Workbench - Sober Social (again)

Hello! If this post looks familiar, it’s because it is… I posted this without fully thinking through the context of this being a public site. I shared details and names that may not be ready for the wide world. So here is the post again along with the generous thoughts and shares from some of the community. If their posts look a little wonky that’s because I cut and pasted them here.

I welcome the opportunity to throw this on the Workbench to receive your thoughts.

The idea for this podcast is to have discussions with people who no longer drink or never have been drinkers of alcohol (open to talk about other drugs but alcohol is what I know). To have discussions with people who have studied or written about alcohol - perhaps due to their own connection to it.

I’m interested in talking to them about how the behaviours of their community (friends, colleagues, family, strangers like servers in restaurants) affects their ability to choose sobriety or to remain sober. What they think is missing from the current treatment, post treatment, social landscape. I have my opinions. Where’s the hope?

In Canada, alcohol is regulated but is everywhere. It’s pervasive. Going out for drinks is the common reward for winning, or the salve for losing. Bars and restaurants are festooned with bottles. Bars in some people’s homes are equally ‘in your face’. There is a 3.7 B$ national alcohol deficit (direct healthcare costs to alcohol revenue in taxes.) A shocking article (if of interest).


I’m thinking this is a series of interviews of notable (and some ‘ordinary’ folks) who have come to the other side of their struggles.

My list of guests. Somewhat in an order:

  1. Me. A guest interviewer? Or will I ask myself the questions. We’ll see.

  2. Mur - 20+ years sober or my friend MS who is 20 + years sober. What sobriety has looked like over the years.

  3. Ann Dowsett Johnson - Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women And Alcohol Hers was one of the first books I read that made me really step back and look at my drinking. She had a lot of blow back in her life for writing this book.

  4. Annie Grace - This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life I was introduced to this book by the counselor I was seeing. She said a client had listened to and read the book and he quit booze. I listened to the book 3 times and read the book. I quit. I was ready but I quit.

  5. Harold R. Johnson - Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours). Can’t talk about alcohol without talking about how it’s impacted First Nations in this country.

  6. Seamus O’Reagan - TV personality & politician. Came to terms with alcohol. Or that was the last I heard… and he is still in Cabinet for the current Liberal gov’t.

  7. NP - Friend and former boss. We had a recent talk about it. Might ask her to talk about it.

  8. Séan McCann - former singer with Canada’s Great Big Sea

  9. An engaging academic ( :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:), thought leader
    10 . Gabor Mate - world renowned addiction and trauma specialist.

Who’s it for?
The sober curious. 2. The newly sober. 3. Those long in recovery.

What’s it for
To have conversations about what is needed in the sobriety landscape to increase our likelihood of success. How can we change the conversation about sobriety and mitigate the shame around it. Share information about resources, products and initiatives for those wanting to reduce or remove alcohol from their social lives. How to be socially sober and have fun!

Largely interview style. Definitely needs to be fun. Droning on about statistics and talking about the dire situation out there for people trying to live sober is not what I’m interested in. That may come through but that creates a tunnel at the end of the light.
Some host on mic. Some sharing the hope. The positives of having the energy, positivity and faith to get out of bed and live your new life.
Being the light.

Ok, 100% sure I just burned down the Workbench. @craig Happy to take this into a group if there is anyone who is willing to kick this around with me.
What are your questions folks? What works, what confuses or seems incongruous?
Thank you for your thoughts. A few tags… not sure who’s all here.

@Rob @JuleKucera @steveh @steve @Jey @Jessicazou @anneroche @The_YOGI_MD_Podcast @dannyattias


These are the replies I have already receive. They will look weird since I have cut and pasted them from the original post.

I love it, I think it’s important and timely. I know a LOT of people who have quit drinking in COVID times (presumably because they initially drank more.) In my social circle, maybe my demographic, not drinking or ordering something non-alcholholic is the norm. But it wasn’t always like that.
I also have at least two guests for you, people I know that talk about this topic. There is also a community I stumbled across, aimed at millennial women. I’ll send it to you if I find it. Also this fun business Wine Proxies | Acid League 1
Go for it! Help people!
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Also a friend who is newly sober credits Gabor Mate. So that one really interests me!

thearenaLinda McLachlanSupporter
In my social circle, maybe my demographic, not drinking or ordering something non-alcholholic is the norm. But it wasn’t always like that.
I also have at least two guests for you, people I know that talk about this topic. There is also a community I stumbled across, aimed at millennial women. I’ll send it to you if I find it. Also this fun business Wine Proxies | Acid League
Go for it! Help people!
These are all great. I am also making note of what/ who might be a good fit for sponsorship. Acid League is on my list. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts and offer of guest suggestions. I suspect some of those on my list may be out of reach initially but who knows? It’s been in the news of late in Canada and coming out of Covid, there will be those who kicked it or kicked it up a notch. In either case it will be timely.

The world needs your show @thearena . Looks great.
Another guest to add is Jordan Peterson. He did his PhD on the effects of alcohol. And he’s got really useful thoughts about addiction. This is one of my favourite discussions on it

Jordan Peterson on Alcohol
The questions around finding something better than alcohol and fearing losing the “fun” parts of our personality really resonate with me. Hell, it all resonates!
I think this kind of frank and funny format would work well for you.
Anyway, I think your concept is great. Other title suggestions (just to stimulate ideas):
Is It Better Than Booze?
What’s Better Than Alcohol?
p.s. Jordon has only start podcasting relatively recently. He does his own production. I think he’d be gettable.

David David3560 David W. Reynolds
Linda - I think this thought is very interesting as it is likely not a major thrust of most conversations about drinking -"… or never have been drinkers of alcohol…"
This is a classic phrase! “that creates a tunnel at the end of the light.”
Your entire process and goals seem very well thought out!


102% sure this is exactly what the workbench is supposed to be.

All, as soon as Linda picks a spot via Calendly, I’ll start a topic in #supporters to share the details of when/how to participate in the workbench session. (And eventually, we’ll put the video from that call here in this topic.)


I hope to be there with my popcorn @thearena and @craig.
Really great topic for the Workbench.
Best wishes and thanks
PS This is for Craig: Is there a way that we can keep workbench topics open post interview? I just think it would be useful to reply on the same thread and discuss developments following the interview. e.g. I have just got a Mix Pre 6 and am still working out what I need to use it and it could form further information on the threads?
Best wishes


Indeed there is. This very topic is a regular topic, totally public, open for all the usual interaction.

We (the supporting members) just have our own private topic where we coordinate the live participation in the workbench session. That gets recorded and then the video will be added to this topic. One of the main points of the workbench sessions is that they lay around for anyone to find and learn from.


Thanks @craig
I am not sure where I was in Discourse but the topic seemed closed for the Workbench session. Checking back in, it is open for replies etc.
Thanks for all that you are doing.
Best wishes

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Another person you could add to your list - Dawn Nickel of SheRecovers. She is doing so much for the recovery community :slightly_smiling_face:


Workbench session will be Thursday the 12th, 1pm Eastern.

Details (for our supporting members) is in

I think this is a great idea. I’d suggest refining who you’d like to serve. Sober curious to long term sober is a wide audience and a crowded space.

You mentioned the discussions that are missing, and I’d like to know more about what you mean by this.

I’ve been sober for 8 years now, and I did that through the 12 steps. What I feel is missing is substance abuse primarily as a symptom, and the perceptions that lead someone to wish to switch off their experience of life temporarily. When your life is literally all you truly have, why would a sane person ever wish to miss a moment of it, even if that moment is painful?

The disease and allergy models of addiction are helpful, but are limited from my point of view.

Coping with and enjoying life is a key issue to be addressed IMHO, whether your struggle is debilitating physical addiction, or periodic substance abuse where moderation may be possible.

I’m currently investigating creating an app with a psychotherapist to help with addiction and mental health, where the focus is on minimizing bad decisions rather than a particular mode of treatment.

If I can help in anyway with your podcast I’d be happy to.


Reminder @supporters the live call portion of this happens in three hours, (at your 2021-08-12T17:00:00Z ). Call info is in the #supporters category, in

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Congratulations on your 8 years of sobriety @Mark . I’m still counting days. 838.



I didn’t do the 12 steps. There are limited options, I believe, outside of the 12 steps or private detox. I am at the research phase however. Perhaps there’s a whole world of treatment out there. I think your idea is great. As I understand it, it’s the “before” phase of addiction. How do you cut it off before the addiction takes hold. Understanding the emotions and desire to numb rather than face them.

I think I’m interested (currently) in helping people coming out through the addiction tunnel. After their treatment, as they’re coming out into the world as it is, full of temptations and few social supports. Friends, family, colleagues, event planners, restauranteurs etc. all potentially creating unsafe spaces for people in recovery, trying to live sober, sober curious.

Thank you for your questions and comments. They help me frame and re-frame what I am thinking. I have a lot more thinking and research to do.

Grateful for your insights.



Grateful to @Hoagie, @craig and @Lovelace for the conversation.

I feel like I may orient the focus toward alcohol and our love affair with it. And through that talk about how we unwind that. How through the conversations we ‘unnormalize’ that view of alcohol.

We covered a pretty wide range of possibilities in terms of guests or themes in our conversation. Thank you for showing up, for your openness with the subject as it relates to your own lives.

I feel energized around this topic and how to, rather than ‘compete’ in the sobriety or recovery space rather to bring a different dimension into it.

Work on the title is definitely key here!

Sober Social

The Drinking Podcast
Over Drinks
Coaster - The Drinking Podcast (which might allow me to create a visual related to THE ARENA… ?)

From the above comments about names… Just playing on Canva.Over Drinks
Over Drinks v2

Not sure I love the colours but kinda like the play on Over Drinks. And the coaster idea. Bringing in @nikicampbell @Jey @steve @Rob @JuleKucera @jennifermyerschua @steve @Mark


@craig @Lovelace

Linda, can’t wait to listen to the debut episode. Happy to have helped in a small way during the workbench session. Another name option given your evolving focus could be “Drinking Stories”. All the best with this new podcast, I know it will be great.


Draft description:
Over Drinks. A podcast about alcohol - our love affair with it, our abuse of it, our normalizing it. We’ll talk to people who drink and those who don’t. Our memories, our black outs, our social norms and the impacts on all our lives.

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Another great name. Thx @Hoagie, I’ll keep it in the mix (so to speak).


@craig @lovelace

Cheers :grinning: :cocktail:

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Hi Linda,
After the conversation, I remembered someone who was in my screenwriting group in LA (there were 5 of us w/ a film producer) who wrote a book called: It Must Be Five O’Clock Somewhere.

Sylvia Cary is a pretty interesting person. It looks like she’s been busy since I left LA and my Hollywood life. Maybe someone for an interview?

This concept of a love affair with alcohol made me think of a catchy title (it may be too flip) that I can envision as a memorable graphic:

Booze: A Love Affair

I don’t get the sense you’re going to be talking about old ladies sipping sherry. There’s actually an article in Nat’l Geographic called our 9000 year old love affair with booze. The connotation of the word booze conveys a lot of imagery that’s not quite as nice a mental image of Over Drinks. However, I do think Booze is an attention grabber.

If you’re examining alcohol addiction from the standpoint of a cultural norm, then Over Drinks seems like a good fit for a title.

Enjoyed joining you, @craig and @Hoagie on the Workbench. It was a great lunch break!


This looks fantastic. I have a podcast you may be interested called Seasons of Sobriety. I have been sober since 1989 and decided to start a podcast based on experience of 12 steppers from 5-40 years.


Thank you @howardm_89 Congratulations on your sobriety. That’s a wonderful accomplishment. You are on my list of people to connect with about this idea. The purpose and who it’s for continues to evolve.

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