Reflections on Relapsing

Whether you are a Subscription Member or have attended a workshop you will be entitled to a Recovery Coaching session – Lynette is our wonderful Jozi based coach and here is a thoughtful and insightful guest blog from her – thank you Lynette x


I was often perplexed at myself that after taking a break and feeling better, I still went back to drinking. First moderating and then back to over drinking. Why?

I had given up twice for over a year and found myself drinking again, heavily, in what seemed like almost no time at all.

The Problem

The problem I found was that I remained the same. I was still feeling lousy most of the time. My life still sucked, my motivation was not up either. I was still numbing out with food, Netflix and shopping and still I wasn’t feeling motivated or a peace.

I tried meditation. It was not fun, it was excruciating being still and I could not halt my thoughts. I felt very achy a lot of the time. Getting older, arthritis – I thought. I noticed the depression coming back. This was usually when I would go back to self-medicating with alcohol.

So what changed this time?

It was so subtle. I was getting many insights from the Tribe Sober tribe – the Whatsapp group. I was a voyeur on the group. Slowly the sharing started to sink in. I felt connected.

Connection Saved Me

Around 3 months of being AF, a friend told me about a colleague who was busy with a coaching diploma and was looking for people to coach. I didn’t know much about coaching, in fact I thought it was a bit shallow and for goal setting. Since I was so low, I decided to give it a try. After the first session I didn’t feel different or feel that the session was effective. However, I had committed to some actions and 5 more sessions. Our coaching ended after six sessions. I noticed some subtle positive changes. I was eating better, reading, going to water aerobics and connecting with my husband. I felt a lot lighter.

I went to coffee meet-ups and met up with some of the tribe. I reconnected with our Jo’burg Facilitator and yogi, Nick, and he encouraged me to do a coaching diploma.

Becoming a Coach

It was a requirement of the programme to have a coach. This was going to be one of the best decisions I made. Coaching helped me to go within, to get in touch with my feelings, to set boundaries and learn the skill of creating new positive habits. I learned about my feelings, how to describe them – where they sat in my body. I slowly started to feel joy and gratitude as a vibration in my body. One morning I realised the pain was gone – no more aches.

Some of the most important skills I learned from coaching were self awareness, compassion and taking action.

  • Self Awareness. I learned this skill from doing daily thought downloads and meditation. Thought downloads help me to identify my think, feel and act cycles. Some of the new empowering thoughts and beliefs I adopted are:

Everything is for me

Trying to control everyone takes away my power.

My ability to respond is limitless.

I am 100% worthy and loveable no matter what I do.

Life is always going to be 50% wonderful and 50% dreadful.

There is nothing wrong with hard.

Discomfort is my friend.

  • Compassion: I learned that being kind to myself is not letting myself off the hook. It is learning to do the hard and the tedious. Keeping to a daily ritual even when I do not feel like it. I noticed how critical my self-talk was and started deliberately talking to myself as I would to the dearest person I know. Rather than judging and being critical, I started acknowledging myself every time I did something positive, like stuck to my ritual, went dancing when I did not feel like it, persevered with my coaching diploma when it got hard and stressful. So often I would give up on goals because it became hard e.g. not finishing my psychology degree, bailing on work opportunities etc. I embraced my insecurities and my fears of failure. I had failures and I high-fived myself for trying.
  • Action: Learning to take action vs procrastination. Asking myself regularly how to direct and guide my own life vs just reacting. I now plan for how I want to make decisions in the day. My morning rituals are scheduled in my diary. I plan for my feelings, for example, I often don’t feel like going to my dancing class after a long day at work. So I allow for 5 minutes of feeling this and then I change into my dancing clothes and off I go. It’s in my diary – so I am learning to plan ahead and to stick to my commitments. I am also learning to notice how good I feel afterwards.

Truths I Have Learned

In closing, I want share some of my newfound truths. I regularly tell myself that I am not having a bad day, I am just having some bad thoughts about my day. I always have a choice, I get to decide how I want to see myself. If I am growing, and I am putting myself out there, 50% of the time I am going to be dealing with self-doubt and frustration. This does not mean that there is something wrong with me – I am human. It comforts me to know that almost every person I know experiences shame and anxiety. It reminds me of my humanness and that the negative emotions are also part of the deal.

I am learning that creating a new neuro-pathway takes time and energy. Learning to not self-medicate with drinking, eating or shopping was a huge struggle, it was hell, it was challenging and difficult. That is also what made this journey so worth it.

I learned that the motivational ra-ra is not going to get me into action and that it is not simply about thinking positive thoughts.

Mostly I am learning that when I detour I can come back every time with kindness and grace. This is how we build a new neuro-pathway – a new super highway.

We have a choice to either remain exactly where we are right now or make some changes and in 3 years, we can evolve to a completely different place.

Remember what we consistently do is what we get good at. So if we consistently drink that is going to be our reality. I chose to get consistently uncomfortable and what an adventure these past 3 years have been. It has been so worth it – all of it.


Whether you are a Subscription Member or have attended a workshop you will be entitled to a Recovery Coaching session – you can contact Lynette on


The 11 Year Fact

Did you know that the average dependent drinker will struggle alone for 11 years before reaching out for help?

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