In today's episode, Alex finally sits down with a longtime Instagram friend of hers, David Golding, aka @sobercoachdubai. David Golding is a British recovering alcoholic and gambling addict, who went on to work for The Priory Clinic in the UK – where he had been an inpatient – as a Peer Supporter in the Addiction Treatment Program. In 2022 he based himself out of Dubai and launched Sober Lifestyle Coaching in the Middle East. In this episode, David shares his story, the pivotal moments in his journey, and some of the different services and ways he works with people. Check out David's work at: https://sober.ae/
Hi, friend. This is Alex McRobbs, founder of The Mindful Life Practice, and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23, and I never went back. I got sober in 2019, and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga, and change their lives through my online Sober Girls Yoga community. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl Podcast. I actually don't often film these episodes live in person because I'm often interviewing people that are around the world. But today I'm actually here in person with David Golding, who is Sober Coach, Dubai. I was going to be like, I'm here with Sober Coach, Dubai, but I'm here with David. And David moved to the UAE and started doing sober work right around the time that I was leaving and we somehow got connected. I think it might have been through Christiana. You're Christiana? Yes, I did. I think she told me about you and we got connected and I've just been following along with the work you do. I'm really looking forward to hearing more about your story today and how you ended up doing the work you're doing.
Bless you. It's a great honor to meet you, actually, because, again, you're somebody that comes into your life and you don't know them very well, but from afar you go, Gosh, they're really making a difference and they're doing things and I admire what you're doing and you're very nice and lovely about it. So yeah, it's lovely to see you finally.
Thank you so much. And so you were sharing before we started that you... Tell us a bit about your career before you ended up doing what you're doing now.
Yeah, okay. Pretty varied. I'm 58 now and I had five separate careers. I grew up, my father was an alcoholic, and I just remember that this isn't to blame him. He shaped me. Of course, our environments do shape us. But I do remember him being very angry and very violent man. I grew up being very intimidated, very scared and full of fear. That was part of my growing up fear. That was actually something that stayed with me all my life, fear. It took me a lifetime to figure it out, but that was always a thread. Fear and anxiety, not fitting in, not understanding who I was. But I found alcohol at 11 and I would go out drinking. Of course at that age, social anxiety, that would melt away. Give me three or four drinks and I could talk to girls and I thought I was funny. All of that went away and I just became a drinker all the way through. I also gamble from the age of seven. So where I grew up in the seaside in the UK, there was a place called the Pavilion and it had slot machines and video games and all that thing.
I would steal money at seven years old, spend my pocket money, go there after school, go at the weekends. So even as an early teenager, gambling and alcohol were a huge part of my life, and then they just carried on. I went to university and studied nuclear physics. I became a software engineer writing computer code for the British military. I then moved into banking. I lived in Switzerland and Sweden. I lived in the USA and I had a green card for a while. The truth was that I'm reasonably smart and I could work hard, but I'm that work-hard, play-hard guy. I was always a big drinker, always, always a big drinker. I recall around the age of 23 that I was still in control of my drinking. My very first job, my boss said very early on, only about three months in, David, you seem to have a lot of Mondays off. We're going to warn you now. If you keep having these Mondays off, we're going to kick you out. I remember thinking, Gosh, I can't lose my job. Then I just drank on Friday and Saturday nights. But of course, that was blowouts, Phil.
That was serious binge drinking. I didn't know that that even existed as a term. But that was my reward for not drinking the rest of the time, for working really hard. My reward always was to drink. There was really no other reward in life. It was work and drink, work and drink. That was pretty much it. There'd be relationships and I'd have a girlfriend and I would pick a girlfriend that was also a big drinker. My life was around the pub, all of my friends were drinkers and that was me. That persona at 22 was the same persona at 54. That just carried on. There was probably a significant change in my life. I got married and had some children, I got divorced and I started a business in 2007 that skyrocketed. In the next 10 years, the company turned over two billion. I had access to unlimited amounts of money pretty much. I was a multimillionaire. I say that because it's lots of people's dream to have enough money because money gives you choices. You can choose to do what you want to do. Yeah. The trouble is me, when I was doing what I wanted, oh, that's disruptive.
That's not great. I don't make good choices. By the time I'd been drinking for 30, 40 years and having found cocaine at the age of 42, now I was just indulging myself. Pretty much what I was trying to do was just mask the feelings that I always had, which I couldn't identify, I couldn't name, but the feelings were disconnection, isolation, fear, worry, generally not knowing who I was. So even though I'd functioned as an alcoholic in lots of different careers and been around the world, there was never really a time where I can look back and think David was happy. I didn't know who David was. I didn't know what the purpose was of life or what the hell I was doing or why. But I would get up and get on with it and work hard at work thinking, Well, if I work hard and I'm successful, then that surely would bring some happiness. But it never did. Because those things are fleeting and they're not worth self-worth, peace and serenity. Took me a lifetime to find that until I found recovery in 2019. Wow.
What's your sober date?
18th of September 2019. Okay, wow! That took 10 years of trying and failing and trying and failing. Now, I always really admire people that walk in off the streets who are alcoholics anonymous, they just walk off the street. Now I needed to go to rehab and also the people that might go to rehab and get it first time. That wasn't my journey, that wasn't me. I first went in 2009. I started my company in 2007. By 2009, I had Ferraris and money and I was blowing my brains in. That was the time I'd just got married six weeks before I'd got remarried and I'd realized that I was drinking way too much. I went to rehab. I didn't tell them that I was taking cocaine though. I think I could admit that I was drinking a bit too much. I think that's what I said when I arrived. David, why are you here? I think I drink a bit too much and I think I was hoping that they would teach me to drink like a gentleman. Interestingly, I since admitted this to the rehab. I actually volunteer there now as a peer supporter on the addiction treatment program.
But when I went back in 2014, I had to admit that my dealer would turn up at the rehab. While I was trying to get clean and sober, I was taking cocaine and I'd be staying up all night. Then I would crash. They actually thought I was suffering from bipolar because I was manic, because I was off my tits on cocaine. Then I was depressed and crashed because I hadn't slept for three days. They didn't know that. I kept it secret. They thought that I suffer from bipolar. That's, of course, the only clinical thing that I think that they could put the finger on. Well, I loved that. I loved having a diagnosis that I was bipolar. In happy days. That's what's go wrong with me. But I couldn't be honest and say, Actually, no, I'm taking loads of drugs while I'm in rehab. Yes, I was completely insane in that decade, really struggling to just to cope with life, becoming overwhelmed very often. For me, when I became overwhelmed, I would run away and I would run away into a bottle, a bag, and a behavior, alcohol, cocaine, and gambling. For me, they always came together.
I would never really buy cocaine during the day. I would get drunk and then it would be a great idea to buy some cocaine. Then when I'm up for three days, I would gamble all night and then get psychosis and then want to die. When I did that for 10 years.
What was your pivotal moment? What was it that led you? You said that you went to rehab the first time. How many times did you do rehab? Was it just two times?
Three times, and a couple of mistaken rehabs in between. I think I actually went to rehab about five times. But the three that I count were the three where I completed the 28 days. There were two other times when I just left. Wow.
Was that all in the UK? Yeah.
What do you think made the time in 2019 stick?
Yeah, okay, that's a great question because people ask me, What made the difference? Why did you get it then? I think in the early days I used to talk about surrender. There's this notion that we surrender. My interpretation of surrender, I call it dropping hands, because when you drop your hands, you drop your head. It's like an act of humility. I've surrendered to this. I think I tried to surrender. I tried to surrender before in 2009 and 2014 that I had a problem that I needed help. It was never a complete surrender. Okay, so why didn't I surrender before? It's probably the first question. I think it was based on two or three things, I think. Initially, I didn't identify with anybody else. In 2009, I'm a multimillionaire. There's people in the room next to me, and frankly, they're not the same as me. I'm very different. I'm extremely successful, intelligent, articulate, I'm pretty famous, and you're a bit of a loser. Even you take heroine. I would never take heroine. That arrogance, that massive ego, not identifying with that, and that was what held me back, probably for the first five years. The second time was after I tried to take my own life, and maybe we'll cover that later.
But that time I went back, and I think it was probably about pain. By then, I had experienced another five years of pain. I remember at that time, people would say, David, you're back again in five years. Five years is a long time to be lost in the madness with all the consequences. I tried to take my own life and got divorced again. I remember somebody saying to me, Have you not had enough pain yet? I remember thinking, Gosh, yes, I have. I have had enough pain. I really had enough pain. Let me tell you the pain that I experience every day is just awful to the point of trying to take my own life. I left in 2014 and was stayed clean and sober for about a year, but then fell off the wagon again. I realized then it wasn't pain. It wasn't pain that stopped me surrendering. So what was it? I think I finally figured it out. It was a lack of hope. It was hope that I finally got in 2019. The hope came from admitting that I'd had enough pain, admitting that I really was an alcoholic addict, admitting that I was the same as everybody else.
I wasn't better than anybody else, but actually finally admitting I'm allowed to get clean and sober. I'm worth it. I'm worthy of getting clean and sober. But actually, the people that I'm now looking at who are clean and sober, actually, I admire them. It's possible that these guys who did get clean and sober, Gosh, maybe that could be me. Could it really be me? After 10 years of failure, I think I finally said, Right, I'm done. I'm really done now. I can't carry on anymore. I'd accepted that David Golding, version 1 did not work. It just did not work. He was 54. He'd had two divorces. He'd nearly died four times. And all the paraphernalia and money, that was nonsense. Here was a man that was utterly broken and I wanted to know how to rebuild myself. I wanted to know what was wrong with me in terms of character, and I wanted to build a new David. I knew that if I didn't do that, I was absolutely a dead man. But the thing is, I wanted to live. I did know that. I did want to live and I did want to be a better human being.
I think I wanted to finally find a place where I might wake up in the morning and be content and realize that when life throws things at me, I won't get overwhelmed. Life isn't fantastic every day, and I say, Now, most of the time I'm mostly okay. Well, I don't think that's bad for somebody who wanted to die. I have a pretty amazing life. I'm extremely grateful. My wife is back with me. She's amazing. I'd be dead again if it wasn't for Christina. My children are back with me. Everything is wonderful. But I think this is a very long answer, but the point was I didn't have hope. I didn't think that it was possible for somebody like me. Until finally, I thought maybe it is possible. I think when we work with clients and when people look at their own lives, the first thing is to look at yourself and understand the consequences that are going on. Maybe you've had enough of the consequences, maybe you have had enough of the pain, but what might hold you back is thinking that you can do it, and actually, you can. Everyone can. Took me 10 years to find that out.
I love that answer because when I was around 100 days sober, I had an opportunity to... I met one of my idols and recovery. His name is Ralph Gates, and he wrote a book about yoga in his sober journey. But anyway, I was on a training with him, and I had to write a talk about something I'd learned in the last 100 days, and I couldn't figure out what to come up with, and I ended up going with this theme of believing in your potential. I talked about how people always say, How did I maintain my sobriety that time after so many years of thinking about it and saying I'm going to stop and then going back? It really was... It's like another thing, like hope. It's believing in my potential and seeing that potential beyond that present moment.
Completely. There's probably one other thing for me that got me into the rehab, and I know what that was. That was an emotion. This isn't part of everybody's journey. I think the common things of most people's journey, I think, are looking at the consequences and having hope. Have you had enough pain is their hope. But for me, why did I end up going back in 2019? Well, there was an incident, and I don't mind sharing that incident, which was that I'd split up from my wife, my lovely wife that I'm married to. Basically, I'd picked arguments with her on purpose so that I could leave, so that I could carry on drinking and drugging because it had come to a crescendo. It was all out in the open and I made her very ill. I'd picked an argument. I'd moved out, I'd rented a house. It was empty. There was nothing in this house and I'd moved into it. I remember thinking, What on earth have I done? I'm 54, I'm in a bloody empty house. I'm not with the woman that I absolutely adore and I did, but I just couldn't cope with life.
I called my sons, and my sons at the time were about 18 and 22, and I called them round and said, Boys, can you come round? I don't want to be on my own. It was a Saturday night, and my sons came round and, Well, that's a party now, isn't it? For me to feel better about the situation I'm in, I think I want to have a party. That's the only way I can cope with the horrific feelings I've got of the loneliness, the isolation. I've done it to myself again. I bought a load of booze. The boys had a couple of drinks, but I was really getting smashed. Wine was my thing. I was probably two or three bottles of wine in. Then I had the genius idea of buying analytic cocaine. I called a dealer, got 10 grams of cocaine, and then this is the moment. I went into the kitchen and I racked up a load of lines of cocaine. I called my sons in and they were horrified and I said, You will not be a man unless you know how to take cocaine. Let me show you. That gets me upset because the emotion is disgust for me.
I think of all the other things that had ever happened to me, I don't think I was ever quite disgusted with myself to that level. My son's left and I thought, Oh, my God, what have I done? I actually went into the garden to hang myself. I thought and I heard a voice and it just said, Don't do this. You've got two lovely sons. What are you doing? I called the rehab the next day and said, I need to come in and I need to come in tomorrow. Now, this is the rehab that I've been to twice before. I turned up and a lovely lady called Jill said, David, you're back again. What do you want? What do you want of this day, this time thing? She wasn't rude, but what you want? I said, I want peace. You know the fantastic thing about that rehab, and that's why I volunteer and I always will, they didn't say, get out. They didn't say, you're a failure. They didn't say, you've tried and failed for 10 years, so we give up on you. They never gave up on me. They were right not to because I got it.
I knew then what I needed to do. I had enough pain. I was utterly disgusted with myself. It wasn't that I hadn't caused enough pain for my wife, gosh, I really had, and all the other impacts. But I think just for me, racking up lines of cocaine and trying to tell my sons to take it because somehow you'll be a man, it's completely twisted, thinking very, very ill, thinking I was very ill. That for me was the springboard then. And turning up and seeing people that were getting well. Actually, there was a gentleman there called Stuart who was a peer supporter. I met him. He was in there with me five years before, and he was the guy that I looked up to and I thought, Bloody hell, you got that. Remember I said at the beginning about people that get it first time? No, I didn't. Why have you got it? And I have not. I asked him that. He said, Because I listened and I did what I was told. I went, Okay, I'm done. I'm done. Whatever you tell me, I will do. And I did, and I still do. I still do today.
There's things in my locker that keep me on the straight and narrow, and I do those every day because we say yesterday's shower won't keep me clean today. The things I did yesterday, they're not going to last. I need to do them today. They're not massive things. They're things like, Why don't you just be nice to people? Why don't you be kind? Why don't you be humble? I get on my knees and pray and I do things for people and I volunteer and all those wholesome things that I never did for 54 years. I never did any of those things. But now I see the value in them and continue to work in recovery and working with other men that need help in recovery. That, for me, is amazing to be able to work in a field where you see people get well. Gosh, it's unbelievable. It brings me to tears really often and tears of joy. I don't think I understood what tears of joy were. My wife laughs at me sometimes, actually, because you know the phrase jump for joy? Yeah, I do that. I actually jump up and down and people think, Oh, my God, look at him again.
My children go, Stop it. Now I'm jumping for joy because I want to.
I love that. Wow! I just want to thank you so much for sharing such a vulnerable story like that. That just made me so emotional. I think for a lot of people, there's so much shame wrapped up in those types of stories, and so you don't hear them and they don't share them. And then people who have had an experience like that feel very alone. I know a lot of the people that I work with are mothers and have a lot of guilt over what I've done to my kids, how it impacted my kids. I think by hearing your story, if anyone's listening who has that guilt, they can hear like we've all had these moments. Actually, that's a good question for you. How do you reconcile that? Have you talked about that with your sons? Have you moved through that? What was.
That like? Yeah, of course. Yeah, absolutely. Part of my recovery journey, and we do that with clients as well, and I recommend it for everyone, there's two concepts. Well, the first concept is about clearing the wreckage of the past. We tackle all those things, and that's tough. That's about getting honest and that's about looking at the things we did, the things we said, and sometimes the things we didn't do. For example, there were so many times I didn't turn up, turn up to things for the children. Now look, I can sit here and beat myself up forever. That's not going to do any good. But I'm not also not going to write it off. Now, the things that I did, I own, I, and I accept. How do I reconcile that? I was very ill. I was extremely ill. I was a full-blown addict. I know that when I take drugs, my brain chemistry changes. I can tell you that I did things when I was high on drink or drugs that I wouldn't do sober. But I still wasn't there. I still wasn't a good father. He was there and in the moment and mindful.
You're right, I've sat down with my sons many times and talked about it. I talked about the honest truth about how I feel about that. If you're a 12-step advocate, it's step nine. It's about making amends. Because sorry and thank you actions, they're not words. You've got to do things. I spoke to my children about that and spoke to them. But there's another aspect of that, which is looking back at the person that I was and accepting that I did those things, but reconciling that that was then. I'm not that man now. We say there's all sorts of phrases that I've got, which is look back, don't stare, don't forget. Because I tell you another reason I don't want to forget. Somebody I know quite famous said, I hope I never get too well that I forget, because then I'm in trouble and I know what he means. If I dance out of here thinking, That's me. I've got addiction licked. I'm no longer an addict. Well, where the hell am I going to go with that? That puts me at great risk. Now, I'm actually quite happy to accept some fundamental truths. Alcohol is not my friend.
It just isn't. If I have one, I'll have a thousand and then I'll die. That's in there because I've got the memories. But I also, Alex, I will not carry around yesterday like a ball and chain around my foot. That is not going to help me, so I've got to find a way to forgive myself. Forgiveness, the word that we do about forgiveness is really important. Really important. You're talking about mothers that feel that they've shameful things or things that they're guilty of. I do some work with that, the way that we talk about the difference between shame and guilt. I'm guilty of doing some things, but I'm not a bad person, I'm almost poorly. I hope this comes across okay. People might not like it, but I joke sometimes and say, Look, if you gave Mother Teresa 10 grams of Coke, she's not going to be Mother Teresa anymore. She's just not. Sometimes give yourself a break. If you were pissed and you said and did something, own it, don't minimize it, and don't just say sorry and walk off. No, we've got to own it, but actually accept that that's some of the things that you did.
They were part of yesterday. I don't give a shit about yesterday, I really don't. Because my yesterday, I didn't upset anyone. I didn't cause any chaos. I tried to be the best person I could be. Today, I can walk the earth a free man today. There are no alcohol handcuffs. I don't have to apologize to anybody for anything that I said or did. If I mistakenly say or do something, I'll apologize straight away and mean it, by the way, because I don't want to live like that. I don't ever want to go to sleep at night on an argument or feel that I've let somebody down. I just don't want to live by those principles. I've got better principles now. That, for me, is where the peace and the happiness comes from. The happiness is fleeting, but peace and serenity, they're with you. They can be with you a lot of the time often in your core. I think you all understand that. That's probably what you teach and what you speak about. The principles of being at peace and finding that place where you're really okay with yourself, and then it means you're probably going to be okay with everything else.
I think you've got to love yourself somehow.
Wow, you are such an inspiring person. Really. I hadn't heard you speak before. We've just had this digital friendship, and I'm commenting back and forth, and I'm just blown away by you right now. What you've been through and how you overcome it and who you are today, it's just so inspiring.
Bless you. Thank you, and the same thought, but isn't that a good advert for why online social connection is not human connection? We've got loads of relationship.
Fundamental, real relationship. Even down to the brain chemistry, I will skip out of here. My oxytocin will be flooding my brain and I feel better. I've had a lovely time. I've gotten to know somebody a lot better and I feel great. I don't get that from a text message.
It's so true.
You've got to be around human beings. Now, the difficulty with that is if you're somebody who struggles being around human beings. And that was me. I was scared. I didn't know how to come across. I spent 54 years scared, genuinely scared. And so you can see that in my recovery, I had to work on lots and lots of different things. By the way, they weren't difficult. They're not hard concepts to get around. We end up changing our thinking. But the truth is takes and practice. Really takes on practice. Same as anything. I like to talk a lot about how we form habits because I think fundamentally at the root of addiction is all about the way that the brain forms habits and what we do. People have asked me and I come up with all these little answers, but if somebody says, Why did you become an addict? I've got a three-word answer that can sum up my 40 years or 20 years of addiction, and it is, I trained myself. That was what I did. For 30 years, when I had a feeling I would go and drink. That's a training course. That's amazing.
That's Malcolm Gladwell's book of 10,000 hours, multiplied by five. I'm a great expert at training myself to run away. Well, I had to train myself to pause, think. Is this something I need to accept? Is this something I can do something about? Do I need to ask for some help? Do I just need to sit with it for a minute? In the first few weeks, that's harder than it is now. Practice makes perfect, and I'll never be perfect because I'm a human being, but I can be pretty darn good, and I'm all right with that. There's definitely peace that comes with that.
Wow. So tell me about... Okay, so you've been through this journey. You've succeeded in 2019 with becoming sober, saying sober. How did you end up pivoting your career and how did you end up in Dubai? Tell me that.
Yes, absolutely. I threw myself into recovery. That was all I did. I probably made that my new addiction, if you want. Because I am an obsessive, compulsive type of chap. I will get obsessed by things and that's in the nature of me. But I knew that, look, if I didn't do this properly, I was a dead man. Okay, so that's a good motivator. But the other thing was I enjoyed it. I actually enjoyed learning new things, learning about me. I spent probably the first couple of years doing that and nothing that. I didn't work. The company that I had collapsed, I lost my home, I lost financial, I lost everything. It was very odd. I went into rehab, a multimillionaire, and came out done for. But that even I had changed even in looking at that, because I thought, Actually, I don't need that. A million quid in the bank didn't keep me sober and didn't make me happy. Actually, it was almost like God said, Why don't we just start again, David? Why don't we just wipe the slate clean? I found I started working with lots of men and I really enjoyed it.
I had some good times with people and realized I really enjoy people getting well and helping them. Now, I can't save anyone. I can't make you and give up, but I can certainly help you and guide you. I think I just did that so much and so often I started to pick up some private clients. Then before I'd known it, I'd been doing that for a year. It became my new career, if you like. I know some people might say, Well, we're supposed to give away what we've got, and that's quite part of the 12 steps. Well, let's still give away. But I've got children and family, and so it's become my career. Then I had come to Dubai for the last 20 years, actually, always on holiday. It was a destination that I'd always admired and looked at. I thought, actually, I'd got to a certain size, state, position in the UK, and I thought I want to go somewhere where I might have a greater impact. I came to Dubai. I didn't come to Dubai because it's got worse problems. There's 10 million people here. I think I came because I think I saw an opportunity to try and make a difference.
And that was why I came. So I've been here 15 months. I've been working with private clients, which has gone very well. I really enjoy it. Raising the profile of talking about sobriety. You'll know this. Even to go on the radio and mention gambling and sobriety, it is huge. There's always a stigma whatever the nation.
Breaking down some of those barriers. And the next thing that I'm looking to do this year is to build a dayhab.
Yeah, so tell me more.
About that. Bless you. It's basically a clinic. Let's compare a residential rehab with a dayhab. They're virtually the same. You just don't live there. And that's because I think that there's a problem for lots of people. Again, not idiosyncratic to Dubai, which is in any country in the world, people might fear going to their boss to say, I'm a cocaine addict and I need 28 days off. Can I please leave work? I don't think I know that that holds back many people, either because they can't afford it. If they haven't got any company health insurance, it might not cover it. They might have to pay for it themselves and they might fear that their boss might say no. If you haven't got company health insurance, what are you going to do? At the moment, lots of people... You can walk into Cocaine Anonymous or alcoholics, anonymous, and admire anyone that does that. Anyone that ever speaks to me and says, David, how can you help? One of the first things I say is go to AA. It's free, it's amazing, and I still go to meetings every week. But if you're in this position where you're a bit stuck, what are you going to do?
Rehab is not an option. What have you got left? And that's where day have comes in. You don't need to leave your family. You can live at home, you can still go to work that day have will run at the weekends and in the evenings. There's a nine-week program that people would come and they would come every week and spend quality hours and stay connected and I would build and show you a community. That's what we're trying to build here. I've just got the plans for that. I'm getting some offices. I have to go through the Dubai Health Authority to get a license. But then it's happening.
That's incredible. It's so incredible. It is so that I'm so excited for this region. Like you said. We were chatting earlier before we started the episode about me and different places I've been in. I feel in the UAE, I can really have that impact. As you say, I feel like there's people that are needing this thing. Even this retreat that I'm running this weekend is not exclusively a sober thing, but it has like 20 people booked because people are seeking an alternative to the norm of the partying lifestyle and there just isn't much there. I think it's incredible that you're here and the impact that you can have if you're able to set up that day have, I think it's going to transform people's lives.
Bless you, Will.
Were also talking about the ripples that we have. I love meeting people who inspire me when they put effort into the upward spiral of humanity. Now, you're spending your time with people teaching positivity and good things. And out of that, those ripples, they go multigenerational as well, by the way. I do know I'm not saying about me, but there are certain people in recovery that might have died. Well, they'll get married and have children and the children's children. I mean, it really touches me. What can happen now goes through time. It's not just space, it's not the width, it's the depth. I like the idea of that, but I do just like the idea of positivity, that connection of humanity, of trying to do something that bloody matters. I did a lifetime of stuff that didn't really matter. I wrote software and it's in the bin and who cares about software. Now, this is about human connection and talking about it's okay sometimes not to feel okay. That doesn't make you a shit mum or a shit dad. But what we can do is work on ourselves and try and be better and spread some positivity and walk down the street tomorrow and say good morning to someone, smile at people.
Fuck, it's free and it makes a massive difference. I like those things. I like being that guy. I like being the person that wants to smile. Look at you smiling. It's good. It's nice to smile, isn't it? I think that's the world that I want to live in and I don't mind being a part of trying to create that world. That's my responsibility to be part of that. I can't just take out of the world like that, can I? I don't want to give back to that world. That drives me, and that again, means I'm a free man on this planet and I can go to sleep and wake up in the morning and look forward to what's going to happen tomorrow because there's positivity involved. I also know that when there's catastrophe or when there's problems or malevolence, I now can cope with that. I know I can cope with that. I know that I will never have to have a drink or take drugs or gamble to soothe the way I feel. There's a different way to do that. Nobody needs to do that. Nobody needs to ever turn to drugs or alcohol to get over how they feel.
You might think that that's just a throwaway comment, but it's true. We don't have to. We might sometimes find ourselves in that place accidentally by practice, by circumstance or whatever. But the life on the other side of the wall is sunny. The sun comes out every day. It does.
Beautiful. Wow, this has been so inspiring. This is my first podcast episode that I've recorded in a long time. I took a hiatus like two months off, and I just forgot how much I get out of it. We spoke about this at the very beginning before we started recording, and David was saying, You can learn something from everyone. I'm just learning so much from hearing what you've been through and where you are now. It's just amazing. Okay, so you're working on the Dayhab project and you're working with private clients here in Dubai. What does that... If someone were listening to this and wanted to work with you, do they have to be Dubai-based? Do you do it in person? What does it.
Look like? No, great question. There's probably the impact of working together is the best but you can get sober over Zoom. Look, we had to. We had to in the pandemic. I work with lots of men over Zoom, so Zoom is not a rubbishy second best. No, it's just as good. So if you live in Dubai, it's great because I can come and see you, or you can come and see me and we can go to the office. If you're anywhere on the planet and you want to talk, that's cool too. We can talk on Zoom. It's quite interesting actually, that most of my clients come to me via the wife. Their wives and-The wives. The wives call first because they love their husband. I only work with men for good reason, and so often men do call me, but often it's the wife. Say, my husband's struggling and he wants to quit drinking, can he help? I'll say, First question, do you mind me asking, does he want to quit drinking or is it that you want him to quit drinking? Often they've talked and that's the way it begins. I offer various different programs from seeing each other once a week for 13 weeks.
I have a 13-week program where we meet every week for 90 minutes and we go through a reliable and repeatable program so that everyone does the same thing. It's worked time and time again. There's a one-to-one day hub, if you like, where I will see a client every day for two hours. Now that's the next level up. That's where I get to speak with you every day. Now that constant connection of thinking about recovery, doing activities every single day, you can imagine that's more of a commitment and it's more expensive, but then you're fully immersing yourself every day into recovery. And then lastly, I work as a sober companion, which is I go and live with people for whatever reasons. It might be that you've run a business and you just can't take time off or you want to concentrate, I'll come and live with you. I've done a couple of times in Dubai and I live with a family and I would travel with the man for his work or to social events. I mean, be a serious companion for somebody who just says, I need to get this. I've tried and failed or I've never tried it before.
Just hold my hand all the time and then we do lots and lots of work. From going to the gym at 6:00 in the morning to finishing the piece of work at 10:00 at night, if that's what you want to do, we'll do that because you're buying my time 24/7. But we do lots and lots of work. You even compare that to a rehab. Now, that's way better than what you might get because it's bespoke. It flexes, bespoke. It's around your life. Quite literally, I'm with you. I'm very discreet. I do get out of the way if you want some privacy, but clients do like that. But ultimately, have a chat and let's see what we can do. I also work with families. Now, I talk to the families on Zoom to say, if you're living with an addict, what can you do? I'm sure you get that. You get wives whose husbands might be in the grip and the trouble, what can we do? How do I cope? How do I save him? That might be the first thing. Let's talk about that. I'm sure you can save him, but there's things that you can do to protect yourself and to not get caught up in the spiral.
But thanks for asking. Ultimately, talking is great, and anyone can Zoom me. We can have a Zoom for half an hour an hour. It's free of charge. You can tell I like talking. I like canvassing.
Amazing. You know that day have, or not the day have, the option of being the companion and living with someone I was thinking. I've had this experience that I've noticed about myself is that I do a lot of intensive yoga retreats or yoga teacher trainings, and I'll be in a retreat environment with sober women for a week or, the most reason, almost three weeks, and it's just incredible. But then when I step out of it, oddly, every time I step out of it, I want to drink. I want to drink alcohol. I know a couple of my guests have actually relapsed on the day after a retreat.
I think it's because of that, the thing about traveling to a rehab or going to a retreat or being out of your home environment is that you're doing all this work, but then you're all of a sudden like, Boom, I'm back in my world. When you were sharing about the companion, the sober companion work, I was like, That actually sounds wonderful because it's integrative into their life and they're in their home environment. They're learning how to be sober in the place where they will be doing it.
Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Right. Anyone that goes to rehab, they spend the first three, four weeks learning all this stuff, and then it gets to the crescendo at the end. What's it going to be like when I go home? Because you've been insulated from all of that. Now, you needed that. Now, I can tell you I needed to be removed from society. I was a danger to myself. I was a suicide risk, and I needed to be removed and I utterly needed to be removed. But not everyone's like that. I think for other people to be in your environment, as you say, around your wife and family. I mean, that's the other thing is then the wife and children get to see you, they get to see me and they know what we're talking about and they get involved and included. That's so great. And the conversations begin really early.
That's so good and so important because I feel one of the big things, like just speaking from my own childhood, I didn't have a parent that was addicted, but I had issues happening in my house that I was not talked to about. And my whole childhood was like, What's happening here?
There's something going on.
Exactly. And I just think that's so powerful for kids to be fully in the conversation of like, This is what your dad is working on right now. This is what we're doing together. It's so amazing.
Yeah, well, look, there's no stigma. It's not a shameful thing. We're fronting it up. We're talking about it. They can see their father getting well. That's incredible. At the end, what was nice? The last client I was with, I worked with him, it's always 30 days, and he said, Can you just stay for a few more days? I said, That would be really nice. We just played paddle. We both learned how to play paddle as part of his recovery, and I just stayed because then I was a guest and a friend thing. He said, I don't really want you to go. I said, Well, I don't have to. He said, Well, would you stay for three or four days? Okay, really nice. Again, all those conversations. It's probably the last thing to mention about the difference between a rehab and something like that is that the husband goes to a rehab and the wife's on her own for 28 days not getting any support anything. Any support, any education, anything. Then husband comes back, surprise. In rehab, we were getting all those hours of work, whereas living together as a sober companion, again, all involved, it begins everyone improving.
That's amazing. Yeah. Wow. That's cool that you've broken that down for me, actually, because I've seen that before on your website, and I was wondering what that would look like. I have one question for you about it. Yeah. If you're going to events with a client, how do you do that discreetly? Or is the client upfront like, This is my sober companion? Or how is that navigated?
Yeah, I've had in Dubai, one client was upfront about it and said, I want to tell everyone because I want to be accountable. I want to get over, I want it outed. He was okay. The other one said, I prefer I want this to be kept a secret. He was a Muslim. And because of his culture and the people that he knew. Interestingly, because I would go to his office every day.
Background was in IT, so I'm an IT consultant.
Was working on a very specific project to do with data analytics to do with their work, their business. I talked about that, but because I was working there for 30 days when I went to social functions, he would say, This is the IT guy.
That's very smart. I guess some people must have known, like the high-up people must have known your role or maybe.
He was the boss. Yeah, no one person in each instance because they were the right-hand man. Theyeverybody else knew.
Yeah, that's amazing.
People would see me working and I have a laptop and- That's so incredible. They just thought I was doing IT. The thing is because I did, I was an IT guy. If anyone wants to catch me out with some clever questions, I can answer that. Well, if you're going to create a backstory, you better not get found out.
Yeah, yeah. Wow, that's so cool. This has been super cool. It's been really amazing and inspiring to just hear more about you, your journey, the work you do. I have one more question for you that I like to end on. I like to ask if you had any piece of advice or any wisdom for someone who wants to start out their sober journey, what would it be?
Gosh, okay. There has to be that moment where you begin. I mean, it sounds just silly, but we can imagine beginning things and plan for it and make the decision, even. But there is the day that you've put your toe in the water and then jump in. I was taught this story, which is there are three frogs on a log and one decides to jump off. How many frogs are on the log? Two? No, it's three, because he only decided he didn't jump. That's what I think recovery is about, which is he can make the decision, but we've done that a thousand times. I'll give up tomorrow. Tomorrow never really comes if you were like me. I think the decision about I need to do this, and the best way to do that is just to make a phone call, is literally to begin with the smallest, tiniest thing, and reach out to somebody and be accountable and say to somebody, I'd like to inquire if I'm quitting drinking, or you don't have to admit that you're an alcoholic, that's all irrelevant. It's about if we decide that we want to embark on any change, there's going to come the day where you take that first step.
I call that the infinite journey. Okay, because let's say you're going to walk to the mountains. That first step from zero to one, one divided by zero is infinity. That's the infinite journey. When you take step one to step two, it's just 100%. And step 2-3 is 50% more, and suddenly it's getting smaller and smaller. The first step is the infinite journey, and that's why it's so bloody difficult. Take that step to break the infinite journey, because that first step is not the solution, but it's the beginning to the solution. Now that's how I feel about it. That held me back for 10 years. I'm too scared, but there was a day there where I was ready, and I wished times when I was nearly ready that I just said, Oh, let's just begin for God's sake. And I think it's beginning.
Beautiful. Wow. So inspiring. I want to thank you so much for coming to Dubai, for being on the show and just getting this opportunity to connect. It was really fantastic.
Thank you very much. I really enjoyed myself and thank you for being a great host.
Hi, friend. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Sober Yoga Girl Podcast. This community wouldn't exist without you here, so thank you. It would be massively helpful if you could subscribe, leave a review, and share this podcast so it can reach more people. If we haven't met yet in real life, please come get your one week free trial of the Sober Girls Yoga membership and see what we're all about. Sending you love and light wherever you are in the world.