Being a party girl was a part of my personality since I was 15-years-old and first discovered alcohol. I grew up in Canada, where drinking culture was totally normalized – it was a part of every special occasion, from weddings to funerals. I was the life of the party for years and years. When I told people I was moving to Kuwait at age 23, the first thing a lot of people said was, “You know alcohol is illegal there, right?”
“Party Girl Alex” portrayed this image and impression of being this happy, carefree, joyous girl. The reality was, I struggled with depression, anxiety and mental health issues. The onset of these issues paralleled my discovery of alcohol, but I couldn’t see the correlation between the two. I lacked insight and awareness around the fact that alcohol is a depressant and likely played a huge role in my mood and general dissatisfaction with life.
I was innately drawn to yoga at a young age as a way to manage my turbulent mental health. Yoga became part of my healing and I felt this instant draw to become a yoga teacher and share with this healing with others. As I got later into my twenties, I maintained my yoga practice and started teaching yoga – and dreamed of working in yoga full time – but didn’t have the courage to try. I ended up moving to the Middle East at age 23 to become a full time teacher.
My mental health got worse and worse, and my drinking spiraled into a glass of wine or two with dinner on weeknights and beers after the gym at the pub nearby. I think I drank more and more because I was so unhappy with life not fulfilling my purpose as a healer. I felt for a long time that I needed to quit drinking, but I was afraid to quit – I didn’t know what my life would look like without it.
People often assume that when you’ve quit drinking, it’s after one big night out where you’ve made a mistake or an awful hangover. For me, my decision to stop drinking wasn’t some big event – it was a slow build up over time. A series of hangovers that destroyed my productivity the following few days. A series of vacations and trips in which I didn’t enjoy my daytime excursions because I was so exhausted from nights out. I finally hit a wall of depression in April 2019 – and I knew it was time.
The first ten days alcohol free were the hardest of my life – I had withdrawal symptoms and cravings. But after I got through those ten days, I began to see how one small habit change created a ripple effect through my life. Quitting alcohol became one of the key pivotal moments in my journey. I learned how to cook, became a vegetarian, and started to really see my life with clarity. With that clarity, came an awareness of how unhappy I was with my job and my life. I absolutely love being an expat, living abroad, and travelling, but being a classroom teacher was never my passion – I’ve always wanted to work full time in yoga. I just never believed in my potential and it was easier to stay the same, and settle for life in misery, then to change.
Around day 30 sober, In a moment of desperation, I went to see a psychic recommended by a colleague. I didn’t really believe in psychics, fortune tellers or tarot card readers at the time, but I was desperate and in pain and so I went. When I walked in, he told me to count backwards from 21-1. When I opened my eyes he told me, “you’re not meant to be a teacher. You’re meant to be a healer. You’re gonna open up a retreat center that’s very different. A fusion of everything. Tai chi. Yoga. Meditation. Dance.”
I cried for the entire hour as he looked at me and pretty much told me everything I already knew about myself but didn’t trust in myself. It was like he was seeing me when I couldn’t see myself. Everything I’d always dreamed of but never believed in was possible. That session changed my life.
One of the things he said to me was, “Don’t go back and get a masters in counseling (something I was considering at the time) – you should become a life coach.”
A life coach? I’d never considered it. I didn’t even know what a life coach was. But I did some research, found a course, and signed up for it. I also signed up for another yoga teacher training, and a barre instructor certification.
At the onset of COVID-19 I ended up beginning to offer yoga classes on Zoom – this slowly evolved into launching the business the psychic told me I would – called The Mindful Life Practice Community. The MLPC is a virtual soul center for movement, mindfulness, community and connection. We have yoga classes, meditations, life coaching and community gatherings of participants from all over the world. What sets us apart is that we are not just “yoga on youtube” – we have a strong community that has become connected from various continents, countries and walks of life.
When I finished my life coaching course in 2019, we had to define our niches as coaches. I knew I had a lot to offer in the realm of sobriety, but was super resistant towards it. I guess I didn’t want to be defined by my alcohol free journey. So I decided that I was a “life purpose/life balance coach.” That was hard. What is life purpose/balance? How does one attain it? I got a few clients looking for it…but because I was so open on social media about my sober journey, 9/10 the people who came to me were looking for support in going alcohol free.
About a year into my life coaching work, I received a letter from someone I coached who was then 4 months sober. At the end of the letter they wrote, “thank you for saving my life.” I cried and in that moment I felt certain. I am a Sober Coach. I decided to step into my destiny. This is who I was meant to serve and benefit. I needed to stop fighting it, and just embrace it.
I now offer a mix of services on Zoom – yoga, meditations, barre classes, community offerings, and Sober Programs – one-on-one coaching and group coaching. One of my purposes is to help people realize that they don’t need booze to be their best selves – and help them learn tools from meditation, movement and coaching to help them manage cravings, change their mindset around alcohol and walk away happier and healthier as a result.
Becoming alcohol free ended up being the gateway to the higher version of myself, and I am so grateful. Life is so much fuller, sweeter, and better alcohol free. For anyone who feels stuck in the endless cycle of drink after drink, know that there is another way – you just need the courage decide it’s day 1.