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Elaine Testimonial

Hi there, I’m Sandra Parker and this is one of the best part of my job. So today I get to speak to the fabulous Elaine, who successfully completed the Just the Tonic program. Well, so welcome, Elaine, how are you?

I’m good. I’m good. How are you?

Yeah. Good. Thank you. So thank you so much for, for doing this. This is fantastic. So let’s go back to  before we started working together, so if you don’t mind sharing the Elaine, tell, tell us a bit about how much you were drinking, and why you wanted to change.

It’s actually it’s, it’s scary to think about it now. But I was probably drinking over, definitely over a bottle of wine a night and some nights more, some nights less. I always felt like, just just not myself, and tired and grumpy and emotional. And I was fed up feeling like that. And I’ve got my son who will be 10 next month. And he was actually saying things about my drinking.  To any other parent out there that just hits a nerve. He would be like, ‘Mommy, please stop drinking wine. Do you have to drink wine every day?’, things like that. And that really, really struck a nerve with me. And I thought, right. For his sake, I need to be okay, I need to be healthy. I need to get, I need to knock this on the head. And I knew for me, it wasn’t a moderation thing. I knew I couldn’t moderate. I had tried that before. And it didn’t work. So I knew I needed to do something that eliminated that need to drink all the time. And your program did that.

Fantastic. It’s quite shocking, isn’t it when we look back, and we see how much we drink. So, you’re drinking roughly about a bottle of wine a night and sometimes more. How long had that been? For a lot of people, it’s something that crept up over lockdown. Was that the case for you, Elaine?

I think it crept up over years and years, to be honest, I think even when I was younger, and I would go I was probably the person that drank more than others. Or I couldn’t just go out for a couple. I always wanted a couple more. So I think that was always kind of there but lockdown definitely didn’t help. And I think it gave me and others an excuse. Because there was so many memes there were so many things like ‘Oh, it’s okay to have wine at breakfast, and we’re locked out’. And I definitely think it ramped up at that point and I know some people got it back on track after. And when our lives are back to normal. The drinking went back to normal. And I know that mine didn’t and it did escalate. So it probably been as bad as that for a good two, three years.

Yeah, understand. So you had really good reasons that you wanted to change. Before we had worked together, had you tried other things?

So I had off and on but to be honest, I don’t know if my heart was ever completely in it. But like many people who drink too much every day, I would get up and go right ‘I’m not going to drink tonight. I’m not going to drink till Thursday. I’m not going to drink till the weekend’. Some days I did it. Some days I didn’t. That desire when I got in from work or turn my laptop off was ‘can have a glass of wine now?. I’ve done lent(?) and given up alcohol for like six weeks but even then I would maybe have the odd night off and things like that. I’ve tried to dry January didn’t ever complete it. And so yeah, I had tried things in the past, but nothing really got to the reasons of why am I drinking. Trying to stop, but my willpower didn’t work.

Yeah, understand. So you obviously wanted to make a change. When, we first started working, did you have that fear that a lot of people have like, this isn’t going to work for me? What was it like in the early days?

Oh, my God, I was terrified. I was so scared, it would work. Scared, it wouldn’t work. And I was at that stage where I did think, ‘right, enough is enough, I am done with. But I can’t do this myself’. So yeah, I was I was really scared. I think initially, on my first after my first initial call with you, you invited me to one of the group calls later that day. And that was so nice, because everyone was lovely. Everyone was really encouraging. Everyone was telling their stories, and really open and honest about what their journey had been like, where they’ve been, how they were getting on. So, I think I was inspired by that and I think I said this lots of times, and I know I’ll not be the only person. I was also scared to give up alcohol because it was like a crutch. Even though it was a crutch that was killing me. It was still a crutch, and a friend and it’s like a god. I’m actually gonna have to say goodbye to alcohol but I think every week it got easier. And you get to a stage where you’re thinking I can’t believe I turned to alcohol the way I did, because it doesn’t serve you it doesn’t, it doesn’t make anything better. And it makes things worse, because you get up the next day and everything’s still there. You’ve not dealt with it. Plus you feel rubbish. So yeah, it was a definite a definite journey and a definite time of, I think a lot of self-reflection. And a lot of looking at the whys of why you’re doing this and what it is. Is it serving you? No. Yeah.

I remember, like a lot of people… you’ve got a busy life. So you’re looking after your son, you’ve got a really demanding job. And I remember  you’re on a holiday and you’re spending time with your family, and you’re around other people that are drinking. What did you find the hardest initially?  Or was it being on your own and not having a drink? What was the biggest challenge?

Both were really hard. And I think a lot of people that drink too much you do a lot of that in on your own. So even though my son did mention wine, he maybe saw me have a glass of wine with dinner but didn’t see me finish the bottle. But kids aren’t silly, he knew. But that- I was in Ireland seeing family in my second week or into my second week. And people were drinking and I did find it. I did find it difficult. In my head before,  I would be sitting at a table with people and then when I was actually there with people and they were having a drink. I thought ‘this isn’t so bad. Actually, I can enjoy this’. And I think it was there was even times when something would be coming up and I’d think about that and go actually, it’s not as hard as I perceived it in my head that it would be in the art form on my own. Not drinking I used a lot of alcohol free options, a lot of the options yourself and other group members suggested. And maybe that’s like filling your brain a little bit and thinking, you know, I’m having an adult drink, I’m having a grown up drink, but it’s, it’s not. Or I’m just keep busy, I would just do things that I would. If I didn’t have my son, I would plan to meet friends for a late walk, which I would never have done before. Or I would just tidy out cupboards or just do things in the house. So it was very much changing my mindset.

Yeah, understand, and  as you were going through the program, and one of the things I loved about you Elaine, you were all in, so you were all in on the call every week, you were asking questions, you were doing the work. At what point did you feel like this is working?

Maybe about week, five? Yeah, possibly. But halfway through. And especially what I really liked is with the  group, you’ve got a mixture. So there will be people coming into the group who were day one, week one, and people who were getting to the end, and you would see the people at the end. And I could feel myself getting closer to the end. But also feeling in control and not feeling not feeling deprived. Anyway, not feeling that I had to turn to alcohol. It was doing all of the work that you said. And that was resonating. I think a lot of things about you know, what alcohol really is and the messages that were told, and you looked- you start to look at it differently and go, Alcohol isn’t this amazing thing that makes life easier and takes the age off, it doesn’t take the edge off, it adds to the edge and then seeing new people coming in. And you’re like, oh my god, it’s like, I cannot wait till they’re at week five, and they feel how good this feels like I don’t think you can put in words like that transformation from week one to week five and beyond because your life just turns around. Like it’s incredible.

Fantastic. That’s so good to hear. So you mentioned about how your son wanted you to stop drinking. So you finished the program for a few months. So how long have you been alcohol free for now?

So I think it’s just over six months since it started and I think two days in my first week where I had some alcohol. I cant actually remember how many days but six months.

So when you started the program, and you had a couple of alcoholic drinks in week one and then it was very early on, you had enough. And that’s  now six months alcohol free. That’s amazing. Right? So congratulations. So what impact? Let’s talk about the impact that’s had. So first of all, what impact has that had on your relationship with your son?

It’s like night and day. I wasn’t a bad parent. I think I coped, I did an alright job, but I definitely put alcohol first. I did. You know like right, okay, wait till I I have a glass of wine or if we went out somewhere, I’d want to get home so I could have a drink. And none of that is there anymore. If we’re out, we’re having a good time, we stay till it’s time to leave. I’m much more relaxed. I’m I just I was grumpy. Like, I knew I would. I was short tempered with them. I would snap. I’ve got much more patience. He sees and he’ll even say ‘Mommy, when did you last have a drink?’ And I even remember thinking and he laughs about it because it’s not part of our life anymore. It’s not part of something that he may be worried about. And I definitely worried about it and we’re just freer and lighter. And yeah, it’s it’s much more harmony in the household now.

That’s fantastic and I don’t think anyone that knew you wouldn’t say you weren’t a great mum, right? But how, how great to make that change and for him to comment on it,  because I know for a lot of us we try and minimize the impact it’s having. Right. So we try and turn a blind eye. So  I love the fact that he’s commenting on how different life is. And then in terms of work, you have a really demanding job, Elaine, but you know, you’re able to do all of that, look after your son when you were drinking a bottle of wine a night, now you’ve had six months not drinking, what’s work like now?

Again, it’s like night and day, I get up in the morning, I still don’t jump out of bed and like punch the sky and go ‘yay, it’s morning!’. But I wake up, I feel good. I, during my working hours, I’m fully into work, I enjoy work so much better. And everything’s been going really well at work. Even going to meetings and I’d spoke to you about this going away with work. Not drinking, I was dreading it. And we had our Christmas night out and the next day one of the guys commented, made a comment about ‘are you feeling rough today? ‘ and I was like, ‘No, I didn’t drink last night’. ‘I always thought you were drinking’. And I think it’s because I felt more relaxed. And I was just having a really good time when people didn’t notice. People don’t care if you’re drinking or not. And that’s the thing that there’s, that’s quite hard to get my head around. But we know work has been really good. It probably took a little bit longer for me to feel the difference at work. I don’t know if that’s normal, or people feel that straightaway. I felt at home with my son quicker. I felt better in myself quicker. I think work took a little bit of time. But it’s been worth the journey. I feel great. I’m doing really well at work. Yeah,  it’s fantastic.

That’s excellent. I mean, I think a lot of people can relate to that, you know, going away , travelling with work. It can be quite an intense environment. You’re around colleagues of all time and they’re just drinking more and more , but then we worry about well how will we survive that environment if we’re not drinking. So I absolutely love the fact that people thought you’re still drinking because you’re having a good time.


So when you said you feeling better about yourself. So when you were drinking like what were the emotions you felt around your drinking?

Guilt and fear. Shame. Like I was so ashamed of myself. Yeah, and I did everything with a smile on my face. And I was like, Yeah, I’m fine to the outside world but inside I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like the version of myself that I was becoming and I gained weight because obviously a lot of calories in alcohol, it doesn’t really make you want to get up and go to spin class in the morning. So and I do five classes gym. I’ve lost about two and a half stone.


I want to lose another stone but that’ll take time. Yeah, like I couldn’t have done that before. My son comes to the gym with me. He just eats snacks and he’s like ‘I eat all the calories you burn though’. And we go for bigger walks. Like I just how I feel about myself is so different. It’s a place to be. It’s horrible to not like who you are, and try and project a person that’s happy when you’re not. And don’t get emotional because I’m not, I’m always emotional. But yeah, it’s to turn that around and actually feel happy on the inside. I’m proud of yourself. What am I like? It’s incredible. It’s incredible. And I couldn’t have done it without the program I couldn’t. Like I said, I had tried. And I just I couldn’t get my mind in the right place like alcohol would always just grab me back. But it’s not happening this time.

It’s just so so good to hear that ,I mean, well, what fantastic turnaround.  And here’s the thing,  connecting to your emotions, we try mostly to avoid that right, especially unpleasant emotions. But some of the work that you’ve done, Elaine is where you have worked out how you feel and you’ve  been able to use the tools and to make peace with it. So, I’m guessing one of the benefits of liking yourself is  losing that exhaustion. Do you feel like you’ve got more energy now?

Oh, my God. Yes. Even like I said, my alarm goes off, I still get that snooze for five minutes, but my son doesn’t let me do that. But once I’m up, I’m up. And I feel good. And I don’t- I have got that clarity. Even if you don’t drink enough to actually have a proper hang over the next day, you. You don’t realize how much of an impact it has on your energy levels, you still feel a bit in a slump. So I don’t have that at all. Even if I have a late night, cause I’ve gone out or have been socializing. You still feel a bit tired or the next day, but you don’t have that horrible hangover feeling, energy’s through the roof. I think my dogs lost a few pounds as well, because the legs are… My son keeps wanting to go for shorter walks. And I’m like’ no lets go couple of kilometers more and he’s like ‘no mommy’. So yeah know, I’ve got a 100% more energy than I had before. So, yes, Massive.

So many benefits, right?. But like, you’ve we know it’s like another milestone, right? So I remember you were buying your trainers for your 30 day reward. So did you reward yourself for 100 days and what’s the next milestone?

I don’t think I did. I did get new trainers. But I don’t I don’t think I did reward myself. So that’s a good a good reminder. Although, and I love my sweaty betty workout gear. So I guess that is because it’s not the cheapest. I love it. And I can fit into stuff and not be bulging out of it. So I always bought good trainers. But I never bought nice workout gear because I didn’t feel good. And so I love getting get my new workout gear and go into the gym and go and take me. Yeah!

I love that. And what about, like when you look back, ? So  week two, you already  stopped drinking. Week five, it felt like everything clicked. You talked about the power of the group when you first started. So the very first day, which was quite brave, right, week three and at the deep end right away. How did you find that- how did that group benefit you as you were going through the program?

It was massive. It was massive. Like, again, I think without that I would have struggled because you just see all of these people who are in the same boat as you at different stages and you’re inspired by them and you want to help them like the further along you get, you want to go, you want to just grab the people in week one and go ‘you can do this. It’s fine. It’s okay. Like there is a life without alcohol’. And even like you said ask lots of questions. Your other group, I can’t remember the name of the people.

Upgraded Life.

Yes, the Upgraded life people. You know, ask them all the questions really early on. And it was about going away going in a holiday, not drinking, socializing,  doing things with people, like, I’m so worried about that. And these people were like, fine, it’s fine. And there’s so many alternatives and again, like I’d said, a lot of the people on the Upgraded Life had made suggestions for alcohol free alternatives, and alcohol free beer is great. See, sometimes if you’re going to social situation and you feel, you just don’t know what to do with yourself sometimes because you don’t have a drink, and having an alcohol free beer or an alcohol free gin in your hand, it just takes a bit of that anxiety away. And a lot of that was advice from people in the group, of people beyond and I think it just takes some of that anxiety away, doesn’t it? And it takes a little bit of the fear because it is like, it’s massive to give up alcohol, when you’re in the grips of it. It’s like any drug, it’s really challenging but it’s everywhere. And I think that was kind of a lightbulb moment in the group was like, you know, people turn into teens, birthday cards, bottles of champagne, then glasses, adverts, TV programs, you’re, you’re surrounded by it. And it’s trying to see alcohol for what it is. And I think the group’s really helped with that as well. Because they still had a life, they still socialize, they still did things but all without alcohol. And it was great. It was really good.

That’s excellent. And your son’s 10. And so I know one of the things that we spoke about was being a role model for him. So what does it feel like now, to know that,  when he gets a bit older, goes through his teenage years, that you will be able to be that role model and talk to him about alcohol,  in a way that feels quite authentic, what’s that like?

Yeah, and I know, he’s only  10. But you do think about that, because kids are trying things younger. And I think it’ll be like, he knows that I obviously drank. So I’m not going to preach to him like ‘alcohol, like you can’t touch it’. I think it’s just, it’ll help me speak to him about, bone it in a much more rounded way. You know, but the downside of it. Also, you know, go out, but try not to get yourself into situations that are dangerous, things like that. But I think I think he’ll have a different perspective of me and what I say because he’s seen both sides with me. Yeah. So yeah, I think I think it can only be a good thing for him growing up and to see that his mom did drink, but was able to give it up and that it wasn’t as challenging as maybe his mom thought it would be.

So fantastic when you look back, right?. You’re doing amazing. When you look back, and you think about yourself, like before we started working together, and I think it’s actually a Friday that we spoke.

It was.

It’s funny how you remember that, isn’t it? So if you think about the Elaine then that had the courage to, click on the registration and watch the webinar, book the call, come to the call. If other people are listening to this, and they’re thinking ,that’s me!,  Elaine’s life is exactly the same as mine. What would you say to somebody that , wants to book a call, wants to get help, but they’re, scared, and they’re thinking oh, maybe this isn’t going to work for me, like, what would you say?

Just do it. Absolutely. I mean, I was terrified. And I think we booked the call in for 9:30 and you sent a message and I thought you weren’t going to call and I was releived internally because it was like, yes, she’s not going to call it’s not going to happen. I can just go back to doing what I’d always done, but you did call. And it was really difficult because I had to answer your questions and I had to be honest cause there was no point in lying and I was terrified like I can’t even put in words how scared I was. How scared I was to admit, because admitting to you how bad my drinking was, was admitting it to myself and then saying I want to do something about this. Oh my god. You can get your life back. Like you absolutely can get your life back and after, everything after it is so positive and so nice. The work that you do, the groups, and all of the exercises you have to do, it just comes together and it just life changing. It gives you your life back. That’s all I can say.

That’s so lovely to hear. Thank you so much, Elaine. Really fabulous.

Yeah. It’s massive what you and the group do. And I think just to be with people who understand the struggle and understand that it is challenging, it is difficult but you can do it. You absolutely can do it. It’s just great. It’s inspiring and it’s life changing.

Fantastic. Great. Thank you so much.

Thank you, Sandra!