The podcast that pressure tests the wellness industry, from the pseudo to the sensible
Jan. 29, 2024

Are you a Grey Area Drinker?

Are you a Grey Area Drinker?

It's a first cousin of the the High-Functioning Alcoholic.

Have you just finished Dry January? Thinking about Feb Fast? Can’t face either just yet? Maybe you’re a ‘grey area drinker’. This term was coined in 2018 by Jolene Park, who has trained many grey area drinking coaches. Since then, a whole world of alcohol-free, sober-pride people has populated social media, talking openly about their drinking, moderating and quitting, without the stigma attached to labels like ‘alcoholic’. For mums, in particular, it’s almost become a new women’s lib. Similarly, ‘quit lit’ has really become a popular genre of memoir in recent years.

In this episode of Spirit Levels, Frank and Jenny talk to coaches Lissie Turner and Faye Lawrence, who have very different styles, as well as two women who are exploring experimentation and sobriety respectively – authors Rochelle Siemienowicz and Seana Smith. We look at how coaching works – as opposed to other methods such as rehab, AA and counselling – and how it can be improved. Host Jenny also talks about why she nearly went down the route of becoming a coach but decided she definitely wasn’t the best fit for the job.





Host Jenny Valentish’s 2017 memoir Woman of Substances: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment was added to university course reading lists and used as educational material by treatment centres. And hey, 156 Amazon ratings give it a solid 4.4!


Lissie Turner’s Dissolving Patterns course and podcast, and her music industry book, Off the Record.


Faye Lawrence is an alcohol, ADHD and anxiety coach.


Seana Smith’s Sober Journeys website. Check out her favourite quit-lit books!


Rochelle Siemienowicz’s memoir Fallen, about pursuing hedonism after leaving the Seventh-day Adventists.


The latest quit-lit book out there is A Thousand Wasted Sundays, by Victoria Vanstone.


We love the Over the Influence podcast and community. Here’s their episode on Sober Code.


And here’s the Sober Code website.

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