My Interview with Kate from The Sober School <3

In early 2016, I was amongst the first group of students to complete an online course created by Kate, creator of The Sober School, called Getting Unstuck.  I’ve mentioned this course before, and The Sober School and Kate, and how much participating in the program helped me when I decided I didn’t want to drink alcohol anymore.

There are now multiple groups of people who have completed this course and Kate is really on a roll with her program, it’s amazing!!! She is adding a mini interview series to the Getting Unstuck course. Every Sunday, part of the lesson will involve an interview with a graduate of the course, talking about their experience of sobriety. I feel really proud that she picked me as one of the people to interview and it was really interesting answering the questions. Revisiting this stuff was pretty cool after almost 500 days! Here’s what we talked about.

This is Kate!

Kate: How were you feeling about your drinking before you joined the course, and what made you decide it was time to stop?

Jamie: “Before joining the Getting Unstuck course, I felt like I had serious issues with alcohol and I was stuck in a vicious cycle that I wanted to break for a really long time. Over ten years. When I drank I’d adopt a “YOLO, who f*ckin cares” attitude and disregard everything: next-day responsibilities, money, my physical and mental health, relationships with friends, family and significant other. Priorities temporarily didn’t exist. I also had a lot of friendships that weren’t really based on anything except drinking.

Then, when I wasn’t drunk anymore I’d be totally swallowed up by loneliness because a lot of the “fun” I’d been having was fake. I’d experience extreme guilt, anxiety, depression and shame and reality would set in and those priorities that went out the window mattered again, and my life would feel out of control. I would have physical symptoms like nausea, shakiness, acid reflux, dizziness, low blood sugar, irritability, etc and I would tell myself I had to stop treating my body and mind this way. I felt needy and paranoid about the tiniest things when I was hungover and I would research how to quit drinking all the time but never found anything relatable until I found Kate’s blog.

I knew it was time to stop for a long time, but then I basically wrecked Christmas and had to sit and deal with myself for 8 hours at work on Boxing Day and it was actual torture. I finally decided enough was enough and took some action.”

Kate: What was early sobriety like? How did you feel during the first month or so?

Jamie: “At first I was obsessed. I’m like that though, I usually approach new things 100%, not sure if that’s healthy or not, but whatever, it was the way I knew I could succeed. I read Kate and Belle’s blogs all day, every day when I wasn’t busy doing other things, and I went on Amazon and bought a bunch of books. I also went out and did a big grocery shop to stock my new non-alcoholic beverage cabinet at our house. I read every article I could find about non-alcoholic drinks and I was meticulous about planning out the social events I was going to go to and what I’d bring with me to drink. Non-alcoholic beer was pretty much my saviour. I went out sometimes, but I usually went home early when I was feeling awkward or annoyed by drunk people, or if I noticed that the situation was genuinely not that fun..which I’ve found happens a lot!

I made sure my now-husband knew how serious I was about this sober mission. It helped that I simultaneously started training for my first full marathon and I used that as a way to get people off my back when they’d ask why I wasn’t drinking. The first month or so it was a project that I was fully engaged in and committed to. I had to be excited about it or it would be a chore and I’d have failed like I did a hundred times before. Every time I arrived home sober it was a win. And every morning I woke up without a hangover was one too. Once it became more natural, it was a little anti-climactic because I no longer had to focus all my energy on being sober. I had gained some momentum. But I adapted, obviously,, and transferred my focus to the bigger picture of my life and what I wanted to do with it. Hands down, planning what to drink instead of booze was the number one thing that helped me at first and still does.”

Kate: What’s life like now?! What do you love most about alcohol-free living?

Jamie: “Now, I feel like my life is what I wanted it to be like before I quit booze. It’s what I was looking for but never found long-term. I would drink for all sorts of reasons that I didn’t recognize at the time, like to feel confident, free, alive, pumped up, to “give zero f*cks”, be funny, social, etc. Once I figured out that I didn’t need liquor for any of those things it was like a light bulb went on.

Everything is more authentic now. I hang out with people I can have good conversations with, I do my favourite things with a clear head and not feeling like shit, and I’m generally just a way more efficient person with way more time and money. What I love most for sure is that I never ever feel guilty and depressed about being irresponsible the night before and spending too much money and treating my body like a garbage can. And I feel like I’m way more grounded. Life is just really good.”

Kate: What sober tools are in your toolbox? How do you deal with emotions or situations that you might have previously drunk over?

Jamie: “The most important tool I learned is playing out the situation to the end when I feel like drinking. Asking myself, “do you really want to wake up tomorrow dehydrated with all your makeup still on and a smaller bank account, a migraine, nausea, the shakes and on the verge of an anxiety attack all day long?” NO, I don’t. My other tools are non-alcoholic beer and virgin Caesars as my go-to drinks, or soda with lemon. Drink something you like! Another tool is I buy something I want and then remind myself: this costs the same amount as a night out back in the day, but this is useful and will last – not get guzzled away. Rewards are important. It’s also really fun to get ready to go out and wear something new and remind myself that I’ll look healthy, happy and my makeup will be good the whole evening instead of gradually getting smudgy, getting a red face, wine lips and droopy eyes and looking like a trainwreck by midnight and possibly embarrass myself or do something I’ll regret.

When it comes to emotions, I no longer have such extreme emotional experiences as I used to when I was drinking all the time. I feel more grounded and resilient as a whole. But when I do have a shit day or something stressful or overwhelming is happening, I usually just go for a run or have a nap or talk about it with a friend or my husband. Getting drunk and postponing dealing with things is WAY worse than just taking a deep breath and handling it head-on and in my right mind.”

Kate: What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to deal with since you stopped drinking? How did you overcome it?

Jamie: “The biggest challenge was initiating the decision and sticking to it at the beginning. Change is really hard. That involved learning about why I thought I wanted/needed to drink.  Nowadays, very rarely, when it randomly feels like summer or I smell campfire and get caught off guard, I get a random urge to start day drinking or “get f*cked up” but then I think rationally about it and I’m like wait, that’s just an old reflex, no I don’t. Gaining momentum at the begining was hard because it was new and different. People question you. I still question myself. Occasionally I have moments where I think, am I missing out and being antisocial because I’m chilling at home on this particular Saturday night?? I have felt unsure and sad for a split second, but then I remind myself of how good my life is and I get over that moment of uncertainty. I socialize in tons of other ways and I still go to parties when I feel like it!

These days I don’t really feel like there are many challenges. It’s simple now because it makes sense. I don’t enjoy feeling like shit! Sobriety is like a secret weapon that makes my life amazing and no one can take it away from me. When people ask me if I’ll ever drink again, I don’t even think twice about saying no. It actually makes zero sense to me now, to drink alcohol. It serves me in zero ways.”

Kate: Tell us about something wonderful that would never have happened if you’d still been drinking!

Jamie: “I wouldn’t have run 3 full marathons (so far!) and be training for my 4th with the goal of breaking 4 hours this time! I wouldn’t have the healthiest, most amazing marriage I can imagine. I wouldn’t have a life that feels good, manageable and organized the majority of the time. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be a role model for other people who are or were in my previous situation. OH and I wouldn’t have taken my best 2 vacations of my life so far; a week long health retreat in the Mayan Riviera, and Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in Florida.”

Kate: Do you have any tips or advice for people taking the Getting Unstuck course right now? What do you wish you’d known, when you were on the course?

Jamie: “My advice is to commit to it fully and even if one of the exercises or discussions doesn’t feel important or relevant to you, just go with it because it’s all valuable. What I wish I’d known when I was doing the course was that one day I’d be proud of what I was doing, and not unsure and embarrassed. But all of that comes in time.”

Kate: a few quick-fire questions:

My favourite sober book is…”Unwasted – My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z. Scoblic”

My favourite quote is … “always changing, but I love quotes about running from amazing female elite marathoners like Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor, Shalane Flanagan, Paula Radcliffe, etc”

My favourite alcohol-free drink is…. “Virgin Caesars and fake beer! Ginger beer too, and a super easy one is soda with lemon.”

My favourite sober treat is … “online shopping for running gear, fancy baths with candles and essential oils and a good book or Instagram, going on running trips to out of town races!”



WOW!! I loved answering these questions and being so sure about my answers. I remember sitting at work on Boxing Day 2015 wishing that I could fast-forward to a time where everything felt better and I felt healthy and grounded. In about a month it will have been 500 days since I had any alcohol at all, and it seems to have flown by, looking back. If you relate to anything you’ve read here, I encourage you to check out Kate’s website, The Sober School. It is awesome. And if you have any questions or need a hand, contact me!



Sober Project Update: How I get buzzed lately. (I haven’t had alcohol in 444 days).

It makes me sad when I think about the fact that for fifteen years of my life I incorporated alcohol into as many situations as possible, no matter what I was doing or who I was with. This is not an exaggeration. Don’t worry, then I get really happy because it’s not like that anymore. I try all the time to understand why I (and bazillions of others,) feel like alcohol is essential for a good time, or even an “alright” time. It’s so fucked up.

Living is how we learn things about the world and about ourselves, and we all do it at different times and rates and in different orders, but now that I’ve had a significant time away from booze and can see that I used it to blur the lines of life for so long, I have a new perspective and I’m just sharing a piece of it with you in case it’s helpful in any way. I’m not an alcohol hater and I’m not trying to preach, just sharing.

Before I began the sober project at the end of 2015, I didn’t really know I was doing it but I was constantly trying to use booze to feel more confident, care-free, relaxed, funny, adventurous or warm and fuzzy, just to name a few feelings that we are socialized to believe alcohol provides, or enhances. Why? I either didn’t have the personal resources to create those feelings on my own, at the time, or it could just be that I never tried! Drinking, I felt, was fully required to enjoy, succeed at or simply handle:

  • basically any meal with friends, family, acquaintances or strangers
  • work functions
  • meeting new people
  • a day off
  • bike riding
  • catching up with someone
  • time spent at the beach
  • cooking
  • shopping
  • casual walks or exploring
  • campfires
  • flirting, dating, romantic experiences
  • coping with loss
  • being the passenger on a road trip
  • winding down or de-stressing after work
  • boredom
  • watching TV shows, movies or sports
  • playing softball
  • golfing (yes, I’ve golfed a little)
  • riding a bus, train, ferry or plane
  • holding conversation at social functions with people I had nothing in common with
  • cleaning the house
  • enjoying a bath (or sometimes shower)

Okay, that is like the longest list ever. It’s SO EMBARRASSING!!!! (my opinion). I feel like I could sum up it all up by saying something like,

“hello! I have no real hobbies, interests or passions and I’m so uncomfortable in my own skin/head that I partially numb myself to all experiences! I also don’t like my friends or family (or myself) enough to enjoy spending time with them in my right mind!”

HAHAH like wtf!? Okay that’s an extreme statement and I’ll stop being mean to myself now, because that’s not cool. I was just trying to make a point. Most of the things on the list above are really fun, if you actually like the task or activity at hand, the people you’re with, you are in the right mood and have an open mind. It’s so simple now that I have a new frame of reference. Alcohol was decreasing the authenticity of all my experiences and therefore my life as a whole, as well as my future. For real. I feel like I’ve made the discovery of a lifetime!


Kate is right!

I don’t care if you think this is corny or me attempting to stick up for sobriety because it has a bad rap for being boring and lame. Additionally, I understand that many people do not have issues with alcohol and everything I’m saying might be making you raise your eyebrows. This is just my experience, but the feedback I’ve gotten from previous posts about my counterproductive relationship with booze tells me that I’m not the only person who feels this way about alcohol. So back to the point. Now, I get a buzz by actually fuckin experiencing things in the raw. Undisguised, intense and unedited real-life shit!

Legit conversations with people I like and who I find interesting, vs. what I used to do at social events which was make small talk with anyone and everyone, as many of us created a false sense of camaraderie around drinking alcohol. Instead of sleeping in and feeling like shit, getting up before it’s light out to run, get fresh air, maybe see the sunrise and sweat my balls off with my friends before half the time zone has even woken up. Laughing at seriously funny shit and remembering it clearly later. Being by the ocean, on the lake or up a mountain, and fully experiencing my surroundings instead of chugging fireball and being half checked-out of the moment. Feeling fresh, happy and energetic in the morning, ready to start an awesome day because I don’t have a dehydration headache and I washed off my makeup before bed. Getting to enjoy a coffee with my amazing husband, hangover-free. There is way too much to go on and on about here!

For far too long I made the mistake of believing that booze made things more intense. Woooo let’s get pissed and have the best time! Wrong. Not drinking intensified everything in my life and it’s indescribable. Events, emotions, relationships. Not every intensified feeling is positive, don’t be fooled, but even facing shitty stuff head-on and coming out on the other side unscathed with some new wisdom and no hangover is pretty sick.

So that’s my non-drinking update. Yes, it’s stil going really well, and yes, I’d recommend it. No, I don’t miss having drinks, and no, I’m probably not going to ever drink again. My life is better and more fun and exciting than ever before. Okay, and I’m so sober right now and overwhelmed by how happy I am, I’m like crying. That’s some intense shit man ahahahahah ✌✌

Some reasons why Alcohol is dumb and why/how I stayed sober at our Wedding

The number of people who asked me about booze and getting married, whether it was the curious question, “you’re still not drinking? that’s awesome! but what about on your wedding??” or the more accusational version, “you’re seriously not going to drink at your wedding?” was probably fifty or more.

I do get it, we live in a society that generally believes alcohol is mandatory to any kind of celebration. At a babyshower to welcome a newborn and possibly new parents, at weddings to celebrate marriage, and even at funerals when we memorialize a lost loved-one. It has become second nature that at social gatherings, alcohol is what people drink. I myself bought into all of that bullshit for well over a decade. Now that I’ve moved away from booze and the fake shit it claims to provide, and I have some time and experience as a non-drinker, I like to shed some light on the big picture of alcohol consumption just in case someone reading feels the way that I used to feel, which was trapped. It’s also a form of accountablility for myself. These non-drinking posts are not to preach or to convince you that you need to quit alcohol. Please take what you read and use it in any way that you can, or not at all!

Last summer, as my own wedding day was approaching and the questions about booze on the “big day” (I hate when people call it that) came up more and more frequently, it got me thinking about the specifics of what I’ve learned from Kate & Belle about why we think alcohol is required, and also why it shouldn’t be! Here are some of the main points that kept coming to mind and that helped me realize I definitely wasn’t drinking just because I was having a wedding and getting married to the coolest dude I’ve ever met.


  1. Alcohol is not why an event is fun, actually.

Try to think back to one of the most fun times you’ve ever had. For me, my oldest friend’s 30th birthday comes to mind. I believe everyone was drinking, yes, but when I break down all the reasons why this particular experience is way up there with the most fun times I can remember, the reasons are as follows:

  • about thirty of our most fun and hilarious friends were there, most of whom we grew up with and have very meaningful relationships with
  • we were at a really fun place
  • we were doing fun things like being weird af, singing, having a big fire, playing games and being competetive, doing gymnastics, taking great photos, listening to good music, naked stand-up-paddleboarding, and freeing the nipple
  • we had an amazing dinner
  • we laughed to the point of pain all throughout the day, evening and next day
  • we were all together because we wanted to celebrate our friend’s special day with her

Notice how wine, beer, vodka, whiskey or Hey Y’alls are NOT on the list! I planned to have a wicked time at our wedding because of all these types of reasons, minus the naked paddleboarding and freeing the nipple. LOL.

2. Alcohol shouldn’t be necessary to “tolerate” any situation

Some of the reasons we’re lead to believe that alcohol is helpful or necessary include: to relax or de-stress, to numb-out at an event we didn’t actually want to go to, to talk to strangers or people we don’t know or like, to have fun.

The last time I checked, spending time in situations that make me feel stressed, bored, uncomfortable or like I’m wasting my time are exactly that – a waste of effing time. Why put ourselves in these situations in the first place?


I hate baby showers. I think they are sexist, silly and always in the middle of the afternoon on a weekend. I don’t go, get day-drunk, eat too many triangle sandwiches with no crust, pretend to care about stuff that doesn’t interest me and then feel pissed off afterwards because I wasted a day off inside. I just don’t go. If I did risk going and ended up having a good time, it would be because of a good crew, great non-baby-related conversations, and lots of cheese, NOT because I pounded back a bunch of drinks (just like in the birthday party example from point number 1.)

Reverse kind of example

I love my friends, that’s why I’m friends with them. When we go out for dinner, I don’t “need a drink” because I am not in a situation that is boring, awkward or stressful. If I found myself out for dinner and thinking, “Damn I really need some alcohol for this boring/awkward/stressful situation,” I would need to question the who, what, where, when and why of the intimate dinner gathering I chose to attend. Especially the who.

If you feel like you need alcohol to put up with a family member, survive a work function, attend a wedding you aren’t sure why you got invited to, or to sing karaoke, maybe these activities just aren’t actually for you. That’s what I’ve learned, anyway.

At our wedding, we were surrounded with our favourite people in a great situation. Of course we were nervous, but isn’t that a good thing?? I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to be nervous at your wedding, it’s a form of excitement! If I needed booze at our wedding, what that would mean to me was that we planned a boring, shitty wedding or that I was marrying someone like Hannibal Lecter.

3. Alcohol-induced memory loss can happen regardless if the night is bad or good 

Alcohol doesn’t have the power to differentiate. It doesn’t know the difference between drinking to try to reduce stress or forget about a problem, and drinking to celebrate something positive. Imagine waking up in the morning from what was supposed to have been one of the more special occasions in life, and not remembering some of it! Some people start to have little intermittent blackouts WAY before things like crawling on the ground and barfing start to happen. Looking back, I can’t believe how many fun nights I’ve had (or nights I am pretty sure were really fun..) where I can’t actually remember everything that went down. Booze steals memories and experiences and I am really over letting that happen. I especially wasn’t interested in having blurry parts during the day I got to marry my favourite person.

4. Being sober = being present

Can you recall being at a party chatting with some acquaintance but not really actively listening to what they’re saying because you’re trying to see/hear what’s happening over in the kitchen. Or maybe you’re buzzed and just making meaningless small talk. Or maybe you’re taking drunk pics on Snapchat and not paying attention to what’s happening around you. I am fully aware that all of these things can and do happen to sober people, but it’s far more likely to be disconnected from the present moment when you’re guzzling liquor. With respect to wedding day, I didn’t want a super fun day that took quite a bit of planning and a fair amount of money to flash by and be over without experiencing each part of it fully.


Everything above applies to life, not just special occasions. I had eight months as a non-drinker under my belt by the time our wedding rolled around, but I still had to stop and think hard about why I wanted to stick with the non-drinking project. Reviewing these reasons allowed me to confidently say, “No.” when I was asked if I was planning to cave in and drink that day. Thinking about it now, I can’t even imagine drinking that day! I was exhausted, and not because I ran 30km that morning, but because it was an emotional day with a LOT going on. The next day I was able to go for brunch with a crew of my guests who came from out of town and I didn’t have the shakes, a pale face, blood shot eyes, nausea, anxiety or extremely low blood sugar. I got to enjoy a coffee without feeling like I was burning a hole in my stomach and eat my meal and actually enjoy it, and finish it. And I don’t look progressively worse in each wedding photo either hahahaha

If you have an event or occasion coming up that you know is going to be challenging, contact me and hopefully I can give you a few specific tips depending on what you have planned! Drinking doesn’t necessarily  = fun and sober definitely does not = lame. Trust me.

Bye for nowww