Published On: February 7, 20211676 words8.4 min read


Living without alcohol can be done. All you need to do is get help from an online alcohol recovery coach. Yes, life without the drink is possible. Changing your life is in your hands. A coach will facilitate your progress as you change your mindset, make new goals and learn how to rewire your brain.

We all know that drinking during the Coronavirus Pandemic and Lockdowns worldwide escalated. Were you one of many people who battled with the booze during the past year? Are you now trying to stop drinking?

I can help! I am training to be a recovery coach and I can help you online with a unique approach to coaching. Or face-to-face. You choose. A Skype call away, your life with alcohol is about to become Life Without the Booze. You can write a new chapter of sobriety and do your body and mind a favour.

The Reasons Some People Drink Too Much

Studying to be a recovery coach has taught me so much about WHY people drink, HOW people drink and WHAT the alcohol does to your body and mind. The more I dig, the more I realise that I am one of the lucky ones. Because I stopped drinking 5 years ago.

So did my mentor, recovery coach Janet Gourand, who founded Tribe Sober and is helping hundreds of people give up their booze. She is assisting them to change the way they think about alcohol, and themselves. Janet has been a coach for decades.

Did you know that alcoholism or addiction is founded on shame? Did you know that most alcoholics or addicts are still playing out the traumas they endured in childhood? They are still dealing with feelings of shame and guilt?

According to my Guru, Dr Gabor Mate, “All addictions — alcohol or drugs, sex addiction or internet addiction, gambling or shopping — are attempts to regulate our internal emotional states because we’re not comfortable, and the discomfort originates in childhood. For me, there’s no distinction except in degree between one addiction and another: same brain circuits, same emotional dynamics, same pain and same behaviors of furtiveness, denial and lying.”

Dr Mate was the son of Jewish parents in Budapest at the time of the Nazi occupation. His story is tragic to read:

“I was born in 1944, and two months later the Germans came in. Hungary then had the only population of Jews in Eastern Europe that hadn’t been annihilated. Now it was our turn. My mother had a stressed pregnancy. My father’s away in forced labor; she doesn’t know if he’s dead or alive. When I’m 5 months of age, my maternal grandparents are sent to Auschwitz and gassed to death. My mother is 24, terrified and depressed. In October, they start killing Jews in Budapest, taking them to the Danube and shooting them.

When I’m 11 months, she gives me to a total stranger. She said: “Please take this baby out of here because I can’t keep him alive.” I didn’t see her for six weeks. In a child’s mind, that’s abandonment. I got the template for addiction: a lot of emotional pain, which I suppressed.”

Addiction is Rooted in Shame, Trauma and Brain Physiology

Most of us have not endured such terrible hardship, but we have possibly experienced trauma on other levels. For me, it was emotional abandonment by my alcoholic mother. If you are feeling shame and guilt about something, it is time to talk about it. Find someone who will listen, truly listen, as you offload. Remember that you are not alone.

I have been learning a lot about why people drink and how the brain is involved. My coaching course is about listening, providing a safe place for someone with an addictive behaviour, and assisting them to find their way out of the quagmire.

Addiction to alcohol is rife globally and there are many reasons for this: trauma, shame and a brain situation that can be changed. Many of know that stress triggers these emotions and symptoms and what a year has 2020 been for stress! Some researchers say that alcoholism stems from genetic and environmental factors.

Morten Hesse wrote a paper entitled “What Does Addiction Mean to Me” in which he concluded that “addiction is a condition that influences the life of millions of people. Addiction to tobacco and alcohol constitute a serious burden of disease in many societies, and addiction to drugs such as cannabis, amphetamine, heroin and cocaine is associated with a range of negative outcomes.”

Today we recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. This happens as the brain goes through a series of changes, beginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive behaviour.

The Brain and Dopamine

The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex. Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens is so consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the brain’s pleasure centre.

All drugs of abuse, from alcohol and nicotine to heroin, cause a particularly powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The likelihood that the use of a drug or participation in a rewarding activity will lead to addiction is directly linked to the speed with which it promotes dopamine release, the intensity of that release, and the reliability of that release.

What Does this Mean for YOU?

This makes for deep thinking. I was thinking so hard about it that I made the connection between my own lack of joy and what must be my low levels of dopamine. When I stopped drinking 5 years ago, I also stopped that dopamine surge in my brain. I got very low and felt very blue when I gave up alcohol. Now I know why.

If you feel this way, or if this has happened to you, take my advice. Talk to someone. Get help from an online recovery coach to talk to you about the way forward. Get out of your head, out of your ongoing thoughts about drinking, and get into the NOW. If you can live from this moment to the next 5 minutes, you are doing well. But if you keep harking back to that joyous feeling when you drank alcohol, or all the hilarious things you did when drunk, you will stay stuck in your addiction.

What is Shame?

When someone feels shame and turns to alcohol or another substance to blot out that feeling, they stand to lose a lot. Shame is so painful to the psyche that most people will do anything to avoid it, even though it is a natural emotion that everyone has. Shame is a physiologic response of the autonomic nervous system. You might blush, have a rapid heartbeat, break into a sweat, freeze, hang your head, slump your shoulders, avoid eye contact, withdraw, even get dizzy or nauseous.

Guilt is a right or wrong judgment about your behaviour, but shame is a feeling about yourself. Guilt motivates you to want to correct or repair the error. In contrast, shame is an intense global feeling of inadequacy, inferiority, or self-loathing. You want to hide or disappear. In front of others, you feel exposed and humiliated, as if they can see your flaws.

The worst part of it is a profound sense of separation — from yourself and from others. It’s disintegrating, meaning that you lose touch with all the other parts of yourself, and you also feel disconnected from everyone else. Shame induces unconscious beliefs, such as: I’m a failure, I’m not important, I’m unlovable, and so on.

As with all emotions, shame passes. But for addicts it hangs around, often beneath consciousness, and leads to other painful feelings and problematic behaviours. Many people who drink are ashamed of who they are.

When shame becomes all-pervasive, it paralyzes spontaneity. A chronic sense of unworthiness and inferiority can result in depression, hopelessness, and despair, until you become numb, feeling disconnected from life and everyone else. Shame can lead to addiction. Here are a few of the other symptoms that are derived from shame:

  • Perfectionism
  • Low self-esteem
  • People-pleasing
  • Guilt

More About Recovery Coaching

I have learned so much about alcohol addiction in my ongoing recovery coaching course. I want to focus on people who drink as it is close to my heart. I want to assist those who have fallen prey, like I did, to the enticing and devious character of alcohol.

The course I chose is run by U-ACT, the Ubuntu Addiction Community Trust. Wow! The people I have met, the humbling experiences I have heard and the safe container I was invited into! What an experience it is to work with people who have been through so much shame and so much loss in their lives that all they want to do is to help others!

U-ACT Mission

To provide those challenged by substance use and addiction, and behavioural disorders a secure, inspirational space to make positive changes in their lives and encourage others around them to do the same.

​To support and empower our professional recovery coaches to build successful businesses in the niche of recovery and wellness.

​For the U-ACT model to become the blueprint for effective and engaging recovery solutions.

To find support and funding to build a sustainable program which becomes the number one destination for those seeking professional, accessible support and help.

Join me on your coaching journey. Free sessions to set you free! I use models and diagrams to make things easy for you and we work together in the PRESENT to take you FORWARD in your life.

My details:

Janis Theron


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