The Alcohol Coach’s story

By Michaela
The Alcohol Coach’s story

Have you ever had a time in your life when you knew that you had to make a change? This is the Alcohol Coach’s story, my story, of that time in life for me.

It’s 2015, and I open my eyes to a gloomy, dark morning, I turnover to the right and there is a sliver of light that sneaks through that really annoying gap between the bottom of the blind and the window sill, you know the one…

As I lie there my heart starts pounding, my head is thumping and I feel that familiar sense of anxiety and dread looming up, casting a shadow over me. I reach over in the bed to my partner, Harry, for some support, I’m just feeling so dreadful. But as I reach over, that side of the bed is cold. He’s not there. And the truth is that I don’t know if he was there at all last night because, I just don’t remember going to bed. I remember going to the party. I remember my friend Kate as I went in, swinging the red wine around ‘Come on over Michaela…’ she said, ‘…Come on over, I love this stuff…I drink when I’m happy, I drink when I’m sad, I drink when I’m lonely, I drink when I’m bored it’s just brilliant…It does t for me every time…’

I sat down with her, and we laughed, and we joked, me and Kate are the life and souls of the party! Well, we all are, aren’t we? And the night went on and I remember dancing with Janet’s husband at some point. I remembered that, I remember her scowling in the corner. I don’t really remember anything after that though.

Glimmers and glimpses, a shout here a holler there, a ‘mum stop it!’ but nothing else…
And I lie there trying to piece together the shards of that night, no I can’t. Where’s Harry, where is he? Did I do anything awful? I don’t know. I am parched. I need some water. So, I crawl out from the sheets. Grab a gown and pad across the landing. Down the stairs, across the hall, down the corridor, and there is this light coming from under the kitchen door. Somebody is up. I don’t know what time it is. Early hours of a winter morning…I don’t know. I open the kitchen door and there’s Harry. Sitting at the kitchen table with his arm around my son Josh.

Josh has got tear stained red eyes. I just look at them all and say ‘Guys!’ In that tone of voice that is just a little over enthusiastic and happy. It’s an ok, everything is ok kind of voice. ‘Guys’ I say…’What’s the matter? Is everything ok? What happened?’
Harry just looks at me. ‘Michaela, don’t you remember!?’
Remember what? I say lightly, feeling the gloom and dread rise up in me.
‘This has got to stop. This has got to stop.’ Harry said. ‘Don’t you remember getting home from the party?’

Have you ever had a time in your life when you knew that something had to change…I started to investigate. I started to look into it. Did I really have a problem? Didn’t everyone drink? Wasn’t this just what we did? High functioning, intelligent, ambitious people, partying. Isn’t this what we do having fun? Isn’t this what we do to relieve stress?

I didn’t get it, maybe there is just something wrong with me?

A couple of months later, Harry and I were taking a walk, it was a cold February morning. One of those where the white clouds were billowing across the sky, racing each other. Despite the sunshine, Harry and I were walking with a big black cloud between us called ‘The night before’. And as we walked, we walked to the wall that looks out over the sea. And I remember as I stand there now, with my elbows on the wall. I’m looking out to sea and Harry says to me. ‘I can’t do this anymore Michaela, it’s over…’

alcohol kills more than illicit drugs
It’s over…

And I turned to him in that lighter and brighter voice and said, ‘What do you mean it’s over Harry, what’s over? You are not enjoying the walk?’
‘We are over Michaela…I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do the unpredictability of your behaviour. I can’t do the coming home from work every night and you being halfway or a full way down a bottle of wine. I can’t do what happens later in the evening, I can’t do the arguments, I can’t do the morning apologies. I just can’t do any of it anymore. It’s over.
And as he walks off the whole of the last thirty years of my life flash before me, and I realise that every event that ever went wrong, everything that ever caused any pain, there was one common denominator in all of it, alcohol.

Despite the achievements, despite the success, despite having it all, there was this one thing in the middle of it all causing destruction and damage, to me, my loved ones and everybody around me. As I stand there now looking out to sea, I have that moment.

Have you ever had a moment in your life, where you knew whatever it took, you have to change. This is my moment.

And so, I made a promise to Harry that I would change. I didn’t know how, I was terrified, but I made the decision. I contacted AA, I spoke to a lovely guy on the phone called John. ‘Hello’
‘Is this AA?’
‘I think I’ve got an alcohol problem… I don’t know whether I am an alcoholic, is that right? Alcoholic, is it a disease, is it? Right…Day by day, one day at a time? And you’ve done eleven years and 260 days… Well done John that sounds like an achievement. Yes, lifelong recovery? Really? Ok… Thank you, well done John, thank you for your time…’
I have a disease; I have a lifelong label. I need to be in recovery for the whole of my life. There must be another way. There MUST be another way…

I used to smoke, I smoked for twenty years, I was addicted to nicotine, I stopped smoking. Am I in lifelong recovery as a ‘Smokeaholic’. I just want to stop drinking…

I went to my GP, my Doctor, went through a questionnaire… ‘Do you drink in the morning Michaela?’

‘No not often.’ I said. ‘Sometimes, if I’m going on a trip with the girls or if it’s Christmas day, or a birthday or anniversary, or big celebration, not generally’.

Right, well I suggest Michaela you just cut down, just cut down what you’re drinking, use willpower.’
Well, I had tried that, using willpower and putting a line on the bottle so I wouldn’t drink anymore. I tried all those things. Tried not drinking Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, it lasted a while, but I had done all that. And then I went to see a counsellor, who went through the same questionnaire and then started trying to route around in my past. For huge, enormous trauma to explain why I had this problem in the first place. Why I had become addicted to a highly addictive drug. No that didn’t work. None of it worked.

I am a scientist, I am an executive coach, a master’s level coach. So, I started to investigate, I started turning the coaching back on myself, I started asking myself the questions, I started using my science to delve into the science of addiction, into the science of alcohol, into the psychology, into the neuroscience. I started investigating and dived into it all.

I immersed myself in it. On my bookshelf are hundreds of books. I read the British Medical Journal, I read the Lancet, I read Alcoholics Anonymous a.k.a. “The Big Book” written in 1939. I went right back to the very first therapies of addiction, investigating and analysing.

Some five months later, surrounded by paperwork, in the middle of all of that. Everything suddenly clicked, and I got it. In that moment, on that day, I was completely free of it all.

I remember because, I walked outside, into my garden and I opened my arms wide, and I looked up to the sky and went round and round and round. I didn’t need to count days; I didn’t need to spend my life in recovery. I needed to learn how to adapt to the world, a world where everybody drinks. The drunk planet, but I was free. And so too can be you, your loved ones, your employees, and colleagues. To find out more and take the next steps, book a seat on my Free Masterclass.

You can now watch my video relating to this blog post on YouTube, simply click on the below image and it will take you there.


Hi, I'm Michela

I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!

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