#128: James Swanwick – How to Stop Drinking Alcohol, Benefits & Motivation

by Mike Mutzel


Watch the Interview

Listen to the Interview

Click here to listen on your mobile device in iTunes


 About James Swanwick

James Swanwick is an Australian-American motivational coach and speaker, ESPN anchor on SportsCenter and author of Insider Journalism Secrets, which teaches people how to interview and make money writing. James has interviewed world leaders and celebrities including Al Gore, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Hugh Hefner and New York Times best-selling authors including John Gray and Keith Ferrazzi.

Connect with James


Related Podcast

Episode #85: Bob Rakowski, DC- Doctor to Professional Athletes Reveals Nutrition and Sports Performance Tips

Books and Products Discussed in this Episode

Swannies Blue Light Blocking Glasses – FDA Approved Natural Sleep Aid, Prevent Insomnia, Jet Lag, Sore Eyes, Headaches – Designed in California – Stylish Blue Blocking Glasses – Computer Glasses Perfect For Gamers, Office, Shift Workers, Designers

Belly Fat Effect: The Real Secret About How Your Diet, Intestinal Health, and Gut Bacteria Help You Burn Fat

How Alcohol Affects Exercise Recovery

Read the Show Notes

01:20 James’ Break from Alcohol: James was a social drinker in Australia, where it seems ingrained in the culture. It caught up with him in his mid-thirties. He had put on about 30 pounds and was tired, irritable, had dry skin and looked weathered.  


02:46 How Can We Be Non-Drinking and Social? Shift your mind-set. The gift, the reward and the pleasure is not drinking alcohol. You will sleep better. Your skin will look better. You’ll have more energy. You’ll have more clarity. Not drinking is better than drinking. In social situations, you can commit to giving yourself this gift. Before James attends a social gathering, he commits to having the most possible fun at the gathering and to do it sipping a soda water or water. He focuses on connecting with people.  You can do it all without alcohol.


05:09 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge: (http://30daynoalcoholchallenge.com/) This is a program that James developed. He has brought hundreds of people through this program, figuratively holding their hands with daily videos of encouragement and strategies. When James did his own 30 day challenge, he lost 13 pounds from not drinking.  He found that conversations were deeper and more positive. He naturally attracted a more interesting people into his life who reflected his growing interest in health, fitness, nutrition and spirituality. Romantic relationships grew.


07:22 Just 30 days: It is not a program to quite alcohol forever. If you quit drinking for 30 days, and you get a glimpse of what it’s like. Most people who go through the program, if they do go back to drinking, it is at a far reduced rate and not habitually.


08:22 One Glass of Wine or Beer Every Night:  The occasional glass of alcohol can be enjoyable.  Just one drink a day might be enough for you to sleep poorly and wake up a little irritable the next morning. You might not be as productive at work and this can snowball professionally and in your relationships. Because you are feeling irritable, you seek refuge in sugary foods, spiking insulin and causing you to store fat. Getting fatter makes you drink more to relieve emotional pain.  It is a vicious compounding cycle.  A habit of drinking does not serve you. It holds you back.


11:43 Meditation and Gratitude: Quitting alcohol will decrease, but no eliminate your stress. James meditates 10 minutes each morning using an app called Head Space (https://www.headspace.com/) and then makes entries in his gratitude journal, listing 3 things for which he is grateful. That feeling of gratitude extends into the day, reducing stress. James has found that with the meditation and gratitude, you don’t feel that you need a drink at the end of the day. Mike uses the Muse app (http://www.choosemuse.com/). He found that after drinking, the app picks up a lot of EEG static, unlike the clear neurological patterns when you don’t drink.


14:58 Protection from Blue Light:  James wears blue-blocking glasses at night. He has his own brand called Swannies (http://www.swanwicksleep.com/products/swannie-nightglasses) Blue light is emitted from computer and cell phone displays. It disrupts your sleep patterns if you use electronics at night. The blue light tricks your body into thinking that it’s daytime. You want your body to think it is nighttime so it produces the hormone melatonin, which helps you sleep. Wearing blue-blocker glasses for at least 1 ½ hours before you sleep will give you a deeper and better quality sleep. James measured this using an app called Sleep Cycle (http://www.sleepcycle.com/) and found a significant improvement in the quality of his sleep. He keeps the glasses on until after he turns off his bedroom light. James designed Swannies blue-blocking glasses so he could be stylish while out in public at night. There is hard science to support this. Many professional, Olympic and college athletes use blue-blocking glasses at night to improve sleep quality and thus performance. In addition, a free app called Flux (https://justgetflux.com/) draws the blue light out of your computer screen.


24:53 Benefits of Natural Daylight: Your circadian rhythm is your internal body clock. It needs to know when it is night and when it is day. To improve your sleep, first thing in the morning let the sun hit your face and skin, even if it is just for 5 minutes. Your body needs sunlight to keep your circadian rhythm in check. At James’ website (http://www.swanwicksleep.com/) there is a free book called 7 Ways to Sleep Better.


29:30 Make the Private Public: Mike found that letting friends and the public know that he had stopped drinking was very helpful. James has found that he has about 20,000 followers on Instagram just by talking about not drinking. There is something powerful in putting it out there into the world and have others to hold you accountable. For the 30 Day Challenge, James has a private FaceBook group where everyone must say why they are there and others bring positive support. If your friends don’t support you, James thinks that you need new friends.


33:49 James’ Favorite Herb, Botanical, Supplement, or Whole Food: James says that fish oil has been proven to support health. It is a good source of omega-3s, healthy fats. If he was on a desert island, he would already be eating a lot of fish, so he would probably take things that remove estrogen and other chemicals from his body, like an estrogen flush.


34:23 James’ Morning Routine: James awakens early, does his Head Space meditation, writes in his Five Minute Gratitude Journal, and reads. Today he read “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. Today he then went to the gym and listened to a program on business. Then he had tea, water, showered and started working at his standing desk.  


36:46 One Health Tip or Policy Change for America: Education on the dangers of sugar is the most important thing.  Educate people to see through misleading marketing and packaging of food to see the sugar and other junk that is in food. Stick to real food. James eats Paleo 85% of the time, eating meat, good fats, fruit and vegetables.

  1. I quit drinking for a whole month before knowing about James 30 day challenge. I thought after 30 days alcohol free that I would drink a lot less but unfortunately I went right back to where I was before.
    I drink about 2 glasses of wine every night. Hardly ever more than 2. I don’t want to stop drinking all together but would like to find the willpower to just drink occasionally.

    • It’s challenging cycle indeed, Kelly.

      I too went five months of zero alcohol and have found myself socially having a few glasses of wine on occasion. I can see the habit forming, so have decided to just stop altogether (as I feel much better without it).

      I think the trick is just to cut it out, because the ‘occasional drink’ begets another drink, etc.. It’s a viscous cycle.

      Thanks for sharing your story,


Leave a Reply