BFFs encourage alcohol-free lifestyle after getting ‘sick and tired of feeling sick and tired’
Never drinking again, but this time FOR REAL! These two besties are promoting sobriety after experiencing the most “horrific” hangovers ever.
Lisa Elsworth and Alex Walker are more than just life-long best friends. They are the founders of Bee Sober – a non-profit community encouraging sobriety. The besties are now on a mission to help people live a healthy, alcohol-free lifestyle.
The idea for creating such a positive community came after they both realized they were fed up with feeling sick and tired all the time.
For Lisa, the enlightenment happened on July 9, 2018. That morning, she woke up with the most “horrific” hangover. She got real with herself and decided she would never allow herself to feel that way again.
On June 2, 2019, it was Alex’s turn to realize that alcohol was not her friend. Upon waking up after a night of heavy drinking, she thought she found herself “crawling around on all fours and vomiting.” Only one thought was on her mind that day: “I’m never drinking again!”
“I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!”
Speaking about her love-hate relationship with alcohol, Lisa told Unilad:
“I really didn’t know who I was without alcohol at all. I didn’t have a sort of separate identity from it. Everything – birthday cards, presents, Christmases, social life – everything for me involved alcohol. It really was part of my identity.
I just did not know who I was without alcohol. I couldn’t tell you what I liked, pinpoint any hobbies, that was my thing just going out and having a drink.”
Opening up about the day she decided to give up drinking, she said:
“I woke up with a horrific hangover, and I downloaded a book called The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober on audio and listened to it and immediately thought ‘Oh my god this person is just like me.’ I could relate because it wasn’t written by another alcoholic, just somebody who’d had enough of drinking.”
“I developed an anxiety disorder and chronic depression during that period of time.”
While Lisa was already on her journey to sobriety, Alex’s drinking addiction was dramatically escalating following a devastating miscarriage. She shared:
“I’d never drank through any of my pregnancies – and this is another thing that I think keeps women stuck, because we take huge amounts of time off alcohol – it was another way of telling myself that I didn’t have a problem.
So, I stopped drinking for my pregnancy, and then I had a miscarriage and it actually impacted my physical health because I had lost a lot of blood during the surgery, but also my mental health – I developed an anxiety disorder and chronic depression during that period of time, but I hadn’t really recognised it.”
For a long time, Alex thought alcohol was helping her cope with her mental health issues. From one bottle of wine on a Friday or Saturday night, the number rapidly increased to around three every other day.
“The problem was, I would get really bitter and nasty and upset and start going down a spiral every time I had a drink. It would really worsen all the symptoms – I would become extra sad, I would wake up the next day with even more anxiety because alcohol causes anxiety, so all of those things became really, really compounded.”
Alex says she was a “binge drinker” but had no idea she “had a problem at all.”
“I was managing not to drink in the week and going to work and doing all those normal life things, I didn’t think I had a problem at all. I really didn’t think I had a problem.
I didn’t kind of know there was another way of socialising, I didn’t know there was another way of behaving really. The truth is: I thought I was funny. I thought that my drinking stories, I would glorify them. I was stuck in this idea of what normal was.”
As for her moment of realization, Bee Sober’s co-founder said:
“It was another one of those ‘I’m never drinking again,’ and I’d had lots of them. But I really was at the point of ‘I’m just so sick of this, I can’t spend another day feeling like this – feeling anxious and feeling sad, so unwell.’
So, I took a photo of myself, sent it to Lisa, and said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ and she said, ‘Look, just take a little break for thirty days,’ and that was the last time I drank.”
The two best friends are now on a mission to remove “the stigma attached to living a positive and inclusive alcohol-free lifestyle.”
“The stigma around drink is massive. I think when people start thinking, ‘Oh, I’m drinking a bit much,’ they’re so worried about being labelled an alcoholic, [but] they don’t ask for help, or they don’t want to tell people they’ve stopped drinking.”
After choosing a sober lifestyle, Lisa, who admits she suffers from social anxiety, gathered the courage to reach out to other people embracing sobriety. That’s when she established Bee Sober Manchester.
The following year, when Alex joined the sober club, the BFFs set up their own podcast called The Sober Experiment. In their podcast, the life-long friends spoke about their “journey to sobriety” and encouraged others to follow their example.
At one point, they decided to merge everything under the name Bee Sober.
For those looking forward to starting their journey, Alex advises not to look at it “as a forever thing.”
“It’s too much, it’s too daunting. It’s like climbing Everest when you’ve only ever walked outside.”
Instead, she suggests taking small steps, such as going alcohol-free for only 30 days, just how she started.
“At the end of 30 days, that is enough for you to make a decision as to whether you feel better or worse without it.”
Meanwhile, Lisa shared the joys of embracing a sober life:
“Now, I can go out on a Friday and on the Saturday be up, out – I go to the Lake District quite a lot with my boyfriend, we’ve bought a kayak, we go waterfall dipping – we do all these things I would never dreamt of doing.
It’s [being sober] honestly like, you know when you’re a kid before you find drink and you’re excited about being in a forest, it’s like you go back to that.
When you laugh, you really laugh.”
“Making friends is so important when you’re sober because you kind of feel like an outsider and isolated from society. Having friends who really understand that is so important in your success.”
Have you ever considered stopping drinking? What do you think of Lisa and Alex’s initiative? Let us know in the comment section!