September 13, 2022
225: It’s Time to Put Down Our Glass and Take Back Our Power - Tribe Sober with Janet Gourand

Janet Gourand is the host and founder of Tribe Sober, a membership program and workshop series for people who wish to quit drinking alcohol. In Tribe Sober, she interviews guests and shares her story of quitting alcohol after...

Janet Gourand is the host and founder of Tribe Sober, a membership program and workshop series for people who wish to quit drinking alcohol. 

In Tribe Sober, she interviews guests and shares her story of quitting alcohol after years of substance abuse.  

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • How Janet Gourand decided she needed to go sober 
  • What AA was like for Janet Gourand 
  • Why is alcohol so normalized in our culture 

Kick Start your Sober Life Online Course Coupon code: KK2022

About Janet Gourand

Janet has had many years of experience in corporate life in both Europe and South Africa. When she decided to stop drinking alcohol, she could find very little available support in South Africa. She did not want to go into rehab and decided that AA was not for her. Janet got sober through her own efforts and by attending a workshop in London. 

As her journey continued, she decided to use her professional background in training and development to design and facilitate her own workshop in order to support people who wish to moderate or quit drinking alcohol. Janet set up a membership program and holds workshops via Zoom, which are attended by people from all over the world. If you want more details on membership or workshops, just drop her a mail. She is married with one son and a chihuahua called June. Originally from London Janet relocated to Cape Town in 2001.

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[00:00:00] Janet Gourand: When we become dependent on alcohol, we lose interest in everyday pleasures. So they don't trigger the dopamine because all you want to do is when can I open the wine? So your world gets very small. And the joy of being sober is that you start to enjoy those everyday pleasures and increase your everyday pleasures.

[00:00:22] Maya Acosta: You have more power over your health than what you've been. This is the healthy lifestyle solutions podcast. I'm Maya Acosta and I'm passionate about finding Healthy Lifestyle Solutions to support optimal human health. If you're willing to go with me together, we can discover how simple lifestyle choices can help improve our quality of life.

[00:00:43] Maya Acosta: And increased longevity in a big way. Let's get started. This episode is for you. If you are ready to put down the glass and take back your power, the founder of tribe sober, Janet Gouran is here to share her sobriety story. We will discuss how she knew she needed help and why alcohol is so normalized. A modern recovery movement is happening as more and more people wake up to sobriety and you need to learn about it.

[00:01:13] Maya Acosta: Stick around. Welcome Janet. 

[00:01:15] Janet Gourand: Thank you. Thank you, Maya. It's lovely to meet you. I listened to your podcast as well. 

[00:01:20] Maya Acosta: Ah, wonderful. Yes. And you're um, I don't know if I said that at the beginning, but you do have a podcast also by the same name, which is Tribe Sober. And I did say. Before we started recording.

[00:01:32] Maya Acosta: It's so nice to put a face to the voice that I hear during my evening walks. When I take my little min pin out for a walk, cuz right now we're experiencing an extreme heat. So I walk in the evening around maybe seven 30 or eight.

[00:01:46] Janet Gourand: Yeah. So how long. I'm good. I'm good. Thank you, Maya. I go for a walk by the sea every evening at six o'clock, which is the time that I used to open my wine and I take my two hour with me and I've got my headphones on and I often listen to you.

[00:01:59] Janet Gourand: So, uh, it's amazing. Isn't it? I love podcasting. I really do. Yes. 

[00:02:04] Maya Acosta: Thank you. You know, I do say that and I often say on my show that I'm a heavy listener. Podcasts even before I became a podcaster, one of the best ways that I learned to take control of my house was listening to an evening radio show, which you and I probably would agree.

[00:02:21] Maya Acosta: Would've been considered a podcast back then. Um, yeah, because there was a membership associated with that as well, but I would listen, this guy would go on from like midnight, ‘til four in the morning, talking about all sorts of topics. And as a member, I could listen on the. During the daytime, because there was no way that I was gonna stay up till three, four in the morning to listen to the entire show.

[00:02:43] Maya Acosta: But to me, that was a podcast. So I do see a benefit to the information that we can share free of charge like this on podcasts. And I am so, so honored to have you on the show. I think what you're doing is incredible and you have incredible guests. So can we learn about your story, Janet? How did you decide that you needed to go sober?

[00:03:06] Janet Gourand: Sure. Oh, well it took me a long time to make that, that momentous decision. And I tend to share my story quite a lot because at the beginning of every workshop, I share my stories to make other people feel comfortable, you know, so that they can share theirs. But, um, I divide it into three wake up calls for brevity.

[00:03:28] Janet Gourand: Well, I, uh, Started drinking at university really only because, you know, I was quite shy and I just wanted to fit in and do what the other kids were doing. So I started drinking then, but it was no big deal. Then in my twenties, I lived in London. I shared a flat with three other ladies. I had a good job. I worked at the BBC, interestingly enough, on radio.

[00:03:51] Janet Gourand: So I feel very much in my comfort zone with this microphone here. So, uh, yeah, in my twenties sharing this flat, there was always wine in the flat, you know, and we all used to drink and I'd have a glass or two when I got home. When I was 25 years old, I had my first wake up call. Really. We had some friends around and we were drinking and chatting and I must have had, you know, more than a bottle of wine and didn't think anything of it.

[00:04:21] Janet Gourand: And then the next morning I woke up in hospital and I had no idea why I was in hospital, where I was in hospital, what had happened. And my flatmates had to kind of fill me in. It was really frightening. The story, because what had happened is about midnight apparently, and I hadn't seemed terribly drunk or anything.

[00:04:42] Janet Gourand: They said, you know, I just announced that I was going to bed and I always have a bath. I still do have a bath before I go to sleep. So I'd gone in the bathroom, I guess on automatic pilot locked the door. Cause we had friends around there, other people as well. I got in the bath and I must have promptly passed out because one of my flatmates kind of knocked on the door to say goodnight, cuz you know, they're a bit worried.

[00:05:06] Janet Gourand: I'd been in there a while and there was no answer. And then they panicked and they dialed emergency services and the um, the firemen came round and the medics and they had to knock the bathroom door down and I was under the water, you know, and if it hadn't been for that flatmate, I would've drowned. So.

[00:05:25] Janet Gourand: You know, that is a crazy story. And when I look back now at my great age, I think my God, you know, what, how awful that would've been. I would've wasted my whole life there. So, um, it was a real wake up call buts. It didn't wake me up. I just thought in, in fact we all made a bit of a joke of it. It was a bit of a story.

[00:05:46] Janet Gourand: It was that story, you know, it was, oh, Janet, did you hear about Janet in her bath? You know what an idiot ha ha ha. And if I'd had more sense, I would've thought, Hmm. That's a bit strange. Maybe I should go and talk to someone about this, but no, never occurred to me was just a story and carried on life as normal, but, uh, I didn't have any more of those.

[00:06:09] Janet Gourand: That was a real exception. And that's why it stands out so much. You know? And then in my, when I was 30, I got married to first husband, not the French man. The first husband was a drinker like me. So we just settled into that work, hard, play hard, you know, again, we both had good jobs and we come home in the evening.

[00:06:30] Janet Gourand: Have a shot of Jack Daniel’s and then open the wine, have wine, you know, while we were cooking wine with dinner. And I guess I was averaging a bottle of wine a night and more at the weekends. And we all our friends drank and we'd have those dinner parties that go on till 3:00 AM. And there were bottle empty bottles everywhere.

[00:06:50] Janet Gourand: And we just thought we. Having a good life. And, and we were in a way, you know, it was certainly fun. I had my son actually, when I was, uh, 30 and I did manage of course to stop drinking for nine months, but I was really white knuckling. It, it was a long nine months and I couldn't wait to wet the baby's head as they say so, yeah, and I was in, they call it mommy juice these days, but I mean, my son is 40 now, but back in those days, You know, all the moms, we would go to the kids' parties and the wine would be out.

[00:07:23] Janet Gourand: The sweets would be there for the kids and the wine would be there for the moms. So, yeah, that was my thirties. And then in my forties, I got divorced and re and that's when things. Started changing really because my husband, as I've mentioned is French. The French don't really drink like the English.

[00:07:47] Janet Gourand: They're a bit more sensible, you know, they tend to drink with their food and they tend to be connoisseurs whereas, you know, the English go for their binge drinking and it's a completely different vibe. And he noticed, you know, that was putting away a bottle of wine a night. And he said, you know, it's not good for you to drink so much.

[00:08:08] Janet Gourand: Why don't you. Cut back a bit. So to please him, I cut back, you know, I tried to cut back, should I say I Googled what the low risk limits of wine were? And it said a bottle and a half of wine a week. And I was pretty horrified at this cuz that's what I drank every night. So, um, I tried and I really tried hard and.

[00:08:31] Janet Gourand: I remember I had a little notebook and I used to write down how many units I drunk and, you know, I would manage till about Wednesday. And then I would realize I'd had more than my 14 units. And sometimes I would behave myself for weeks at a time. And then one night I would just drink till I blacked out and then we'd have another row in the morning and I was really trapped.

[00:08:55] Janet Gourand: It makes me laugh now because I think back to those days, and if only I knew then what I know now, which is, it's so much easier just to ditch the stuff, because once we've crossed a line with our drinking, which I had, I was totally dependent. You can't go back and control it because you are dependent, but I wouldn't accept that at the time.

[00:09:17] Janet Gourand: I just wasn't ready. So we carried on and then in my fifties, I had my second wake up call, which was breast cancer. I know now that there is a proven link between heavy drinking and breast cancer, but I didn't know that at the time. In fact, my oncologist told me that it would be okay to drink wine. Cause I asked him specifically, but I think he probably meant the odd glass of wine.

[00:09:42] Janet Gourand: He had no idea, obviously that I was pushing away so much wine. So I carried on drinking and then finally wake up, call number three, did wake me. Because it was by now, you know, it was in my early sixties. We went away for the weekend with some friends. We rented this beautiful big house here in, on the west coast of South Africa.

[00:10:05] Janet Gourand: And it was just a boozy weekend. The friends were heavy drinkers pot from my poor long suffering husband. You know, the bubbly would come out. Breakfast time. And we carried on drinking all day, Saturday, Sunday morning, I woke up feeling terrible, but of course I just smiled and said I was great. And at breakfast I cheerfully piped up that I thought we should walk to the next village because I'd heard that there was a lovely place that we could rent.

[00:10:33] Janet Gourand: Next time we came that way. There was this strange silence at the table. And they looked at me and they said, Janet, we went there yesterday afternoon and you were with us and you were walking and you were talking and you didn't seem to be, you know, worse for wearing in any way. And that really scared me because.

[00:10:53] Janet Gourand: When I reflected back on that day, I'd lost about six hours, just completely vanished. And now that I've researched what happens, you know, in those situations, it's not that we've forgotten stuff, but our brain is so soaked in alcohol that we can't even make memories in the first place. And that really frightened me because I think I knew I was damaging my body by then, you know, the breast cancer link was beginning to surface.

[00:11:19] Janet Gourand: But the thought that I was damaging my brain was really frightening. So that's when I made the momentous decision. I thought I can't do this anymore. I'm destroying myself. So the next morning I woke up and I said on the Monday, I said to my husband, that's it. I've done with alcohol to be fair. He didn't say, ha, I've heard that before, because I'd always said, I'm going to drink less.

[00:11:43] Janet Gourand: I'm going to cut down. But this time I knew it had to go. So, you know, of course I trotted off to AA. I didn't know what else to do, but I hated AA. I found it very negative and depressing and I didn't buy into the dogma of it all. So I carried on looking for somewhere to help me. And I ended up back in London where I just found a one day workshop.

[00:12:08] Janet Gourand: It was nothing momentous, you know, they just gave us a few tools and a few tips and talks. Changing your behavior. But the key was that I met other women there. Other people like me, whereas at AA, I hadn't connected with the right group. I probably could have found the right group somewhere. But the people I did meet were kind of drinking in the morning and they'd lost everything and I wasn't there yet.

[00:12:34] Janet Gourand: So in a way it was counterproductive for me because I started thinking, well, I'm not that bad. I'm not like them. So anyway, these women in London, We swap numbers and we all kept each other on track and that's where I learnt the power of community. And then I returned to South Africa, you know, carried on with the work and started to feel good.

[00:12:59] Janet Gourand: And then I realized I had so much time on my hands. Because I'd retired by then. Whereas at that time, you know, I used to spend planning the drinking, doing the drinking, recovering from the drinking. But now here I was with time and with my background intraining I thought, well, I can create a workshop a little bit.

[00:13:18] Janet Gourand: Like the one I went to in London, because nobody. Does anything like that here? So I did, you know, there were physical workshops to start within Johannesburg and Cape town and London sometimes. So that was the beginning of tribe sober. So that's my story. 

[00:13:36] wonderful. 

[00:13:37] Maya Acosta: Wonderful in the sense that, because I've heard other people come on and share the testimonials of how they've gone sober.

[00:13:45] Maya Acosta: You what stands out for me a lot is that you found that AA, which most of us think of the main resource, the main place to go for sobriety. It didn't work for you because you didn't feel like there were your peers. You talked about like, you know, your professional background, your level of education. And it's not that.

[00:14:05] Maya Acosta: And I totally understand, because I remember one time asking my husband about. What AA groups look like in the area I've never been to AA. So I was inquiring and he said, you know, most of the individuals, most people like you wouldn't be able to identify with. There is one that is a little bit more private for professionals, but even then people shy away, even though it's an anonymous or supposed to be an anonymous group.

[00:14:30] Maya Acosta: People, I think don't feel. When they have so much to risk, they're saying I need help. And yet I'm also in this level of influence. So whatever it may be, and that could also deter people from going to a support group. So I really appreciate what you're doing. I wondered, you know, so first of all, it was your second husband who sort of.

[00:14:52] Maya Acosta: Kind of said, Hey, there's something going on with you. What's going on? 

[00:14:55] Janet Gourand: Yeah. before now the bottle of wine 

[00:14:59] Maya Acosta: before that drinking to you was normal and yeah, and I think so many people could identify with that, you know, in your college years, that sort of like we hear a lot of drinking happens a lot of partying and it's just normal, even if you're just having a glass of wine with your girlfriend and it is true that you move on through.

[00:15:18] Maya Acosta: At different faces. Alcohol just seems to always be very present. Janet, just based on your experience, why do you think that alcohol is so normalized now in our cultures? 

[00:15:30] Janet Gourand: Because the liquor industry is hugely powerful and they can afford to spend trillions of dollars, you know, globally on advertising and I've moved through various phases in my sobriety, but these days I actually feel quite angry, you know, and I realize that women in particular, we've been manipulated for 25 years now. And I do know a story that someone reliable told me that the liquor industry, about 25 years ago, there was a global summit and they were.

[00:16:03] Janet Gourand: Brainstorming about their strategy. They were worried because beer sales had kind of plateaued and they needed some new product lines to stimulate sales. You know, some bright spots came up with the idea. Well, you know, women don't drink very much these days, you know, they don't like beer, so maybe we need to start producing more palatable wines and start targeting women.

[00:16:29] Janet Gourand: So they've been stunningly successful to. I think the average woman, probably almost anywhere on the planet, obviously apart from people that don't drink because of their religion, but the average woman. I mean, I certainly believe that they really need, you know, to have wine, to enjoy their life and to have a good social life.

[00:16:50] Janet Gourand: And it's just everywhere. I make a joke of it now. Switch on a movie on Netflix. And I say to my husband, okay, five minutes. , you know, we just make a bet. When will the wine come out? And invariably, it's a beautiful woman and she's got a big glass. And of course we all want to be that woman. And I can see through it now.

[00:17:11] Janet Gourand: And there's been a, a wonderful book written by a lady called Annie. This Naked Mind and she explains how all of this marketing it's created limiting beliefs. And I had all these limiting beliefs around alcohol that I needed it to have fun. I needed it to relax. I needed it to de-stress. And as a woman, I mean, I had a fairly typical experience.

[00:17:37] Janet Gourand: I think in my twenties and thirties, I drank to socialize. In my forties and fifties as my career got more demanding as I had the family pressure, it was self medication. It was for stress and relaxation. So that transition, I think, is quite common. 

[00:17:55] Maya Acosta: mm-hmm so part of it is that we sort of haven't been taught the other coping strategies that we can use.

[00:18:02] Maya Acosta: Yeah. You talked about mommy juice and , I'm kind of, I was giggling within, because it became very apparent to me. You just talked about watching films, uh, movies on Netflix. I remember I was on a flight and I actually do have, I don't know where it came from. A, a tremendous fear of flying. It wasn't always there.

[00:18:22] Maya Acosta: It's not even related to nine 11. It just suddenly appeared. So having a glass of wine was what I thought could help me get through the flight. And I recall one particular flight I'm having a glass of wine. I chose this. What seemed like a romantic comedy sort of with moms. The whole, the entire movie was about drinking.

[00:18:43] Maya Acosta: And the entire movie was about just the stress of being a mom and the responsibilities and having a career and how that impacts the marriage and women just really relying on drinking. And I remember looking at that and thinking about myself, I've never been a mom, so I haven't been in that situation, but I have my own stressors.

[00:19:03] Maya Acosta: I go through stress. It dawned on me that that's exactly what they were doing was coping. 

[00:19:10] Janet Gourand: With alcohol and it's become, yeah, it's become the essential parenting aid. Hasn't it really. 

[00:19:15] Maya Acosta: It has. And just like you said, how long does it take before the wine appears in a movie? I see that now with many things, reality shows, well, those are more common.

[00:19:24] Maya Acosta: I think that they push the alcohol on reality stars, but it is true how common alcohol is, and it's become even more apparent to me. As I age and as I become aware of just things that we need to do to be a little healthier. You talked about your breast cancer. How would you say it? I don't wanna say scare or challenge it's.

[00:19:44] Maya Acosta: How do you refer to what you endured with breast cancer? Mm 

[00:19:49] Janet Gourand: survivor. Um, I don't know. I just call it my breast cancer. your experience? I did log at the time I felt that kept me sane and I did call it breast cancer battle. . There you go. 

[00:20:00] Maya Acosta: There you go. You talked about your breast cancer battle and how you learned about that association between drinking.

[00:20:08] Maya Acosta: And developing, you know, or being at risk for breast cancer. I was wondering if we can talk a little bit more about that. I will have some experts on for October to address breast cancer, as you know, I'd love supporting women in medicine, just in their health. And I did not know either. That we were putting ourselves at risk for breast cancer.

[00:20:30] Maya Acosta: How does one know this? Unless you began to do the research or you pay attention to the science. So tell us that was a tremendous wake up call for you. 

[00:20:39] Janet Gourand:  It was, yes. My breast cancer was back in 2006 and certainly I had no idea at the time. Not until relative. Well, it was before I started tribes over probably about 10 years ago.

[00:20:52] Janet Gourand: I started to see evidence in the public domain, but it's been again, quite scandalous. The fact that it was the world's health organization in 1988, put out a report very well researched, scientific report saying that alcohol was a number one cost synogen and this report, I mean, it should have. Headline news everywhere, but it was kind of buried.

[00:21:18] Janet Gourand: It makes me so angry because that kind of information. We have a right to know that and gradually, you know, it's coming out and now it's quite well known that alcohol is linked to seven different types of cancer. And I have a slide that I use in my workshop. It's quite scary, but I have to admit. I indulge in scaring people a little bit sometimes cause it does work, you know, it's the push or the pull.

[00:21:42] Janet Gourand: So this slide, it's got a woman who's drinking beer as a bottle and she's kind of drinking it like here and you see it going down like a snake. And in fact, every part of the digestive tract that the alcohol is touching is prone to cancer. You hear about mouth cancer or esophagus. Voice box. And I mean, that is such clear evidence, isn't it?

[00:22:09] Janet Gourand: And that's scary even getting onto the breast cancer, but the breast cancer. Yeah. I mean, we have this October month and it's everybody talks about breast cancer and it's brilliant, but I still think we just need to get that message out there now. because they have come up with, um, I think the official line these days is that if you want to be healthy, don't drink full stop world health organization.

[00:22:35] Janet Gourand: But the so-called safe limits for women are three glass of wine a week. And if you drink more than that, then you increase your risk of breast cancer by 15%. So that seems to be the guidance, but people like me, you see, we can't do three classes a week because you know, that's not how we roll. 

[00:22:58] Maya Acosta: the American College of Lifestyle Medicine when they address that, that question of what is a safe amount of alcohol to consume.

[00:23:06] Maya Acosta: They basically said no alcohol no is the safest no alcohol and even pretty toxic. Right. I saw a report not long ago. I think it was a week ago or so where they were saying, well, for women it's encouraged no more than one glass of wine and you just touched on it. I've never met an individual that could have just one glass of wine that could just be satisfied with one glass of wine and at different professions, you know, they celebrate the happy hours.

[00:23:34] Maya Acosta: They go out and have a good time. You know, that's when I was introduced to drinking, it was really when I was a teacher and I was shocked to see how the teachers would go right after school. 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM. School lets out Friday was happy hour and I just couldn't do it. I tried it, it was just like seven o'clock at night.

[00:23:53] Maya Acosta: I was knocked out and they went my Friday. I just could not do that. And you know, but it is the culture. It is the stress. And I've also heard that as more and more women, not only, you know, are in the workforce, but women who become entrepreneurs. They have this entire responsibility as more women are entering in the field of entrepreneurship, the alcohol drinking is also going.

[00:24:17] Janet Gourand: Yeah. And the work hard play hard culture is rife. You know, I've worked in several big corporates in my career and every time, you know, there was a pressure and, uh, you'd feel if you didn't go out with your colleagues on a Friday evening, you know, there'd be a bit of a, well, well, you are a bit boring or, you know, there's pressure.

[00:24:39] Janet Gourand: And again, those of us that finally give up drinking, that's when we really discover how normalized. Drinking is because one of the, I mean, I'm well past that. Now I'm proud of my sobriety, but in the early days I can still remember I was embarrassed. I was apologetic. I'd hide with my little old call, free drink, hoping nobody would ask me what was in it.

[00:25:02] Janet Gourand: Why aren't you drinking? It's really hard to deal with all that. And I think it traps a lot of people because, you know, especially if you. Quite an introvert. You don't want to meet yourself the center of attention and have all these people saying, oh, why aren't you drinking? And the irony of it is people often assume you are an alcoholic.

[00:25:22] Janet Gourand: If you're not drinking so you can't win really. 

[00:25:26] Maya Acosta: Right. I had a boss at one point in my life who was sober. He had been sober for 20 plus years and at the time it wasn't just the alcohol, it was cocaine. And he was very, very open about his recovery and he would mentor. So I would see often people come by his office who were, he was basically like their sponsor, but also just mentoring people.

[00:25:49] Maya Acosta: And he was very, very open. And I think the more comfortable you become in telling people that this is an area that you struggle. It loses its power over you. I've heard your guests, which are also members of Tribe Sober. They come on your podcast and they share their story and it's powerful. And the reason the stories are powerful is because the one can identify with what they're saying. Perhaps not everyone had a drug problem. Although we know alcohol is also a drug, perhaps they didn't venture off to exploring with hard drugs, but alcohol in itself has taken a hold of them. And it's interesting to hear. When you ask them to share the story, it's interesting to hear how the alcohol moved into their life.

[00:26:33] Maya Acosta: When they go through their history of what they might have suffered throughout life traumas, whether something associated early in their years or the loss of someone, and then just how alcohol just moved quickly through their lives. They also don't have to have such a significant, what is that word when they, uh, I can't even think right now the word when they that's.

[00:26:55] Maya Acosta: Yes. So they also don't have to hit rock bottom very far. No. To know that they need help.

[00:27:00] Janet Gourand: No, I mean, in fact, uh, I like to think of alcohol dependence on a spectrum, you know, at one end, we've got the non-drinker and at the other end, we've got the homeless man in the park. You know, who's an alcoholic that word again, but in between those two extremes, Lay most of the population, you know, there's millions and millions of us.

[00:27:22] Janet Gourand: And there's people that are almost alcoholics people that are dependent, but they still hold it all together. You know, the world is full of functioning alcoholics. I was one, and you'd be amazed at the successful people that have got a drinking issue and that are very good at hiding it. But one of the joys of getting sober is that you get to use all that energy.

[00:27:45] Janet Gourand: I mean, Holding my life together, but it was taking a huge amount of energy. And now I have the time and the energy to do amazing work like I get to do mm-hmm so, um, that's, that's one of the things that we see in Tribe Sober, you know, when people start to get sober, we've got the most amazing people that have done fabulous projects, and that's just because they've got time and energy and your creativity comes back and your world opens up again.

[00:28:16] Janet Gourand: Because when we become dependent on alcohol. We lose interest in everyday pleasures, you know, little things like playing with the chia kind thing. My everyday pleasures, you know, going for a walk by the sea and things like that, you know, they just don't. Hit the spot anymore. They don't trigger the dopamine because all you want to do is know, right?

[00:28:39] Janet Gourand: When can I open the wine? So your world gets very small and the joy of being sober is that you start to enjoy those everyday pleasures and increase your everyday pleasures. Mm-hmm. 

[00:28:55] Maya Acosta: On my YouTube channel suddenly, I don't know. It could be because of what I research. This individual started popping up on my feed on YouTube.

[00:29:03] Maya Acosta: And I won't say his name, but he is a sober individual who coaches people on how to go sober. He talked about some of the celebrities that have done that and how they supported each other. And I remember one famous comedian. Was mentored by another celebrity and the message that really drove him the, what really got him to go sober was that the other individual said to him, you can never reach your full potential.

[00:29:29] Maya Acosta: Yeah. Yeah. If you continue to drink and he was a functioning alcoholic. Yeah, he, he could do comedy every night and function well along with a glass of his favorite drink, but you see him today. He's very successful. And then he got another celebrity to go sober. And that's the part that one of the messages that I wanna drive with tribes over as you tell us more about it is that many of my listeners may be professionals.

[00:29:54] Maya Acosta: They may be well educated and functioning. Fine. But we also know that the pandemic took its toll on all of us. And many of us reverted back to either eating foods are not the best for our health or drinking. I'm sure. I don't even know if you have the statistics, but I wonder what the percentages of alcoholism that, you know oh

[00:30:12] Janet Gourand: huge, huge consumption, especially in the UK. Okay. You know, where I get a lot of information and I'm quite plugged into what's going on over there. Yeah. But it's interesting what you said about, we'll never reach our potential. If we're dumbing ourselves down with alcohol. I remember I've reflected on that quite a lot. And. I remember when I went to AA and I would look at these people that were really in trouble and further down the line.

[00:30:37] Janet Gourand: And I started thinking, well, I'm not like that, but I shouldn't have been comparing myself with them. I should compare myself with the best person that I could possibly be and that's the thing. Isn't it? 

[00:30:50] Maya Acosta: That is a great message. Yep. So tell us why Tribe Sober works. How does that, and again, maybe we don't wanna compare it to AA, but I know that you have a group, a private group where individuals can join and be anonymous.

[00:31:04] Janet Gourand: Yes. Yes. I mean, but people don't particularly care about. Being anonymous, cuz I like to think that we've created an image, which is about health and wellness. You know, we're not meeting in basements with our, our shameful little secret and I don't want to make this into a knocking AA thing, but we don't ask people to label themselves alcoholics because I think everybody hates that word and you know, what is an alcoholic anyway?

[00:31:33] Janet Gourand: They talk about the dependence scale these days, rather than being an alcoholic. So, yeah, I think if I had to say how, why tribe table works, I'd just put it in one word and it's community and to be fair to AA, that's what they have as well. And that's why, you know, sometimes it works there. So yeah, I mean, we have a lighter approach, I think, a more optimistic approach and we talk about health and wellness.

[00:32:03] Janet Gourand: That's, you know, what we want to do. And, and we see the whole thing in two steps. We don't just want people to quit drinking, which seems to be the objective in AA, but we want them to quit drinking and then go on to learn how to thrive in that alcohol free life, you know, to create a life they don't want to escape from.

[00:32:24] Janet Gourand: So we don't just help them with workshops. The community to quit drinking, but we've created a path for them to discover other things, to discover things that they will enjoy doing. Because when we become dependent on alcohol, we lose touch with who we are. We lose touch with what we like doing, cuz we think, I mean, I always used to say, well, my hobby is socializing, but of course socializing meant drinking wine with my girlfriends so we've put together this program and it's, it is not particularly structured, although it is in kind of seven steps because we say that we want people to do the work.

[00:33:09] Janet Gourand: We want them to, they can have a sober buddy if they like, which is a bit like a sponsor. I suppose it's people that have got sober with us and they want to reach out and help. But we also have our yoga studio. We have an online yoga teacher. We have nutritional advice. We have hypnotherapy and we have coaching and we do meditation.

[00:33:33] Janet Gourand: We've got a lovely, I did a podcast with him and it kind of happened from there. A British guy that lives in Australia called, um, Rory can't remember his second name, but he's our meditation teacher and he's made a beautiful tape just for us, you know, a video that people can watch. Then he does run courses, which he offers.

[00:33:53] Janet Gourand: Like 40% off, uh, tribe, sober members. So are things that we offer people they're either free. You know, the first session is free. We have recovery coaches that work on that basis or that it's really heavily discounted. So it, it is really good value. And once people get to six months sober, we have the six months club, we put them in.

[00:34:17] Janet Gourand: Chat room. And that's interesting because their conversations are quite different to the conversations for the new business. We call them, but we've got loads of people that have been sober for a few years and got sober with us. And that's lovely because apart, you know, I would've expected them to maybe drift off into the sunset and say, thanks, bye.

[00:34:40] Janet Gourand: But they hang around, you know, cuz they love the community. They know people. You know, they want to inspire and help people. And they see on the group that someone's back at day one again. And they say, you know, well, when that used to happen to me, that was what I used to do. And it's wonderful for me because I don't want to be the guru.

[00:35:00] Janet Gourand: You know, I want everybody to contribute everybody. That's done this cuz we all manage in different. We're so it is taken six years to build this community, but it's, it's great now because the pandemic, you know, for all its bad side, it helped us to become much more international because the workshops had to go on zoom.

[00:35:20] Janet Gourand: So now we get people from all over the world doing the workshops, and of course the podcasts have helped us as well. We get lots of US, people and UK people. So. Yeah, it works. And then I'm just looking at my little chart. step seven. You know, we take them through the steps, so they do all these different.

[00:35:40] Janet Gourand: And we just say to people sample, you know, try meditation, try yoga and things will stick. And then the eventual goal we think is to find your purpose. And when you know, we get sober and when our head clears, we start feeling creative again. Start having ideas and people in our tribe have gone on to do amazing things or get in touch with the creative side.

[00:36:06] Janet Gourand: We've got artists, we've got our own cartoonists these days. we've got a lady that's. Very into trail running. She'd just run across the Kalahari desert, you know, I don't think she would've done that while she was drinking. So yeah, I think find your purpose is important. And obviously I've been able to find mine with Tribe Sober, which is so rewarding for me.

[00:36:32] Maya Acosta: So. This health and wellness umbrella that you have this program that promotes health and wellness seems to really tackle the areas that someone ha has had drinking problems, probably didn't take care of, for example, their nutrition and stress management. One thing that I have learned now that I'm very much into nutrition is that drinking messes up.

[00:36:55] Maya Acosta: It really throws up our gut microbiome, which causes us to then crave. The unhealthy foods. And then we just spiral, we just get caught up in the cycle. So one of 'em is nutrition. And the other thing that you talked about that I really like is the idea of managing our stress through yoga meditation. Yeah.

[00:37:14] Maya Acosta: It's something that I've begun to embrace. When I was younger, obviously I was looking into stress management, but as I get older, I understand, um, it could be the change that I'm going through, that the anxiety could really, really be present for other reasons. So there is always gonna be something in life that will cause us to stress, but you're offering an entire program to support individual.

[00:37:38] Maya Acosta: So it's not just meeting in person like other groups meeting and reaching out to your sponsor when. For having a craving or you're being triggered, but you're actually implementing lifestyle changes to, like you said, thrive in their life to really reach their full potential. And then of course, going on to discover their purpose.

[00:37:58] Maya Acosta: I remember hearing a guest that you had on that said I was now able to make decisions from like a clear place, rather than having the alcohol, driving those decisions. 

[00:38:10] Janet Gourand: Yeah. Yeah. So, so there's so many benefits. And if you're interested in nutrition, as I know you are, may have a listen to Saturday's podcast, cause I've just interviewed a nutritionist.

[00:38:21] Janet Gourand: Who's brilliant. She's called Lindsay Beverage and her Instagram feed is fabulous, you know, and interestingly, she used to drink a lot. She had a serious problem herself, so. She got sober and then became passionate about nutrition and qualified as a nutritionist. So now she helps people in recovery. I think her Instagram feed is called recovery nutrition.

[00:38:47] Janet Gourand: She's brilliant. I learned so much from just one conversation, but as you say, you know, we don't absorb the nutrients that we need and it affects the. Lining and the microbiome and then the menopausal thing, you know, it disrupts all our endocrine system mean it's, it is frightening. Yes. 

[00:39:06] Maya Acosta: And we don't see it because we're so caught up in.

[00:39:09] Maya Acosta: We sort of think that that's the way we're supposed to be. I mean, I remember when I was younger. You'd go out with a group of friends, have a good time, go to a nightclub the next day, you're dealing with a hangover and it's almost like this bragging thing. The bragging ride. Yeah. Oh man. I can't deal today because of last night.

[00:39:26] Maya Acosta: It's so yeah, let's celebrate that. We have a hangover. It's like we earned it. by partying the night before. So another thing that I found very interesting that you've spoken about was the gastro bypass surgery. The prevalence, that one, please tell my listeners about that. 

[00:39:43] Janet Gourand: Yeah. That's, that's fascinating. I think, uh, you're probably referring to Gina and she's mm-hmm the second lady.

[00:39:51] Janet Gourand: I think that I've interviewed that. I've heard this from cuz oh no, maybe it wasn't a podcast, but we've got someone in our tribe. That's had the bypass. It's very common. And in fact, When you have to have counseling before you have the gastric bypass and you are warned, you know, that you might become an alcoholic, but as Gina said, you know, she hardly ever drank and she was already about 45.

[00:40:15] Janet Gourand: So she thought, oh, well, that's not gonna happen to me, but it did. You know? And, and it's the psychological thing, I think because people that are hugely overweight, they've obviously been using food to. Themselves numb their feelings and they just simply switch to alcohol, numb their feelings. So a big percentage of people that have the gastric bypass go on to develop an alcohol problem.

[00:40:41] Janet Gourand: Mm-hmm and it makes sense when you think about it. 

[00:40:44] Maya Acosta: Yes. And I came home, cuz like I said, I listened to you during my evening walks and I came home to tell my husband, did you know about this? Because many times with his patients, he never pushes gastric bypass surgery or anything like that. But he really encourages people to lose weight because being overweight puts you at risk for so many different things.

[00:41:05] Maya Acosta: So people feeling desperate and wanting to take control of their health. You know, they do this procedure. I had no idea that they could be at risk. Becoming an alcoholic. And it makes sense if you're soothing yourself, if you're numbing yourself, like you said, with food and you can't have as much food, of course you're gonna turn to something else.

[00:41:24] Maya Acosta: So I guess the goal is to really manage what's really, really underneath all of that. What are we trying to numb? 

[00:41:31] Janet Gourand: We have to find different ways to soothe ourselves. Don't we? Yes. And another thing Lindsay, the nutritionist was telling me today was that. She does DNA testing. So she can tell people if the dopamine is high or low naturally, and likewise with things like Garba.

[00:41:50] Janet Gourand: So, uh, she said that if we've got naturally low dopamine, then we'll probably love drinking because it gives us that lift that we can't seem to get. Naturally. I thought that was rather fascinating. And so. Thought about that. I thought, yeah, that was probably me. But Lindsay said that she used alcohol to soothe herself to calm herself.

[00:42:11] Janet Gourand: And her Garba is deficient naturally rather than the dopamine. So she said that, uh, people like me, you know, when they stop drinking, they'll have this, Ugh, the kind of flatness, which I certainly experienced, but she was saying things like exercise are really good if you're in that. Category. And indeed, you know, I did exercise much more and it helped, whereas Lindsay, she had to use, she had to find other ways to soothe herself now that she wasn't drinking.

[00:42:42] Janet Gourand: So she did, you know, yoga and meditation. So I thought that was so interesting. It is, but we're almost using alcohol to make up for. Uh, nutritional deficiencies that we have naturally. Yeah. And obviously it's not a good fix, but yeah. Could explain things. 

[00:43:02] Maya Acosta: This dopamine, the rise of dopamine that we have from drinking.

[00:43:06] Maya Acosta: And then trying to get that again with the second glass. Yeah. And then all of that is that Chasing the Dragon, the term that you hear in alcoholism, you're Chasing the Dragon that totally initial first feel good. The buzz, the buzz that you get, and then it only lasts for so long. And then, 

[00:43:23] Janet Gourand:yeah, it, 20 minutes actually, it's been recent.

[00:43:26] Janet Gourand: The buzz last for 20 minutes then. you want another drink? Yeah. To, because it actually leaves you lower than you were when you had the first drink so you have to get and get another drink. So when I used to go out with my husband to a party or, or something, for example, we'd both have one drink, then we'd want another drink and then he'd just kind of lose interest and I'd be well, where's the, the drinks.

[00:43:50] Janet Gourand: So that's why people like me can never moderate because mm-hmm, Can't do it. Yeah. 

[00:43:56] Maya Acosta: And you also say that's exactly the next question I was gonna ask was on moderation. You can't moderate drinking it. Oh, and I am glad that we talk about that because even in the field of nutrition, we say that you can't just eat a certain.

[00:44:11] Maya Acosta: Amount of food in moderation, because it never really works. Especially if you have like addictive tendencies and it's hard for you to, you know, have one cookie or one chip, you can't rely on moderation because it never really works. You can't just really have one glass of wine and be done. 

[00:44:27] Janet Gourand: No, no. I mean, we have people coming to Tribe Sober and they're saying, I don't want to quit drinking.

[00:44:33] Janet Gourand: I just want to. How to moderate. So I try to be gentle with them, you know, but my take on this is that people that can moderate moderates, they don't join Tribe Sober to learn how to moderate, because you can't. People that moderate, they're not even aware that they're moderating 

[00:44:54] Maya Acosta: Right. So tell us more about how people can join tribes.

[00:44:59] Maya Acosta: There's a membership fee for that. And tell us a little bit more about, you've sort of already painted a picture of what people can expect. As a member of tribe sober, but tell us how they can join. 

[00:45:10] Janet Gourand: Sure. Well, they just go to, our website, they click on join our tribe and then it describes all the membership benefits.

[00:45:20] Janet Gourand: It paints the picture of the seven steps. We've got little icons for each of the thing that's going on and they just click on the icon for more info. So, yeah, I mean, that's the membership people also come to us for. Challenges. Um, I dunno when this will go out, but we're doing a mini challenge on from the first to the 5th of August, we are calling that a sober sprint.

[00:45:45] Janet Gourand: We, we've never done such a short challenge. We either do Dry January or Sober Sprint, which is 66 days. But this one that we've designed it. So it's almost like a boot camp, you know, it's an intensive, so it'll, if someone. Thinks that, oh, they should really give up or do something, then it'll introduce them.

[00:46:05] Janet Gourand: Or if someone's in early sobriety and they're feeling a bit, Ugh, then it'll give them a shot of motivation. Or if they're stuck in, I call it these days, the moderation swamp. If they're stuck there, then it'll pull them out. So it's five days. We're in a private Facebook group. It's already open now. We've.

[00:46:26] Janet Gourand: About 200 people in there over the five days, what will happen is they'll be given a task in the morning, which is like a written exercise. And then they'll be posting stuff on the group. From this exercise, we have a Q and a board throughout the day and then late afternoon. Well, for me be morning in the states, I'll do a 20-minute training on Facebook live.

[00:46:49] Janet Gourand: So that's like five days and they've got the community, you know, they're talking to each other and they've. The Tribes Sober team are in there as well. So that's an experiment. We haven't done that before, but on day five, we're going to launch a brand new course that we've created, which is an online version of our workshops because we're involved with so many different time zones these days.

[00:47:12] Janet Gourand: Although I do the zoom workshops in the evening. My time, which is early morning in the states. But I think some people like to do stuff like this on their own. So, you know, if they particularly want to not mix with other people while they're doing this, they can do the online version. But since I learned that, um, 95% of people who purchase online courses, Finish them.

[00:47:39] Janet Gourand: I've decided to make it a bit of a mix in that we've got personal, we've got touch points, you know, going throughout it. So they start with a one hour zoom session with me midway through the course. They again, do mid. Course review with me cuz I designed the whole thing. And then at the end they have a one hour coaching session with one of our recovery coaches to help them start implementing what they've learned into their daily life.

[00:48:06] Janet Gourand: So, uh, we're quite excited about that. So we're gonna do this little sober sprint and then on the fifth day, we'll talk about our course. 

[00:48:15] Maya Acosta: Excellent. You know, the reason there were, because I learned about you and I started listening to your podcast. I thought what an excellent program that you've put together.

[00:48:25] Maya Acosta: And I really wanted to provide this for my listeners or anyone who has come to a point where they decided they wanna be sober earlier this year. I wanna say in January, going into the new year, there's a health coach that I know in nutrition who was providing support online. On December 31st, new year's Eve.

[00:48:45] Maya Acosta: I had never seen anything like that, but she went on Instagram, I think, and Facebook and she was online and she said, for those of us who are not drinking, I'm here to support you. We're gonna celebrate without alcohol. And that was the first time, because, like I said, I'm starting to discover what sobriety looks like and the support that's available outside of other organized groups.

[00:49:06] Maya Acosta: This was the first time that I realized, wow, there is an entire group of people. Yeah. Or there are an entire group of people who are asking for support, like what you're offering and then I think. 

[00:49:18] Janet Gourand: It's becoming a movement, which is, is very exciting. And I must tell you about my friend, Susan, Christina, who I met through this.

[00:49:26] Janet Gourand: She has a magazine called Ola Sober, and that's because she's Irish, but she lives in Madrid and she's created this fabulous magazine and it's, uh, comes out once a month and it's about a. Pages, and it's absolutely beautiful. You know, it's online. It's one of these flipping books. I dunno if you've seen them, but you turn the page and it makes the noise on your computer.

[00:49:49] Janet Gourand: It's really cool. and it's just packed with articles. I mean, I write for it once a month. It's got beautiful recipes and pictures of mocktails and it's. Really nice. Um, yeah, she was a marketing person in her youth and now she says that in this magazine she's rebranding sobriety and she's making sobriety just as cool as will used to think.

[00:50:15] Janet Gourand: Drinking was that's right. This. People like her she's on Instagram and there's so many, uh, amazing people in this field now. It's great. And it's changed so much in the last 10 years. It's like a modern recovery movement. I think mm-hmm, it's completely different to yeah. How it used to be.

[00:50:34] Maya Acosta: I think when you wake up to, like you were saying earlier, when you wake up.

[00:50:39] Maya Acosta: Then understanding that we've been marketed and targeted this way, that instead of other coping mechanisms being brought to us, it's the alcohol is the easy answer, at least. Yeah. That's what it seems like. My husband is going, he's getting into these survival courses and he's been wanting to do something out in the wild.

[00:50:58] Maya Acosta: And he learned about this program. And, uh, he signed up, it's just a quick weekend, uh, program out in the middle of nowhere in Texas. And he's telling me he's taking his backpack. They'll be camping at a certain location that will only cook what they could carry in their backpack. And I'm gonna do the program too.

[00:51:17] Maya Acosta: The thing is that it was interesting. He later learned that the individual who's leading this survival course is a sobriety coach. , uh, That was very interesting. I said what? And he said, yeah, apparently what he does is he takes individuals out in nature to connect with nature, to add that also spiritual component.

[00:51:40] Maya Acosta: Now this is not a sobriety weekend coaching thing, but he uses that also to coach some of the individuals to go out in nature and connect and come back. To maybe grounding ourselves and feeling more connected. So I just was thinking, wow, it's just all around us. Like you said, the sobriety movement of people who are tired of being controlled by alcohol.

[00:52:03] Maya Acosta: Yeah, yeah, 

[00:52:03] Janet Gourand: yeah. We say it's time to put down our glass and take back our power. 

[00:52:09] Maya Acosta: there you go. That is wonderful. Is there anything else that you'd like to share with us? 

[00:52:14] Janet Gourand: Uh, no, no. It's been lovely to chat to you mayor. And as you say, to actually meet after listening to each other 

[00:52:22] Maya Acosta: right. Yes. So I'm gonna encourage my listeners to follow you.

[00:52:26] Maya Acosta: We'll add all the links in the show. Notes is the main website for you. Tribe 

[00:52:32] Janet Gourand: Yeah. It's all on there. And then the podcast is Tribe Sober so we've kept it simple. 

[00:52:38] Maya Acosta: yeah, it's a perfect name. So quick question about the artwork for your podcasts. It's beautiful. How did you decide on that image? 

[00:52:46] Janet Gourand: The whites, um, head.

[00:52:47] Janet Gourand: Yeah. Well, that's relatively recent because I was on, how did I meet her? I must have spotted her on Instagram, this artist who is a South African artist, and she's called Joe Rowitz and that picture was on there. You know, she post little things about her creating the art and it's beautiful. She's really talented.

[00:53:10] Janet Gourand: So I connected with on Instagram and had little chat found out how much it was. So I bought that it was a piece of art and she delivered it cuz she's in Cape town. She brought it round and we got chatting and she's seven years. But look at that. So she's been on my podcast now telling her story, which is very funny in, in a kind of funny way about passing out in a flower bed.

[00:53:36] Janet Gourand: And, uh, caretaker of the building came to give her a hand and he said, Madam, you know, how can I help you? And she gave him some money and she said, go and get me some wine. oh, no. So, anyway, she's now seven years over, so she's joined the tribe and we love having her in the tribe. And I literally, well, I asked her obviously, if I could use that image and she said, yes, I'd love you to, so yeah, that's where we got the image, but it's nice.

[00:54:03] Maya Acosta: Isn't it? It is. I thought maybe there would. There was meaning behind it, but it really does stand out. So I know you went through a rebrand and so you are now Tribe Sober. So that logo, I didn't see what you had before, but this one feels spiritual in the way that it's, um, designed. That's why I thought, wow.

[00:54:22] Maya Acosta: It seems so appropriate for the 

[00:54:25] Janet Gourand: Tribe Sober this lady. I mean, one of the things that made me want to buy it is it's a female warrior. You know, that's right. We're all warriors. 

[00:54:33] Maya Acosta: I love it. Well, Janet, it's been such a pleasure meeting you. I'm excited about Tribe Sober. I think I'm gonna join too. I'd love to get in the group and connect with other individuals, and I'd love to encourage my listeners to also join.

[00:54:47] Maya Acosta: Get in there and you don't have to hit rock bottom. Very hard. Team stop drinking. 

[00:54:52] Janet Gourand: the clever people get off that slippery slope. 

[00:54:56] Maya Acosta: that's right. Well, thank you again for joining us today. 

[00:54:59] Janet Gourand: Pleasure. Thank you, mate. Bye-bye. 

[00:55:02] Maya Acosta: You've been listening to the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast with your host. Maya, if you've enjoy this podcast, do us a favor and share with one friend who can benefit from this episode, feel free to leave us an honest review on apple podcast that helps us to spread our message.

[00:55:19] Maya Acosta: Thanks for listening.