For many of the sober women who I’ve been lucky enough to meet over the last two years the decision to quit drinking didn’t just happen overnight. For the majority it was a journey of stops and starts, trial and error. Like me, many of them spent years knowing that something wasn’t right but rather than thinking that they needed to quit they believed that they just needed to control their drinking better. Eventually we all came to understand that we would probably never learn how to do this and that quitting was the best choice.
I wrote in my story about how I knew for years that alcohol was causing problems for me but I couldn’t imagine living life without it. On the many occasions when I would be severely hungover from a night out I would find myself googling sentences like "how to live life without alcohol" in the hope of finding someone or something that I could relate to. I didn’t really know what I was looking for then but now I know that it was connection. Connection with other women like me. Women who understood how I felt. Women who’s lives weren’t necessarily falling apart, who’s lives were actually pretty great other than the fact that they felt like alcohol was going to undo them. Women who wanted to change or had changed.
Thankfully, through the power of the internet, I found these women and I’m so grateful that I did because they have given me so much. They showed me that it’s possible to live a really great life without alcohol and they put into words so many of the feelings that I couldn’t find words for at the time.
In this post I’m going to give an account of some of the podcasts that I’ve listened to over the last two years as well as a link to my favourite podcast episode that each have done. In the next post I’ll cover my favourite sobriety and recovery blogs. Some of the podcast presenters that I talk about in this post also have blogs that will feature in the next post and I will give links for each of them in that post.
Five days after I made the decision to quit drinking I was due to go on holiday to Las Vegas with my husband. Las Vegas, five days sober. Yes, I was terrified. (Side note: I now know, having survived that holiday with my sobriety intact, that Las Vegas is actually great fun even if you don’t drink. There’s loads to do and some seriously good food and shopping but I did NOT know this at the time). What I did know was that I needed some serious backup to get me through it. Luckily for me I happened upon The Bubble Hour (TBH henceforth).
TBH had been up and running for quite a while before I stumbled on it so there were lots of episodes for me to binge on (because God forbid I do something in moderation). At the time it was a weekly podcast presented by four American and Canadian women with four very different drinking stories ranging from a highly functioning story similar to mine to a story of full-scale physical dependency that required multiple treatment programs. Regardless of their story I could relate to the things that all four women talked about. Many of the feelings were the same regardless of what stage their drinking had progressed to.
TBH ladies talked about their experience of living life without alcohol including the good and the bad. They covered lots of topics like talking to others in your life about your decision to quit drinking and going to events like weddings when you’re sober. They didn’t give advice as such but instead they shared what had and hadn’t worked for them. In addition to this they would also regularly invite listeners and friends to contribute too.
Today, TBH is presented by just one of the four women, Jean McCarthy, of sobriety blog Unpickled. Jean is one of the most insightful and relatable women that I’ve come across in my sobriety and while the podcast is no longer updated every week it is still updated regularly and one that I always check-in with.
You can find my favourite episode, Sober Firsts, here.
A couple of months into my sobriety a new podcast called Home was started by Laura McKowen and Holly Whittaker. The two have very different drinking and sobriety stories and discuss both with extreme honesty and depth. In the early days of their podcast they also had very different outlooks in relation to things like AA and some of the terminology around alcohol dependency and I think it’s brilliant to have discussions like this. Like TBH they talk a lot about the reality of living life without alcohol and they also have some brilliant guests on the show. I would consider both to have some of the most revolutionary ideas around addiction and sobriety and I eagerly await each new weekly episode.
You can find my favourite episode, Hell is Other People, here.
A relatively new podcast on the sobriety scene is Edit which is co-hosted by Aidan Donnelley Rowley and Jolene Parks. They discuss a lot of similar topics to those on the two previously mentioned podcasts but as we all have different stories they are able to bring different insights and perspectives to topics such as knowing when you need to quit, motherhood, and socializing without alcohol. I first came across Aidan when she talked on Home podcast about her experience with alcohol dependency in which she used the term “the grey area” to describe the vast spectrum of alcohol dependency that exists between not being dependent at all to being physically dependent and needing a drink to start the day. It was one of the most relatable podcast episodes I’ve ever listened to and I’m looking forward to hearing more from her and Jolene.
You can find my favourite episode, Life Without Alcohol, here.
As a mother of two small children I don’t get as much time to sit down and read books and blogs as I’d like but with podcasts I’m able to listen while pushing a buggy or driving the block to get one or both of my children to sleep. They encouraged me so much in the early days and I still listen to them weekly. When your drinking didn’t get “that bad” it can be easy to persuade yourself you don’t need to stop or stay stopped. Hearing how these other women are living sober, fulfilling, exciting lives motivates me. I’m so grateful to all of these women for taking the time and energy to create their podcasts and hope you find them helpful too.