Personal trainer, 39, reveals why quitting alcohol was the best thing she has ever done – and the one mistake people make when they give it up for a month
- Alexa Towersey, from Sydney, said giving up alcohol was best thing she ever did
- The personal trainer, 39, ditched booze after drinking through her twenties
- Alexa said the main mistake people make with ‘Dry July’ is rewarding with booze
- She shared tips to help others ditch it; ten years on she hasn’t touched a drop
A personal trainer from Sydney has revealed why giving up alcohol was the best thing she ever did, as well as the one major mistake everyone makes when they ditch booze for a month like ‘Dry July’.
Alexa Towersey, 39, said she was once so addicted to alcohol that she spent most of her 20s ‘blackout drunk’, but she turned her life around after she walked in on her mother’s suicide attempt and lost her father to an alcohol addiction.
Now, the PT tries to educate people in the ways that giving up drinking can be beneficial for your life and health.
Alexa said she has mixed feelings around a month such as ‘Dry July’ as she knows the vast majority of people will reward themselves with a drink at the end of it.
‘As I watch all the Dry July posts going up, I’m conflicted,’ Alexa posted on Instagram.
A personal trainer from Sydney has revealed why giving up alcohol was the best thing she ever did, as well as the one major mistake everyone makes when they ditch booze for one month like ‘Dry July’ (Alexa Towersey pictured)
‘I love that it encourages people to help save others through raising money for charity, and I also love that these people are getting the opportunity to taste test what a month without alcohol would feel like for them.
‘But on the the other hand, it makes me sad that all the good causes and good choices will be celebrated at the end with alcohol.’
She added: ‘Like poisoning your body should be a reward – dramatic analogy, I know, but true’.
Alexa (pictured) explained her major problem with something like ‘Dry July’ is so often, people reward themselves with more alcohol when it is over
Alexa’s own battle with alcoholism started in her teens, after her mother was diagnosed with manic depression when Alexa was just 15 and her father developed his own alcohol problem.
To this day, Alexa said she recalls walking in on her mother’s suicide attempt – and it has taken her a long time to ‘forgive myself’.
She said that her father also battled an 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,’ she previously 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.’
What are Alexa’s tips for giving up alcohol if you have an issue?
1. Be willing to acknowledge that you have an issue: Binge drinking at the weekends is an issue; it doesn’t matter that everyone you know may be doing it.
2. Find a purpose greater than yourself: Alexa once got the award at a Christmas party for being the person most likely to say ‘I’m never drinking again’ every Monday mornings. If you’re trying to quit because someone else told you to or you think it will help you lose weight, good luck.
3. Find alternative outlets: Getting a hobby or something to distract you will really help. Alexa said she got into triathlons and half Ironmans – she had a new focus and a new goal; something to avoid FOMO with given going out was not an option with 4am starts and six-eight hour training sessions at the weekend. She said she used one addiction to replace another.
4. Make changes to your lifestyle to support your choices: For a long time, Alexa said she worked in hospitality, which enabled her habits. When she quit, Alexa said she made the choice to explore job opportunities that took her away from situations that could be triggering.
5. Surround yourself with people that support you: Alexa said this is a big one, and for her, when she quit, it was the end of a lot of her friendships. However, she has also found some new friends along with the ones that really support her.
6. Find a support group: Alexa went to AA initially and said it helped her a little.
7. Explore different hobbies: Both with yourself and friends, Alexa recommends you start doing different things. She took up guitar for instance.
The personal trainer (pictured) told FEMAIL that 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
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 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’ (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’.
Alexa told Daily Mail Australia that ‘choosing sobriety was the best yet hardest decision I have ever made’.
‘It’s incredible how confrontational decisions about you own life can be for other people, when they feel like their own lifestyle choices are being challenged indirectly,’ Alexa said.
‘Now, it’s a completely different ball game. I have friends that love that I don’t drink (hello designated driver) and have gone to the bar to get me a soft drink before I’ve even had the chance to ask.’
Alexa (pictured) also shared her tips for others who want to give up alcohol for good, and not just ‘Dry July’, which include finding alternative outlets to distract her from not drinking
Alexa also shared her tips for others who want to give up alcohol for good, and not just ‘Dry July’.
‘From my experience, there’s no easy way to cut an addiction and no right way to support someone in the throes of one,’ she said.
‘You can’t love them out of it, you can’t guilt them out of it and you can’t hate them out of it.’
The 39-year-old said one of the best ways she changed was by finding alternative outlets:
‘A friend advised me to get new hobbies to distract me, so I got into triathlon and half Ironman,’ she said.
‘I had a new focus, a new goal, something to avoid FOMO with given going out was not an option with 4am starts and six-eight hour training sessions at the weekends.’
Alexa added: ‘Essentially, I used one addiction to replace another, and then two years later when I qualified for World Champs, I found I didn’t need either anymore’.
Ten years after giving alcohol up, Alexa still hasn’t touched a drop, and she instead fills her life with workouts, health and happiness.
‘In Australia, one person dies every 90 minutes because of alcohol,’ Alexa warned.
‘That is terrifying to me. But it’s not the drinking that’s necessarily bad, it’s the way in which we’re drinking.’
She concluded: ‘So the next time you pick up your glass, ask yourself why. To enjoy a social occasion with good mates? Great. Enjoy it.
‘But to escape your reality? Not so great. Address it.’
For more information about Alexa Towersey, visit her Instagram profile here.
If alcohol is a problem and is harming you or someone you know, you can contact one of the many services available here, speak to your GP, local health service or call a helpline.
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