Originally from Scotland, I moved to London in her early twenties after university and qualifying as a chartered accountant. I embraced the work hard/ play hard culture with most social events revolving around alcohol and had a successful corporate career for over twenty years. When I reached my forties, keen to adopt a healthier lifestyle, I took up yoga, ran marathons, ditched processed food, learned to meditate etc etc but alcohol was the one vice I could not control. I was drinking less than in my twenties and had fewer hangovers but the thought of a night out without alcohol made me feel deprived, uneasy, and felt incredibly difficult. I was stuck in a pattern of needing alcohol to enjoy life and on certain occasions drinking way more than I planned and suffering from extreme anxiety, regret, and shame for days afterwards.

My social life revolved around alcohol. Even my running club had a bar. I considered alcohol essential for enjoying life, to relax de stress and have fun. I pitied people who didn’t drink and considered a life without alcohol as miserable, devoid of any fun or sparkle.

Holidays, nights out, weekends were unthinkable without wine. I had tried a couple of thirty-day challenges but had felt deprived throughout, struggled at any social events and had never lasted more than twenty days. Five years ago, after a horrendous hangover on holiday that I decided was my last, I decided I could not bear to be stuck in this cycle any longer and looked around for information on how to control alcohol.

I discovered there was very little aimed at people like me who were not considered extreme heavy problem drinkers or alcoholics. I felt very ashamed of not being able to control alcohol and knew that AA was definitely not for me for a number of reasons. Namely, the stigma, the image I had which seemed very depressing, and the fact that I associated it with extreme physical addiction which is not where I was. There was no one I knew that could help me as most of my social circle drank as much as me and so were reluctant to discuss or examine my drinking habits. Lots were keen to advise that I didn’t have a problem and regarded my drinking as ‘normal’. Any guidance I found was purely factual based on government recommended guidelines which completely ignored the difficulties around cutting down or giving up- how to cope with the emotions that came up and with missing all the fun associated with alcohol.

After a lot of research and expert coaching I educated myself properly on what alcohol really is and how it impacts our body and our brain. My plan was to take a break from alcohol and then to moderate because despite everything I could not conceive a life without it. But to my amazement , once I no longer needed alcohol, I discovered that I was a lot happier and life was more joyful Now, instead of missing alcohol I can honestly say that I feel a rush of gratitude at no longer needing it or wanting it in my life.  The only way I can describe this is as an absolute game changer. To the extent that it has led me to switch career, to help others achieve the same freedom that I have. After years of training on alcohol, human behaviour, and the subconscious mind, I set up Just the Tonic Coaching and am privileged to have supported hundreds of men and women take control over alcohol before they hit rock bottom and transform their lives.

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