Outlet Spotlight: Sober Awkward
Giving up alcohol is the least interesting part of being sober.
For many, quitting alcohol is a very bumpy road, but the new podcast Sober Awkward is trying to make that journey a little smoother. Hosts Hamish Adams-Cairns and Victoria Vanstone take the listener on a journey to sobriety while throwing in a few shots of comedy along the way.
Victoria began her path to recovery after the birth of her children when she found herself one day too hungover to take care of them. “My habit went unnoticed for so long due to the normalisation of overdrinking,” says Victoria. “It got soaked up in the people I surrounded myself with and dissolved into the crowd of every pub, club and house party I ever attended.”
When Victoria made the choice to stop drinking, she started noting her thoughts down in a diary which eventually turned into a blog, then the podcast, and now a book which is set to be released in early 2024. Her co-host Hamish was similarly motivated to give up alcohol after the birth of his son, but it was Victoria that gave him the final push when she invited him onto the podcast. It’s important to Hamish that he’s able to inspire others in their journey to an alcohol-free life, particularly younger men and other fathers. “I had never been an over-drinker,” says Hamish. “But I wanted to stop completely because of my strong belief that there is plenty to be gained from giving up alcohol, whether you have a problem with it or not.”
In a way, because neither Hamish nor Victoria considered themselves to be problem drinkers, this made the road to recovery that much harder. There are in fact relatively few resources that target those not on the extremes of the alcoholism spectrum. “I wanted to talk and write about my experiences so that others could find a person that had gone through this very private and difficult mental battle themselves,” says Victoria. “It's important because so many people all over the world suffer behind closed doors, especially since Covid. I think it’s so important to not be anonymous.”
With over 100,000 downloads a month, it’s clear that Sober Awkward has connected with listeners by showing that sobriety doesn’t have to be boring. “I’m brutally honest about alcohol and how it impacted my life,” says Victoria. “The good, the bad and the cringeworthy!”
Australian society is showing signs of reconsidering the culture of alcohol that has long been a major element of our national character. With most venues now carrying alcohol-free or low-alcohol alternatives, there is more of a push than ever toward a sober lifestyle. To anyone considering this lifestyle change, Hamish and Victoria advise to ‘just give it a year’. “If you’re lying in bed every Sunday, hungover, questioning why you only have one shoe on, twigs in your hair and a stranger making you coffee in the kitchen, It might be time to try something new,” says Victoria. “I have learnt so much in my five years of sobriety, that being authentically me is enough, that numbing out means I’m not living. The fact is that incredibly, I don’t have to drink! Who knew?”
Sober Awkward is available on all major podcast platforms now with new episodes released each week.