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How much were you drinking and what problems was it causing? 

I drank a bottle and a half of wine every single night. Every couple of months, I might have had one or two nights AF but apart from that, I’d been drinking that way for at least 10 years. I had gained over 40 pounds, was suffering from very poor sleep / constant exhaustion and had very high levels of anxiety and general low mood, as well as the constant feelings of shame and guilt.

What was the key reason you wanted to change- what motivated you? 

 I’d been trying to change actually for many years, although if I’m being honest I was never 100% committed to all the things I tried (psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, NHS alcohol counselling, various online programmes), beyond the first few weeks anyway. The weight gain had always been the main reason I’d wanted to stop or cut down but as I started to approach my mid-40s I had to accept that my drinking was inevitably going to start causing me serious health issues, beyond weight, and that if I didn’t find something that worked and that I stuck to, alcohol and my drinking was going to kill me.

How did you discover me?  

The group came up on my Facebook feed so I got in touch.

Were you sceptical this method would work? 

I wasn’t sceptical necessarily about the programme and its methods generally. I didn’t doubt that it could and would work for others, I was just very sceptical about it working specifically for me, particularly when I had tried so many other things (including two of Annie Grace’s programmes) that I hadn’t stuck to and that I had been drinking excessively for so long. I had watched all of the Annie Grace video content before, so I had all  the knowledge already and still that hadn’t made any difference to my behaviour. 

Did you try before to cut down or have a break from alcohol?

I had tried many things before (psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, the NHS, two of Annie Grace’s programmes) and at best I’d usually  manage two or three nights AF for a week or two, before being back to my  one and a half bottles every night.

What amazing results did you get?

On week two, I cut down to just drinking on weekends, which I stuck to until the 30 day challenge, which I completed successfully. In that time, I lost over a stone, discovered proper sleep and almost completely eradicated my crippling anxiety. I discovered a joy to life that I hadn’t felt in over a decade and a new sense of peace and wellbeing.

Did you enjoy the group structure?

The group element, even though it was all online, was initially very  daunting to me and before the first group call, I did seriously consider just dropping out of the programme altogether. In the end, the group turned out to be the game-changer for me. I didn’t interact on the whatsapp as much as some other people chose to, but the big thing for me was finally having a group of women (all amazing) where I could openly talk about my  drinking. Having kept it all such a secret for so long, even from my husband to a large extent, the sheer relief of being able to admit all my darkest secrets to a supportive group who have done or felt similar things is one of the most freeing things I have ever done.

What would you say to someone thinking of signing up to work with me? 

Don’t think about it too much, what you’ve tried before, what hasn’t worked, how many years you’ve been drinking – just do it! Even if you are sceptical or feel like you already know everything about addiction, allow yourself to believe that just maybe it could be the thing that changes everything. Even if there is only 1% of you that believes that, that is enough. And let the experience – Sandra, the group, the modules – do their work.

What are you most excited about now that you are alcohol free?

Finally getting back to being a size 10 (not there yet but on my way!), being almost completely anxiety-free, waking up feeling rested every morning and knowing that I can deal with whatever challenges the day throws at me. And knowing that a liquid substance no longer has control over me and isn’t going to kill me.