Is it time to take a tactical break from alcohol and what are the benefits?
I’m Sarah Rusbatch, one of Australia’s first ‘grey area drinking’ coaches, host of a meet up group for women to meet and socialise without alcohol, host of ‘the women’s wellbeing collective’ – a group of over 3500 women from across the globe interested in changing their relationship with alcohol and a passionate ambassador for the growing Alcohol free movement in Australia. I also run corporate workshops titled ‘the unexpected joys of sobriety’.
What is ‘grey area drinking?’
– Grey area drinking can be thought of in terms of a scale of 1-10 when it comes to someone’s drinking patterns with 1 being ‘hardly ever thinks about it’ and 10 being ‘end stage, physical dependency’. There is a lot of support available for those who reach stage 10 in the form of rehab, counselling and medical assistance to come off alcohol. But what about everyone in between? Particularly those scoring 5-8 on the scale. They often find it very difficult to stop but don’t have any knowledge of where to go or who to turn to when it comes to asking for support. Often, grey area drinkers may feel embarrassed or ashamed that they can’t control their drinking, and may be highly functioning to the outside world but the impact of their drinking is secretly impacting them mentally and physically in so many ways.
– Is this coaching actually needed?
Absolutely. My coaching services now have a waitlist and a recent interview in a Mamamia led to 1700 women reaching out to me in 48 hours. One of my clients was recently turned away from a private drug and alcohol rehab facility because she ‘wasn’t drinking enough’. She was drinking enough to feel anxious and depressed, suffer terrible insomnia and could not stop drinking each night, no matter what she did, but still was not considered ‘addicted enough’ to be admitted.
We have now been working together for over 2 months and she just celebrated 70 days of sobriety.
With July rapidly approaching and many people considering taking a month off booze, here are some of the benefits and why I endorse this as a starting point for exploring who you are without alcohol. Many Australians drink without thought every weekend, sometimes quite heavily from Thursday to Sunday. It takes 48 hours for alcohol to leave the system so perhaps by Wednesday they are starting to feel ok and their energy levels have resumed. If they then decide to have a couple of drinks on a Wednesday night, this will still affect their sleep, mood, motivation, output levels and concentration the next day. This therefore means many Australians are actually only living up to their full potential both at work and in their personal life for 1 day of the week.
A month off alcohol offers many benefits including:
– Improved sleep
– Improved liver and kidney function
– More energy and motivation
– Weight loss
– Clearer skin
– Improved confidence and self esteem
– More time to explore new activities
– Higher performance at work
– Save money
– Blood pressure drops
I have recently been interviewed by the following publications and shows:
ABC radio Perth
98five radio perth
Take a Break Magazine
The Sunday Times Perth
Community news Perth (front page of most of the publications)
Holistic Health podcast (my interview went to her number 1 most listened to episode within 2 days of going live)
The Australian Fitness Podcast
My website provides details of all the services I offer to support individuals throughout Australia to change their relationship with alcohol and to do it alongside a group of like minded women. I am running a July alcohol free challenge with extensive resources, support and workbooks as well as the community of others on the same path (sobriety can feel very lonely if all our friends are still drinking). I share information on a huge number of areas relevant to choosing to be alcohol free including:
navigating friendships when our friends are still drinking
triggers and how to deal with them
managing our emotions another way
stress coping strategies that are not wine
I myself have been on the alcohol free path since april 2017 and my life has changed beyond recognition since then. I was a classic grey area drinker and through my own reading, connections, research and personal development, I left the corporate world in early 2020 to focus exclusively in this area of wellness. In my opinion, alcohol is the missing piece when we talk about wellbeing, mental health and anxiety.