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Nicki Testimonial

We started working together in February 2022.

As you know you filled in an application form where I asked you a few questions.  I am going to read you the question I asked you …

Describe your current relationship with alcohol … you wrote.

I feel powerless around it when certain feels come in, use it to sooth and also feel I am now programmed to feel I am missing out if I can’t have it and panic. Use as guarantee of fun, enjoyment, and to cope with feelings of not enough, overwhelm and social anxiety.

Going back to how you were last year,  what comes up for you? 

It actually made me a bit emotional to hear that. 

You know, that’s a really sad place and to think of myself there, was a bit emotional. I even saw it last night when I was out; the way in other people, the way that I needed to drink to feel safe almost. And the anxiety that came with it.  The power it had around me the need for it. The powerlessness that you feel because you think, I believed that I needed it to be someone, I guess.

So, when we first started working together, if you could describe a bit about how often you were drinking was it mainly a night out,  how was it making you feel the next day? 

So, I think I would do the thing where Monday Tuesday, I’d think I won’t drink this week and I’d make it through Monday Tuesday and then by Wednesday. 

I’d got myself in such a stressful state and anxious about a drink that I would then just give in and then then that would start the well I’ve had a drink Wednesday, so I’ll have one Thursday, Friday. The weekend was this place where you drink that’s what you do either socially or if I was at home.  So, cycle would start again really.  So, there’s a lot of I suppose that guilt and shame.  Again, that powerlessness around it. 

What in particular made you want to make a change Nicki, if you think back to February 

That cycle that I was on, really.  I thought I can’t carry on the wheel going round and round. How much longer am I going to do that. I think I got to the point where I realised that was a real stuck and it was it was holding me back from basically moving forward and really living the life I wanted to.   So, it was the time to really look at it and I think I realised it was a cycle of avoidance and abandoning myself and I decided I believed that other people had abandoned me but there I was consistently abandoning myself.

So, you think back to how you felt when you first started. Did you think this was going to work for you?

I really wanted it to the level you know to commit to it. I did believe it, but I did not know how. There was a huge part of me that had to trust in it, but I had a lot of resistance. 

Talk about some of the challenges that you had …  Everyone got a busy life and I remember early on you were going on a skiing holiday with your family.  And you spoke about your dad liked to drink red wine and sometimes your relationship with your sister was bit challenging. So, when you think back to that skiing holiday and examining your relationship with alcohol, what that was like? We had a plan of a certain nights you were going to drink less, tell me how that all went.

I think feeling supported by you and the fact I wasn’t being told what to do. It was two adults making this decision together. You helping me and it was a refinement rather than a no go; felt very, very helpful and supportive. I was very anxious about it, and I think we decided I’d drink less. But then I had one whole day where I didn’t drink. I remember that day was the middle of the week. I decided I was gonna take the afternoon off and have a bit of a spa time to myself. So, I’d kind of planned it out which is helpful. 

So, you joined the group and as well as us working together 1-2-1. How did you find the group aspect of it was did you find that intimidating? Did you did you like being part of a group? What was your experience like? 

It was extremely helpful. Everyone was so supportive. You realise you’re not alone. People may bring up things that you might have felt too awkward or ashamed to. I think the group aspect is really helpful. Everyone is so supportive and really at the end of the day in the same boat and wanting the same outcome to be alcohol free and happy. 

So, we were working together for a few weeks and then I asked you to take a 30-day break from alcohol.  How did you feel when you started the 30-day challenge?

Well, I started it slightly earlier than when my challenge began.  I think because of the process I’ve been through It did feel intimidating, but I also felt ready. 

I’d done my Mindset Shift technique with you which was very, very powerful. And it was the kind of flick of the switch inside that I needed to have the conviction and the change I wanted to make.  It was definitely intimidating, and I was worried because I have done three months of not drinking here and there several times;. so, I think the worry is that going to be a lasting thing. I didn’t want to approach it as that same sort of grit challenge. I wanted it to be the start of ever after!

When we did the Mindset Shift technique together,  that’s where we examine your belief, a belief that’s keeping you stuck, and we’re challenging it.  I can remember chatting to you about socialising.  How was it for you to start socialising with people, being alcohol free?

So, I think I’m very lucky in the fact that I have very accepting friends and perhaps it’s something that is more apparent these days that people are deciding to less or to not drink.   I live in London and there’s a lot of kind of alcohol-free events starting up if you like so I could feel that I could explore that side of things. 

I think there’s a joy in the fact that you are very present and that you really can enjoy and remember things.  There was a discernment of choosing when to go out and when not to; the realisation that actually I don’t have to stay all night if I don’t want to.  I can go and have a great three hours or a great two hours and then go home.

That’s so good to hear because I know when we were first working together there’s a lot of pressure on you to drink and it felt like a lot of the pressure was coming from yourself. 

Did you find any particular people harder to be alcohol free?

More certain people in family.  I had different levels of who I would tell what at first, just simply to just be easier for myself. And some people it’s a straight out though .… I’m choosing to not drink, and it probably never will again, as it stands at the moment. 

To others it was I’m just not drinking for now, fancied a change.   And still those certain people say are you still not drinking or Oh, when are you going to start drinking again? I just laugh Oh, I don’t know. Like it’s like a funny game. I’ll keep you on your toes. Maybe next week. 

It’s so interesting the responses of different people.   Personally, I can’t have a problem with anyone because Ive probably been all of those people at one point in time.  There’s a huge drinking culture that we’ve all been indoctrinated into. So just because I choose to step away from that, and other people don’t; I want to be accepted for not drinking, I have to accept it when people do still want to drink.

I can remember being the friend that always wanted other people to drink because I didn’t want it to question my own drinking. Is that what is the sort of thing you’re talking about? 

No no, I was so into drinking I didn’t care who was drinking. I was like I’m gonna have a drink whether you’re or not.  I was one of those people who believed drink gave you a good time. 

How long have you been alcohol free for Nicki?

So nearly eight months. 

What I love there is that you haven’t really counted it. So, does that just feel like you who you are?

Yes, I didn’t want to to be this hold on tight grip thing, it is just who I am, and drinking isn’t a part of my life.   Obviously comes into my head but the same way that everything comes into your head. 

Congratulations. I love it. I love it when people have to count as its a feeling that it is not that hard. So that’s good. 

So, what benefits have you noticed in your life now.  So, we started off talking about the the fact that you’re used alcohol to self soothe and you mentioned about not feeling enough and social anxiety.  Now you have been alcohol free for about eight months. What would you say the biggest benefits are?

Being very present.   I have been able to deal with some things that I you know have been sort of putting to the side and not dealing with that then I can have a better life and do the things I do actually want to do.  I forget as it feels such a different life now.

About your career right so tell us a bit about what you do. 

So, I’m a musician and I perform in a couple of different bands.  I songwriter some of those songs get to synced and put to TV, etc. 

Because of the type of industry, you’re in, is one that people will associate with alcohol. So as someone that is a performer, when you are performing at an event in the past, would you have had a drink afterwards? What would your routine look like? 

No, I never drink at work.  A lot of times I was driving, but then also because I have previously done that and been a mess.  So, I never drank at work, but other people do. It’s a huge thing in the music industry to just kind of schmooze and drink

Now that your alcohol free have you noticed any difference.  Has it affected your energy levels, your confidence?  

So, I’ve had some ill health, but it has enabled me to really get to the bottom of that, so then the long term will be life changing.  I probably drank to avoid looking at some of that.    Then you can also blame it on being hungover instead of actually genuinely feeling and looking at the ill health but in the long run this helped me get to the real depths of that and actually start to recover properly. 

So that’s pretty exciting.I think I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be hungover as as well thing and I do you do when you see people drinking really heavily, I think I don’t want to be you tomorrow.

So, confidence wise I’ve had to face some of those demons that you feel that the lack of confidence that I felt going out or being in certain situations.   It’s more about being kind to yourself and you’re just human and sometimes they don’t feel great, and you still have to do things. 

It’s the kindness that you give to yourself and that you have the capacity you have to give yourself.  I think drinking induces a lot of shame and then that brings a lot of punishment or guilt and things like that, that you just swim around in.  It takes up a lot of space and energy.

How does it affect you now when you are performing and around people are getting drunk.  Does that help you confirm your choices?

That’s a good question. Yeah, I don’t look admirably on upon people when they’re drinking, I guess in that way of longing or wanting drink. I know that drink isn’t the answer.   And as much as they seem like they might be having a good time in the moment Ive realised it’s almost not real. 

This will be your first Christmas where you have had this mindset shift and are not drinking.   Any concerns about socialising friends or family ? 

No not at all, I feel like because I have now sussed out the AF drinks that I like and I celebrate Christmas mostly at home. Then you can have what you like to eat.

I feel very lucky. I feel like it’s gonna be great one. 

Fantastic. I love your excitement about it. What would you say to someone who has listened to what you’ve said and feels like you did in the beginning with social anxiety or to self soothe. So, if they were thinking about booking a call with me to get freedom from alcohol, but they’re nervous.  What advice would you give them? 

I say do it. Honestly, I’d say choose you; choose yourself because you’re so much more than alcohol. Fun isn’t in the bottle. I’m not in the bottle. 

A lot of people aren’t happy drinking either.  Even if you just try, the great thing about you Sandra is nothing is forced, it’s just trying it; nothing is forced, you always put a light side to it and encourage fun.  There is so much greatness on the other side, it’s better than you’ll ever know, surprise yourself and be adventurous.

Thank you it has been really great i couldn’t have managed it without you, now it is a whole different world.

Give it a go you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.