Is there one big thing standing between you and your dreams for the future?
You’ve worked hard all your life, taken care of partners, children and elderly parents, and saved for the future. And now the future is near and it is your time. But somehow along the way you’ve got out of the habit of taking care of yourself. You’ve taken some shortcuts to manage stress and “do it all”. Maybe that glass of wine at the end of the day has become a bottle. Maybe you dive into a packet of biscuits when the going gets tough. Maybe you just find yourself spending more time than you’d like spaced out in front of Netflix or scrolling through other people’s priorities on your phone.
You may even have got to the point where you don’t feel that you really have control over what you do – or even how you think and feel. You might find yourself waking up every morning vowing that today will be different, only to repeat the same pattern over and over.
The good news is that you are not alone, and you can absolutely get back in control. Your body and brain is the most incredible, complex system. The only trouble is that it hasn’t quite caught up with the environment it is in. It’s still geared to ensure that you survive in a hostile environment with many dangers and an uncertain food supply.
Bloom Coaching utilises the cutting edge neuroscience based methodology developed by Annie Grace of This Naked Mind to help you shed light on the subconscious thoughts and beliefs that drive your behavior. You will also have access to the most up to date, science based information about nutrition and exercise, and become part of the Prekure movement to turn health on its head and use lifestyle as medicine.
Confidential coaching sessions are done either by phone or using secure video conferencing via Zoom. The first introductory session is free and without obligation; pricing and programs will be discussed for continuing sessions.
Are you worried about the amount of alcohol you are consuming but need some support to change?
Does the label of “alcoholic” fill you with fear and shame?
Do you know you should exercise, but just don’t find the time or energy?
Do you turn to sugar or overeat to manage stress?
Do you have nagging worries that your lifestyle is impacting on your physical and/or mental health?
For many years we have been told that being addicted to anything is our fault. It is a result of a moral defect and a lack of willpower. But we know now that this is not the case. Research has shown us that it’s not our fault and there are genuine scientific reasons why we find it so hard to change our behaviour. And it is not only our internal dialogue that we have to combat. The corporations making profits from alcohol, processed foods and drinks and even diet products and supplements fully understand our triggers. We are bombarded with messages that somehow we are not enough, and that this cleverly marketed (substance /product) will somehow make us right.
Bloom Coaching helps people to deconstruct the myths they have absorbed from the marketers and social and cultural norms. We will empower you to make clear and unambiguous choices about how you want to live your life. We will help you see that life without addictive substances and behavior is in no way a deprivation, but an incredible freedom that opens a world of opportunities.
Annie Grace (left) with Lisa Burch (Right) at the Certified Coach Training, Denver, USA 2019.
My addiction journey began when I was 18.
Born at the tail end of the post-war baby boom, I was lucky enough to have it all. My mother’s envy of the choices my sisters and I were given shaped our paths. We were the first generation to have the freedom to have sex without fear of pregnancy. We were educated for professional careers, and entered the workforce with high expectations.
Growing up in New Zealand in the sixties we had the privilege of clean air, quality housing, and nutritious locally produced food (often from the household vege garden). As children we roamed wild around our neighbourhoods only coming in at dark. Television was in its infancy, and computers and the internet were not invented. As a family we had picnics at the beach, camping trips on farms and packed up the car (or sometimes cars as we were a family of 7) for the occasional holiday.
At 17 I left home to go to university. And for the first time I faced real stress.
Im not sure where I acquired the first cigarette – I remember being vehemently opposed to smoking, so I am surprised that I thought to turn to tobacco to manage stress. But I did. By the end of that first year at university I was hooked. That rush when the nicotine hit my system seemed to make my worries go away. Of course I knew it was bad for my health, but I was young and the consequences seemed far in the future.
Fast forward 14 years and I was juggling a partner with a struggling small business, 1,000 acres of steep hill-country that we were developing (a 2 hour commute from our home and with an unfinished house), a two year old and I was pregnant. I was also trying to stop smoking.
I don’t think anyone actually told me that smoking caused my unborn baby’s death. But I definitely blamed myself. Even then I was not able to quit until I learned that I was pregnant with my third child. At that point I stopped, dealing with the cravings one day at a time with a promise of a future when I would be able to smoke again.
When the baby was born I managed to stay away from tobacco, instead rewarding myself with a glass of wine at the end of the day. This seemed a much more socially acceptable and less harmful way to deal with that inevitable stress. I returned to work part-time, then full-time. We built another house, juggling life between city and the farm and paid work and self-employment.
By the end of 2018 I had separated and remarried, and my children were grown. Both my parents had also passed away after protracted illnesses. Although life should have been easier I had embarked on a new venture. My husband and I purchased a country pub. Once again I ‘had it all’. I was working as a health planner during the week and spending nights and weekends trying to get to grips with how to make a hospitality business successful. I took some time out and trained as a chef with Le Cordon Bleu. Turning a passion for food into an essential skill – but learning that a commercial kitchen is a hard slog.
Over the years, and then decades, that glass of wine became had become a beacon at the end of the day, and the glass all too often turned into a bottle. Although my diet was full of healthy, whole, mainly low carb foods, I ran each day, and was outwardly fit and healthy, my thoughts were increasingly dominated by either regret and shame about drinking too much or working out how to get the next drink without anyone noticing.
I knew that I was drinking more than was good for me. Alcohol interfered with my sleep and I was often awake at 3am vowing that the next day would be different and I would not drink at all. In the morning, fighting my foggy head and distaste for my own behaviour I would drag myself out for a run, but sometimes feel like I might die. By 5pm I would be making deals with myself - I would only have one glass. I would only drink sitting down. I would only drink mindfully. So I’d have that first drink. And then, as they say, the drink would have a drink, and then the drink would have me.
I couldn't see a way out. I’d tried so many times to use my will power to stop and never lasted even a day, but I was in no way prepared to apply labels to myself - I was not an addict or an alcoholic, so treatment programmes were not for me.
I never reached rock bottom. I never missed a day of work, crashed my car, or neglected my children, but my health started to suffer. By my mid-fifties regular check-ups started to raise questions about my blood pressure. I started to suffer from heartburn and had tingling sensations in my fingers. And without a doubt my mental health and relationships were negatively impacted. My relationship with alcohol began to be the most important one in my life - and was one that I kept very private.
The health issues eventually alerted my doctor to the extent of my drinking. But, given my absolute refusal to accept a referral to addiction services (because that was not me), she really had no answers. But at least I was forced to admit that I had a problem, and one that only I could fix.
You know how the internet seems to be able to read your thoughts? I don't think I ever even googled anything about alcohol, but towards the end of 2018 facebook started to feed me ads from an American called Annie Grace. Through her programme This Naked Mind, she promised to help me control alcohol. I learned she was releasing a new book, which supported a one month experiment without alcohol. The first ‘live’ alcohol experiment was starting on January 1st.
It took me a couple of days to get my head around it, but on January 4 I woke up with yet another hangover and decided to commit. I started reading the book and caught up on the daily videos provided with the programme. I joined the closed facebook group for the 2,000 people across the world who had joined the experiment. Perhaps most importantly I sat down with my husband, talked honestly about my drinking, and asked for his support for the 30 days. That day was the beginning of my sober life.
Working through the programme that month was a revelation. I understood that I was not alone. I learned that my brain was working exactly as it is intended to - but that our brains are hard-wired for survival in a very different environment to how we live today. I learned that you don’t need to reply on willpower if you address the cognitive dissonance between your conscious desires and subconscious beliefs. I accepted that it was not my fault but was my responsibility. I developed skills to manage my habitual thinking habits and tactics to survive the urges and cravings I experienced. I also connected with a community of intelligent, successful and thinking people who shared their experiences and supported each other through the hard times. At the end of the month I made the choice to continue to be alcohol free. I also did so with no feeling of hardship or deprivation, as I felt I had lost nothing and gained the world.
My life without alcohol is so much better that it is hard to describe. As well as freedom from the physical results of drinking, I have freedom from self-loathing and fear. I am working on healing and growing my relationships with my family. I have more money to spend on holidays and treats, and more time to spend doing things I enjoy. Because I no longer drink to numb my feelings and deal with conflict and stress I have had to develop healthy emotional and coping skills, and I practice deliberate daily self-care. In fact I have discovered that much of the conflict and stress in my life was caused by alcohol!
Alcohol was the ‘one big thing’ that was standing between me and a long healthy and happy life. With this revelation has come a desire to pay it forward. I wanted to share this freedom and self-determination with others who are feeling stuck and embarked on the journey to becoming a Naked Mind accredited coach.
I have also know that for many people gaining control over their eating, especially highly processed foods, is a similar challenge. In 2016 my then new husband was hospitalised with heart problems, likely associated with his increasing weight and diabetes. Determined to understand why he was unable to lose weight we researched non-pharmacological treatment options and learnt about the benefits of a low-carb diet, along with stress management, sleep and exercise. Within 3 months he had lost 15kg and his blood glucose levels returned to normal. This led me to further my interest in, and study of, how we can prevent disease through adopting a healthy lifestyle, ultimately gaining accreditation as a Health Coach with Prekure.
I look forward to empowering you to address that ‘one big thing’ that stands between you and the future you desire, so you can enjoy a long, vibrant and happy life!