The Club Soda podcast

Harriet Waley-Cohen, Ian Young, and Drew Lawson on connection with self

May 19, 2021 Club Soda Season 2 Episode 30
The Club Soda podcast
Harriet Waley-Cohen, Ian Young, and Drew Lawson on connection with self
Show Notes Transcript

This week our podcast centres on our connection with self, our friend Harriet Waley-Cohen interviews Ian Young and Drew Lawson. We'd like to thank Harriet for guest-hosting the podcast, we're always grateful for her contributions toward Club Soda. 

Ian Young runs a recovery centre on the island of Koh Phanang, and Drew is a Holistic Therapist. In this interview, they get stuck into how they've found a deeper connection to self, as well as to those around them through sobriety. They discuss the physical expectations we place on ourselves to appear and appeal in certain ways, and delve into spiritual practices that they have found helpful in their journey through sobriety. 

Ian has a sober community around him and they enjoy dancing at the various parties on the island. At the peak of his pre-sobriety partying, Ian was using drink and drugs. He wasn't nourishing his body with food, and was hooked on sweet drinks like Malibu and Baileys. When he got sober, he worked in chocolate, and in this interview he talks about how he switched out those sweet drinks for a chocolate habit. He's trying to reduce this at the moment. Since becoming sober he says he feels he has found a connection with self that was always meant to be. He has become the person he was destined to be, and has let go of the need for external validation.

Drew uses spiritual practice to find that connection with self. He meditates, and focusses on finding energy from yourself, rather than from external sources such as drugs and alcohol. Drew believes that being in service to others and dissolving selfish intent is the key to rebuilding a sense of self worth and connection with our true selves. 

The discussion also delves into relationships coming to an end, and how to find comfort in being single. Sex and self-pleasure are also part of the conversation, as well as finding the things in life that truly make you feel happy and fulfilled. 

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Hi, everybody, and welcome to the Club Soda podcast. And my name is Harriet Whaley, CO and I'm going to be your host for this episode. I have been sober since 2002. And I've been part of Club Soda since it very first launched and hosting the very first Club Soda workshop, I believe, which I think was called How to have an amazing happier, more, more more than everything was before sober life. Because this, this can be a an idea that when you moderate or you stop drinking entirely, that life becomes less of everything. So I was showing everyone has become more of everything. And I think that was back in 2015. Obviously, Club Soda has evolved and broadened in so many phenomenal ways. And if you're interested in finding out more about the courses and everything else that Club Soda has to offer, please do check out the website, which is joined Club So I'm in my professional life, what do I do, I'm a women's empowerment coach and speaker showing women how to change the way that they think act and feel in their relationship with themselves and their bodies massively for the better. And I do that through public speaking through my transformation programs and through products. So my work is very much around self worth, and our relationship with our bodies, body image, all that kind of thing. So that's a little bit about me. And joining me today are two phenomenal man who I have known for quite a number of years. So the my first guest is Ian young. Now I have known in since 2002. I even recently celebrated A day or two ago, the most incredible sobriety anniversary. He's a dear friend of mine, and he's also been working in the in the cyber field and helping other people to turn around their lives professionally for a really long time. So very warm welcome to you. And you want to introduce yourself as well. What did I miss?

Thank you. How are you? Lovely to be on the show with you? Yeah, I celebrated 20 years of continuous sobriety, two, three days ago. And it was is such a big amount of time really, it kind of blows my mind. I've been sober longer than I was in active addiction now. So it's kind of cool. What do I do? Well, I live on copan yang in Thailand. I have a little private practice here called copan yang addiction consultant. And I see people all over this hedonistic party Island. And I enjoy myself with lots of the sober community here on the island is a big, sober group of us that go out dancing together and sober raving together, we have a lot of fun. Meanwhile, I also have a rehab in Phuket. And then I have a global practice called sober services, which have been running since 2008, which is me as an interventionist or sober companion or an online recovery coach. And I also have sober Academy which comes from that. So I train people to be interventionist, so, so we're companions and recovery coaches, largely so that I can be in different parts of the world represented were people that trained in my model. And I've been working in the field of addiction since 2003, I got so much of 16 2001, after 13 years of chronic alcoholism, and intravenous drug use of lots of parties, sex drugs.

Amazing, and I'm so happy to have you here to discuss this because it's not always something that men talk about, actually how they feel about their bodies and their relationship. With that, I want to introduce you to my next guest. So before we dive into our topics today, he was another very dear friend of mine, Drew Lawson. And now I've named drew because we have given workshops together, not necessarily around things to do with drinking actually more to do with things around conscious and honoring your body through conscious and sexuality. Andrew is an amazing human incredibly kind, incredibly wise. He's one of my first ports of call if anything relationship wise starts to go wrong. And, and, yeah, do you want to introduce yourself? And welcome.

Great, thank you, Harrison. Hi, everyone. Thank you, you are, as you know, have been one of my first ports of calls every time things go well before me so I'm really grateful we have that bridge. And it's a real pleasure and a privilege to be here. I'm already entirely inspired by his journey and the work that he does. And I guess I'm at the other end of like the spectrum with regards active sobriety from alcohol use. But I've worked with in and around methods and technologies for wellbeing and consciousness for 25 years or so, born to alcoholic parents, the first thing that passed my lips was alcohol, I was 20 minutes old when it was first put in my mouth, before mother's milk. And, and I've been exploring my relationship with it ever since. And I've used a lot of different technologies. And I'm happy to say that the 12 steps has been the the anchor and the foundation stone now of continuous sobriety for me, which is measured in a matter of months, rather than years. So like I said, I'm at the other end of the journey in there. But I spent most of my last 10 years not drinking, which has been a joy and I've, I've enjoyed being in Thailand for some of that time, living in Bali for some of that time. And being in and around Europe for much that time. I'm a yoga teacher, I am a somatic sexologist, which is a kind of a long couple of words for to describe someone who works with intimacy in connection with ourselves first, like with the individual and their relationship to ourself, sir ourselves first, and then with our relationship and connection with others. Second, and you know, as that beautiful quote, suggests that the opposite of, of addiction is not sobriety, it is human connection. And so a lot of the work that I do is around the art and practice of human connection, because my experiences that um, will go into it perhaps later in the interview, but learning how to hold ourselves in that connected space is, is my flavor of a higher power, and, and service is sobriety for me. So that's a little bit of the broad brushstrokes. Thanks very much for having me here, Harriet, it's a pleasure.

Amazing, wow, this is going to be such a juicy conversation. What I want to start with is thinking if you cast your mind back, and I'll start by sharing about my own journey, when you think about whether it was months or years ago, that you you were drinking or even before, then what was your relationship with yourself? Like, what did you think about yourself? And what did you think about your body? And do you think that had an impact on turning to drink, and or substances because I know for me, that I always had that really horrible voice in my head, telling me all kinds of mean things about myself, you know, that inner critic, I felt as though there was something deeply wrong with me. And for me, and I also, especially once I became a teenager, and my body started to change from being that other girl to being that horrible woman. And unfortunately, for me, that happened during the wave era when Kate Moss was everywhere, and like animate ciated. Yeah, when they say to drug addict, basically, in order to fit any of the clothes or to look cool, and that's never really been me, I have curves, I've always had curves. I've never been huge. But I've always had curves. And so I felt from that very early experience of being good moving towards that output, that there was something wrong with my body, and, and all of that, and then I didn't fit in, I didn't look right. I wasn't right. And certainly for me, I know that when I drank, or if I take anything else, that it was actually my solution. To start with, it was very much my solution because it made it was like a volume knob basically on all that horrible thoughts, all those horrible feelings inside was like it was the only way to regulate them. And it made it possible for me to just get out there and somehow function or especially take part in social situations. And yeah, so I think that's what that's for me. It was like a magic completely magic thing that made all kinds of other things possible. that weren't before. I don't know about either of you, whether when you cast your mind back. Whether you think your your drinking had anything to do with how you you know, your self worth how you felt about your body, all of that sort of thing.

Do you want me to answer that? So for me, when I when I was drinking and getting high, I probably resembled the wife that Kate Moss would have been angling towards i was i eight and a half stone. I was very, very undernourished, and I didn't take care of myself. whatsoever, food was not a priority. My emotional and mental getting high and getting drunk was more important to me than eating for far too long. So when I got sober, I was about eight and a half stone, I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs, hold on the health issues. But as I did get sober with me a lot of the alcohol that I used to drink was very sweet. So I wouldn't do shots of tequila shots or Southern Comfort, I would really enjoy a whole bottle of Bailey's for breakfast rather than coffee. I would. I would drink, like Madeira and Malibu and Bailey's and sweet the cures and all these really sweet booze drinks, and really enjoy them. And I think I didn't realize this at the time. But when I got sober, it was quite an obvious biological step for me to put down the sweet drink and start drinking, start eating and fixing on sugary foods. It's one of my early jobs in sobriety was buying and selling chocolate wholesale. And I you know, when you're, when you, when you buy and sell drugs, you're told to not get so high on your own supply. The same should be said about chocolate, if you're buying or selling chocolate, also, you should not get high on your own supply. And I developed a three to four, maybe the sweet tooth was there. And maybe that's why I've moved into the field of chocolate. I don't know, I held down that job for 18 months. But But ever since then I've been eating chocolate at Sony really recently that I've started organically, I should say not eating chocolate habitually on a daily basis for many, many years, easily 18 of the last 20 years, I would eat two to 300 grams of chocolate a day. Now that's that's that's an overstatement. Because about three or four years, I decided to start trying to control my chocolate use, and went down to 100 grams a day. But it's only really the last last a few months, I've actually found it not necessary to eat chocolate on a daily basis.

So how does this change? Sorry, what do you think changed for you? I mean, as a as an also someone who eats chocolate every single day. And when I first met you, you were called chocolate? Yeah, and that was your nickname. And there's a lot of people that we both know that still call you chocolate and for that reason.

Yeah. What do I think she, I mean, this might be completely off topic. But what's changed for me is being in Copenhagen these past six months, I've started ecstatic dancing, which I refer to as sober raving, and it seems to have unleashed an inner spirit in me, that's taken me back to a place of my of my center. When I got sober I believe I became the person that I was destined to be, that God destined me to be, or that the universal that spirituality was destiny to me. Now I've come back to copan yang 20 years later, and I'm ecstatically dancing. I feel like I'm unleashing a spirit within me. And I'm becoming the person that I've always wanted to be, which is a real weird thing to say. But I feel like the name, my nickname when I was in my teens was Orinoco, and I feel like that character is coming out again. So I put my earrings back in. For the first time in 20 years since I got sober I took my earrings out when I was in rehab, I put them back in. And I've started going around feeling younger than ever participating in events that I never even imagined myself set up for last month. February, I said to my friend, okay, I'm going to make two resolutions. It was February, I'd rather January. But I'm going to learn I'm going to take dance lessons. And I'm going to get back into DJing because I was I was a fairly popular vinyl DJ in the 90s. And so far I've collected and fought for Channel, mixing desk contractor, and s four. I've got x one for when I'm traveling. I've got the software on my laptop. I've got 400 gigs worth of WAV files, and I'm going out to Bangkok shortly to go and get loads of speakers and amplifiers and headphones. I got straight into it. Meanwhile, tonight, I'm going from my first dance lesson. Yeah, it's just there's just weird stuff happening in my in my spiritual development at the moment that is beyond anything that I was expecting. And I think it's been reached by the ecstatic dancing, which is just completely off topic vaguer.

Well, I don't think it is because it's to do with your relationship with your body and how you allow yourself to, to be in the world. And you're getting even of the great amount of sobriety. There's still more of you emerging. And the fact that you allow yourself to do that, I think is a massive marker of self worth. And drew I'd love to hear from you about all of this as well.
Great, how are you? Thank you I was getting so I'm taken along in Ian's journey that I've kind of forgotten what the original question was. But it was something about relationship to body and, and I just just to make a bridge, I just received a kilo of what they call in this pseudo spiritual community ceremonial, great cookout through the post yesterday, which is just a just a way of saying a lot of chocolate. And but you know, if I drink it ritually and with presence, then it's not the same as stuffing my face with a dairy milk, right. And actually, I think in what I've just said, is perhaps the seed of my understanding of addiction and relationship with self. And by that, what I mean to say is that I have a sense of like, a void, or an abyss, within myself, like, it's like a, and at some days, I wake up, and it's a screaming aching place that I just want to turn the volume way down on it, like there's a, there's a pain that I don't quite know what it means. But it's just something there's a lot of sensation involved, the sensation is overwhelming. And all I want to do is turn it off, distract myself, get away from it. And whether that's through the use of drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, distraction, it's just all the different ways I could I can just get away from it. And then there are other days when I'm doing various practices, or when I'm have a slightly different orientation to that sensation when I can sit in it. And it feels a little bit like that moment of quiet in the eye of the hurricane. And it's a reorientation, that all of these other tools support me to have fight getting that gap between stimulus and responses, Viktor Frankl talks about where I can just be more present with myself and not distract. And so that's the, that's the key of my relationship with body that has changed how I like everything about how I am with myself, and therefore how I orientate towards substances, practices, behaviors, distractions, and so on. And, and I love what he was saying about dancing, because these are the sorts of practices that I believe I can use to get to be really at home in my body. You know, I also use freediving for an example, which is kind of opposite to dancing, but simultaneously, the same thing is, it's a practice that requires or causes into absolute presence with self. And, and that's where the noise just drops away. And the connection with self and with others emerges.

I love that. It's often the case that we think, well, we, that people who are experiencing an issue with drinking, is that is that actually the idea of being with themselves without anything to medicate? That is going to be a massive problem. But actually, what you're both saying is that that is, in fact, when you actually get there, it's a really peaceful, lovely place, and it's not to be feared. And I think that's an incredibly important message for people who might be listening who might be worried about that. Yeah, true. What have you got more to say on that?
I do think you heard a little bit. Someone said yesterday, which feels very appropriate, to what you've just said, We have nothing to fear but fear itself. And that, when I heard it yesterday, I like I was reminded of that, and, and how I can turn little things into such big things to be terrified of. And yeah, that affects that impacts so much for how I live my life. So, you know, we I can make these huge stories about how everything's dangerous, or big or loud, or scary, and so on. And the reality is that when I actually finally sit down and pray, or sit down to meditate, or just sit still for a moment, the voices disappear very quickly. The volume just everything dissolves very, very quickly for me, and, and it was the stories I was telling myself that that were the problem rather than problem itself. And I'm kind of I also reminded of his connection with self, like how I how I can be with myself and then connection with myself with others. Obviously, I'm a zoom baby, as they say in the room in the digital rooms these days. And I think one of the challenges I have with getting sober in the rooms prior to that was that being with other people, continues to be a terrifying experience for me. So getting on a tube crossing London going to Hein Street, sitting in that room with all those crazy weirdos. It was A lot. And so being able to do that via Meteor zoom has just been really medicinal cuz it allows me to self regulate a lot more in connection with others. So. So it's, it's both connection with myself and simultaneously connection with others, whether that's showing up in an experience like this or in a room or in with my partner in relationship or intimate relationship and so on. And then finally, it's connection with life. That's how we do all of life, how we are in any moment.
How do you, each of you, how do you think that not drinking? And being fully conscious, has changed the way that you feel about yourself? And is there anything specific that you do? In fact, if you would think skin would, you know, give advice to somebody who's listening? What advice would you have to someone about how they treat themselves or how they treat their bodies, that's going to help them as they go through, they're changing their drinking journey. And I'm coming to you first.

Thank you, first of all, thank you drew, I thought what you're saying and I concur. I love the fact that you named your time st as well. And also, I also wanted to come in on you mentioned connection as the solution to addiction as well, which is Johann Harry's work, which is phenomenal. The book, chasing the dragon or chasing the scream, is an amazing piece of journalism, about addiction around the world and how different people, different countries choose to treat it with some through abstinence, some through harmonization, and it absolutely opened my eyes. For me, I needed an abstinence based program. I was a hedonistic drug user, hedonistic, chronic alcoholic, for throughout all of that. And, and the only solution for me started from a place of abstinence. And then, because I acknowledged that my addiction was all about selfishness, and everything, the easiest way to describe addiction, for me is selfishness. My recovery has to be about selflessness has to be about contribution, generosity, kindness, thinking of others, which is all about connection, how can I reconnect with other people rather than have the world revolve around me? And so your question, how does this relate to me and my relationship with my body. So when I look back, in hindsight, it's a really easy thing for us to talk about. But when I look back throughout my drinking and drugging, it was pure escapism, it was escapism, largely, though not uniquely, but largely from my own thoughts and feelings, largely from my head, that was telling me, the only way for me to fit in is to party harder than everyone else. The I'm not as I'm not as handsome as the other people. So I need to be funnier, the way for me to be funny is to use certain drugs, or to be drunk at a certain point, the way that I need to appeal to chick women, is to be the man doing it putting on this mask, or this charade, or being this character, or putting on this act, you know, and I use drugs as a form of escapism from my fear of myself. So the only thing we have to fear is fear itself is a really cool slogan. Now getting sober. Of course, the hardest part about getting sober is the realization that I have to accept myself on myself terms, I have to be myself. And that's why at the beginning of earlier in this interview, I said, when I got sober, the first I mean, the first 18 months, and I worked the 12 step program, just like Dru mentioned, I did it very fast. I worked the steps within the first six or seven months, and I've continued to work them ever since. By the time I was about 18 months sober. Actually, I don't know whether Harriet knows his story. But at her wedding, I had the realization when I tried to get off with one of her bridesmaids, who didn't want to get off of me. And I had this realization that actually, despite all this, disappointment, and despair and heartbreak, sadness, because the bridesmaid didn't want to get me, I realized for the first time that I was still equally grateful for my sobriety. And at that point, I realized that I had recovered that I had got to a point where I was never going to be tempted to drink or drug based on my thoughts and my feelings, despite, you know, my ego and my self esteem being crushed momentarily by the broken dreams of this bridesmaid choosing not to go with me. Yeah, it was the first time that I was able to move through that route and realize that despite this, I was still more grateful for my sobriety than I was for the last opportunity in my head. I had this realization that I had that was every bit as powerful as any other spirit. experience or awakening, I've never had that. At that point on, I connected the dots between gratitude for for my sobriety, and the freedom to choose on a daily basis, not to get high or not to drink. It was like power had been restored to me. And so I don't identify with being powerless anymore. And I haven't done since I was 18 months sober. So since then, I've then had the opportunity to work with Ian, and to feel comfortable with em, free from the bondage of worrying about whether I'm going to drink about a drink or, or get high on who I think I am. But I've had the freedom. So earlier in the in theory, I said, recovery gave me the ability to be the Aeon that I was destined to be, you know, and then 20 years later, I'm now even taking that to another level and realizing that I can be the Aeon that I always wanted to be as well. And I'm not saying that those timescales are accurate for everyone else. It's just those are just my timescales. And, and there's nothing greater than the freedom that I feel, believe, cherish, celebrate, in my own head, then then then how I am in this world today, right now. And I spoke to my mom on on zoom a couple of weeks ago, I realized just how very happy I was. And I'm jolly by default. throughout my years, I'm just some days I'm jolly. And then other days, other days, I'm not quite so jolly as other days. But my default emotion when I wake up has always been jolly. And here I am, happier than jolly. I'm in a place where the freedom to be Ian is remarkable. And I I'm, you know, I'm not a skinny guy, I'm not, I'm not the best looking guy. I'm not the most handsome guy. And believe me, copan Yang is full of very handsome guys. Thailand is full of very beautiful people. But yeah, I moved past that a while ago, with the realization that most people on this planet, don't look at me and judge me on my body size, or on my, how I look, most people on this planet interact with me. And they judge me on my personality and my charisma, rather than whether I've got big muscles, or a large belly or whatever. And that freedom of that knowledge, and that is bigger than anything else that I need. So what if I look at my own interaction with people, I look at someone to say, oh, that person is cute, I'm going to be their friend, I listened to what they've got to say to a conversation. And based on that I judge whether or not that person vibes with me. And so if I can just continue to let go of the fear of what people might think of how I look, and focus on how I can be kind to people or how I can bring value to other people's lives, that are going to continue to remain Joleon and keep happening in all of my affairs.

I absolutely love that. And that was truly beautiful. The freedom to just be yourself and to have moved your self worth away from what you look like, to who you are as a person. And it's, it's really it's the journey from ego to heart, isn't it from fear to love, it's the journey from and also about what you said about other people that you're no longer thinking that person X key friends with them. I love that because it got me thinking like was that how it was all those years ago, and maybe it was to a certain extent, we were the you know, the gorgeous young crowd doing whatever we were doing. And it was like, Well, you know, if you're not gorgeous enough, then you don't fit in with our crowd, which is just so probably shallow. But I think it's a reflection of how how we viewed our own worth, which was that our own worth was in our looks and we were trying to keep ourselves a certain size or look a certain way did it. But now as you say it's completely different. I want people in my life who have similar values and who are really great people and bringing great things and doing great work in the world and, and all of that kind of thing. Otherwise, I'm just not interested. Yeah, and the other thing is that I've noticed we're going to talk offline about this wedding thing, by the way, just so you know, because I don't know if it was because the actual official bridesmaids. Were all children. So I'm thinking that it was probably not one of the official bridesmaids. I'm thinking it was one of my best friends who was like my girl gang. Yes, you're nodding, good. Okay. I just wanted to clear that up. Okay, was not, you know, my step sister, my niece, my cousin, or either of my sisters who were definitely children. And so yes, let's play that one. So I digress. I've noticed that you have a lot more tattoos than when I last saw you in person, which I can't believe was coming up for three years ago. Now. Maybe in Italy. Yeah, you've had a lot more tattoos and obviously I have a tattoo as well. Which I'm not going to show you It's on a fairly intimate part of my body. Because I, I've been through a lot of changes, I suppose, in the way that my body looks. Since I've changed my drinking, I've gone from being you know, someone in my 20s. And getting were reasonably fit and healthy in sobriety, lots of exercise, lots of hot yoga, all that kind of thing, eating, you know, incredibly clean diets. And then having two children and two c sections, which does change the way your body looks to being very badly injured in a car accident, and having a permanent pain condition, or that's a lot better now. And I can do super cool things like, you know, like looking over my shoulder, I couldn't do for quite a number of years. And then to having breast cancer in 2018.

And body in a mate nine hours of surgery, that completely changed the way that various parts of my body looked as they used my entire tummy to for the reconstruction. And so I've got a hip to hip scar, as well as scars on the baby that are now covered by a really beautiful tattoo that I have done that live on national television as you do. But the decoration of your body, the way that you dress, the way that you ink your body. I think these are all expressions of letting yourself be you. And honoring yourself. That's what it feels like. And that's what it looks like. Because when I saw you moving your arms in that I know people listening to this won't be able to see. I was like, Oh, that's a very M. Those tattoos. That's the first thing that I thought. Yeah. And I think it's we just all Yeah, in lots of different ways we express ourselves and honor ourselves and honor our bodies. And actually, that does tell the people that we come across and the people that we engage with who we are who we truly are. And Andrew, I know this is your special thing. So I'd love to hear about your your take on this on how we express ourselves, how we relate to others. And also if you've got any very specific practical things that you wanted to share with people.

Thank you. Alright, um, how spicy can we get on this podcast? Is it a mild, medium or spicy cast?

mild to medium? I would say

well, I had an experience some years ago where I was practicing surrendering into being myself and involves let's just Okay, let's go to mild to medium involves a very intimate us casting being done of myself in physical intimacy with my partner. And the cast was then hung in a gallery in London for a summer. And I was being interviewed by Channel Four news during the casting. Bless the journalists that was interviewing me they did not know what to do with their eyes. I think they just come from reporting on a traffic accident. And and then I spent that summer going into the gallery and hanging out because there it ended up being like four pieces of myself or my partner or both of us in the gallery that summer, and hanging out. And sometimes I was a little bit voyeuristic listening to what people were saying about me or us. But often I would engage in conversations owning up that that was me that was being observed. And it was a really healing experience to me having had so much shame about my physical body growing up so much self loathing around my physicality. Both emotions of shame, from the sensations and also physical shame about myself that it was medicine, it was absolute medicine to be able to go through a process a little bit like I think you described as your tattoo and doing it on live on national television. I'm just reclaiming a part of myself that I had just cut away from and denied and suppressed and repressed and had become toxic. So I was really touched by that and I'm really appreciating his tattoos and I mean you don't look so odious I've no idea when Harry's wedding was but you know I don't know things ages could have worked there. And I'm really appreciating a really good looking man freshly shaved Oh like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards here I know as an audio recording but um I can't wait for the barbers to open in the UK. I'll tell you it's been a long furry winter. So I know when I when I got the invitation for haircuts me he hurt us You asked me about my experience as a man particularly and you know I am a cisgendered hetero flexible man in a in a white male body so I can only speak from my experience of this life's life that I can share that A couple of things did come from me and one of them feels very aligned with, with, I guess, step one of or step one of the 12 steps really, which is learning to surrender. And learning to surrender, what I mean by that is that, and I don't have this specifically a male thing or a masculine energy, as they say, in some of the new consciousness circles, that there feels like there's a, there's a performance required for me, in order to get self in order to get worth from the world. In order to be valued in the world, I feel like I've grown up thinking I have to perform, get out there do stuff to be liked to be loved to get appreciation. And, and it's a very active practice. And one of the great and the beginning of 12 steps is surrender, right? Get Yeah, just get taken to my knees and give it up. I can't, you know, give it over to God give it over to higher power. And so one of the practices that I've regularly offered to my clients, particularly my male clients, is learning to receive learning to surrender, just letting go and learning to be loved for us without any need to demonstrate our, our usefulness. And I coached that in intimate practices, learning to receive touch, massage, care, and just learning to receive appreciation from people around us that doesn't that is non performative. And that is a that in my experience is medicinal for us. Um, another thing that came to me is about kind of re like
kickstarting our internal energy pack again, like instead of running around looking for sources of energy from outside ourselves, whether it's drugs or alcohol, or chocolate sugar, you know, or, or life or ironically, considering my first point, appreciation, approval from outside is about, like coming back home to ourselves. And again, because I work in intimacy, there's a lot of a lot of work I do around compulsion and use of pornography, particularly with men, but not exclusively, but other external factors to stimulate us to turn us on from the outside, you know, the good looking human, the, whatever it is, and, and learning to build a practice of running energy and Eros from our own bodies, is a in my ward is a huge key to getting a healthier sense of self worth self esteem. I mean, you know, my, my historically, mice, masturbation practices have looked much the same as I think the cliched you know, porn use used to be, you know, I would use external stimulus to get aroused in the last 10 years or so, I've, I put my hands on my heart, I put my hands on my belly on my genitals, and I breathe. And I slowly, slowly, slowly feel Eros running in my body. And that sets me up for the day in a way that an old school Wang never did. And it is sorry, that's probably medium too spicy. That one there, but I just didn't have the other word. And it's, maybe there's laughter there or maybe it feels a bit light hearted or something. But actually, I'm really, really serious with this. Our relationship so our sexual energy, our relationship to our Eros is key. I believe in having a healthy sense of self worth. And finding saucing that inside. And it's not only erotic energy is our lifeforce energy. So that also involves practices like dancing, which is an incredibly erotic practice can be with ourselves with our own expression of Eros. Or it could be like ice baths and a naked sunbathing, but feel Eros moving our body that's not necessarily generated from another of your sexual desire. And the other The only other thing I had, which I think is, is probably the foundation is service, like Ian said, Get a Yo, getting selfless, getting out of my own way and being in service and offering just, you know, there's a lovely the Grail myth. The the Arthurian legend, where the holy grail, the key question there, either medicinal question. Well, myth is, is what ails the like, what else the and the the implicit question how can I serve How can I support you, being in service to our to our fellow humans to the world to the planet to, to life is, I believe the fundamental dissolution of selfishness into selflessness and that is for behind that self worth comes flooding into the vacuum.

That's what I got.
Just beautiful and honest, and gorgeous. And this is why you're one of my great friends. Because this is who you are. And it really is such a deep level of honoring, honoring who you are getting your Getting your worth from the inside and getting your worth from helping others and giving as opposed to trying to get no, it's a very, it's a very capitalist world out there in many ways in which worth is measured by your productivity, how big your houses how big your car is, blah, blah, blah, all that stuff, but actually, that doesn't, that's not true self worth, that's just owning stuff, right. And, and so to to be able to shift that around and get your self worth from the inside, and heal your relationship with yourself from the inside through giving rather than getting, it might sound counterintuitive, but it's it's absolutely my experience as well. And I remember in the long time ago, hearing for the very first time, self esteem comes from esteem, Abul acts, which is that self, your self worth comes from behavior that you do, that brings good in the world. And I often say you feel good about yourself, if you're treating yourself with love, which also means honoring who you are, in every way, if you are standing up for yourself and your relationships and asking others, showing others how to treat you. But you're also bringing forth goodness into the world. And you're honoring your values and your your morals, and your everything, everything that you do, it feels good to you, and brings good into the world. And in that way, it's incredibly simple. And I loved what you said, and I think it's worth going back to this on the piece about sexuality, actually, and about getting an those kinds of experiences with ourselves and, and with others that because our bodies as adults, that's, you know, that's a huge part of it, how we feel, how attractive we feel, how we feel that we perform, how all of that kind of stuff. And to reach a place where you can just be comfortable with, with who you are, and and get excited by who you really are, you know, incredibly honoring way rather than always needing it to be something very visual or something external. And being able to bring that to your encounters with others creates an incredibly different experience in and I want to know what your reflections are, what do you have to say she because it was very powerful.

Um, well, I liked the use of the word Eros. It appears to me that there's a fair amount of tantric education in what Dru is revealing or discussing something that I'm not, too I'm in no way educated around, but I have become tantric curious, recently, since been in in Penang, but I haven't yet taken any steps down there. Funnily enough, I looked at Drew's Facebook page, and one of our mutual friends is a tantric teacher I she's one of my best friends on this island. And she's been turning me on to that sort of stuff, she's been turning me on to lots of things. And in terms of when he's talking about placing his hands on his genitals in his heart, but not in a formal kind of masturbatory processes, as I learned as a teenager. That's the sort of stuff that I'm hearing from some of my other friends on this island. And that's my reflections on the tantric stuff. But I think what I'm more educated or more qualified to speak about is, yeah, I'd say, I don't know whether you heard it from me or from someone else. But yeah, absolutely. The the way to the route towards self esteem is to do esteem of blacks. I've been saying that for a long time, at but equally, self worth is can be channeled the same way. If I spend my time looking at the good in other people, then I'm going to feel better about myself to my self worth goes up when I see the value of someone else's self worth. Although the shadow of that is that a lot of people will then start comparing themselves and that's not necessary, as well a friend last night and she's struggling with comparing herself to what she perceived she should be. Oh, I just seem to have so many broken relationships. Nothing seems to work. Now, I don't know. I'm, I'm 49 drew by the way. Thank you. You're very generous. I do appreciate that. I look a lot younger. Thank you, but I am a single man. So why 40 9am I am I single man. So the thing is, I was married for 11 years and I had a wonderful separation. I love Gwyneth Paltrow, his words. conscious uncoupling with my wife, where we just decided that we loved each other enough to let each other go, we had different goals in life, different ambitions for ourselves. And we did let go with love. And so I don't think any of my relationships are really failed. I'm still close and supportive, and observant of most of the women that I had long term relationships with in the 90s and the early 2000s. Yeah, and I can't believe I failed to understand how people that can live and love together for a long time, then decide to hate each other when they separate. It's not an experience that I've had. I know that this is just me speaking that other people do struggle with their exes, after a while, but I i've personally found that if I was with someone for a period of time, it's because I loved and cared about them. And that the process of letting go shouldn't be a process of of then turning to anger and hate. Though, I do hear many stories that my friends tell me where the other partner does indeed, change. After the separation, I just don't have any experience with that. My, my energy on this planet is my mission statement of this planet is to co create a green and harmonious world through laughter and love. And if the best I can do is leave a legacy of people who have smiled at my jokes, or come to find more self love or love for others, as a result of interacting with me. And in some way my environmental carbon footprint is at least neutral if possible. Yeah, then I'm then I then my purpose on this planet is, it's been a good one. However, and this is what came up for me when my friend knows that it's really important that you're having a good time. It's really important that you're enjoying life. If you're not enjoying life, go and do something else. Go and do something that makes you happy. And there is really this is why me and my wife got divorced. Because ultimately, I like to travel, explore see the world I'm adventurous man. And she wanted to stay at home with two dogs, two cats and three horses. And, and I would come home after traveling on some great mission to save some family from the ravages of that misspent youth addiction. And I come home and now I was eighth in the packing list for her attention. Why? Well, because I fallen down the rungs. And yeah, we loved each other but but alive, we're just moving apart. She liked to be a home garden, I like to be a worldwide wise boy. 

And just do the things that make you happy. If you're not happy what you're doing, stop and do something else. And I say that and it must be really difficult for you guys in the UK, a year later have knocked down and this just massive jerk to your nervous systems as to how you go about your lives. And I was I was fortunate I went into that I'm allowed to tell this story. I is in Phuket for lockdown. And I met a girl she came over to my house on Saturday night, and we enjoyed each other's company. So she stayed the night. And she stayed the night on Sunday to and on Monday we went into such severe localized lockdown that she couldn't get home. So if she was stuck in my one bedroom studio flat for the next six weeks, I had the perfect, perfect lockdown. I had sex on tap and 400 megabits per second Wi Fi. With zoom calls all over the world. I was connected to my fellowship, I was connected to my friends and family, I carried on working. And I had the greatest time for sex six weeks stuck in in a one bedroom flat. Fortunately, we came out of lockdown and Tyler did a really stand up job of containing the virus. And I've been able to revert back to doing the things that I love to do ever since. So I say that because I am unaware or at least I'm emotionally attached to this the experiences that you're having in the UK, of being enforced to stay at home nicely for a whole year. I cannot really get my head around how that is. But I mean, please, if you're not enjoying what you're doing, please try and find someone else to do that's more fun. And I guess that involves your professional life as much as your social life and your romantic life.

Thanks, Dan. Thank you. And that really does tie in with and I'm glad you had such a great lockdown. And it does tie in with this idea that your self worth to a great extent comes from your actions. And as you say, if your actions aren't making you happy, find stuff to do that doesn't make you happy. It's quite a lot, right you know, honoring yourself is allowing yourself to have happiness, to have pleasure to have joy to have a good giggle. To be around people and doing stuff that makes you feel awesome. And these are the this is the juiciness of honoring yourself. Once you've changed your drinking true we're going to wrap up in a moment and I'm going to take those as Eden's closing thoughts because they were so fabulous, or you want in once more closing thoughts through, I'm going to come to you for any closing nuggets or closing thoughts on, on all of this.

Thank you, all right, I'm suddenly the pressure to sum everything up into a sentence of wisdom. All I all I really have to say about this, I think is that despite all of the practices and the chasing spiritualities, and the yoga is and the dancing and the everything that I've done, over the course of my life and, and attempts to be in sobriety, the 12 steps has been, and is the anchor point of my sobriety, working a program of working the program of the 12 steps is what's kept me as a fundament in sobriety over the times that I've worked at. So on. The other piece that I mentioned at the beginning, which is and this is the quote from Viktor Frankl, one of the quotes from Victor Frankel's book Man's Search for Meaning. And this is a, this is a man who was in Auschwitz Birkenau in second world war being operated on without anesthetic, or experimented on. And, and so, you know, he had a lot of opportunity to blame his surroundings for his experience. And yet, he still was able to find some space between the sensation of being operated on and his reaction to that. And he went on to, to be a very potent force for good in the walls, in my judgment, in the 20th century, and wrote many books, one of them called Man's Search for Meaning, which is about finding that space between stimulus and response, by any means necessary, you know, and whether that's just one breath at a time, you know, we have this saying in age one day at a time, and I think actually, it's one breath at a time, just tight, finding a little bit of a space slowing down enough to choose how we're going to respond in any moment. And from that place, we can do so with just a little bit I can do so with a little bit more presence, a little bit more groundedness, and just hopefully a little bit less ego. And, and, you know, it's you know, I'm not some some martyr type character, I do this stuff, because it also feels good. You know, yes, I give as much as I can. But I also give to get, because I get sobriety, and I get self worth, and I get self esteem. And I, you know, I get some space from my thoughts, the more I give, so that feels like where I want to leave it. Thanks so much for the opportunity to be on this and also the opportunity to learn from him, which has been awesome. Thank you. You're on mute.

Pizza filter? Yes, I did meet myself because the dog started barking. I just want to say that it's beautiful that you shared that the pressure was huge to give some, you know, profound closing statement, but that you accidentally did, just in case you're in any doubt whatsoever. Yeah. 

my closing thoughts, first of all, Viktor Frankl. What I interpreted from his book, Man's Search for Meaning, is a message of hope, and that he never let go of the idea of that he hoped he can survive this trauma, and that he recognized in other prisoners, those that lost hope seem to lose their their will to live and they died. And that those that maintained hope had, they were the ones that had the best chance of survival. And that's so true in the recovery world as well. It's, you know, what do we have to pass on to the next person seeking recovery is a message of hope that that that's all that we have. When we talk about our primary purpose, our primary purpose is to carry a message of hope. And you were alluding to what we say in the process steps as well and how it was what they say you keep what you have by giving it away. And so my closing thought is, to quote a friend of mine called Tony, where he says the secret to living is giving. And I think that is the the mantra that stuck with me throughout these years. I would also like to say thanks to Drew, I've loved listening to you. And I hope to connect further with you in the future. Your sound dude, and we have many mutual friends. So let's let's let's get together. Thank you, Harry. I love you. I love you. I love you.

I love you both so much. So with that I'm going to call it a wrap. This has been a phenomenal conversation. I think there's many other conversations that we could all have. So this has been the Club Soda podcast, as I mentioned at the beginning. If you'd like to find out more about what Club Soda offers, please go to their website join at Club where you can find out all about their courses and everything they offer to help you change your drinking. My name is Harriet Whaley coming and you've been listening to myself through Lawson and in yom today