Kate Bee – Sober School Founder Teaches About Recovery


ep 43 Kate Bee is the founder of The Sober School, where she coaches women through early sobriety and helps them navigate alcohol-free living without feeling deprived or miserable. Kate lives near Manchester in the UK.

She helps women who feel as if they’re in the grey zone. She’s really passionate about showing people that a) you can still lead a full and happy life without alcohol and b) you don’t need to wait until you hit rock bottom before you change.

Sober Since:  April 6th, 2013 (class of 2013 woop woop)

Books:

alan carr’s easy way to control alcohol
grant cardone – 10x rule
www.thesoberschool.com
www.instagram.com/thesoberschool

Check out this episode!

And with me today is Kate Bee the founder of sober school where she teaches women through early sobriety She helps them navigate alcohol free living. But she does it in a way that makes women not feel deprived or miserable, which I know for myself was something that I was very, very concerned with an early sobriety. So Kate, how are you doing?

I’m good. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me on.

Yeah, definitely. And so you’ve been sober since April six. 2013. So I’ve got like, a week or two weeks on you? 2013. Yeah, March 23. Was was the day that changed it for me in 2013. So coming up on little past halfway through year six, how’s the trading? Yeah.

Yeah, pretty good at today. I can’t believe how long it’s been really because yeah, I stopped. I stopped on April, the SIG, exactly six months before my 30th birthday. So yeah, I have this I’d like to points of the year, the sixth of April may say we’re birthday and then the sixth of October my real birthday. So yeah, it’s kind of nice. It’s good opportunities to reflect on how quickly Time passes and how old I’m getting.

Well, I mean, age is just a, it’s just a number, right? It’s all how you feel. Things what we tell ourselves. So why don’t you take us through what’s going on early 2013. And what’s going on in your life? What’s going on through your head? Like, why’d you decide to start getting sober?

Yeah.

Well, I mean, looking back at that time, I think from the outside, everything looked fine. And that was one of my big problems, actually, that I didn’t seem to have an alcohol problem. As I as you might stereotypically, think that Did you know I was holding down a good job, I had a busy social life. Lots of friends like on that, in many ways I was living this really successful life. And I think if you’d asked any of my friends what they thought about my drinking, they said, Oh, yeah, like Kate really likes to drink but it doesn’t everybody. And yeah, I had this big secret, which was all the drinking that I was doing at home on my own. And that had become my absolute favorite way to drink. And, you know, two or three times a week, I would need to have this kind of drinking binge where I would just drink completely on my own until I passed out. And this had been going on for several years, and I’d had some attempts at stopping drinking in the past, sworn off it for a month or more sometimes successful sometimes not. But I think What really made the difference in April of that year was I just had this feeling since the very beginning of the year that my foot was really on the accelerator and I seem to be drinking more and more and more. And I was kind of scaring myself really. And, you know, I’d looked around for help, and I couldn’t find anything that seemed to really speak to me. I’d been to a few a meetings, and they’d left me feeling more convinced I didn’t have a problem. You know, I’d heard these really dramatic stories there, and have managed to convince myself that I’m so different from all of them. And I didn’t need to go to rehab. I knew that my doctor wasn’t any help just suggested I drink a bit less, which was devastatingly useless piece of advice and any more people

How normal people think that you know what, you know, a good solution to your drinking problem would be if you just drank less. Like that’s like that’s a real option. Oh, just drink less. That’s how I should stop drinking just do less. It’s like telling someone with a peanut allergy you should just you should breathe when you eat peanuts like just ignore you know the symptoms in your throat getting close. I just breathe when I eat peanuts. I don’t have a problem.

Yes, think that’s the greatest piece of advice. Just stop.

Just Just

to be honest, I can see where he’s coming from. Because when you look at a lot of literature, certainly in the UK anyway about you know, drinking less It is generally the main messages, just drink as if it’s that simple. But I think what what really made the difference in April of that year was I must have googled something slightly different. And I found this blog. It’s called a pickled. And that was the first time I’d really discovered someone who sounded like me. And he’d stopped drinking, and he seemed so much happier. And I think it’s really powerful when you see your story reflected in someone else. And that was the first time I thought, Okay, this is like, evidence that someone else, you know, he was drinking like me, felt that they should quit, and maybe I should try it again. So, yeah,

so you could kind of relate when you were reading that blog to, you know, this person’s story. kind of sounds like mine. And I know that’s kind of like the foundation in 12 step recovery, maybe, you know, it’s not everybody’s brand, but the idea of, yeah, I understand what you’re talking about. And, you know, KU and I practically just met and, but I can relate to your story. You know, the, the doctor told me Well, just just cut back. And to most people, they would think that’s okay, whatever. But being on the same side of it, I remember one time that the doctor had asked me on my levels, something was off. And he said, Well, how often do you drink? And I said, about six to eight times per year, or I’m sorry, 68 times per week. He said, eight. And I was like, Well, yeah, because footballs on Sunday, so I’ll wake up early, I’ll get wasted. I’ll pass out and then I’ll wake up, and then I’ll get drunk again on Sunday. So sometimes I’ll get seven days and twice on Sunday is like, wow, maybe. Maybe you should cut back and there’s like, what do you think’s like a good number to shoot for like, six. So sobriety, what’s that look like for you? Is it a struggle, or were you just done?

Um, well, it was

yours. was kind of a really up and down time. The main thing I did different this time was I started writing a blog myself, just at one of those free WordPress anonymous blogs. It’s still out there, I think it’s called the sober journalist. And I started writing it just to train, make sense of my own thoughts, keep myself accountable. By doing that, I accidentally created a bit of a community for myself, because I started following other bloggers, they followed me. And someone said to me, hey, a group of us are doing this 100 day challenge where, you know, we’re just going to try and like not drink for 100 days. And I thought, Oh, yeah, well, that sounds a lot less intimidating, then, you know, stopping forever, which is what I thought I was having to sign up for. And, and so yeah, I’m not gonna say it was easy, but it was so different from all the other times When I being completely on my own and and not reaching out for help and not knowing where to turn for it

so going through this 100 day challenge you were already sober before this it happened. Is that correct? Or is this the start of it?

Um, I think I would probably only a couple of days sober. And then I found out that these other people were doing these 100 days. So it coincided almost perfectly. And they were kind of sharing lots of stuff like book ideas, you things, things to do with your free time, all that kind of stuff. So I didn’t feel as if I was so alone.

Yeah, that part of the community. I think that’s really cool how you accidentally created a community which is what so many people are trying to fabricate a community. What do you think were some of the reasons why that community started building

Um, I think back then especially there was this sense of no one really gets this, like no one else drinks the way that we do. And now I know that that’s not true. There are hundreds and thousands of people, you feel exactly the same way about our call. But it was as if I’d stumbled across this corner of the internet, where we all felt as if we were stuck in this gray zone or problem drinking. So we weren’t normal drinkers, but we weren’t the cliched rock bottom. And then I woke up in hospital and I’d been arrested and I’d lost everything type of drinker. And that just wasn’t me. And, you know, thank goodness, things never got that bad for me. But in a way, that was a big part of the problem, that things weren’t bad enough. And I needed someone to kind of help me reframe that and start thinking about whether Things were good enough to keep continuing as they as they were, and they weren’t. So yeah, that was a really big mind set shift for me and realizing that I didn’t have to wait until things got worse. And that entire sort of them qualified as, Oh, yes, you need to stop drinking. There wasn’t some tests you have to pass. You can just stop when you want to.

Well, they do have tests out there and they’re pretty, they’re pretty low answers as far as I remember one of them. I, after I had gotten a DUI, which I do not recommend ever getting, but I had to go to alcohol school. And they gave us like a checklist of, you know, maybe your problem drink and it’s like, do you blackout when you drink? And I was just like, What do you mean, do I blacked out like, on Monday? I don’t understand this question. Do I black When I drink, like, that’s the same as asking do you drink there? They go hand in hand. And do you drink more than five when you drink? It was like, Is it a problem if I do? Or is it the problem if I don’t, because if I just drink one, then what’s the point? And I came to find out that’s not normal for most people that actually, that’s, that’s something wrong inside of me. So you’re you’re 100 days finishes. What’s going through your mind now? Is it? Is it rah rah like, let’s get 101 What’s going on?

I think earlier than 100 days, probably around 7080 days in I realized that I was going to continue this. And I then started to think okay, well, maybe I continue this for six months. And that would like take notes, my birthday. That would be a good thing to do. And in those early stages, I was really I was really lucky I experienced all the benefits of early sobriety from like sleeping a lot better, losing a bit of weights just feeling a lot more positive and like kind of lost that anxiety that comes with being hung over so often. So I was feeling like really amazing. And and that motivated me to continue for a bit longer. And then when I got to the six month mark, it was kind of like, Oh, well, maybe I’ll do this for a year. And and that is honestly how I kept moving forward for quite a long time. And I like that because as soon as I started thinking too far ahead, that you know, really freaked me out. But moving forward in those kind of manageable chunks or, yeah, okay, let’s do this to Christmas and that kind of stuff. That is what got me to a point where actually I didn’t need to ask that question anymore. This just was what I wanted to do. And it was making me feel so much better.

It’s interesting how when things make you feel better, you continue to do it. And that’s kind of what we did with the drinking, right? I know for myself, it was, my life sucks. My life sucks. It’s okay when I drink. And then my life sucks, my life sucks, and then I get sober. And then it’s like, oh, your life actually doesn’t suck. And then it’s kind of like what I was going from like a two out of 10, up to a four out of 10. And now I wake up at an eight. Once I’ve taken all that out of maturing the cycle, and your brain tells you this is this is what you’re supposed to do. So your strategy, at least at first was breaking it down into small chunks. Let’s just get a couple weeks. Let’s get a couple months. And are you still deploying that today? Or is it more just of who you are as a person and just kind of your deep fault is over.

Yeah, I don’t even think about it. Now I don’t, I don’t want to go back to those days. There’s really nothing motivating your tool to drink anymore. I feel as if I would lose everything that I’ve worked so hard to gain really. But just to going back to your point about getting started is that when I look back, I think the cycle I got stuck into is that I would start on a Monday with right, this is when I’m going to stop drinking, and, you know, make it to like, Tuesday or Wednesday, or what if I was being really good, maybe till Thursday, Friday, but then I couldn’t get my head around the idea of how was I going to go over the weekend without drinking or how was I going to unwind? So then I then I drink again, and then it was like, Okay, so the cycle would start over on a Monday. And what I was never doing was really giving myself The chance to, to do some of those awkward is how things such as the first time you do go out without drinking, or the first time you go to a party or a really stressful family meal and you don’t drink. I wasn’t ever giving myself the chance to do that. And yet somehow when you say, Okay, I’m going to stop for 100 days or whatever that short, short term goal is, you know that during that time, some of that stuff is going to crop up. So it’s a chance to prove to yourself that actually you can do it and it might not be quite as awful as you think is.

So do you have any strategies for getting over that fear mindset? Because that can happen in sobriety as well as, I mean, anything in life, especially, you know, with the focus on this show and entrepreneurship, like we get in our own way, do you have any ways of getting over those fears?

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is just to do it because I’m a real procrastinator, and I can think and think and think myself into a hole. And yet, if you just do it, that’s the only way you’re going to have the evidence to know what it’s like. And the other thing I would recommend is to do something two or three times. The first time I did go out with my friends not drinking, I did feel awkward. And I felt as if I spent the whole night thinking about how I was the only one that wasn’t drinking, and what did they think of me and all this kind of, like chatter in my head? And, and I realized now that’s because that’s totally normal. I was breaking a pattern, I was doing something different. It would have been almost weird if it wasn’t weird, you know. So and then the second time I did it, I was a bit easier because I knew I could do it. And then the third time, and then as time goes on new people stop even remarking on the fact that you’re not drinking, and you start to have insight Such as, hey, if I don’t if I find these people boring, maybe I shouldn’t be friends with them. Or you know if these people have a problem with me not drinking, maybe we haven’t got quite the friendship I thought we had and all those kind of things that I think you just can’t really see when you’re stuck in the, in the middle of the forest looking for a way out.

Yeah and we we have this tendency to forget that life is always changing and the people in your life are going to be completely different. Even a month from now a year from now I look at our wedding list. And we had like about 100 hundred 10 people and there are people on there that I haven’t spoken to since and you know, we had to pay proceed and it’s looking at it and it was like, you know, these people are the people that made the cut that got to the wedding and like if we got married today it’s like a half of We wouldn’t have even kept around and there was a we were sober at our wedding like these were friends we had in sobriety. But, you know, things are always changing. Our lives are always moving forward. And if we just stay still on the same patterns, yes, it’s familiar. But we’re missing out on so much growth. And so I, I want to shift gears a bit and talk about your entrepreneurship journey with sober school. What was the thought process and getting that started?

Yeah, I am. So I think about six months into my sobriety, I realized that one of the things I’ve been drinking over a lot was my job, and that I wasn’t very happy at work. And this was a really big deal for me, because ever since I’d been a kid, I’d wanted to be a journalist. And I ended up getting quite a good job working on BBC Breakfast, which is Kind of our equivalent of Good Morning America, I think that was kind of behind the scenes booking gas, working on breaking stories, and I felt as if I should be having the time of my life, they should have been the pinnacle of my career. But actually, I felt a bit stuck and a bit bored. So I started looking around for things to do, and I couldn’t find anything. So I took this career coaching course. And I remember, it was a really different kind of career coaching, and they got us doing all kinds of weird things. And one a one time this, this woman said, you know, you could start a business if you wanted to just think about what are the kinds of things you like blogging about? And I hadn’t told anyone at this point about this secret anonymous blogger had, and I remember thinking, what I write this blog about how I’m sober there is no way I’m ever going to turn that into a business. What a stupid idea. Anyway, it’s Did plant some kind of seed in my head? And part of me did think, actually, I’m really enjoying this career coaching course because there’s some lessons I have to do and some, like, you know, things to work through. But I’m also part of this community. And it’s all done on lines. It’s really convenient. And I thought then, hey, it would have been so cool if there was something like this when I was trying to stop drinking. But it was about two years before I thought, oh, maybe I could be that person who sets this thing up. And it was just a lucky, quick of fate like, things just came together. I found out about a funding program for social entrepreneurs and I managed to win 5000 pound grant, which I think it’s about $6,000 and they, you know, they like my idea for the cyber school. And they wanted to cover my startup costs and a bit more. And, and that’s kind of how I got started, really. And that grant was a massive deal because having got the money, I then had to actually follow through on this crazy idea that I’d had. And I had someone checking on me that I was doing work and I was spending on the right things, and I had to show them what it done. So yeah, it kind of came out of a mixture of my own happiness in my job combined with a feeling that I have been looking for help and looking for something that didn’t exist. And I was, you know, soon as it wasn’t there. I was going to create something to help fill that gap.

So tell me about the first client that you got in server school.

And her name was Mary. She was one of five actually I’ve been blogging for a while over on the sofa school and building up a bit of an email list and a following. And I decided I needed to, I got the kind of basic structure of the course in my mind, but I needed to build it. And I wanted to check before I did that, that someone actually wants to do this. So I emailed personally, like individually about 50 different people. And I can’t remember how much I asked him to pay at that time. I think it was a fairly token amount. It was like 40 $50, something like that. And I said, you know, you’re gonna be part of this really small group of people and, like, take you through this course as I build it. It’ll be a bit rough and ready, but you’ll get loads of help and support for me. And, and yeah, these five people signed up. And and yeah, I’ve managed to get this thing done. But actually, it was a bit of a kind of scrambled experience that first one. And some of those clients ended up coming back and joining the course again when it was done properly, because I realized that one of the things that makes my course much more successful now is that lots of people will take it at the same time. And these five people were a little bit lost all together in this very small tribe. So yeah, it was, it was really it was really nerve racking for me because I just felt so responsible for them. And yeah, it was crazy.

And what did the transition look like in your life? Did you quit the job before you took on sober school? What was happening in your life at those times?

You know, I reduce my hours in my job. They let me do that. I also completely randomly to kindness, another job, which I still have, and I’m about to leave in a few months time, there was a very part time job in advertising. And so that allowed me to cut down the working few hours, but still making enough to cover the bills. And then the sober school was what I was doing in evenings and weekends and any free time I had during the week.

So what are some of the lessons that you’ve learned? You mentioned about having a larger community? Is there anything else that you would have done differently on that beta group now that you’ve been through it and they’ve learned some of the ropes?

Yeah, I think I’ve got better at teaching. Because I had this I knew the information that I wanted to convey and what I had to realize was that The kind of people I was attracting to my course, weren’t quite the kind of people I’d imagined. I thought I would have lots of people in their late 20s, who would just like me signing up. But actually, my typical client is in her early 40s. And she’s got kids and she’s married. And her life is a bit different to mine is a bit more stressful and busy. And so I realized that I needed to start addressing some of that, and the fact that it’s some of the things I done that completely saved my sobriety, such as I used to go to the gym after work to try and kill a few hours. But these ladies maybe aren’t in a position to do that, because they’ve got childcare commitments and all the rest of it. So I had to think a lot more creatively about the strategies we could put in place to help them during that time. So I think it’s a combination of getting better at teaching and also, you learn more from working with more people and seeing the kind of patterns that they go through. Yeah,

that’s really cool that you you identified though and recognized. This is what my tribe is asking for. This is who my tribe is. And she may not look like me. But at the same time, I need to make sure that she is getting value from what I’m offering. And I ran into that myself with my IT company. I was 27 years old. And a lot of our clients 60 and older, didn’t grow up with technology. So they would come to me with a problem. And I would say, Oh, it’s great. It’s easy. Just use this different software that it’s super intuitive. Bye. See you later. And then they come back the next day, and they’re like, I don’t know anything about computers. That’s why I hired you. Like, you just solved my problem with a new problem. And so we had to get better Kind of slowing down and fitting the solution within their framework because a solution for me would be, try a new software, learn a new software start from scratch. But when that’s not your forte, my audience was telling me, this is not the solution that works for me, even though it works for me personally. And in my head, I’m like, well just do what I do. But, you know, we don’t all have the same experience, and we attract different people from different walks of life.

So I say silly. Yeah. And really interestingly, in the last, I’d say, two years, I’ve noticed a second type of avatar coming along if you want to use that word, a second kind of client, and this is a woman in her mid 60s who’s retired from her job, and she’s drunk really heavily throughout her career, and she thought that when she quit work, she would cut down as well. And that would fix things, but it hasn’t actually. And now she’s realizing that she’s got a lot of time on her hands, and a reasonable amount of money to fund this or, and, and that’s a real problem. And when I started realizing that I was getting quite a boat of older women in the class, it really freaked me out, because my mum’s about that age. And I can’t imagine telling my mom to do anything and her actually listening to my advice. But amazingly, these people do so. Yeah, I kind of had to get over that.

Yeah, maybe looking at it from a different perspective. And not well, this is my mom. But so this is somebody who, you know, you have the solution to a problem that they’re experiencing and you’re just a an authority in the field. And it’s just coincidence that they happen to be someone who you don’t think you’d have any any control over any sort of impact on how your mom would do it, but you know, these women are seeking your advice. So it’s a lot easier to give advice and to help people through things to coach them when they are actively seeking it as opposed to someone that’s just, well, I used to change your diapers. So anything that you tell me doesn’t, doesn’t fly? doesn’t fly? Yeah. Yeah. Are there any books that are kind of your go to one or two that you recommend for people who are trying to get better in their life? entrepreneurship sobriety, what’s your one or two? most recommended?

Yeah, so for sobriety, a book I always recommend is Alan cars. Easy way to control alcohol. I didn’t if you’ve read that book

with that, but we’ll have it in the notes.

Yeah. It’s Um, so one of the things I missed out earlier, which I should have said is that something that helped me to stop drinking was I bought this book, but I only have read it. But in England, there are some Alan Carr seminars. And his system has helped a lot of people through these clinics and workshops, stop smoking and stop drinking. And I went along to one of these workshops, where they break down all the reasons why you drink and what you think you’re getting out of it. And they really analyze what’s going on there. So you know, is alcohol really helping you unwind? Is it really making you the life and soul of the party, so you can break down all this stuff. And that was so influential on me. I didn’t feel the book was a whole solution. It kind of glosses over a lot of the challenges that you can face. When you’re surrounded by people who are romanticizing and glamorizing and normalizing this drug. So yeah, that’s kind of something I’d love to see change within the book, and certainly what I cover in my program, but that book was definitely the foundation for me of my sobriety. And I recommend it to everybody.

That’s incredible.

Yeah, yeah. I love that. And it’s hems of entrepreneurship. And

I recently read Grant Cardone book, The 10 x rule. I don’t know if you read that.

Yeah, that was one of my first audibles couple. Yeah.

I listened to it as an audible book as well. And once I kind of got over how shouty and sort of passionate and aggressive he is.

He is definitely a character.

He’s a character. I realized that he had some really good things to say and one of the takeaways messages for me was about. Most of us are set, we’re scared to set big goals, because we’re worried about how will feel if we fail at them. But if we don’t set big goals, all we achieve is a really average life. And if you you’re already, you know, a little bit unhappy if you’re thinking about setting goals, and the thought of an average life probably makes most people feel a bit disappointed. So why not like play a bigger game and just kind of shoot for the moon? Perhaps you’ll just be happy with what you reach in the process, though. There are lots of little gems in there that made me think oh, yeah, okay. Yeah. This this changes how I feel.

Yeah, when when I went through it, I remember one of the things he says is, he says something to the effect. It’s been a couple years since I went there was something to the effect of, like, Don’t under promise and over deliver says nobody wants to go see a play. It’s like there’s a bunch of mediocre actors here. You say they are the best actors in the world and this is the best show ever. And then you perform and you give the people the best show ever. So my takeaway was if you’re the best be the best. He was saying if if your competitors are sending out one email a day send out 10 emails a day and I’ve been on that guy’s email list he he practices what he preaches it’s it’s a little absurd how often kidding. But k it’s been wonderful having you on the show? Where can people find out more connect with you and get to the sober school?

Thank you. Well, thanks for having me on. The best place to come and find me is over at www.thesoberschool.com. I have a blog, which I try and do every week. So that’s got lots of tips and help and advice in. There’s also more details about me over on there. And I’m on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all at the same school as well.

All at the Sober School Alright, well we’ll have links in the show notes and Kate, thank you so much for being on Self Made and Sober. Guys. If you enjoyed the episode, give us a review on iTunes reach out on Facebook on www.facebook.com/selfmadesober or on Instagram at @selfmadesober in Kate, have a great day. Thanks so much for being on the show.

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