Let me ask you a question – would you go to any dentist in any town for your routine check-up? Are you happy to go to any hairdresser who has an appointment? The answer will be no! – we do business with those we like, know and trust! As customers we want to know if we can ‘like, know and trust’ the companies we buy from, so in this series we ask the person behind some of my favourite natural, organic and holistic brands and businesses to step out into the spotlight.
It’s the turn of William Porter from Alcohol Explained
Please give us a quote as to why you are keen to be part of the Janey Loves 2021 Awards
People the world over are looking to improve their lives be it losing weight, getting fit, sleeping better, enhancing their natural beauty, and developing their mental wellbeing. The Janey Loves awards is a fantastic opportunity to let people know about a simple lifestyle change that can be the key to unlocking all of those aspects of self-improvement, and has a bigger impact than most people appreciate.
Tell us about yourself and your company
I started drinking and smoking when I was around 14 years old. In my late teens, in an attempt to stop smoking, I read Allen Carr’s Easyway. I was fascinated by his pragmatic and practical approach to what was a confusing and complicated subject.
Over the years my drinking steadily increased but I continued to take a common sense analysis of what it was doing to me, coupled with a technical analysis of the chemical, physiological and psychological factors at play.
This continued for over a quarter of a century, during which I joined the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, served a 6 month tour of Iraq, qualified as a lawyer, started a career in the Financial Services sector of the City of London, got married, and had children. I now live with my wife and two children in West London, and continue to work as a lawyer.
My drinking continued to increase until, in February 2014, I finally stopped for good.
The ‘Explained’ books take a different and new approach to deciphering and approaching certain lifestyle choices, the understanding of which can have a huge impact on your quality of life. The “Explained” books are not a personal account of my experiences with alcohol, nicotine and dieting, but rather a logical and factual approach that dispels the myths around these subjects and gives readers the tools to then continue making good choices for themselves in the future.
How did you get started?
It started with alcohol. As my drinking increased over the years I wanted to understand it; why I found it increasingly difficult to have just one or two, why I would always wake up in the night after drinking, why I found exercise hard after drinking, why I would find making sensible, healthy eating choices so hard after drinking, and why my intake was steadily increasing. As I mentioned before I read Allen Carr’s Easy Way when I was quite young and have always been fascinated by addiction and the psychology and physiology behind addiction. I think even when I was smoking and drinking, I was analysing what was happening as I had already read a lot about the mechanics of addiction. Answering these questions lead me to write Alcohol Explained, which was also a tool for me in sobriety; getting the ideas on the page helped me work through and solve the puzzle of addiction. Even as I was writing, I was continuously connecting the dots and finding new solutions and explanations to the problem of alcohol addiction.
This lead, as a natural progression, to Nicotine Explained, and Diet and Fitness Explained. These are often other addictions and conundrums people are ready to tackle in their lives once they solve that key problem of alcohol addiction. As humans, we constantly want to be improving, and smoking/poor eating habits often are linked to alcohol addiction, so once that problem is solved people feel ready to tackle those issues!
Alcohol Explained 2 came a few years later as I continued to write blog posts for my website. Many issues linked to drinking kept coming to light, that I would write about for the website, but realized that I could go much further in depth into those subjects in a second book.
Diet and Fitness Explained and Nicotine Explained are natural progressions, apply the same approach and to diet and nicotine respectively.
Finally, the workbook is a recent addition to the Explained family. My Facebook group is an open forum for people to ask questions about their sobriety or addiction, and to talk about how their journey is going. I noticed that many people were asking the same questions over and over, in slightly different ways. So, I wrote the workbook to help people engage better with the text and really breakdown their drinking and their solutions so that they are better equipped to answer their own questions and work through certain issues such as craving, and fear of missing out etc.
What were you doing in a previous life?
In a previous life I was a in the 4th Battalion Parachute regime. And I was (and still am) a lawyer! But most importantly, in a previous life, I was a drinker.
Why natural / organic / sustainable/ holistic?
I believe that it’s a simple question of quality of life. Most people appreciate that drinking, smoking and poor diet leads to long term health issues, but very few people appreciate that huge effect it has on our daily quality of life in the here and now. We are constantly bombarded with medications, treatments, magical snake oils and cures to heal our addictions and health issues (keeping in mind some people do need medical intervention) but the reality for most people is that they just lack the knowledge and tools to make better decisions that could improve their lives on their own. It’s a question of empowering people to improve themselves.
What’s your USP? What sets you apart from your competitors?
I don’t like to look at others in the self improvement/sobriety field as competitors in the classic sense. We’re all working towards the same goal: helping people understand and improve. We all often work together and support each other in each individuals endeavours. Where I differ from others in this field is my pragmatic, analytical approach to addiction. Whereas others have stories and anecdotes about experiences they’ve had with alcohol, which really speak to people because we have all had the same experiences to a greater or lesser degree, I understand and have analysed WHY we all have the same physical, physiological and psychological consequences. It’s so important to relate to others experiences, but it is ESSENTIAL to understand the why to be able to fix the problem. I see things slightly differently than others and am able to adapt my explanations, analogies and information depending on my audience, until they have their “eureka” moment. Although my information is scientifically based, I have also been able to adapt the concepts to make it accessible for everyone.
What kind of feedback have you received from clients?
So far it’s all been extremely positive! Alcohol Explained has grown to be one of the seminal texts on alcohol and addiction by word of mouth alone. It has become a referential text for many new names in the sobriety field.
What’s the next big launch / project coming up for you?
I’ve jointly written a new smoking / vaping book with Annie Grace of This Naked Mind.
Hopefully sometime further in the future I will be able to expand on the AE name by creating a podcast.
What’s your big dream?
To allow people to make informed decisions on their drinking, smoking, eating and exercise habits. I believe that too many people are making these decisions on the basis of incomplete or incorrect information. I hope one day to be able to devote myself to this full time to reach the maximum number of people possible, and help anyone struggling, be that through a podcast, my website or one-on-one help.
Where can we find your products?