The Alcohol ReThink Podcast Episode 124
Welcome to the Alcohol Rethink Podcast, the show designed for men who are ready to rethink the role of alcohol in their lives. Get ready to hear some awesome coaching insights, powerful tools, captivating interviews, and firsthand experiences, all dedicated to helping you rethink your relationship with alcohol for good.
I'm your host, Patrick Fox. Let's go.
Hi guys, and welcome to episode number 124 of the Alcohol Rethink Podcast. How you doing? Happy Friday, fellas. Today I've got a special guest on. His name is Nigel. He's the founder of the health and wellness channel, 9KM by 9am and also the 9KM by 9am challenge. He's an accredited sober and life coach and author of ‘Walking back to happiness, the secret to alcohol free living and wellbeing’.
He works with individuals, executives, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and sports people to transform and power up their health, careers, and lives. He also is a community champion of Alcohol UK, - Alcohol Change UK, apologies. And I'm really looking forward to this conversation because I know that you're going to get so much out of it.
So... Nigel, welcome to the show.
Hi Patrick. How are you doing? You okay?
Yeah, very well. Thanks mate. Very well. Very excited to have you on. Looking forward to our conversation. I always love speaking to fellow sober coaches. I think there's so much awesomeness to be uncovered and value to be shared. So yeah, welcome.
Yeah. Thanks for having me, mate. It's brilliant. Thanks for being on, having me on the show. It's good. Yeah, nice. And so kind of interesting that you were introduced to me on a mountain, which was kind of fascinating when I heard.
Yeah, I was sort of halfway up Ben Nevis, you know, really out of breath, sort of trying to get to the summit in August. And, and, and to be perfectly honest, August is supposed to be the best month to go up there. And it, it really, really, I had to give it everything I had both mentally and physically to do that mounting. But yeah, on the way up, one of the guys who was walking up there, I was part of a group called Over the Influence.
Yeah, and the podcast and the Alcohol Free community, this guy said, oh, I listened to this Patrick Fox guy on his podcast. You should listen to him, if you don't know about him already. And I said, oh, wow. Okay. Yeah. Great. And so hence, you know, he said: give you a call and, and we're here, so that's how it went.
I love that. Yeah, I mean, it just blows my mind, right? Like just to think that someone was speaking about me and my podcast on a mountain in the middle of the UK, like Ben Nevis. And then like, here you are now. And just to think back, like all those years ago, five - coming out five years ago when, when I was drinking, like, I would have laughed. Like so much. If someone said that that was even a possibility, like, well, I wouldn't have laughed or just been in disbelief, but yeah, it's just, it's just incredible, isn't it? Like what, what changes for you when you stop drinking?
Oh, the change is crazy. I mean, you know, I wouldn't have been, uh, whatever it is, two, 3000 feet up Ben Nevis at age 57, if I'd still be drinking, you know, there's no way I would have, you know, been able to do that. No, no way. Not on this earth.
Yeah. Amazing. All right. Cool. Well, I want to hear about you, dude. I want to hear about your, your journey to sobriety. And to, yeah, let's just get stuck in with that, man. So what, you start where you want to start.
Yeah, well, I can, I can give you sort of like a quick sort of overview of my drinking career, which is probably a good place to start. So, uh, at age 54, I decided that on 8th of December, waking up that morning, that that was it. Drinking and me were over, finito, it was finished. And to get to that point. Took me the best part of 35 years, so I effectively was drinking from the age of, you know, probably I'd say properly like regularly almost every day from the age of 18.
Having, you know, gone to university in London, which was then, I think universities still are a gateway to the booze.It was like party every, every night and for me, I just kept going. So after I, finished university, I ended up in the journalist, public relations advertising world where to get to the top or to even stay in your job, you had to drink.
You know, you were out with clients, you were entertaining clients, you were getting stories. It was part and part of the parcel. You had to drink alcohol, and if you didn't, you, you weren't in the right groups that went to the top. And so, I ended up, engraving in drinking culture right into my psyche throughout my twenties, thirties and forties. And hand on heart I knew this stuff was bad for me, but I just kept going because everyone around me did. You know, everyone, it was like, I was in a tribe called the alcohol drinkers tribe and you couldn't leave that tribe because if you tried to, they would try and get you back in, you know, Oh yeah, I'm drinking for a couple of days, something wrong, you know, what's wrong with you.
And it's like, you just couldn't get away from it. And then, and then the worst thing was if you, if you'd made it to like a few days sober, you know, maybe the longest I went in 35 years and I'm not proud of it is, is six days. And because, you know, even when I got to that sixth day, it was almost like I'm going to reward myself now with a drink because I've done so well.
And it was, it was crazy really. And, you know, but you can't go back to the past. So there's no point in having any regrets about it. You just got to move forward and think, right, well, today's the first day of the rest of my life. What am I going to do? And on the 8th of December. Yeah, I decided I wasn't, I wasn't going to drink and I love this quote from Mark Twain is: the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you found out why. And for me, 8th of December 2020 was the day that I found out why.
Yeah, I love that. Great quote. So there's a couple of cool things in there that I wanted to kind of look at. And one of them is that not being able to leave your alcohol tribe, right? Yeah. Because like what's outside of it?
Well, this is it. I mean, tribalism is, you know, part of human evolution. I mean, you know, if you left your tribe in the caveman days, you were dead. You had no protection whatsoever. You were out there by yourself, you know, these, you know, human communities were like 20, 30 or so people. And so if you wanted to do something different against, against the trend - well, you wouldn't really because you'd be faced with certain death. And in a way, I truly believe that the alcohol tribe, obviously it's not as strong as if you leave it, you're going to die. But there's that inside it, there's definitely that psyche, that psychology at play. So what I did, as part of my journey to actually get out of the tribe was I joined a new one.
And that's the only way you can really do it. You have to go and join another tribe, and I call that the alcohol free tribe. And if you start mixing with other people who are not drinking, soon enough, they've got their arms around your shoulders, you're part of that tribe, and you don't want to leave that tribe.
And so, there is an innate tribalism in this. From going from one drinking tribe to a non drinking tribe, which, I feel that is a very, very central part of actually being successful in stopping drinking is recognizing that you do have to leave behind the old world and go into a new world.
Yeah. And I think that's one of the biggest challenges that a lot of the guys I work with come across is that fear, right? Because the mind presents it as fear when you think about leaving the tribe because of like on a very primitive level that it's dangerous, right? Like if, I'm not with this tribe or what, where am I going to be like, who's going to talk to me? I'm not going to have any friends, etc. And so, yeah, moving out and to start creating, like either join or create, right? Like start finding people who are like minded and thankfully we're in a time where that is becoming more and more common as well. Right. And there's more people who are choosing not to drink.
Yeah, completely. I mean, for me, you know, I must have tried a thousand times to stop drinking, you know, by that I mean like a thousand day ones, you know, you get to day two and then you'd crack. The reason why I was failing was because I was just looking at all wrong. I was, still in my mind, a drinker trying to become a non drinker.
So my mindset was all based on willpower. It was almost like I'd set non drinking as a goal, a desk, a destination to try to reach, whether that was something like seven days, seven days was normally my target, which I never got to, if it was like a month. Oh my God. I would, never be able to do that.
You know, this, again, these are the beliefs that I was telling myself. So, so when I did get successful and this, this time I'm over a thousand days, I think it's a thousand and 50 days. I'm coming up to three years sober on the 8th of December. The reason why I was successful is because I completely changed my mindset on day one.
So on day one, I woke up. And I joined something called the one year no beer challenge, but I only ticked the box for the 28 day challenge. I couldn't actually firmly believe that. Oh my God, it would be great to get to 28 days because I've never gone that far before. I've never left my world and gone to that new world for that long a time.
And literally. By the time I got into around about day 10, I signed up to the 90 day. And then when I hit 28 days, I thought, oh, 90 is not far enough. I'm going to go for the 365. So I built it up, but the key to the success was on day one. I was, I wasn't looking up at the top of a mountain thinking non drinking is at the top of the, is at the summit.
I was already at the summit, so my mind got me day one, your year, you are a non drinker. And that's, the important thing because even though I probably 100 percent didn't believe it, I was 95 or 90 percent there and the rest of it was like, I'm just going to tell myself I'm a non drinker if I crack or whatever, or I have a craving.
But I really, really went into this with day one, I'm at the top of the mountain, I'm there, I am a non drinker. And so I read lots and lots of quit literature, or alcohol free books.
And from that I, gauged that I really needed to change my belief system and what underpins it. And there's this great, Buddhist saying, which is about the power of intention. So everything we do comes from an intention. So if I intend to drink, I will drink. So the intention leads to the deed, which is drinking the deed, if you do enough of them leads to it becoming a habit. And the habit, if you carry on that habit, becomes effectively your character and then that character becomes your destiny. So from one simple thing, which is like an intention to drink, you end up becoming, you know, having a destiny of you're a drinker full time.
So how the hell do you change this? Well, just go back to the intention and say, well, what governs intentions? What drives intentions and the DNA of intentions? Is values and believe so. If you don't believe something, you won't do it. You know, if you believe that jumping out of a third or fourth story window is going to kill you, you don't do it.
If you believe that drinking alcohol is going to kill you, you won't do it. And so I knew that if I could actually convince my unconscious mind, the stuff at the back that really controls is the power room, the nerve center, that this was really the case, then I would change like that. And so, so that's what I did.
I went down this month long journey at the beginning of really looking inside myself at who the hell I was. So I, I stepped outside myself and wrote down, you know, who is this guy? What are his values? What are his beliefs? What, what baggage is he carrying? I mean, I was carrying a lot of shit around, you know, like sort of stuff like, you know, if we just look at it from an alcohol perspective, you know, alcohol is fun.
Alcohol relaxes you. I can't get on in my career without alcohol. It was just limitless. limiting beliefs around this drug. And so I addressed that basically. And I said to myself, well, look, when you're born, you don't have beliefs, all beliefs are learned. And so the great thing about this was they can be unlearned.
And, and that's the power of this, is telling yourself that everything you believe at the moment is something you've acquired. Over your lifetime on this planet. It's not a given. It's and it's these beliefs are just assumptions that we hold to be true, and many of them are not based on any fact whatsoever.
It is just a lot of them a hand me dance from parents, school teachers, friends in the playground. And so if you develop a mindset, which is, I'm going to be curious. And they started quoting like Zen sayings, and there's another great Zen saying, which is the mind, of the beginner is full of possibilities, but the mind of the expert is not.
And that's so true. You know, many of us walk around thinking we know it all. We never question our beliefs because they're given to us. Oh, that's, that must be true. But if you start having a scout mentality and you start questioning, you start getting curious, you start to unpack the rubbish that's around a lot of these beliefs.
So, Tony Robbins, is a famous sort of, you know, life coach guru said that, you know, beliefs are like tables. So the, the tabletop is the solid belief and it's held up by legs, which are the facts that we sort of, you know, supported by. If you start questioning those facts. And taking the legs away from that table, it'll come crashing down and that's when you're free.
That's when you're free of that belief. When you convinced your unconscious mind that what you've believed is absolute rubbish. Yeah. And that's what I think of alcohol.
Yeah. Nice man. Thank you. Yeah. The beginner's mind is such an important part of this whole process. And I think it's probably a bit that many people might want to gloss over, like they want the change, but like there's, there has to be a willingness to do the work as well. Right. And it's, yeah. I mean, yeah, maybe you can do it without it, but you're going to get much quicker results when you are actually willing to start looking and start recognizing like, well, what are the belief systems that I've got in place that are holding up this drinking identity and how can I start showing myself the facts? And I've said this on the podcast so many times, man, but like reading this naked mind and recognizing that alcohol is ethanol, like that was a fact, that just completely rips the leg from underneath my belief systems about being a drinker, right?
The first, when I wrote my book, ‘Walking back to happiness, the secret to alcohol free living and wellbeing’, the first chapter I wrote was called the alcohol-ometer, which is, is a measure of how much neat alcohol you drink.
And it's crazy, right? So if you drink, say a 250 mil glass of wine, say half a percent, 13 percent volume, you're after a basically, 31 days of drinking that you've, drunk the equivalent of one whole litre of neat alcohol. So just, just one glass of wine a day is a whole litre of neat alcohol.
Now, if, you drunk two full mouthfuls of neat alcohol, you'd go blind.
It's like, it's the same effect as bleach. You know, it will kill you. But what we're doing is we're actually sort of having a nice sort of, Chablis or a Sancerre or whatever it is, Pouilly Fumé, you know, all these fancy advertising names.
At the end of the day, it's ethanol sweetened up with some gloss. You know, I was in the advertising game for like 35 years, and that's all it is. We're just getting hoodwinked. I mean, you know, if you buy a bottle of diamond white cider and you put it next to a bottle of crystal, champagne, it's the same ingredient in both.
One is like two quid and one's over a grand. That's advertising. Yeah. Nothing else. Right. So, we're actually, you know, it's, it's been ingrained into our psyche that this stuff is good. It's sweetened up poison at the end of the day. But the reality is if you start looking just of how much you drink, even if you're on like, you know, one, two pints of beer a day for a year, you know, you get into like 10, 15 litres of neat alcohol, stick that in a bath, right.
And then, over three years, it starts to fill up. I mean, if you're drinking a bottle of wine a day, , you're close to 35 litres of alcohol a year. Neat alcohol I'm talking about here. This is like pure neat alcohol. So if you think about putting that on a table and looking what 35 litres looks like, and, it's a lot, and then that's the crap that's going down your throat.
And you can see why it kills people. You can see why there's cancers, heart disease, liver disease, the list is endless. It's bad. So, what that does, back to the point, is this is all about the scout mentality and the mindset of the beginner, you know. If you're coming at this and you've never heard of alcohol before, you would say, well, what's in it?
What does it do? Oh, it causes like, a million hospital admissions every year. I mean, that's a stat from Alcohol Change UK, which I'm a community champion. And by the way, that charity is absolutely fantastic because if you want facts and figures on the damage, the alcohol or the harm alcohol causes, then check out their website.
I mean, it's a really great tool to shift your mindset, you know, cause you can start looking at the facts. You can start putting new legs on a new table you're building called alcohol free.
Yeah, man. Yeah, it's education. You know, it's such an important thing because when it comes to alcohol, we're just recycling belief systems that we've, as you said, inherited or being passed on or witnessed, etc. But there's no, there's no, foundation in place from them, right? Like they're all just made up. So when you start arming yourself with education about what alcohol is actually doing and what it's made up of, and I love those analogies that you've offered because I'm quite a visual person. And just to imagine like that much ethanol in a bath that you've consumed over the course of the year, like that's going to put you off, right?
Exactly. I mean, this is what it's all about. It's about building up these facts and the figures, and then. You'll actually see it. And when you see it, that's the great, that's the great day because then you don't need any willpower whatsoever. There is no willpower in this method. It's literally convincing yourself, your unconscious mind, that what you're doing is wrong.
And when you get it, you don't need willpower. I mean, I'm completely indifferent to alcohol. I mean, I was drinking at the end, maybe, , a bottle of wine a day and more on the weekend. So I would say drinking, say nine bottles of wine a week, you know, times that app, it was like almost 500 bottles of wine a year.
You know, it was a lot of booze and you know, and it's, it was over 50 litres of neat alcohol. And I did that towards the end, maybe for 10 years at that level. So, you know, we're looking at 500 litres of alcohol. I mean, that's a thousand pints. You know, it's like a neat alcohol. So when, when I saw those figures, it wasn't very hard to actually say, well, Oh, hang on a minute.
No, I can't do it anymore. It's crazy. And that was just one of the things, you know, so the, just looking at it that from that perspective, can start to change your mind. And just the facts around everything else it does, in terms of health and wellbeing. So if I look, say at myself, pre the last day of drinking and today, in fact, six months after stopping drinking, I was, I changed, I'd lost something like three stone in weight.
I was sleeping seven hours a night like a baby. My blood pressure was perfect. In fact, I was five years younger than my biological age, my real age. So my, I was like, I came in for the GPs and they said I was 49 or 50 as opposed to 55. My heart rate had dropped something like 10 beats a minute.
Wow. That's a lot.
You know, so those, that data for one of these watches, right, that convinces you as well because you start thinking, hang on a minute, I would lie to myself before saying, Oh, it's probably due to something else. Like a bad, bit of food I had, it was, it was nothing to do with the two bottles of wine. So, but now you start, when you get all the facts and you start putting those legs on the table, you do. You do start to see it from a completely, completely different perspective.
Yeah, man. I like that. The data doesn't lie, right? The data doesn't lie.
No, and it is scary when you look at it. It is, it is very scary indeed. I mean, there's, another, , stat from Alcohol Change UK, which is something like, the cost, the real cost of alcohol has come, has come down something like 72 percent since 1987. So it's, it's so cheap to buy now. Just going to, obviously not in pubs, but going to supermarkets, and buying sort of the offers they have on you.
You can buy it for very, very cheaply. And that's, that's driving, that's driving a lot of it as well. The fact that it's so accessible. And so cheap.
And then also the money, right? Like you could add that into their like, whatever, 500 bottles of wine a year costs, right? Like that's an incredible amount of money spent. I worked out I was, I was like, um, spending about £15,000 net a year on alcohol. Yeah. It's, you know, that's, that's the true cost when you get, when you take in, say it was about 15 quid a day, um, in say buying, buying wine or whatever, but it's not, that's not the cost.
The cost is what happens because of that. Yeah, right. The day after. Yeah. There's the day after, there's the junk food, there's the bad decisions, there's the late cab zone, there's like, you know, missed trains, you know, lost wallets. Yeah. I mean, you could, you know, you can get an accountant to do an algorithm on this, but I roughly worked out the, I was spending about £15,000 a year.
If you had, you know, the peaks of the season as well as the drinking season, like Christmas, you know, let's go to Sainsbury's and buy 500 quids worth of booze. Oh, we haven't done the advoca, we need some bells. We need some brandy. We need some Malibu. Oh, but what about auntie Jones? She loves Bailey's, you know, all of a sudden you've got like a trolley of, you know, maybe a lot of money's worth of booze.
And then what a lot of people do is that runs out by say the 12th of December because they bought it a bit too early when all the promotions are on in supermarkets. So they go back for some more. So, if you add it all up, for me, it was about 15 grand a year. Put that over, over 30 years, you're looking, you know, close to half a million quid.
And then that also is net. So I would have had to earn that and pay tax before I spent it. So, you know, you're up into like 700- 750,000 pounds over like say a 35 year drinking career. And you know, it's a lot of money, but you don't look at it that way. You never look at it that way. You just look at it as like it's a 10 pound bottle of wine.
Yeah. And so you're only looking at the minutiae, but again, like you just said, look at the facts, look at the money side of things. You know, I've, since I've stopped drinking saved all that money, I'm about £40,000 better off. So, so I've bought some nice guitars. But you know, it's like, it's so good, like not having that sort of strain on your budget as well, because alcohol does drain you.
I mean, it's in loads of ways, particularly the money side. It's very, very expensive.
Yeah, money and the other things that you said as well around like mental health, there's what's happening inside your body, which you're not aware of because you can't see, like you might feel the effects of it, but you know, ignorance is bliss and all that, but you can't see your poor liver being absolutely abused, your brain shrinking, like all of these things.
It's crazy. I mean, the mindfulness side of this as well is, is really important I think because one, one of the massive. Benefits of going alcohol free for me. And a lot of the clients I talk to as well, talk to me is that they, their anxiety drops massively. And, we all know, you know, anxiety is thoughts about future and the future doesn't exist.
So, it's what happens to you once you stop drinking is you become, and I'm just talking about myself and the clients I've talked, you know, spoken to over, over the last couple of years is become more present. And you become more in the now and, the simple way to define that is when you take a drink, you're, effectively taking a mind altering drug.
And so you are not present. You are going somewhere else. And normally you're going into some sort of, you know, stupor if you take it too far, or some sort of happy place you believe you're in whereby you've got a buzz. But you're not in the now, you've actually gone somewhere else. You've gone to another place and, you can't do anything when you're in that, in that situation because your, your thoughts are not, are not with, your body.
And so for me, when I, when I stopped, the alcohol, one of the first things I did was to start, learning about mindfulness and meditation. And I'd never done this in my life before. I thought meditating was sort of a Buddhist thing where you'd sit on the floor across leg and burn some chopsticks and, and do some chanting and, but you know, it's, not that at all.
It's basically being aware of your thoughts, being aware of your emotions, the sensations that are around you, but not being judgmental. And that's the important thing. So if you, if you think of, , your thoughts as, being, they're almost like virtual reality. They're made up of. They're made up of, videos, pictures, sounds, smells, and they just race through your head, and, and they can set things off.
And we, we have around about 60,000 thoughts going through our mind every day. I know about this because I did a diploma in mindfulness at the University of California. So I do coach mindfulness and meditation in the practice. And what I say to clients very simply is think of yourself as sitting in a theater looking at a big screen and all those thoughts, the 60,000 every day, you're just watching them go across, across the TV screen or the big screen.
And the key is to remember that there are many channels. These thoughts can be bundled. So they're things like relationships work. the future, you know, that you can bundle these things. So, so we tend to turn on a channel of thoughts and think about all the worst things we can think about, about relationships or all the worst things that could go possibly wrong with my job.
And these are like watching these different TV channels and we just get immersed in them. And the key is, is to actually realize that there is another channel and it's called the Discovery Channel. And when you turn this channel on, you get into the space between the thoughts and in the spaces between them is where the magic happens because you're actually standing outside yourself almost and you're looking down at these thoughts and thinking, they're not real.
They're completely not real. I'm making them all up. They don't exist anywhere else apart from in my mind. And so when you realize that there are techniques you can use to do this. So the first, the method I use and is used widely in the industry is called the RAIN method. So it's an acronym.
So the R is you recognize the thought. A is you accept it. So don't fight it. Don't pretend it's not there except the thing. Then you investigate it. Just like the scout mind investigates alcohol that, you know, is it fun or is it relaxing? And when you investigate it, you start to nurture it, which is the end.
You start to sort of come to terms with it. It's almost like facing your demons. If you can talk about it, if you can face them, if you can accept them, if you can understand them, they lose their power. And, and, and this is really, really important. And, so there's another Zen saying, which is like, we should meditate 20 minutes every day.
And if we don't have the time, we should spend an hour. And I absolutely love that because it is so important just, just to take 10, 15, 20 minutes out each day and just relax your mind. What you're doing is you're going to the mind gym, you're building your mind muscle, just like you would be like sort of pushing your biceps or doing some curls.
Thinking nothing for 15 minutes or calming your mind, working your mind in the gym. And what happens, it doesn't happen overnight. The next day you don't walk out and you're not walking down the street like you're Kung Fu. It doesn't happen like that. You've got to do it for like 30 days, 60 days. Then all of a sudden.
Day 31, day 61. It's like, wow, I just saw that lovely pink flower in that field or I didn't react to the guy who beat his horn at me when he overtook me. I just thought, oh, he must be in a rush. Maybe he's got something wrong with his family or something. You know, that's a calm way of dealing with it.
So you're not caught up in the crap of all the thoughts and you're on the wrong channel. You're on the anger channel, the, you know, the emotional channel, you're, you're on the discovery channel. And the more you can tune into that discovery channel, the more calmer you become, the more present you become, and the more you can deal with things like the reality of what drinking is to your life.
Yeah. Beautiful. I love that. The discovery channel.
And I think. I think some people and some of the guys I work with, right? Like that's where they feel challenged because often, and you might notice this with the people that you work with, right? But like, one of the main reasons that comes up fairly often why people drink is because they don't want to think.
Yeah. Right. Because they don't want to be, be with themselves effectively because of how their mind is operating. And so that what you've just offered there, like that rain, just kind of that mindfulness is a real good way to start becoming comfortable with yourself. Right. Because when you become comfortable with yourself.
You can start becoming less self conscious and what we've done and many people, what we probably did and what a lot of drinkers do is like, because of that self consciousness, because of the way they're talking to themselves, they train themselves to drink in lots of different environments because Loads of inhibitions, right?
Like we get to be the person we want to be, but we're afraid to be because of our brain, right? Because it's thinking about other people all the time. So yeah, it's that real invitation just to start becoming comfortable with yourself. Yeah, completely, completely. And that's the power of mindfulness. I mean, I've only ever had three goals.
When I stopped drinking, I had three, I created three daily goals. Cause I think the daily goals put you on the trajectory of where you want to go to. So I, I didn't have, the destination of, 365 days, alcohol free. It was too big to think about on day one. I couldn't have that as a goal because I would have failed, because it would just be too big a mountain to climb in the back of my mind. So I just created three daily goals, which I knew I could get on top of immediately, and that put me on top of the mountain, but it put me on the trajectory to go to the next mountain as well. And they are very simply don't drink, meditate for 15 minutes and go for a walk.
And that's what I did. And so I, I literally got a, cause I was alcohol free. I was waking up at five o'clock every morning, full of beans, just like completely wide awake. It's like, you know, bloody hell. I love my life now. All the poison was gone and I just wanted to get out and. Go for a walk.
And so I started walking every day, like sort of five 30 out of the door, doing 15, 000 steps. And I you know, I was doing like nine, 10 K every, every day. And that's why I called my business 9 K M by 9 AM because, I was walking nine kilometers before nine o'clock every morning, and it became my new habit.
So rather than, rather than drinking, I was going walking. And that just changed everything with, with not drinking with the exercise and. Meditating for 15 minutes as I walked along country lanes and through the woods, just like, you know, looking at the stars, if it was a dark morning or looking at the sunrises or looking at the shapes in the trees, listening to the birds.
You know, not going for a walk on my phone or going on, you know, sort of what's happening today. This was like me time. It was literally, I'm going to calm my mind. I'm going to go for a walk and literally become one with the planet, with nature. And I, again, when you go alcohol free, you have loads of time on your hands.
Because you're not in a drunken stupor somewhere, you know, if you have that glass of wine at six o'clock, the evening's written off, basically it might become another one or you might fall asleep. I mean, six o'clock for me now is like, I go and do things. I, read, I play the piano, play the guitar. I do a cool online course or whatever it is.
And so I did it. I did a diploma in, , forest bathing, Nice. Yeah. Oh God, that, that changed my life. I mean, literally, literally just becoming one opening your senses to nature. And, you know, if you, if you look at, say the forest, I mean, all, a lot of people don't know what forest bathing is.
I mean, really. It's very simply going for a mindful walk in, a nature space. So, and the opening your senses. So if you, I'll give you an example. So if you, if you look at, , the trees, they create these fractal patterns. They're like sort of the patterns of the branches that come off each other.
Yeah. And it's been proven that if you look at those for more than 60 seconds, your stress levels drop by 50%. And this is because we're evolved to live in woods and forests, and so tree canopies gave us shelter. So, when we look at these canopies of trees, Our bodies are told that we are safe, and therefore our stress, stress levels drop, and this is scientifically proven, you know, they, sort of rigged a load of people up, hundreds of people, and just tested, their stress levels when they looked at trees, and it works.
If you, so that's this site, if you listen to the sounds of birds, the reasons why we love the sounds of birds is because birds sing at three and a half thousand megahertz. And the human ear, the perfect frequency, guess what, it's three and a half thousand megahertz. So that's why it sounds so good.
That's why it's so relaxing. When you walk through the forest, you breathe in. So you're breathing in something called phytoncides, which are given off by the bark of the trees. They're, they're, they're clinically proven to increase the number of natural killer cells that our bodies have, which fight loads of stuff.
You know, they fight cancers, they build our immune system. There's so much going on. So you've got the sound, the sites, you know, touch, I mean, and earthing ourselves as well. Going barefoot in a wood, we actually connect to the planet. I mean, we are electrically connected to the planet and we become one with the planet.
And when you do this stuff and you do it like for 15, 20, 30 minutes in a word, you feel great. I mean, I mean, it's the best feeling ever. There is not one alcoholic drink on this planet that is as good as that. Yeah. And it's you. So what I'm saying is you change, you leave that tribe every day.
You're away from that tribe. You're in the new tribe. And, the further you get away from the mothership, the less important or the less pool that it has on you. And I actually believe that if you go to 30 days with the mindset that you are a non drinker, then you can easily just leave it behind forever.
Yeah. There definitely seems to be something about that kind of mark when you are doing the work that makes it so much easier because, because after 30 days as well, right? Like you've withdrawn from the alcohol, like all of that stuff, your body and things just on the, forest bathing and all those things, which is it's amazing. I think that's why I love golf so much because just being outside on the trees and all the green around me, the smells like it's incredible. I did a, , a forest bathing thing in Kew gardens in London, which is a botanical garden, and one of the things that they did, and it was amazing, it was really, really incredible just doing all of those things.
But one of the things they did was actually get us to pick up some soil and rub it in our hands and smell it. And that actually releases serotonin, like when we do that as well, right? There's just so many cool things like that available to us. Yeah, it's called a happy bacterium. So basically, this is why gardeners are happy because they've got soil under their fingernails all the time.
I mean, again, people don't realize this, but it literally, yeah, so basically it releases new, it activates neurotransmitters that release serotonin and make you happy. And this, so I run a course on this, and I coach on it as well. And it's, so, so powerful, because then, you know, everyone's got that, you know, a park near them.
Right. So you can just, and it's free, you don't have to, you don't have to pay to go and sort of put your hands on a tree or sit there looking at a tree or listen to the birds or breathe in the, breathe in the fighting sides or touch the soil. You know, it's free. And do you know, do you know what? It's a, it's a really good thing to do as well.
And this might sound a bit crazy is like, is to get some stingy nettles, but obviously pick them up with a glove, take them home and put them in a bowl, and pour boiling hot, just, just off boiling hot water on top of them and you make lovely nettle tea and, and the stinging nettle, it goes like spinach, like wet spinach.
So you, as soon as the hot water's on it, it won't sting you ever again. And then if you, if you go back to the park or the woods the next day, but take that drink with you, you're effectively then getting the taste of where you are as well as the sight, the sounds, the touch. And so you're, you're engaging all five senses.
And when that happens, the sixth sense happens, which is like the magic begins and you start to sort of realize that you are part of. Something bigger than just me, you know, this thing that we call me or is the, is the thought inside your head that ego, which by the way, doesn't exist. So it gets you into all these things about who am I, what is the self?
And you really feel this when you're out in nature and you're actually opening all your senses and it is enlightening and, and it really all feeds back into who you now are. And you see alcohol for what it is. It's just something that took you away from the now. It takes you away from your real life.
The real you. It's a mask and you've got to take it off. Yeah. So good. And I, I was talking with a client about this last week and we were talking about, you know, it's, it's all of those little moments. Right. Like just noticing those moments of presence and the things that are different, like spending time with your kids when you would have just wanted to sit on a sofa and having a beer.
Like you start doing all of these little things and when you start paying attention to that, right intention, paying attention to those little moments, that that is what creates more and more evidence of why you're making this decision. It kind of reinforces all of those reasons and, and more importantly, beliefs about what you're doing and why.
Yeah, completely. Yeah. The whole thing is a big snowball effect. Yeah, it's literally you, you can't stop once you go and you're just, there's no way to go back. There's no becoming unaware once you recognize it. Yeah, this is it. You know, there would be, you know, everyone is almost like brainwashed by this stuff.
You know, we're brought up throughout the society we live in to believe it's good for us. And, you know, it should be used at every occasion from births, deaths, marriages, you know, whatever the occasion, there's a drink involved. You know, celebrate, you know, success is a drink, you know, commiserations or give him a drink.
You'll feel better. You know, it's always there. And, and, and this is why, you know, effectively we are being brainwashed, um, over our entire lives. And you've just got to stand up, have a scout mentality, look at the facts and then that's when your life truly begins. It's the day, the second most important day in your life when you find out why and who you are.
Nice. Mate, I can't believe like the time has gone already. Yeah, which has been kind of incredible. Your enthusiasm and energy and passion for sobriety is really is quite. It's exciting. It fills me up. So it's been amazing having you on.
Oh, thank you. Thank you.
Yeah. And you've given so many great practical things as well for people to go away and to start like using and implementing, which is great as well.
So I appreciate you for that. Before you go though, well, is there anything else that you wanted to add or offer anyone listening today? I think for me, the major change that's happened in my life is, is I want to give back and I want to help others. See what I've seen or gone through what I've gone through.
So I wrote, I wrote a book called walking back to happiness, the secret to alcohol free living, , which is available on Amazon. So please, please get that. If you, if you, if you like, and it'll, it's a really good insight into how you can change your story and change your life and I'd say check out Alcohol Change UK as well.
I mean, they've got some great facts there and it's a great research organization, which will give you the facts that will support new beliefs on, on alcohol, and yeah, if, anybody's interested in, my coaching, I run a course called Believe, which is all about belief change, funny enough, so I'm on, socials as at 9KM by 9AM, cause that's my business is called that cause I do still walk, , every day early in the morning. So it's at 9KM. by 9AM that's on, , Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube. Yeah. Awesome. All right. Well, there you go, guys. You can go check him out, and before you go, Nigel, one question I like to ask all my guests, and that is, what does it mean to be radically human?
To be human for me now is, is really to be present. I think there's, that's the most important thing because when you, when your mind and your body come together, you're, in the present moment, the problem you can only be in the past in your mind and you can only be in the past in the future in your mind, your body's not in the future and your body's not in the past.
So it's only your mind that's moving between these two fictitious things called the past and the future. So for me, what it means to be human is to understand that you can control your thoughts if you know how to. And there's this great line which is, you know, we know that thoughts are waves. Going through our mind, and we can't stop the waves, but we can learn to surf. And I absolutely love that. And, I don't think the beach boys said it, but yeah, learn to surf. You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. And that’s what I would say what it means to be human is to know that you can control your thoughts and be present.
Yeah. Love it. All right, man. Well, listen, Nigel again, thanks so much for coming on. I really enjoyed this conversation. I know that anyone listening is going to enjoy it as well. There's so many things that they can go and start doing with it. Appreciate you. Cool. Yeah. Thanks for having me on the show. Pleasure. Take care. Yeah. And thanks everybody for listening and I'll see you soon. Take care and bye bye.