A personal trainer who struggled with a crippling alcohol addiction between the ages of 15 and 27 has revealed why quitting booze after Easter will leave you happier and healthier almost instantly.
Alexa Towersey, 40, from Sydney, has been sober for the past 13 years after she turned her life around after losing her father to alcohol addiction.
Now, she works as a personal trainer and lifestyle coach, practising what she preaches when it comes to the benefits of a booze-free life.
A personal trainer who struggled with a crippling alcohol addiction between the ages of 15 and 27 has revealed why quitting booze after Easter will leave you happier and healthier (Alexa Towersey pictured)
Alexa Towersey , 40, from Sydney, has been sober for the past 13 years after she turned her life around after losing her father to alcohol addiction (pictured now)
Alexa told FEMAIL that the week following Easter is a great time to consider ditching alcohol:
‘Finding the “right” time to quit your drug of choice may seem like an impossible decision,’ the 40-year-old told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But Easter is one of the best times to begin your journey, given that the onset of spring stands for renewal, rebirth and growth.’
Alexa aid the best way to start if you feel you can’t go completely cold turkey is to develop a more ‘mindful relationship’ with alcohol.
‘Maybe you can set yourself a few new rules: never more than three days in a row of drinking, even when there are holidays, stay well under 14 standard drinks per week, and no more knee-jerk drinking without thinking about it,’ she said.
You can also say that you’ll take a break for several weeks:
‘Even this period is enough time to understand the effect that alcohol is having on your energy levels and body,’ she said.
‘There’s a reason why athletes don’t often drink when training and this is because of the impact alcohol has on fitness, weight, sleep, energy and mood.
‘Alcohol affects everything, including out sleep quality, by reducing our REM sleep.
‘So even if it’s easier to get to sleep (since alcohol is a depressant), we tend to have much worse quality sleep and wake up feeling groggy and un-rested.’
Alexa’s own story began with her father and his alcohol addiction, which she said made her in turn feel like alcohol was something that was difficult to avoid (pictured before)
What are Alexa’s tips to stop drinking today?
One of the trainer’s (pictured) top tips for giving up booze is if you find yourself craving it, do some exercise instead to release endorphins
1. Before your planned break from alcohol, spent a week or so observing the amount you drink and when. You might be surprised at how much or how often you’re drinking, and in what context. There may be certain people, places or emotions that can increase or decrease your alcohol consumption. Understanding this can be a helpful motivator to make changes.
2. Having a set quit date gives you the time to get everything you need in place – preparing how you will tell others, thinking about how to decline a drink when offered, and working out which situations you might need to avoid or be cautious about, at least initially.
3. Set clear and achievable goals. Think about why you want to make changes to your drinking – you will lose weight, feel healthier, be a better parent or partner, save money, sleep better or prevent that Sunday morning hangover. Keep your reasons in mind when you have periods of doubt.
4. Have a friend who can also take up the challenge will make things a little easier. People trying to quit who have strong social support are more likely to reduce their drinking. Online organisations like ‘Hello Sunday Morning’ and ‘Sober in the Country’ have incredible community networks. Connecting with people who have lived experience, and can offer insights into their own journey and what did/didn’t work is invaluable.
5. Don’t give up at the first mistake or slip up: get back on the horse and keep going. Instead of thinking something like “bugger it, I may as well keep drinking”, try saying something like “it’s going to take time, it was just a slip up”.
6. Choose a healthy alternative like sparkling water, soft drink or mocktail. You can ask for it to be served in a cocktail glass, which will mean you’re less likely to be asked why you’re not drinking.
7. Focus on activities that don’t involve alcohol. Ask your friends for breakfast, coffee or a walk – where alcohol is unlikely to be present. If you have a sudden craving for alcohol, do vigorous exercise or something you love instead. These things release the same feel-good chemicals.
Source: Alexa Towersey
‘Easter is one of the best times to begin your journey in giving up alcohol, given that the onset of spring stands for renewal, rebirth and growth,’ Alexa (pictured now) said
Alexa had her first alcoholic drink at age 15, before she continued to drink heavily throughout her 20s (pictured before right)
Alexa’s own story began with her father and his alcohol addiction, which she said made her in turn feel like alcohol was something that was difficult to avoid.
‘My dad was an alcoholic from the time I was 16,’ Alexa told FEMAIL.
‘Even though I had an incredible relationship with my dad, I’d still be embarrassed when he would turn up to my soccer games with his hip flask of whiskey and yell the whole game.’
The personal trainer said alcohol was a huge part of her early life and she had her first drink at 15, which was a hip flask of rum with all of the ‘cool kids’ from school.
She said that she made herself so sick that she was never able to drink rum again.
During school Alexa would drink at least one weekend night, if not both, which would depend on how hungover she was from the previous night.
‘There was no set amount – I didn’t have an off switch. Once I started, I found it very difficult to stop,’ she said.
‘My night would end when I was so drunk that I couldn’t see straight and I threw up or passed out.’
During school Alexa would drink at least one weekend night, if not both, which would depend on how hungover she was from the previous night (pictured now)
During university Alexa worked at bars and would drink every night she was working so she could get through the shift with a ‘smile on my face’.
She believed that alcohol was liquid courage and made her more fun to be around.
‘The most terrifying part for me, was the beginnings of the craving for it during the day. I would count down the hours until my first meeting so I could have my first drink. This is when I really knew it was an issue,’ she said.
‘I never enjoyed the taste, I drank because I enjoyed the feeling of being drunk and I drank when I was stressed or anxious.’
She would often refer to Sundays as ‘self-loathing Sundays’ because she would wake up with barely any recollection of the night before.
The personal trainer decided to stop drinking when her father died ‘as a direct result of alcoholism’; she hasn’t turned back (pictured now)
The personal trainer decided to stop drinking when her father died ‘as a direct result of alcoholism’.
Although she thinks she knew a long time ago that she had an issue, it was his death that forced her to properly acknowledge it.
‘I flew to New Zealand from Hong Kong for dad’s funeral. I drank his last bottle of whisky and then I danced on the tables, threw up on myself, fell in a ditch and missed my flight home,’ she revealed.
‘I think for me, that was the pivotal point. I woke up the next day and just thought “what the f*** am I doing? I don’t want to be my dad”.’
She also didn’t want her behaviour to define her, so while she was listening to her partner fill her in on the blanks from the night before, she told him she was done with drinking for good.
‘Quitting drinking was the best decision, albeit the hardest one, I’ve ever made. It ended friendships and relationships,’ Alexa said (pictured before during university)
More than 13 years later, Alexa still hasn’t touched a drop.
‘Quitting drinking was the best decision, albeit the hardest one, I’ve ever made. It ended friendships and relationships,’ she said.
‘It made a lot of people uncomfortable. It’s amazing how confronting your decisions about your life can be for others.’
Nowadays, Alexa’s life is filled with workouts, health and happiness. She said she feels better than ever.
‘You are so much stronger, braver and beautiful than you think,’ she posted on Instagram. ‘And one day, I hope you’ll stand on the other side and see that too.’
If alcohol is a problem and is harming you or someone you know, you can contact one of the many services available, speak to your GP, local health service or call a helpline.