EP 13: Alcohol Explained with William Porter

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William Porter, author of Alcohol Explained, dives deep into how alcohol works in the body. He answers why alcohol is both a depressant and a stimulant? Why does alcohol help you fall asleep but leave you awake at 3am? Why is it that alcohol can feel so good (euphoria) and then later feel so bad (anxiety, hangovers)?

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Today I am joined by William Porter, he is the author of ‘Alcohol Explained’ and this book was recommended to me by a bunch of readers. I picked it up and I’ve been blown away by the caliber of research and study and content and how well you logically articulate alcohol. It truly is ‘Alcohol Explained’. It’s phenomenal. And I’m just thrilled to talk to you today about it. I have a bunch of questions but I’d love to just start with like your personal story where where did this come from?

William's Story

I started drinking and smoking when I was about 14. That was back at sort of the beginning of the 90s. Quite quickly I came across Allen Carr’s book on stopping smoking. Oddly enough, I didn’t stop smoking immediately, I had to read it quite a few times before I finally stopped. I was quite blown away by the way he looked at things and analyzed things. So I stopped smoking around the age I got back from university so about 21 or so, but I continued drinking. As per most people, it just got heavier and heavier and more and more out of hand. At one point I was in the reserve battalion parachute regiment and served down in Iraq. My drinking was getting more and more but that, as you can imagine, was probably quite a big accelerator in many ways.

Drinking Habits

So coming off the back end of that up, I picked up some fairly abysmal drinking habits. That just sort of continued and things continued getting more and more out of hand. So eventually it came to the point where you have to do something about it. I stopped drinking three and a bit years ago, February 18 will be my fourth year not drinking.
It was a very very long process because I had only been at university and suffering really bad insomnia when I was drinking. While at Cardiff University I went down the medical library and started reading bits and pieces on that to try and work out what had happened. For the twenty five years or so that I was drinking it was like an ongoing process of just research. I didn’t at any point sit down and think, right I’m going to research it. It was just as things dawned on me, I’d sort of read into it and you know you’d pick up magazines or find articles that would be of interest. It was quite a few years of just accumulating knowledge.

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Alcohol Explained

I eventually stopped. At the time I probably had eighty percent of the information that is now in ‘Alcohol Explained’ and on the web site. When I actually sat down to write, I don’t know if you found the same, but you’ve got an idea and you think you know it, but when you actually sit down to write something, you realize there are holes in it so you sort of fill in those gaps. Actually writing the book was really useful just for me personally as well. Even though I stopped drinking at that point it kind of helped finalize the journey for me in many ways.

Keep Listening

Keep listening to the podcast to hear more from William on Alcohol Explained. It’s so empowering and enlightening to discover the scienece behind alcohol and what it really is doing to us.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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