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Jo Testimonial

Hey there. So I’m Sandra Parker and today I’m joined by the fabulous Jo. Hi, Jo.


So we’re gonna talk about Jo’s journey from before we started working together to where you’re at now. So first of all, welcome Jo and thank you so much for volunteering to do this interview. It’s going to be amazing. So let’s go back to the last year, it doesn’t really feel like that long ago, around October time when we first started.

The beginning of October we spoke, yes.

Great. So tell us about how, before you’ve done the Just the Tonic program, how much were you drinking and what sort of problems was it causing?

Yeah, I mean, I’d got to the stage of the norm being two bottles a day So I was drinking about two bottles a day Cava and that spanned at any time during the day really. I would pick my daughter up from school, my habit would I’d get home, and I’d start cooking dinner and then I’d start drinking. I wasn’t up all hours, because I would always go to bed quite early or pass out. But yeah, I was two bottles a day at the weekends, it got to a point where this is probably one of my biggest concerns where I would wake up the next day and sometimes feel so awful that I’d actually start earlier during the day as well.

So when you think back about what that felt like, what sort of impact was it having on you?

You know, and I think it became normal. And this is the scary part of it, you kind of think, well, I’m surviving and functioning. And I was getting up each day. I obviously and clearly can see it now at this big black cloud over me but I from the outside, I would have looked perfectly functioning around my business, I was a single mom, you know, is almost held in accolade for how well I was achieving in my life. I think behind closed doors, my life was you know, tied to the bottom and it just became what I did. And I was clearly pretty depressed, down, tired, didn’t sleep. I had the classic wake up in the middle of the night, every night, cursing myself telling myself had to change and reading something online to try and make myself believe I wouldn’t do it the next day and then it would happen again and again. And I was just in this cycle and I think I probably said it on the call but I knew that though I started to feel the norm because my tolerance clearly was so high. I knew the impact. I wasn’t silly. I knew the science. So I knew I if I didn’t stop, you know, I was hurting my body. I was hurting my relationship with my daughter, I was hurting my health and I honestly thought you know, I’d die if I didn’t stop what I was doing. But the scary part is I didn’t stop and I didn’t know how to stop. Hence why I called you.

So what was it that actually prompted you to make the call? Was there anyone? For some people they’ve just had enough and some people something happens and they think right that’s it. What was it for you?

I think I got to the stage and I think anybody does when they get to that stage like that. I knew it wasn’t doing anything for me but I didn’t know I couldn’t stop it because I completely saw it as my crutch and as my friend. And I remember I was still going to the gym all the time and I was going I had been to the gym, I was walking around the playground next to the gym, and I saw your advert come up on Facebook, it came up and I clicked on it. And I remember it saying about you know, not using willpower to give up and I previously stopped smoking and another life and I’d done something similar around that but I was like, well, this is so different.

I remember the call with you. How did it feel when you signed up, were you excited? Were you nervous?

I mean, I was petrified. I mean, I think you remember me talking to me, it was an investment in my life. It was, I’m not great at failure. I know how stubborn and you know, and strong I am as a strong willed individual. So I, you want to believe it, but you then keep you have this dichotomy in your head going, Yeah, but can this really work? And, you know, if I do this, and I fail, I’m going to feel even worse, because then I thought, ‘what, there’s no other option?’

When you think back to those early weeks, at what point did it start feeling to you like this is going to work?

Well, I mean, obviously, the first few days of going alcohol free with this new mindset, where it was constantly in my head all the time when you drink and I started to kind of listen to that voice a bit. And I started to question the voice a little bit, I think. And I started to do the modules each day and I think you just get that little bit of a boost from it, that when you’re in the early stages going, ‘how on earth can this work?’. You just start, I started to believe a little bit. I hadn’t started to unpick that until later on through the program, I started to kind of question the illusion almost. And I started to think about the why I drank. And I started, I mean, I knew the health benefits, it was great to reaffirm it for me. But it was actually starting to see alcohol for what it was, like I genuinely in my mind started to see it as this poison, I started to understand it is this highly addictive drug.

Yeah, fantastic. And then in thinking about the one to one calls as well, what differences did they make, do you think?

Well, they’re massive. And I think there’s spaced so cleverly that there you have them when you want them. Yeah, but for me, initially, you kind of again, you don’t know what you don’t you don’t know what you want to ask. You don’t really, I didn’t anyway, my brain was still quite jumbled. Yeah, still quite hazy. I was, you know, unpicking 20 years in there. And I also had quite a haze over me from the alcohol. It just gives you this massive extra boost, and it gives you more focus, and the bits which were pertinent to me and my life, because all our lives are different, right? You could really hone in on those one to ones so it was the perfect balance for me.

Was that difficult for you? You’re obviously busy, you’ve got your own business and your daughter, was it difficult to make the time? Or how did you manage it?

It’s how you prioritize in life, isn’t it? This to me was life change, what I was doing was removing something I never thought I could. So I did make it a priority, but it’s you fit it around your life, that’s the wonder of it being within a chat, because you don’t have to be there immediately at a time when I was working. I was working when I was with Maggie as well. But then you can sit down and you read that. And you can engage. And it’s lovely to be surrounded by people that you’re not having to justify why you’re doing this. Everyone wants to do it. We’re all in different places, all at different levels of drinking, all the different reasons, but we all have a common goal. So yeah, it was just so inspirational. It was so motivational to me, and then you want to give back. And then you feel like you’re in complete trust with these people. And you can start to show your personality and no one’s gonna judge you. And that’s quite hard to find even in really close friendship groups, especially if you’re, you know, you’re never sure if you say something, how others are going to react. Here. It had no judgment, you had only support, which, you know, bought a really strong bond.

Yeah, fantastic. And so when you think back to October, like what were the big alcohol free firsts you’ve experienced?

Well, quite a lot since then. Obviously, holiday. Not that one, another one. But then also Christmas, social events. You know, I’m in that era of a six year old, Yummy Mummy playground, you know, that kind of manipulating how I do all of those while everyone’s sitting around drinking wine. And you know, the kids are running around. And you know, I’ve hosted those, so hosted quite a few of those, my friends, and I am a fan of having alcohol free Prosecco. I’ve been to the races, a bit. I’ve done loads of things. And all of them, I asked the infamous question, would alcohol improve this experience and it wouldn’t, and you silently sit there and you get this little kind of buzz inside. Sometimes I go do some yoga, sometimes I bring a friend which I wouldn’t have done in the evenings before because I’d have been passed out slouched on the sofa, and I engage with them. And so I think yeah, many firsts. I’ve got a festival coming up, which will be interesting. Which everyone’s gonna get, you’re gonna drink there. And I’m like, Well, I can if I want, but I don’t think I’m gonna want to.

Fantastic. I know that you’re such a devoted mother, like what differences has it made to your relationship with Maggie since you stopped drinking?

Just yeah, I was always a morning person but I’m a different morning person now. As you know, Maggie and I like to dance in the morning now, we have fun. I’m just more engaging with her. I’ve restructured my life because before I would sit at she here and I in the evenings with a glass of wine here and I’d be working and I’d let her be off. This sounds awful, but it’s honest, doing our own thing a little bit because I was working. Well actually, I can fit all that in in my mornings now because I’m up and alive and I can therefore make the time to be engaging with her to go play, to go in the car, and everyone says it. I said this in one of the groups, but I bought a car a year ago nearly because I thought it would stop me drinking because I’d go well, if I had a car, I’d have to go somewhere and do that, I live in London, I don’t really need a car just bought a little mini secondhand. But it sat outside the majority of the time because the reality was is yes, I’d most evenings I’d had a drink or at the weekend, so we couldn’t. Now we just go off and do things in the car. I go cold water swimming, it’s my big thing now and she comes with me sometimes, but we just go off places and visit people and I couldn’t do that before. And at nighttime, we would do bedtime stories but I was the classic mom, I’d rush through that bedtime story because I wanted to get back to my wine. And now we have like a gorgeous 30 minutes in her bed where we read a story her book, my book, we have a little chat. We read her mural on the wall. Yeah, I’m just happy(?) you know, and it really is. I’m the mum I expected to be I think it was one of the biggest things in my head knowing not only was I running the risk of her genuinely not having a mum around, or my health did depleting quite quickly. But I also wasn’t giving her the best of me that, you know, the fun authentic me really has come back. I’m lighter and brighter, I’m engaging. And she gets all of that, you know, so do my friends. You know, my friends love me because I’m like, I love all the kids bring them over. Not all the time but sometimes.

Do you feel proud of yourself, Jo?

Yeah, massively. I’m I’m not afraid to say that I am proud. I mean, people asked me about it all the time, because it was such an inherent part of me, right? Everyone’s like, you’re not drinking. I’m seeing my uni friends next Friday night and I haven’t seen them, they don’t know. And they’d be like, what we’re going out for dinner. And but I’m very proud. And I’m proud of you know, what I’ve achieved, how I achieved it and actually how I feel. Yeah, I am. I’m buzzing. And I’m quite happy to share that.

And that’s brilliant. And then if you went back to yourself, like pre October, if someone was watching this, and they were like, ‘I can really relate to Jo that sounds like my life’. What would you say to someone that’s resonating, that’s a bit scared, say or thinking it’s not going to work for me?

I’d say just do it and we all believe with that person, something isn’t going to work for. And if you believe in yourself, and you value yourself enough, you all have probably tried other options. And you’ve probably tried other things to do. And I was that person and I tried willpower and I’ve beaten myself up. And I was in a really low point, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. And I’m sure if you feel like that you feel like ‘Well, nothing’s gonna work’. Believing that believing it, try it because you can get your life back. And I think you do need to put the work in, but it’s 10-15 minutes of your day and what you get back is you reap the rewards from it. So, don’t think you’re the only one that it’s not going to work for because that was me and I was drinking two bottles a day if not more. And I was strong willed as you they come you know, and I was doing really well in my life on the surface. But I was beating myself inside and you deserve the chance to try and give yourself your life back. Get your essence back, get the real you back because it’s worth every penny.

Oh, that’s fabulous. One last thing I want to ask you, the people that are not in the group, probably not aware of this, but one of the things we do at the beginning is I asked everyone to take a selfie, because I know that they look different after. Jo, your hair looked completely different. Did you notice the differences yourself?

My hair was the biggest one for me. I mean, my hair was brittle and I mean it’s, I look at it now. I mean, I could not look in the mirror before, now I love looking in the mirror. It’s really because I feel that difference. I mean my hair has just got softer, thicker, bigger I mean it’s it’s completely different. And my skin, I’ve lost 10 pounds in three months and trust me I’ve been eating anything I like and I’ve also lost more the information from my face I can really notice my body. But yeah, the benefits, you know, we all want to look good, right? It’s obviously there’s deeper health issues but the looking good part only adds to the feeling great. And it gives you, when you look in the mirror each day, and you actually will look in the mirror, and you realize the difference it’s having to your eyes, to your skin, to your hair, everything is great.

Fantastic. Thank you very much, Jo. Congratulations!

Thank you very much.