks for tuning in.

I'm absolutely delighted to be here and I'm so thankful and grateful to you for listening in.

I hope you are doing something nice when you're listening to this.

Maybe even it's cleaning the house, which can sometimes feel nice, especially the after effects or maybe you're going for a lovely walk or listening in the car.

Um, big love from me to you.

And we're chatting today in this episode about sobriety, um becoming alcohol free and this episode is for you if you currently drink alcohol, however, you are sober, curious, you are thinking maybe even 1% that you may want to try out not drinking alcohol.

I want to share with you some of the things I have learned on my journey of giving up alcohol.

I gave up alcohol.

Um I had my last drink on the 30th of April 2022.

So I am coming up to one year and six months alcohol free.

I don't feel the need to put any label on it.

Originally, when I did stop drinking, I thought I might be sober or like alcohol free a year and a half.

Although for the purposes of this episode, that's what I am.

However, since I've stopped drinking, the wonderful thing about it is that if it suits you, you don't have to have a label.

You just don't drink if I'm ever in a situation and somebody offers me a drink.

I don't tell them I'm sober, I'm off drink.

I just don't drink.

And that is the most wonderful freeing feeling in the world.


I used to feel had me trapped and labeled.

The last thing I want to do in my freedom from alcohol is to trap myself with a label.

I don't want to give alcohol the credit.

I don't want to, I don't want to in any way, give a nod to alcohol, whether sober or not sober.

So it's wonderful just to be able to say I don't drink alcohol.

I used to always in the years before I stopped drinking alcohol, not drink alcohol.

I always tell my clients I spent about two years trying to stop drinking alcohol to get to that wonderful day where I finally stopped.

And one of the reasons that I was finally able to stop was that I changed how I viewed alcohol while I was drinking alcohol.

And while I was while I was really unhappy, I used to think that alcohol was something that enhanced and added to my life.

It made celebrations, you know, the whole champagne and strawberry on the champagne glass.

It made everything better.

That's what I believed.

However, I started to get really, really unhappy with drinking and with how I was feeling about drinking.

And I used to, I started to feel very, very bad.

And I came across a couple of famous people on Instagram who didn't drink alcohol anymore.

And they were all saying the same thing that alcohol is holding you back.

And for the first time, the very first time in my life, I felt like somebody was telling me from experience that alcohol had actually been holding them back and I believed them.

I don't know whether it was the way they said it or what they said.

But in that moment when I heard that alcohol had held them back, I believed them.

And it made me realize that alcohol was holding me back too.

And when I started to really recognize that alcohol was holding me back.

I started to want to really and truly stop drinking.

So I was able to stop drinking and I really want to share some of the epiphanies, I suppose I've had myself with you so that if alcohol at the minute is in your life and it's really getting you down.

I first and foremost, want you to know you're not alone.

I have been through a horrendous time with alcohol.

I've come out the other end, I've quit.

It doesn't define me.

There's no void, believe it or not.

You know, I always thought there was going to be a void and I always thought people who stopped drinking had a void that they were looking at people enviously over a, over a dinner table thinking, oh, if only I could have a little glass of champagne.

Not true at all.

There's no void.

Your life only gets better and better and better.

Alcohol and me, alcohol made me stressed out and anxious after a weekend of drinking on a Friday night and a Saturday night, I used to feel so, so anxious, so anxious all day Saturday, all day, Sunday, all day, Monday and probably all day Tuesday.

And I'm not sure there's any other thing that's legal in the world that leaves us with such negative knock on effects to our lives that we still continue on with like for three hours or four hours of the feeling of alcohol in your system.

You've got to put up with four days of feeling bad.

And towards the end of my drinking career, I really started to notice this.

So I would have a glass of wine at 7 p.


Normally I'd be done drinking by about a quarter to 12.

I never like going to bed past 12.

It stresses me out from all my years of being up way too late.

So I would be, I would have a drink from 7 p.


till quarter to 12.

What's that?

Five hours?

And then I would spend four days feeling bad.

Now that, that's crazy to me.

Now, when I was in it in the moment in time, I never really thought about it like that.

And I'm pretty sure if somebody had said it to me, I would have been like, yeah, so what it's called a hangover?

It's grand.

There's no bother, but I started to notice that I was getting anxious and stressed out for four days of the week for the sake of 4 to 5 hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

You see, I was, I'm a complete introvert.

I love being in my own company.

I love to serve others and help others and get in front of camera and do work out and help coach people and I love all that side so much.

However, I'll always then need to go back in on myself.

So I believed at the time that alcohol made me feel funny and social and kind of witty, although it was doing none of none of those things at all.

But I do look back on great empathy to the person that I was back then just desperately trying to fit in.

Um I would fake laugh, try and get on with people.

You know that feeling where you notice yourself like slapping your leg with such laughter.

You find something so funny.

Um when you're drinking and you're just laughing, laughing, thinking you're having a great time.

It got to the point for me where I would do that.

I would fake laugh.

I say fake laugh.

It wasn't fake laughing on purpose, but I was stressed out and anxious while I was drinking, I was trying to fit in.

So I, the only way I can describe it is just like this kind of laughter, this kind of like excited laughter thinking that everything is really funny and that I'm genuinely having a ball.

So I want to make that clear.

I wasn't faking it.

I was thinking I was having a great time and towards the end of my drinking life, I used to go home and just feel so hollow whether I was meeting family or friends and would spend the night laughing.

I'd go home and I'd feel really, really bad about myself, really bad about myself.

I bought into that whole champagne lifestyle where you worked really hard at the weekend and then you got a nice glass and you filled it with champagne and you stuck a strawberry on the top of the glass.

And that was kind of me having made it.

I felt successful.

I was working really hard and then turning to wine at the weekends.

And, um, that's what I kind of just had conditioned myself to believe that that's the way it was done.

Everybody around me was drinking all my family drink.

It's kind of what was a bonding or so I thought a bonding experience, but it got to the point for me where I would wake up after having drank the night before and just felt like I couldn't get through the day.

I felt so far removed from where I wanted to be.

I felt so bad in myself.

I would feel shame.

My heart would be pounding.

I'd feel so sweaty.

That moment that I woke up in the bed, in my bed just going.

Oh no, I'm so hung over and I started to prolong staying in bed until I felt a bit.

Ok, like Joe might have brought me up a cup of coffee and I would have tried to like gather myself, maybe try and read a book, anything to get back to feeling normal.

And I just felt so far removed from where I wanted to be and where I wanted to be was the way I was acting during the week I wanted to be healthy.

I wanted to feel good.

I wanted to go for walks in the rain.

I wanted to experience life in a much more safe and secure and gentle way.

But everything about how I was feeling when I was drinking just felt really aggressive, really hard, really harsh.

And I just felt that alcohol was controlling me.

I'd feel free.

Sometimes I'd sit down, I'd spend my days on Fridays, like running around after the kids working feeling like I was getting places.

But the second I would be handed a glass of wine or I would pour my own glass of wine.

The second I took that first sip, I felt stuck.

I went from feeling mobile to stuck, stuck, sitting on the couch, warming up the couch with my butt.

And that would be it until the end of the night.

I would talk shite maybe stuff that I didn't even believe.

And then I would wake up the next morning and I would feel absolutely rotten.

And then I'd probably drink that evening too.

And then I would wake up on Sunday, feel horrific and then feel stressed out about Monday, feel stressed out about Tuesday, Wednesday.

I would start to come good again.

And it was a horrific vicious cycle when I gave up alcohol.

The first thing I noticed is that, and I want you to be aware of this too, is that at the beginning, it'll be like a big wound has opened up and there's nowhere to hide every single thing that you have suppressed up until giving up alcohol will bubble to the surface.

A lot of feelings will feel new for me.

It felt like I had no skin that I was so vulnerable.

It's the strangest thing.

And even when you're drinking, like, when I was drinking alcohol I wasn't actively thinking, I'm trying to suppress how I'm feeling.

And that's the nasty, horrible thing about alcohol when you're in it for some of us myself.

I didn't really know I was masking anything and I didn't really know I was suppressing anything.


I would sometimes get drunk and cry to Joe and tell him things that I hadn't really gotten over, but I didn't really think they were affecting how I was being so be prepared for when you stop drinking alcohol.

Even if it's just temporary that your wounds will feel very open.

However, it's a really, really cool thing.

It's a really cool thing to, to be that vulnerable to be that, um, to, to feel those wounds.

If wounds do come to the surface for you and you do feel a little bit overwhelmed with it.

Know that you're on the right track that previous you'd been suppressing them and suppression is never ever good.

You've nowhere to hide, there's nowhere to escape.

It's you and your feelings.

There's no drugs to change your state to help you escape, to help you forget it's just you with yourself for every waking hour and wow, you know, that's probably my favorite thing about being alcohol free.

However, it was the scariest thing when I started on the beginning of my journey.

So be prepared for that.

Know that it's ok to feel like that and know that you might find some feelings that you experience at the start really new.

Like you're a newborn baby and you haven't experienced a feeling and you're like, what is this feeling?

That's what happened to me.

I was so out of touch with myself and how I felt about myself and about things that I genuinely was taken aback when I felt a new feeling and I didn't know what it was.

The second thing that I want you to be aware of is that every day becomes an adventure full of hope.

Every day you wake up is a new day.

I genuinely mean this when I say I get excited about every day.

Now, that wasn't something I needed to train myself in.

It comes naturally when you're not drinking alcohol for me.

When I was drinking.

It was very repetitive.

I would drink on a Friday night and a Saturday night.

I'd feel rough.

Very bad.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

I'd feel like I was ok, Wednesday.

I'd start to get excited about the weekend on Thursday and then I would drink on Friday and then I would feel like really shit on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

So it was a constant cycle I got really familiar with the days, like so much so to the point that me and Joe would sometimes say on a Sunday when we got to bed.

Oh, no, we're going to feel rough now until Tuesday.

Like just this vicious cycle.

I want you to know that when you stop drinking that every day becomes a day of hope you get really excited about every day.

And I remember I used to tuck my kids into bed.

I still do.

But I remember back when I was drinking and I used to do that and I used to look at them and be so envious of the fact that they were going to wake up the next morning.

The same way they went to bed the night before they were going to get to really enjoy the mattress, the duvet, the pillow, the feeling on their skin.

My little kids were going to get to enjoy waking up the next morning and be excited about what lay ahead.

I didn't have all that when I was drinking at the weekends.

I didn't get to enjoy the duvet because I had alcohol in my system.

I didn't get to wake up the next morning full of hope because I'd be absolutely dying.

Even after a couple of drinks.

God, I'd still be so hung over after two or three glasses of wine.

Not to mention a few bottles.

I also want you to know that you'll get to the truth of your relationships.

And I really want to share this with you because I've come to realize I've been somebody who has shied away from the truth, not just with myself, but sometimes I haven't wanted to see the truth in others.

Like, for example, with your friends or your family.

Well, if alcohol is taken away what's left, I used to be afraid of the, well, what's left so much so that I didn't take any action because I was afraid of the consequences.

I was afraid of seeing that.

Maybe my friend isn't the real friend.

I thought she was so in a way, I was trying to control the outcome.

I was trying to control my friend rather than see, well, what's, what's going to happen?

I didn't want to know a lot of my life was lived like that, running away, not wanting to know the truth, not wanting to look somebody in the eyes and see the truth that's on their face.

Not wanting to know really and truly how, how people genuinely felt about me or, or what our friendship was like.

So when you give up drinking, the truth of your relationships will come out and I want to encourage you not to be afraid of that.

The ones that are meant to stay will stay and the ones that fade away, they're only with you now because, well, if they fade away because you stop drinking, then they're with you now for the wrong reasons and it's ok to face up to that.

It's ok to realize that don't be afraid of letting the outcomes play out.

If you, if your relationship with your family members or your friends, if your relationship gets bonded with alcohol and you want to stop drinking.

If they're the right people for you, you're going to have the most wonderful relationship with them.

Me and Joe, our relationship were married, what, since 2012.

So we're married 11 years when we met each other, we were both crazy for alcohol at the weekends.

We both don't drink now.

We both gave up at the same time and we have the best relationship now and I often joke with him and think my God, like I can't believe we married each other without this wonderful part of our relationship.

I'm so glad we met each other for what we have now.

I'm so glad we met each other.

Although we had a great relationship all through the years.

I feel so lucky that what our relationship has turned into since we've given up.

Alcohol is incredible, really incredible and so beautiful.

And yeah, that's all I want to say on that.

The next thing that I want you to know is that life gets really exciting.

You make room for so much more stuff.

And while preparing for this episode, I was looking back over the past year and a half and I wanted to think, to share with you guys everything that's changed in my life.

And since I've stopped drinking, I've made friends, loads of some friends.

Um, I've gone to therapy.

I've taken up hobbies.

I've started dipping in the sea.

I renovated the house.

I changed my wardrobe, how I showed up what I wear.

I've changed my makeup.

I've upgraded everything in my life.

My relationship with Joe is amazing.

My relationship with my kids has gone up another level.

I didn't think there was another level and it's truly remarkable.

Back when I was drinking, there was just less time for everything.

It's hard to describe because how can drinking less or how could not drinking, give you more time.

And I was thinking about this one today and I think what it does is it gives you more headspace to figure things out because if you're drinking from seven pm on a Friday to 12 pm, midnight on a Friday or you don't drink, you don't get more time.

However, you get lots more time when you don't drink.

And it must be to do with the fact that you have a lot more headspace.

I've taken up hobbies.

My relationships are terrific.

I've made friends in different circles and I have hobbies, which I never thought I would have.

It's really exciting.

The next thing I want you to know is that you start on a journey of discovery with yourself.

It can't not, it's really exciting when you don't drink alcohol.

For me.

When I stopped drinking alcohol, I realized that I wasn't very passionate about a lot of things.

I had kind of lost myself in being a mother and in, in work and in my spare time I would drink alcohol or go to parties or drink champagne or Prosecco, the little strawberry in the glass and, you know, go out.

That would be my thing.

I would be out and I didn't really have likes and dislikes and hobbies and interests.

And that part of you really develops when you stop drinking alcohol, it really develops.

You start to think to yourself, especially if you've been censoring and silencing yourself or you've been so stressed out because you've been drinking, you start to think of to yourself.

What do I think about that?

Well, what's my feeling on that?

And it's wonderful.

The next thing I want you to know is that giving up alcohol allows you, it gives you space to let go of things that you want to let go of things in your past traumas that you've been through negative experiences that you have, you have the capacity within you because you're sober.

Because remember when, when I drank alcohol, alcohol affected me seven days a week.

It wasn't just the two nights of drinking at the weekends.

It was feeling bad for a few days then anticipating the alcohol.

Whereas when you take anticipating the nights out away and you take out the hangovers and you take out the actual drinking, you're left over with a lot of space, a lot of mental health space in your mind, which allows you to heal because first of all those wounds are going to be open.

So you're going to really quickly know what it is you need to heal from.

And then for a while, you may not be able to stop talking to your, to your closest person.

You may be just, I went through this, I went through this, this happened, I feel really upset about this.

And then when you've talked about it enough or you've gone to therapy or you've healed enough from it, you're able to let go.

I look in photographs of myself now and I see a peace and calm in my face that I have never had before.

I have never had before.

Not drinking, giving up alcohol gives you a wonderful space in your life to heal and to be kind and compassionate to yourself.

It's absolutely wonderful.

You heal you rest, you develop self care routines that you normally may not have developed because you've been so wrapped up in the cycle of drunk hungover anticipation.

You enjoy sleep so much better.

Your bed becomes even more wonderful.

I remember so many times drinking at the weekends, getting into my bed on Sunday night, the first night of the weekend, sober thinking to myself, I worked hard all week.

Where was my bed on Friday night?

And Saturday night, where was the book that I was reading?

And the Thursday night was the last time I read my book.

The next time I would read my book was Sunday.

I'd spend Sunday being hung over and I'd get into my bed Sunday night and think.


Where were you?

Why was I taken away from these wonderful feelings that I, that I want to experience?

Why did I take myself away from really enjoying bed?

Oh, I feel awful even thinking about that.

Now, that feeling of being hung over, waking up in your bed and not being able to enjoy lying there.

It's horrific.

There's no void in your life.

There's only good stuff I promise you once the first couple of weeks goes by, you won't be sitting at a dinner table looking across, feeling like there's a void.

And I know a lot of people drinking, look at the non drinkers and think they're missing out or that they think they're missing out and they don't think that there is no void.

In fact, they feel like they're in the, know that they're on this most wonderful journey that not enough people know about and they want to shout after the rooftops, but they can't because that's rude.

I want you to know that there's no void.

You won't be bored.

All the good stuff in your life only gets enhanced.

And if you don't have much good stuff going on in your life at the minute.

You will get good stuff through sobriety, through looking at things, head on, clear minded, your patience goes up, your kindness goes up.

You might even pull out the board games on a Monday night.

You'll row with people less.

You'll have more energy, you'll be less sluggish and you'll feel really healthy.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode.

I know it's not going to be for everybody.

It's just going to be for those of you that are sober, curious and are thinking about getting rid of alcohol.

You want to stop drinking, you're sick of drinking alcohol.

This episode has been for you.

If you want to privately message me with any questions, please feel so welcome.

You can find me, Jessica Cook over on Instagram.

Like always, you can go and download my free guide five steps to unleashing your fitness and C AM.

Just go to Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash unleash.

That's Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash unleash or you can join the waitlist to my coaching program.

Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash coaching.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode.

Don't forget to rate it wherever you get your podcasts, I would really appreciate it.

Thank you.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode and you must let me know by getting in touch.

Don't forget you can head on over to Jessica Cook dot IE where you'll find lots of free stuff to get you started on your journey.

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    About the author 

    Jessica Cooke

    I love drinking coffee, and my favourite thing in life (apart from my family) is to help women to get fit and break free from unhealthy habits holding them back. (oh, and also I love playing with my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy)

    I’ve now supported over 6,779 women over 14 years in my Thrive Coaching Program get fit and break free from unhealthy habits!