Season 2 Launch | Giving Tuesday with Claudia Christian
Voiceover: Welcome to the Options Save Lives weekly live stream, where we spend an hour each week exploring life improving topics through the lens of alcohol recovery, and the Sinclair Method. Every week we take on a new question, topic or common challenge to empower people to either build a better relationship with alcohol, or to eliminate it completely. Episodes are filmed live on Twitch at twitch.tv/cthreefoundation, and the audience is encouraged to ask questions and engage with the host and guests. The Options Save Lives weekly stream is hosted by Executive Director Jenny Williamson, and is produced by the C Three Foundation with the support of R Street Institute and other generous sponsors. For more information about the C Three Foundation, or the Sinclair Method, visit our website at cthreefoundation.org.
Jenny: How is everybody doing today? Oh, I see I've got to put me on a…take the tin can out of effect here. How is the sound on your end everybody? That should hopefully be better. Okay, welcome back to our channel everyone. It's great to see everybody. Thank you for joining us here as we kick off our second season of the Options Save Lives weekly live stream presented by R Street Institute. As always, I am Jenny Williamson, Executive Director at the C Three Foundation and your host for the next hour. How are you today? Where are you guys watching from? Go ahead and fill up that chat box there. We are broadcasting live here from the C Three Foundation office in Fort Myers, Florida where it is a little bit chilly today for Florida standards. Any first timers to the stream out there? I see we do have a first time chatter out there. So welcome.
So this week, we are going to give you a preview of our upcoming season with our special guest here, Claudia Christian. We're going to talk about our end of year theme, which is Make It Memorable, and our annual charity auction which is running right now on 32Auctions. And we'll drop that link into the chat area in a moment, but if you are watching on demand before December 6 of this year, you can bid on items at 32auctions.com/makeitmemorable. So we don't want to sit here and just talk at you. We want to hear from you, too. So we have missed you so much during our summer break. So start getting questions and comments into the chat box all throughout the show while you're watching here on Twitch. The more interaction, the more we can learn together.
So without further ado, let me introduce you to our special guest today. Joining me today is our founder and CEO Claudia Christian, known in TSM circles as the most recognized advocate of the Sinclair Method, Claudia became a TSM activist in 2010, after using the method for her own drinking issue. She is the author of Babylon Confidential and Journeys, two books that show the power of the Sinclair Method. She launched the C Three Foundation, produced the award winning documentary film One Little Pill and delivered a powerful TEDx Talk seen more than 3.3 million times. Claudia also created the Your Sinclair Method coaching program for people on TSM after earning her certification as a National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist. Claudia continues to act in television and film and has an active voice over career. She writes fiction novels and teaches cooking classes in her spare time, all while passionately fighting for the rights of people around the world with alcohol use disorder. So Claudia, thanks for joining the stream today, kicking us off for our second season.
Claudia: I'm excited, Jenny. It's always nice to see you first of all, since I'm in Los Angeles and you're in Florida, but also just to know that there's some familiar faces spreading the word. You know, all of this last week, last couple of weeks, it's been very kismet experiences for me. I've had this inkling to reach out to a former coaching client, or something, or I've met people when I'm out and about, and I've been doing what I used to do in the beginning of my TSM journey. I've been really talking about TSM at every opportunity, almost with the same invigoration and joy that I had in the very beginning of my advocacy. So I bring it up in the supermarket, in the drugstore and into the, you know, I'm picking up a prescription, and I'll say, “By the way, do you know?” You know, I, it's weird. I have this sudden energy that's come from someplace in year 12. We’re heading into year, the dozen year mark for me and my advocacy. And it's interesting what's happening. Maybe it's something in the moon cycle or because it's pre-holidays, and people are really listening. But it's working. It's working. People are now saying, “Oh, by the way, I told my brother or I told my cousin or I told my mom, and they've been on it for four days, and they're doing great.” And I'm getting all this feedback. So I want to encourage anybody today who's listening to do exactly the same thing. It's like the old shampoo commercial. I've said this before. You know, you tell somebody, they're going to tell somebody and it's going to find the person in need, period. It will. I'm telling you. Cosmically it will find the person who needs to have this life saving information. So I encourage all of you to do the same thing that I've been doing forever. And Jenny does all the time. Just talk about it. Bring it up in conversation. It's not awkward. This is something that should be a natural, normal conversation. And you never know, you could save a life just with that one conversation.
Jenny: Yeah, no kidding. And it looks like – so I know that you can't see the Twitter chat, or I'm sorry, the Twitch chat. While we're going here. So speaking of familiar faces, we've got Nat and Mudforce. And we've got Bruce Hodges out there. We've got KnightRider8, who's joining us for the first time. So we've got a lot of UK representation out there with South Wales and London.
Claudia: I’m coming over by the way. I'm coming there for the holidays. Thank you all for your continued support. You know, we've got some fundraisers out there like Nat. We have some people who've devoted years and years of their life and some new newbies that are helping us out. So thank you all. Thank you.
Jenny: Oh, and next we have somebody from Morro Bay.
Claudia: Morro Bay. Oh, that's funny. That's where my sister-in-law lives.
Jenny: So one, we got a lot of new things for this upcoming season. First of all, we've got our new time. This is a special event because today's Giving Tuesday, but after this week we'll start on Fridays at noon. And we are limiting our streams to one hour. Now, we're doing that for a few reasons. One is really to be able to get more guests involved. And when you have a set time schedule, as opposed to ‘we're going to start at this time, and we end when we end’ kind of like we did last year, it’s a lot easier to get people to agree to come on the show. One of the other things that you probably heard, as you were sitting out there watching is we've got a new theme song, which is unique and written specifically for our live streams, and some logos and information. And we're bringing in sponsors to help us be able to promote and really do as much as we can with these live streams, which is why they're going to go on to YouTube almost immediately after broadcast when we can. If we have technical issues, we'll get them up within 48 hours. We've got some awesome volunteers out there who are going through and getting us the transcripts so that we can have those added as soon as we can to each stream. In addition to YouTube, they're also going to go up on our Vimeo channel. And we have just in the last week and a half I think been approved through Anchor and Spotify to host video podcasts on Spotify. So you'll be able to watch these on demand in a lot more places now. And a lot of that is because of the sponsorship that we are getting from various organizations including R Street Institute, which is our presenting sponsor for the entire season.
Claudia: If anyone was wondering, R Street is the harm reduction nonprofit organization in Washington DC that organized and arranged for me to speak at the Senate in 2016 was it? Yeah. And they've been just a wonderful group of individuals that have advised us on certain things and been very supportive for our TSM conference and of course the Twitch channel. So we throw a big thank you out to them.
Jenny: And then the other thing we're going to do on weeks where we have a special guest is we're going to have a quick moment of an icebreaker. So Claudia, we're, we just got through with Thanksgiving. So I guess the best icebreaker following Thanksgiving is, What's your favorite holiday pie?
Claudia: My favorite holiday pie? Oh my goodness. Well, my Daddy made a great apple pie which is just a basic, but lovely pie. I really do a great pear tart with frangipane so that is one of mine. It's got a delicious crust. My mother hearkens it back to her childhood. She feels that I make a perfect European style crust and she loved the pear and almond filling. So I think that's one of my favorites just because it pleases her, and it makes her happy. I'm not big into the pecan stuff, but I had Thanksgiving crab, Crab Thanksgiving with my mom and my stepfather, and a friend had dropped off a chocolate pecan pie that was mind-blowingly good. So, I normally don't like it because it's so sweet and gooey and everything. This one was exceptional, really exceptional. So yeah, you know me. I love food. I love sweets. Trying to kind of cut back over the holiday season. We had the most simple, basic Thanksgiving and it was glorious. No dishes. No. I mean, it was just king crab legs and a salad and some pasta. And it was like, wow, this is great. I had no stress. No turkey in the oven for three hours. No, gosh, it was lovely.
Jenny: Isn't it? Isn't it nice to just be able to enjoy the day instead of worrying about everything going right?
Claudia: I went for a bike ride. I mean, I had a great day. I went for a bike ride to the beach, I hung out with my mom, we did a little shopping, we ate a beautiful dinner. And that was that. It wasn't this big stress of all the side dishes. When I throw Thanksgiving, it's a whole week worth of work. I start with the crust and the stocks. And it's not, you know, frankly, I love my friends, but it ain't worth it. People sit down and eat and it's done in 20 minutes. And I've worked my hands to the bones for a week. So I'm retiring from Thanksgiving.
Jenny: I don't blame you.
Jenny: So, as we start the second season of our live streams, especially since today is Giving Tuesday, I can't help but think back. Gosh, I guess it would be eight years ago now. Back to our first Giving Tuesday when we had One Little Pill up on IndieGoGo.
Claudia: Indie No-no. Indie No-no. Indi we’re never going to do that again.
Jenny: During fulfillment it became Indie No-no. Indie no more.
Claudia: Jenny was in tears practically. “We’re never using Indie GoGo again”. And I’m like “Yeah, okay”
Jenny: Yeah, as we marched around your dining room table trying to match prize items in the after effect. But that day of fundraising. Wow. That day was actually the day that I decided that this is what I wanted to do full time – work with C Three.
Claudia: Thank you Jesus.
Jenny: You must have, gosh, you probably donated what like 200 autographed photos specifically for that day or something crazy, and we raised $10,000 on that first Giving Tuesday. I'd like to say that that was just the beginning of Giving Tuesdays, but I think our Giving Tuesday might have peaked on that.
Claudia: Definitely never had a day quite like that. And then we've never done a fundraiser that raised as much as the one for One Little Pill. But when you look at it in perspective, that film has really changed a lot of lives. So it was completely worth it and meant to be that we got a shed load of donations in for that. And I think, you know, in any nonprofit, a donor driven nonprofit, you suffer burnout, and my fans goes through burnout and people go through phases of like, not another C Three Foundation thing. And I understand that and that's it goes in waves and cycles and the remarkable thing to me is that we still do have people like Nat and like Marcus who passed. Marcus Tempey was with us for years and years. He passed away this year, and he was such a loyal, wonderful volunteer The fact that people hang in there and people come and go is the cyclical nature of fundraising. We've had some fun, but I must say that, you know, it was freeing for me and liberating in a way because I am honestly not a person who wants to have all this clutter in my life. So as sentimental as it was getting rid of all of my memorabilia, and in sharing it with people who it might mean more to than me, it was fun. You know, some of the things were ridiculous that I auctioned, cheerleading outfits, you know, things like that. But hey, whatever it takes, you know, we do it.
Jenny: Well. And last year, for Giving Tuesday, we kicked off our recurring giving program, Crusaders, which we have recently given a complete re-brand to be a HERO, which is help empower realistic…... Wow. I should have written it out. You said my notes were good.
Claudia: Hero – Help enable realistic outcomes.
Jenny: Yeah, helping enable realistic outcomes. And that has actually helped us a lot, to not have to do fundraisers every single month. Because the stability that our C Three Heroes give us through those $15, $25, some of them are $100 donations every month. It's something that we can count on. Something that we don't have to continue scrambling for. Over the course of the year our Crusaders/Heroes program brought in an average of about $1,000 a month. That's $12,000. That's, like three, four fundraisers?
Claudia: Yeah, my goal was to get 300 Heroes. And that is still my goal, because that would be, that would really free us up from having to fund raise. So once again, you know, it's just about encouraging people to sign up. Some people find it daunting, you know, so they could do – I see a woman that's been on there, Sheila, who's been on there for, I think, since we were a one page website, seriously. She's been donating $10 a month forever, and I always see her donation there. And it's, it doesn't sound like, you know, $10 a month is not daunting to individuals. They’re like, okay, it's two Starbucks or something, and that adds up and every bit helps. And so you know, I'm just really grateful to those individuals who hang in there and who take the time, and understand that the price of a bottle of decent wine, which is about $20, if you just donate the price of a decent bottle of wine or a six pack of IPAs, every month, it goes to unbelievable stability and, and freedom for us.
Jenny: And it allows us to do things like this, because when we do our live streams especially, and we'll get into some of the topics and things and really preview the season coming up. But these resources, we're able to then put those out and reuse them. Because a lot of times people will actually, they will feel a lot better about absorbing the information when they can see a face and hear a voice as opposed to just reading text on a website. And it's about connecting the resources that we have with the people that need them. Because even if we just create resources, we can create resources all we want, if we're not getting them into the hands of the people who need them, then we're just spinning our wheels. So we are able to do so much more because of our Heroes, because of our donors, because of our volunteers. Our wonderful, wonderful supporters. And so, for us Giving Tuesday this year is about our gratitude back to you and having a celebration kickoff show.
Jenny: So now that we are doing the live streams Claudia.
Jenny: What has been, in your opinion the most surprising or meaningful part of doing these videos for people?
Claudia: Well, the feedback that I receive is sort of echoing exactly what you just said. A lot of people don't have the, let's just call it what it is, the focus to read the substantial amount of material that we've collected over the years. We have amazing resources, but the majority of them are written. So what I'm hearing from people is “Well, I just, you know, I saw the episode with whomever, doctor or Jenny and so and so, and it really resonated with me, it hit home”. So I'm excited for this season, because we already have a very diverse group of people bringing more information to our shows, and I just think it's, it's wonderful to get different perspectives on recovery. Every single recovery is unique, and every person has a vast amount of experience with their clients or patients. So you have, you know, certain doctors that we work with, on a regular basis, you know, they have collective experiences that you as the audience need to hear about, because you might find that one nugget of saying, “Oh my gosh, I'm exactly like Dr. Umhau’s patient. You know, I'm, that's it, that resonates with me, and maybe I should listen to more of Dr. Umhau’s stuff.” You know, it's interesting, I was talking to a few people about supplements yesterday for a young client of mine. And I referred back to Umhau’s talk on fish oil, and it was, you know, healing the brain after alcohol use disorder. And all of these things, I wouldn't know, you wouldn't know, and the audience wouldn't know, unless we continue to have this open conversation about how to treat this in a holistic approach. That is what this is. Recovery is holistic, it's the whole body, mind and spirit. So it's wonderful to have as much information as possible, to put it out there. So I'm excited about having, you know, old faces and new faces back. I think this season is going to be, is going to be wonderful. I know a couple of people who signed up already, and I'm excited for what they might share.
Jenny: And we spent quite a bit of time trying to hone an initial topic list. What topic or set of topics and guests that are currently scheduled, that you're aware of, are you most excited about?
Claudia: Well, I am excited about Mary Reed from Moderation Management, because I still don't find, I'm trying to find that symbiotic way to merge these two ideals. Because as you've stated many times Jenny, the majority of people, what is it 88% of people that we ask, really come to TSM with a desire to reduce, not stop drinking, right? So any form of harm reduction, any form of moderation is just absolutely in perfect relation to what we do. It's two peas in a pod. So I'm interested to see her. Maybe, perhaps, as I won't be present for that one, but maybe ask her ideas about how we can make more people who seek out Moderation Management know about TSM, so that they can eliminate cravings at the same time as joining this wonderful group, Moderation Management. They can eliminate cravings, and compulsive behavior with targeted use of naltrexone. So I think I would be excited to really, really prod her about making this, because there's a vast amount of people who use Moderation Management who don't know about TSM. And they might fall out of Moderation Management because they have debilitating cravings. And so they continually relapse, much like people in AA. So I just don't know how to take these big, you know, groups of individuals and really drive it home to let your people know about us, you know. So I'm excited to see you perhaps prod her a bit about that.
Jenny: And, in addition to Moderation Management, we're still also hoping to get a SMART facilitator.
Claudia: SMART Recovery would be wonderful.
Jenny: Yes. We've got, I've got a couple people out there who are searching various groups to see.
Claudia: I would love to have someone from SMART Recovery on. You know, it's science and a lot of these SMART Recovery groups are very much in line with medication assisted treatments. And I think it would be, that would also be a very lively conversation for you to have, and how can we join forces to get this information out to help people have an easier recovery.
Jenny: And one of the things I'm excited about, and I'm excited about a lot on this schedule, and I haven't even talked to you about this yet. I just booked us a gentleman who will be our guest, his name is Brian Anderson, and in January, he's going to be on to talk about non-alcoholic beers and drinks. He runs a YouTube station where he does NA drink reviews.
Claudia: Oh, wow.
Jenny: And I'm gonna have him on because I'm a member of a Facebook group that has a lot of information about non-alcoholic beverages in general. And so many people who are there, walk that line back and forth between I'm just drinking these occasionally in between my other full “leaded” beers to moderate some, and then there are some who have gone through recovery, and they are sober and they are having the NA drinks instead, and finding that that's what's keeping them from relapsing. And so I want to really dig into stuff like that. He's been a member of the group for a lot longer than I have, plus he's got his channel, so that one is one that should be really interesting, because the topic of NA drinks are so controversial in some recovery circles.
Claudia: That’s the thing is I, you know, I understand that some people simply don't even want that trigger. I've spoken to, I have a few acquaintances in AA that say, you know, when we go out, I order a non-alcoholic beer and they're like, oh, that's the devil. These are people who don't even cook with wine. I still cook with wine, even though I'm abstinent because the alcohol cooks off, and I'm not triggered by the taste of it at all, because I don't have any cravings. But those people who still have cravings and still really are afraid of being around alcohol, absolutely should not dabble in that. But there are elixirs, non-alcoholic elixirs that are very popular now that don't mimic alcohol in flavor or smell. And that would be an ideal choice for someone, because you can have cacao powder for energy, you can have matcha powder in there, you can have all things for brain health and for clarity of mind and for energy. So I think that would be a better solution for somebody who really doesn't like the idea of something that mimics alcohol. But for me an IPA that tastes like real beer is heaven.
Jenny: Yeah. Agreed.
Claudia: Yeah. And some of the, I love the Monday gin with tonic and lots of lime in the summertime. It's, you know, to me, it's great. It's alcohol free. You feel like you're having a cocktail, but there's no danger in it for me. But for some people, it's a very real danger. If they have a really realistic non-alcoholic beer, it might trigger them to want to drink again.
Jenny: I'm really interested in diving into this for an hour with Brian. That's gonna be a really fun show. And of course, this entire season is leading up to, can you believe it already, our third annual virtual Sinclair Method conference.
Claudia: I know it's amazing. It's amazing. I keep thinking about that. It's our third one in 2022.
Jenny: Yeah. And then next week, December 10 , we will be having our conference theme reveal. We'll have David, who is basically the right hand man for making these conferences happen. David Belenky is going to be joining us, and we’ll have Kali Lux from Workit Health, one of our co-headline sponsors, so we're really excited about that. So we're gonna have a full house. And without giving anything away, no spoilers here, Claudia.
Claudia: I know. I know. I have a big note here saying do not reveal title.
Jenny: What can you tell us about what it means to you? Because you heavily influenced the direction we're going with our next conference. So what can you briefly say without spoiling anything?
Claudia: Last year's Stronger Than Your Drink, I think, was a wonderful way to encourage people to utilize methods to take back that power. You know, we talk a lot about the lizard in the brain and making the choices for you and whispering in your ear saying, you know, “Oh, just have another drink.” We talk a lot about habits and how difficult they are to change. So I think that theme was really important to cover. Next year's theme, really, I think is such a broader – it's what I was speaking to earlier, recovery is holistic. It's all everything. It is mind, body, and spirit. It's changing habits. It's also moving into the future. And I, you know, I'm saying this with complete respect for any other treatment that anybody's used to get better, because that's all we care about is people getting better. But we really have to embrace science. We have to embrace different medications. We have to embrace the entire process of recovering. And I think that next year's theme really does that. I think that it's going to be just a more... See, I can't say it without saying the word. I'm trying not to say the word.
Jenny: Oh, you are going to be so happy when I play that little video and let everybody see what we're doing.
Claudia: It speaks to the individuality, but also the broad spectrum of recovery. Yes, that's all I'm saying. Otherwise, I'm going to screw it up.
Jenny: Well, let's move to something we can talk about. There's no spoilers in this. Our end of year theme, Make It Memorable. After all, the last two years have been so hard for so many people. We've felt loss. We’ve felt isolation. And we also know that alcohol can impair both short and long term memory. So what does the reminder to Make It Memorable mean to you?
Claudia: Well, on a personal note, I can tell you that there is a, and I've heard this from other people who had substance use disorders and lost periods of their life or blackouts, alcohol or drugs. There's a deep regret that occurs in an individual for the years or weeks or even one night lost. Because you can't quite remember that trip that you would look forward to. You can't remember that New Year's Eve with that person that you really love, and it's devastating in a way because what we have as human beings to fill our days and fantasize and daydream about are memories. Memories are so important. You know, sometimes a memory can make you, it can trigger so many wonderful feelings. You can smell something and it reminds you of something from childhood. Memories are imperative, and they're lovely, and every person who I know who is older will say, “Well, at least I have my memories to enjoy.” You can revisit them like you're reading a book that you love, or reading poetry that means something to you, you can revisit your memories. So Make It Memorable is important because if you drink to excess, you're not gonna remember. You're also not going to be present. Make It Memorable means so many things to me. It means be present, be in the moment, don't be thinking about how much booze is left in the bottle of wine or how much, you know, you've imbibed or your friends are imbibing, just be present. And also make it a night that you can remember. Make it a holiday you can remember without guilt and shame. Make it a Christmas that you attend, and you're present with your family and friends and loved ones, and you harbor no guilt or shame because of your behavior. So all of these things add up to Make It Memorable. I think it's a positive, joyful reminder of what can happen when you drink safely or when you abstain for an event.
Jenny: Yeah, and for me, one of the things that drew me to this was the fact that um, we're not going out there saying, “Hey, don't drink this holiday.” You know, we're acknowledging that you know what, we've all probably had those times when we just overdid it. And so we just want to say, you don't have to stop drinking entirely, but drink less. Mix in those waters. Eat before you drink. Make sure that what you're focused on, as you said, isn't how much alcohol is left in the room. Make that focus on the people that you're with, and, you know, if anything, the last two years has taught so many people that you know, you might not have next Christmas.
Jenny: You might not have next holiday season. And things happen. And sometimes we see them coming. And sometimes they blindside us. And we don't know. And so treat this entire holiday season, no matter which of the dozens of holidays that happen in the final two months of the year you celebrate, whatever you celebrate, or if you choose not to celebrate at all, just make sure that the people you're with, the people you care about, make memories with them, cherish them, know that, as you said, be present. And through that presence, you make those connections stronger, so that if they are gone, you've got something that you can hold on to that endures.
Claudia: People have talked a lot about during COVID, and it became sort of a cliché meme, but there's a lot of truth to it. I don't want things, I want experiences. And I think that plays into, you don't need more gifts for Christmas, you need more time with people. We need more experiences, more laughs, more generosity of spirit, more cooking together, more hanging out. Deep, deep, important talks. All the things that you wanted to say to people, have them. And I think that's a really nice thing that's happened through COVID, if you can say anything nice about a pandemic, is that it's reminded us, of course of what's important.
Jenny: Yeah, the power of connection.
Claudia: Yes, the power of connection, human connection.
Jenny: And so that's really where we're going with that. And so we hope that throughout the social media posts that we put up there, I had one a couple weeks ago – Fuzzy puppies are cute, fuzzy memories or not?
Claudia: Yeah. Yeah. That's very true, very true. Believe me, I traveled a lot in my drinking days. My 85-year-old mother remembers more than I do. The other day, she said, “You remember when we took the river cruise?” “Sure. Yeah, I remember that.” Large swaths of my life are sort of, they're gone. And that's not something that I'm happy about at all. It's not something I'm happy about. So I encourage all of you to, you know, anybody who knows somebody who has a drinking problem, tell them about TSM. Anybody who doesn't have a drinking problem, be present for those who are drinking, maybe encourage them to have some non-alcoholic beverages between the alcoholic beverages.
Jenny: And have some with them. You know, just because you don't have a problem with alcohol doesn't mean that you can't support your friends and family by also pacing yourself as well. Because that's really helpful. And it's in a way that you really don't even have to say anything. I mean, Claudia, how many times whether in coaching or other conversations, have you heard of somebody, especially married couples, although usually people in relationships - “Yeah, I've been doing TSM for X number of months, my drinking is scaling back. I'm kind of happy with my progress. My partner is out drinking me and getting frustrated”. And so just that slowing down to support your partner can help give a boost to their confidence and success level. Because your over-drinking might be triggering them to want to keep up.
Claudia: Yeah, well, yes. Especially if you really are, if you want your partner to change, you have to show some restraint. I mean, you have to do it with them. And because of TSM you don't have to commit to sobriety. Why not both of you get healthy at the same time and reduce your drinking. Listen, we know that the guidelines for drinking have changed over the years and now there's, you know, the report that came out in 2019 I believe it was. It said any amount of alcohol is dangerous to a human body. So there’s no need to have a bottle each. You can go out and have a glass of wine and be supportive of each other. You know, change is good. Listen, reduction is good for all health reasons, especially for women. There are so many health complications connected to alcohol in women that it's just not worth taking that risk. And as we all know, alcohol use disorders amongst women escalated beyond belief during COVID. So now that we're coming upon a new year, Make it Memorable. Make some changes, change your habits and start the new year fresh again. It's I think, coming out of this even though we still have problems, and we probably will always have new variants and restrictions and mandates, we still have a different sense of life now. We can take everything we've learned and we can still be safe and protected, but we can really, really focus on what's important. And I think part of that is getting your health under control, getting your drinking under control, making strong, strong friendships and repairing relationships with your family, and all of that is going to be easier if you're not abusing a substance.
Jenny: And in terms of either paying it forward or giving it back, depending on where an individual is, let's talk a little bit about how people can help Make It Memorable for others. I mean, of course you can make it memorable by working with and paying attention to your own drinking and scaling that back and substituting in non-alcoholic drinks. But then there are ways that you can help others Make It Memorable as well.
Claudia: Help us by becoming a HERO.
Jenny: Yeah, as we said earlier. Our Heroes campaign. I could not love our Heroes any more.
Claudia: We also had a pretty seminal number Jenny, when you send out the newsletter that we managed to book 300 coaching sessions. We reached that number which was amazing. I mean, this was just a crazy idea of mine during COVID to launch a coaching page and Jenny and our wonderful volunteer, you know, ended up, Morgan and Jenny ended up creating this incredible resource for people and we booked 300 sessions. That's 300. I mean, that's, that's incredible to hear.
Jenny: To be clear, the idea was pre-COVID. But the crazy part was launching a brand new program two weeks into global restrictions.
Claudia: Yes, Yes, Yes.
Jenny: We could have easily fallen on our face on that one.
Claudia: No, it seemed to be good timing, so you never know.
Jenny: Yeah. And holding steady on that and following the timeline in spite of the global upheaval. Actually, as you said, it ended up being the perfect timing. We knew people needed it. But then, to have us launch two weeks into global lockdowns. It became a critical resource for a lot of people very quickly.
Claudia: Yeah, no, I mean the online meetings and the coaching sessions I think were, people needed accountability and mindfulness. And to get back to your previous question. I didn't mean to get off topic, um, how can you help people during the holiday season? Keep it, you know, memorable and create experiences. I always ask people when I coach them. “Do you know anybody who maybe alcohol is not their focus? You know? Somebody who's a very light drinker or non-drinker. Reach out to them.” And I encourage any of you who don't have a drinking issue, reach out to your friends who party a lot and drink too much, especially during the holiday season, and suggest something that doesn't involve alcohol. If that means going to a laser light show in London. I've noticed that a lot of wooded areas are having laser things. Some of them are recreating the Northern Lights. Here in the US there's lots of Christmas fairs and outdoor activities you can do with your friends. Let's say, let's go for a walk. Let's go for a hike and catch up. Let's go for breakfast. Anything that doesn't involve drinking, and I think that's the way that we can help our friends stay focused. Bowling, whatever it takes. You know, come over and watch a movie with some popcorn and hot chocolate. You know, just something that doesn't involve alcohol, but it involves bonding and creating new memories and new experiences and getting closer as friends and family, and I think that all of those things that you can do. Let's go find a Christmas tree, you know, that's a day. You can go out to lunch, find the tree, put it up on your car, bring it home, trim it. You don't need alcohol to trim a tree. You know, we have to think of life in terms of, you know, alcohol really, as I try to stress to people, it shouldn't be a daily thing. It should be special occasions. If you really, really want to continue to drink, it should be convivial, it should be community with your friends, not drinking alone, not drinking daily. So we have to rethink that and I'm sure all of you out there know somebody who's in the habit of drinking daily, so suggest an outing that doesn't involve alcohol to them. At least you know, that for a few hours of that day they got their mind off of it and you are part of their health package.
Jenny: And I know as a lot of people host get-togethers. One thing that I would caution people is to resist the urge to always make sure people have a full glass of whatever they're drinking. I can't tell you how many times I see in the peer support groups or even hear among my friends. “Yeah, I was done, but my glass kept getting refilled by other people.” “I was going to leave the bar but then so and so said no, no, let me buy you one”. And if you're the so and so who's always buying or filling up other people's glasses. You think you're being polite and being a good host or hostess because we've been taught that that's the proper and polite thing to do, is to make sure that all of your guests needs are taken care of. If they've got an empty glass they might want something more, but resist the urge to encourage people to drink more out of some obligation that you feel that you have to do to be a good host or hostess, because you really don't. You know, you can say “You want me to get you a glass of water?” Instead of “You want me to refill your wine.”
Claudia: You know what I did? In the last party I threw I put a non-alcoholic bar sort of front and center, and then the alcohol behind in a different part of the house. But the first thing people saw was this really beautiful display of fancy bubbly waters and non-alcoholic beers and non-alcoholic spirits and elixirs and all these fun bottles of stuff and mixers and fresh fruit and all these mint leaves and all this fabulous stuff and everyone’s eye was drawn to that. And I noticed that there was so much booze leftover. In the party, I think out of 12 people, maybe they drank three bottles of wine. I have never seen such a small amount of. Everybody was drinking this other stuff and they're like “No, I'm driving” or “I've got something to do tomorrow” because it just reminded them that it's not really necessary. It's not a necessity to get hammered at a dinner party, and we're all adults. Yeah, so get it there next to the food so you've got, you know, the snacks, the beautiful cheese's and then you've got all the non-alcoholic choices and then over there is the wine. But I wasn't encouraging. I was just saying, “here's the wine, here's the appetizers and help yourself”. That's what I said. I didn't, I never refilled a person's glass, that's up to them. And it worked beautifully. Everybody was sober. I mean, they were a little loose some of them, but nobody was hammered and everybody had a wonderful time. They stayed until midnight and they switched to coffees and it was civilized.
Jenny: Well, I think that the flip side of the host or hostess who feels they need to ensure that their guests are always drinking. I feel like there's also an unspoken sense sometimes of obligation on the guest to say, well this is what's been put out for me and therefore I feel like it might be rude not to drink. And so by giving options like you did, then they didn't feel uncomfortable not drinking, because it was just as normal to go ahead and select a non-alcoholic version. And so it ends up being a wonderful thing where you guys were able to connect then.
Claudia: Yeah. And if you have the pretty glasses out there where the non-alcoholic stuff is. Nobody knows or cares what you're drinking. There's so many options nowadays of sparkling wines in champagne glasses. Just put up, you know, just have that option there because a lot of people, it's interesting. I'm finding more and more people in this day and age than I did in the 80s or 90s or even the 2000s. More people are drinking less of every age. They just seem to be drinking less. Of course not in places like Michigan where I recently visited or Wisconsin or Montana or even you know in London, but there are certain parts of society that are cutting down dramatically. So I mean, there's no other way to explain this huge market that they have now of non-alcoholic beverages. Back in the old days I mean all they had was that absolutely awful non-alcoholic beer. I can't even remember the name of it. Just one. Dreadful.
Jenny: I won’t mention it. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Everybody knows which one you're talking about.
Claudia: Horrible. And boy, when I was in Germany, I had two of the best non-alcoholic beers, and it was completely normal because the driving restrictions. We've spoken about this before. You cannot have any alcohol in your system in Europe or the UK and drive, otherwise it's just like you lose your license. So a lot of people drink, the designated driver drinks non-alcoholic beers. They've got great beers on tap. I mean they're beautiful, in the proper steins and glasses, beautiful. I mean it was just wonderful. The ritual of it was still there. The taste was still there and yet you know you can be safe.
Jenny: Oh, which reminds me since you'll be over in London, you will probably be able to get your hands on Guinness 0.0 which is not available in North America yet. So you’ll have to try that and let me know if it lives up to the hype.
Claudia: Oh, I'm gonna try that for sure. I'll probably buy some when I get there.
Jenny: And so we are starting to draw close to the end of our stream. So let's hear from everybody in the audience. You know, what are you guys doing to make this season memorable? We still have such a great crowd out there right now. Mudforce mentioned discovering a love of elderflower pressé or is it press? And apparently, if you like cider, while you're over there, you should try Thatcher's Zero.
Claudia: Thatcher's Zero. Oh my goodness. They have a – I love cider. They have a non-alcoholic cider now? Oh my gosh. Okay. Now they just need a good non-alcoholic red wine and I will be sorted for life. That's all I'm waiting for.
Jenny: Yes, so. Yeah. Bruce Hodges says, “I love the idea of putting non-alcoholic beverages front and center at a party.”
Claudia: Yeah, and put it next to the beautiful appetizers you put out. That's just, and make it pretty, you know. I had a big thing of tea with like herbal tea with lots of slices of orange and mint leaves and stuff, but I also had all these great bottles of elixirs and mixers. And I had my fake whiskey out there and the fake gin and the really fancy tonic water. You know, the expensive little bottles, fresh limes and everything, and people were going “Oh my god, that's so cool.” I had fake margaritas out there, with really good margarita mix, all homemade, you know, and people were drinking that like crazy. They were more excited about that than the red and white wine that I had over there. But it was all about feeding the eyes, you know and the smell and herbs and all that stuff. So it's a really good idea to do, and always put it next to the food. And then recessed in the background is the real bar, which people go to of course, but this gives them a nice option to drink something fancy and fun in between their glass of wine or towards the end of the night when they're just done, you know, then they have a nice, wonderful refreshing beverage to drive home with.
Jenny: Yeah, so it's such a great idea. We have a microbrewery local here in Fort Myers that also has a kombucha bar and an NA bar on location that runs out of it. So if you're going to this particular place and you just want to get a kombucha that's fine. They have non-alcoholic CBD bubbly waters. You can go have an NA tequila drink or whiskey drink or whatever because they keep that all on all on hand so that you don't have to feel like in order to be there you have to drink something alcoholic.
Claudia: I was way ahead of my time when I came up with, in 2004 I wrote up a business plan for SoBar. It was So Bar and I pitched it to all sorts of people in London and I wanted to open up the first non-alcoholic bar for people that go that wouldn't be triggered by drinking. Everything in there would have been just beautiful food and non-alcoholic.
Jenny: You were probably ahead of your time because if you were making that pitch today, it would probably be a different reception.
Claudia: I don’t think I have time to run a bar!
Jenny: Run a bar, keep acting, run a nonprofit…you know?
Claudia: Write a new book, make another documentary
Jenny: You're working on the 72-hour day.
Claudia: Just like you Jenny. Just like you.
Jenny: Alright, well it looks like we are almost out of time. Audience you have been so wonderful as always. Thank you for spending the last hour of our first episode of the new season with us. Please join me in thanking our wonderful guest Claudia Christian. Claudia, any last words of wisdom for the audience?
Claudia: This particular Twitch was just about getting together again and sharing some ideas and some love. The subsequent episodes will be filled with lots of information for you to share with your loved ones and new friends and acquaintances. And this holiday season is really a time to give the gift of information and education and I wish all of you an incredibly safe and wonderful holiday. I will see you again. I believe I'm coming back on…
Jenny: On the 10th of December.
Claudia: On the 10th of December. And yeah, well we'll talk about lots of stuff and yeah, just keep up the good work kids and encourage your friends to become Heroes. And we'll just we'll just keep on keeping on in year eight going. Exciting stuff.
Jenny: Audience show some love for Claudia in the comments and let us know what you guys are looking forward to most this season. If any of you came in late or you want to share, watch the stream again, we're gonna have today's video up on the website, hopefully by the end of today, and as soon as we're able to, we will get those transcripts added and add the closed captioning as well.
Next week, we're going to have Claudia back for our third annual Sinclair Method virtual conference theme reveal and we'll be joined by David Belenky, our Conference Production Assistant who worked with us last year and Kali Lux from Workit Health. The theme holds a very special meaning for Claudia. And it's been so hard to keep this cat in the bag for this long, as those of you who were here for the whole stream found out. If you found value in the broadcast, we hope that you'll hit the donate button in our profile, or head to our website and make a donation at cthreefoundation.org/donate. You can also follow our channel so that you get broadcast alerts, and you can subscribe to our channel to go ad free and get some bonus emoji to use. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can subscribe for free, but you have to remember to manually renew it each month. You can also send gift subscriptions to other viewers, cheer, drop bits, all of that, we've got it all enabled. If you'd like to suggest a guest or topic for future broadcasts, we've got a link to a Google form that we will fix for next week, because it didn't seem to be working today. And you can find the link on our main Schedule page on our website. If you're on the Sinclair Method and you're looking for more peer support, or you just want to join the C Three Foundation community, we've got you covered with groups on Facebook, Discord, and our Options Save Lives forum. That's it for today. Have a wonderful weekend. Be gentle with yourself and we will see you again on Friday December 10 right here on Twitch at noon Eastern. Bye everybody.
Voiceover: You've been watching the Options Save Lives weekly live stream hosted by Executive Director Jenny Williamson, and produced by the C Three Foundation with the support of R Street Institute and other generous supporters. For more information about the C Three Foundation or the Sinclair Method, visit our website at cthreefoundation.org. If you have a question you want answered live on air, to make guest suggestions, or to support the show, let us know. You can reach us through our website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or on Discord. Join us each week as we continue to discuss more ways to help you build a better relationship with alcohol, or to eliminate it completely. Because recovery from alcohol use disorder is not a one size fits all process. Options are available and Options Save Lives.