How much were you drinking and what problems was it causing?
I was opening a bottle of wine as soon as I got home from work. I would drink up to a bottle of wine every night in the week, and more at weekends. It was making me feel depressed, tired and causing weight gain. I felt like I was caught in this horrible trap and couldn’t get out.
What was the key reason you wanted to change- what motivated you?
I was sick and tired of starting the day with the intention not to drink, only to drink, feel bad about myself and then do it all over again the next day. I was worried about my health and it leading to me not being around for my family. I felt like I was a big fraud and had this horrible secret. I really, really wanted to stop but I just didn’t know how I could live without alcohol.
How did you discover me?
The magic of Facebook. An advert for Sandra ‘popped up’ and I thought, JTT sounded really different and it peeked my curiosity.
Were you sceptical this method would work for you?
I was open to the method helping me but I (wrongly) assumed it would be all about willpower. I never dreamt it would assist me in removing the desire to drink!
Did you try before to cut down or have a break from alcohol?
I managed to stop drinking during my pregnancies but I would start again as soon as I could. I also had periods of time where I would take a break but this was all about willpower and I always thought I was missing out.
Did you enjoy the group structure?
Yes. My drinking had always been such a big secret that I only had divulged to a few trusted friends, and here I was sharing experiences with a group of (completely normal) supportive women. It was inspiring and supportive and felt like a safe, respectful place.
What difference has being alcohol free made to your life?
My mental health is the best it has been in years. I am proud of myself and I feel mentally strong. This strength carries through into all areas of my life – with my family, work etc. I have this belief in myself that I never had before. I am not as afraid of failure. I feel able to cope with stress better, and not just use wine to numb out or pretend to myself that it helps me to cope. In terms of my physical health I have more energy, I have lost weight (2 stones!) and I feel amazing!
You have had some challenging work situations to manage- how have you managed this without alcohol and what difference did being AF make to being able to handle stress?
Before starting the Programme I believed that wine at the end of the day helped me cope; I needed it and I deserved it. I justified that I needed it because of having a stressful day, and I totally believed that it soothed away the stress. I have learnt that this was never true and that the wine actually just made me sleepy and numb and that it never addressed why I was feeling stressed in the first place. Having this new belief has been a game changer for me. I am finding that I don’t descend into a stress cycle in the way I did before. I just feel more able to cope, and this in itself makes me feel more resilient.
What would you say to someone thinking of signing up to work with me?
I think we all know deep down if our alcohol use is worrying us. If you have tried before to make changes but you can’t keep this going, then try this Programme out. You don’t need to believe at this stage that you can do it – you just have to want to try. You will meet normal people exactly like you!
What are you most excited about now that you are alcohol free?
That I am buzzing from how good it feels to be alcohol free! I know that my body and mind are going to continue to go from strength to strength and that feels very exciting. I have been alcohol free for over 100 days now!