Episode 11: Cheers to that... One woman's story of giving up daily drinking.
It likely comes as no surprise that alcohol, health, hormones and weight loss goals generally don’t mix, and if we’re being honest, there really are many valid reasons to have a serious look at our drinking habits and drastically reduce or even give up the booze.
Certainly having a glass of wine, or whatever your drink of choice, is also a cherished pastime, a form of self-medication, a conduit for connecting with friends and is infused into most of our social gatherings – if you’ve been hanging around me long enough, you’ll know that I’m not adverse to a cheeky glass of wine.
So what does it take to stop drinking? Today we have a special guest Nicole Layton, the Director of Insight Talent Solutions – Recruiter, career and mindfulness coach, who openly and honestly shares her decision to give up alcohol for close to two years.
Nicole shares how she came to this decision, the process and benefits that came from it and also the resistance of other people when you are trying to navigate a social life without alcohol.
This is a must listen episode for anyone who has ever questioned their own alcohol consumption, or woken up and vowed to stop drinking, or starts most Mondays with a “no alcohol until the weekend” vow and makes it until Wednesday…
In this episode, our guest Nicole shares her story of giving up alcohol for close to 2 years.
How she came to decide to quit, and even then it was just going to be midweek.
The unexpected benefits to her health, her relationship, hormones and her weight
How the hardest part has been navigating her “new social life” and the resistance of friends and her social circle.
Links and resources:
The hidden benefits of giving up alcohol – straight from the Well Balanced Woman program.
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And, if you enjoyed this episode, please leave me a rating and a review? Thanks!
Kylie: Hello and welcome back to the hormone hub everyone. It’s Kylie here and today I am very excited to have a guest. My guest is Nicole Layton. Now Nicole [00:01:00] and I go back, oh gosh, about 10 years. I think, you know, as I guess sort of work associates and then, you know, friends. And Nicole has a really interesting journey and I think it’s going to resonate a lot with, you know, a lot of ladies listening today.
So, you know, there’s sort of a health journey and also a journey with alcohol, which is, you know, I guess a big part of all of our lives. And you know, just the, the Aussie thing and socializing and it’s a BBQ, or what are you doing? Let’s catch up for a drink and, you know, it’s, it’s very much a part of what we do.
So. You know, I won’t sort of share too much of Nicole’s story. I’ll let her do that. But I think it’s a conversation worth having, because I think, you know, for a lot of us there’s alcohol that we use as a coping mechanism, alcohol we use to block things [00:02:00] out, alcohol we just use to deal with daily life.
So yeah, so Nic, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you here. And you would like to sort of introduce yourself and yeah, just. Share a bit of your journey.
Nicole: Thanks Kylie. So, my name’s Nicole Layton and I have run my own recruitment business, which I’ve had for 10 years. I would say almost 11 now. Five years ago I decided to go on, well, I went back to, yoga that you sort of, something that I did for a very long time.
And then once you have kids and get married, get married, have kids, you sort of forget and get busy and having your own business. So it started letting me have a look at a lot of my lifestyle, but I was actually thinking about our conversation that we had the other day and you know, where it all sort of stemmed for me.
I put a thing [00:03:00] on Facebook, I think last year. And I had given up our alcohol for 500 or 600 or something days. And I was actually in the bath and I was reading my quit app and I went, wow. I didn’t even realize it was that long. So my, my journey, I suppose with alcohol is probably not dissimilar to the ladies that will be listening today.
And it was probably about, what was it? 12 years ago, I had pulmonary embolisms and I had to go on warfarin for a year. And this is where I think we, whether it’s an addiction or whatever it is, but where a habit was formed. And my doctor said to me at the time, he said, do you drink? And I said, oh yeah, I have a wine here and there. I have probably, you know, three times a week, I might have three glasses, you know, during the week. And then obviously if I’m going out, I’ll have more. And he said, well, you [00:04:00] can’t do that. He said, you either have two drinks every day, or you have none for a year. And the thought that two drinks every day, cause with warfarin, I had to make sure that I kept my blood levels the same, you know, and I always think about that if he had said to me, you’ve got to give up for a year, I would’ve given up for a year, you know, when you, when you’ve got something wrong.
And so I then I looked forward to my two glasses. I never got, obviously you don’t get drunk on two glasses. I’d have my
Kylie: you were just given permission to drink wine everyday.
Nicole: Yeah. It didn’t matter. Red or white or
Kylie: That’s the most bizarre health advice I’ve ever heard.
Nicole: You know what I think of it now. And I think, I can’t believe that he actually said that to me.
Say that it’s, you know, you cause your blood sugar, you know, your bloods have to say the same. You can’t have alcohol. So anyway, so that’s, for a year I was doing this and when it got to the end where I was able to get off the [00:05:00] warfarin. I was sort of being a little bit cheeky and I’d have, you know, three or four glasses, not like every night, but when I did and you could actually feel it, your veins, you can feel the alcohol thinning your blood. I could feel it in my body, but anyway, I got off that. So then I went to having probably three glasses.
I can’t really remember exactly, but it got to the stage where I’m like, hang on. This is, it was a habit that I got into every day and it’s like, okay, I can have that habit, but not every day, you know? But, so I stopped doing it every day and it’d be like, Monday to Wednesday I’d have off and by Wednesday be like, oh, you know, I think I might have a glass.
And, but it got to the stage where I would always leave, and it was funny because when I spoke to a lot of ladies over the years, they do a lot of the same. So you’d have two or three glasses, which sounds okay. But your glasses are always bigger than the normal, and I’d always leave that little bit, [00:06:00] you know, about two inches or, you know, a couple of centimeters in the bottom.
And it was like, okay, well that’s good. I didn’t have the whole bottle. Okay. The next day you can have a little bit more, so you’d pour that in. You’d go, well, you can’t just have one glass of that tiny little bit, you’ve got to, so you have to open up the other bottle and, you know, just going back into starting yoga again, and that getting up so early in the morning to do that and you’d feel great after you would do it.
Yes. But the effects that it had on my body, just, and I was saying to you before, like that inner critic that you would have, that would go, you’re an idiot. Why are you doing it? You know, it’s just that, and it would put you through anxiety and a bit of depression. So anyway, two years ago now, actually it’s almost to the day, two years ago, I, a friend of mine went to a hypnotist and she said it was working for her, she did it in [00:07:00] February and I went right, I’m going to do it. And I said, as long as I can give up, I don’t want to drink during the week anymore. And if I have a couple of glasses on the weekend, then that’s fine. And she said, she won’t see you unless you’re a hundred percent committed and went, okay. So I went in there, still in the back of my mind that I might still drink on weekends.
But I, I actually, I did, and I gave up for 21 months. And I turned 50 this year and we’ll ask you when my son was turning 18, it was like, I might have a champagne that he’s 18th, but then COVID was there. So we didn’t have a party. And I went, well, why bother? I’m not going to have. And I, and I sort of got to the stage where it was like, well, why just have one.
I don’t want to, but then when it was my 50th, I thought, oh, I’d like to, so it’s in an interesting situation where I’m at at the moment, because I [00:08:00] have been having a couple of glasses and I’ll be honest. I have had probably too many, you know, over the last two months, probably twice. And now it’s putting those boundaries in where you need to choose what makes me feel right. And how I felt before and how, and really analyzing that to get that balance.
Kylie: Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. So, so just sort of going back to, you know, when you did sort of give up, was it something that you’re able just to following the hypnotherapy, you just go ca-ching, all right. Done, gone, or did you really have to still work at it?
Nicole: To be, well, it was also through COVID. So some people were affected by that, but to me it was. I listened to the tapes, like she told me to, and I did it [00:09:00] consistently what she said, I didn’t struggle at all. I actually, it was a little bit like an enlightenment sort of feeling. I felt really strong.
I felt, committed, confident, I suppose, what I did struggle with it was friendships that disappeared. And, you know, I would reach out to people and, but also in saying that some of the people were struggling themselves going through COVID. But, um, some people would say, oh, I just didn’t want to tempt you.
So I thought that I’ll give you a call in three months. And it’s like, well, what happens if I never drink again? Will we not be friends.
Kylie: Well, that’s it. It’s making other people feel uncomfortable with their choices.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. And I did have a lot of people sort of reach out to me and say, Nic, you know, I’m [00:10:00] really proud of you, how did you do it? What did you do? But I think it’s a personal journey. It’s not some, like, I’ve had people that went to the same lady that I went to for the hypnosis and it didn’t work.
Kylie: It must’ve been that you were ready. It sounds like.
Nicole: Yeah. So it will be interesting to see how it goes over the next couple of months where, where the boundaries are and cause I’m at sort of at that stage where it’s like, well, no, I want to have a glass here and there, but I don’t want to get back to the way I was.
Kylie: Yeah, yeah. A hundred percent. So, oh, that’s so interesting. So how did you feel? So once you’ve given up, you know, like what sort of differences did you notice within yourself and within your health, your mental health, by not drinking.
Nicole: Completely. I would say so much more [00:11:00] relaxed. I’m able to
Kylie: We keep ourselves thinking alcohol’s gonna relax us.
Nicole: No, yeah. It, it took some time for me to get into a better sleep pattern. Cause I would wake up at one o’clock two o’clock, three o’clock that sort of timeframe. And also my eczema was a lot worse because, and then I would scratch during the night because the having alcohol, it did take awhile, probably it took three months to get back into a better sleeping pattern.
But it was, you know, what was the nicest thing? Cause my husband didn’t give up drinking and he doesn’t really, he will drink when he goes out and we’d go and visit friends. But when you go and visit friends the next day, I would wake up and go, cool. I remember exactly what I said. I didn’t have, you know, I didn’t embarrass myself.
I didn’t abuse someone. So that was probably the biggest, I was actually proud of myself.
Kylie: Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s great. That’s good. And then what about in terms of your [00:12:00] energy levels and, you know, your mental health and your mental clarity?
Nicole: Yeah, it was, yeah, it’s so much clearer. And I, if I look at it and even now, when I’ve had a few drinks on the weekend, I would find that, just in the, like last week it was Monday and Tuesday, it was, I was quite demotivated and it was, and I know it was because I had some alcohol on the weekend.
Kylie: Yeah. Right. Yeah. So it’s, it’s, it’s that whole new level of self-awareness, you know what life is like without it and what life is like, you know, with alcohol.
Nicole: And that’s why I think with, with myself as well, being like I do mindfulness coaching too. So I am extremely self-aware of different, like the inner critic and you know, different sensations that I have in my body. I actually, you know, if I go past that two or [00:13:00] three drinks, it makes me then I suppose, feel a bit am I practicing my truth and being authentic if I’m doing that. And cause I know that it makes me feel different.
Kylie: Yeah. Very much so. Yeah. Yeah, no, I totally get that after Easter. So we had a very indulgent Easter with, you know, there was alcohol and there was sugar and like, you know, in larger quantities than I would normally drink and eat.
And I sort of got to Easter Monday and I was like, oh my God. You know? And it is you that, that inner critic, it sort of like okay, I’m not, cause I’m very proud of the fact that I walk my talk, you know, and I will totally own the fact that I love a glass of wine and I love a coffee and I, you know, can be lazy and, you know, but for the most part, I, you know, I like to walk my talk and I just felt after Easter, I felt like a complete trash bag.
So this is where I jumped [00:14:00] in, I owned it in the Facebook group. I’m like, okay, ladies, let’s do a 10 day detox, who’s with me and, you know, and it was amazing, you know, so we had sort of a hundred ladies jump on it because, or over a hundred, because I think. Yeah, it’s nice for women to connect with someone.
You know, just, and, you know, the ladies who, and your friends, who’ve read your story, would have been the same thing, but people can connect with that story, you know? And I think just that, that honesty that, you know, you’ve got about, okay. I gave up, I got to a certain point and now I’ve had a few drinks and where am I at now? So it’s.
Nicole: And I was only, I had yoga, I went to yoga this morning and I was only talking to one of my girlfriends there and, you know, and she, I actually didn’t think she drank. And she said, no, Nic. She said, I gave up for years and years and years. And she said, but I put in firm boundaries with myself. She just got back from Fiji with her family.
And she said, I had two cocktails every single night. And she said one cocktail I had [00:15:00] at, at lunchtime. And she said, but, and she said there was one day that I had three, but it made my body the next day not feel right. So she said, she goes, I’m extremely strict with my boundaries. Yes. But I allow myself to do everything in moderation and I thought, you know, what, that’s you just learn every day about when you’re speaking with women.
And I thought, you know, that I really love that. And, I thought that’s something that I’m, I really want to be. And it’s that commitment, isn’t it. It’s being, having that choice and being committed to those choices and having the boundaries.
Kylie: Yeah, that’s right. And doing it for yourself, you know, I think that’s the biggest things.
So you’re obviously when you had the hypnotherapy, you had decided to do it for yourself because I think when we’ve got partners or family members or, you know, just, and also, I guess part of it is knowing that we should because maybe we are drinking too much, you know, you’ve, you’ve got to come to that point where you’ve got that [00:17:00] readiness within yourself and you want to do it for you, to make you feel better.
And you know, whether it’s alcohol, whether it’s starting exercise, whether it’s sugar, whether like we’ve all got, whatever it is, we’ve all got our thing, you know? Oh, I had a question. Yeah. So one of the, you know, the comments I wanted to make is, you know, obviously I speak to a lot of women. And one thing that I, that I have noticed is a lot of, you know, very high or women in sort of high level jobs or high level positions, you know, so very high functioning women who are, you know, drinking a bottle of wine a night just to survive, you know, what sort of advice would you give? You know, you’ve got that recruitment background you’re still sort of dealing with, with women, you know, in those sort of positions. So what sort of advice would you give someone listening who might be thinking, hang on a sec, this [00:18:00] is ticking a few boxes. It’s sounding familiar.
Nicole: Yeah. Look, I can only go through my experience more so than giving advice out, but I really, the difference that I felt with and you don’t realize until you’ve actually tried it, you don’t realize the mental anguish that you go through each day with that little person in the back of your head going, oh just have one, cause that will relax you.
If you went for a walk at that sort of, I think seven o’clock time when you get getting home, if they’re working in town or they’ve, you know, they’re still working at that time. The wine doesn’t relax you. It does for that moment. It does for that hour. It does for that hour and a half. But when you’re waking up at one o’clock in the morning, two o’clock, three o’clock in the morning and you’ve got sweats because you’ve had too much or, and you blame menopause, I’m going through menopause on that.
And I can trust [00:19:00] you as soon as I gave up drinking. I didn’t have any night sweats, all the doctors know you’re going through menopause. And so like, yeah, well, I haven’t had my periods for three years now, so obviously I was as well. But the interesting thing is when I’ve had a drink recently, the sweats came back.
But look. The biggest thing is, I know, think, you know, it’s the advertising that’s out there that if you’re having alcohol, it relaxes you and at the first glass or okay. One of the things that I am practicing with at the moment, so I’ll see whether it works. And so it’s interesting we could maybe have another conversation in three months or whatever.
David R. Hawkins is a guy that I’ve been reading, a gentlemen from years ago and he wrote about weight loss and, and curing, different illnesses and all this sort of stuff. And one of the things, it’s all a mental thing. One of the things that he actually said that they did a lot years ago, back in the seventies, they people with [00:20:00] split personalities.
So one person, because I had some health issues last year. So one of the people had, let’s say eczema, and then in another personality, they were an alcoholic and so forth. But when they switched personalities, they did not have, they wouldn’t scratch anymore if they were the alcoholic, if they were angry in this other personality, they wouldn’t be scratching either.
So it made me think about it really is your mind. It’s a mindset. And it’s going, it’s really making that commitment to yourself because it’s only, it took me 50 years, I think, to, you know, think that somebody else is going to pick those clothes up off the ground, and have a tidy house. It’s like, no, someone else’s going to do it is you’ve got to make that decision for yourself and allow yourself the time, not just do it for one day because [00:21:00] you know, and probably not even a week, but I really, really think if you gave yourself four weeks, five weeks just to, and journal through the, how you feel now every day when you wake up and then do it when you’ve stopped drinking for eat, well, even if you do it for a week, then journal the week that you’re not drinking and just go back and read it because I know myself when I’ve done that, the difference that you see, yes, it’s huge. So that’s where David Hawkins was saying, you know, you know, just it’s it has to just be the mind playing tricks on us, saying that, you know, oh, that will make me feel so much more relaxed or I deserve it. So I used to allow myself, you know, by Thursday, if I hadn’t had any, all week, it’d be like, oh, first day, well, I’ve had such a busy week.
I’ve made a placement, I’ve picked up a new job. I’ve done this. Kids are all sorted. I can have a wine and because it is Thursday and I haven’t had anything all week, I could have the bottle [00:22:00] because if we look at it, you know what I mean? So it’s all, and that’s one thing that I loved. I did not have that, cause it is coming back a little bit, so I need to work on it that, you know, today, oh, it’s Wednesday. I haven’t had anything all week. My husband’s had to go away for work conference. You know, I could just have a glass. Yeah. Where, when I wasn’t drinking at all, it, it did not even enter my mind.
Yes. But it does, it still takes some time to get to that.
Kylie: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And I think one thing I talk about the ladies I work with quite often is, you know, because we do like to make ourselves feel nice and we do like to reward ourselves. So it’s sort of changing those habits. So, you know, and I think the, the ritual of drinking out of a wine glass is nice, but you know, it doesn’t have to be wine in the wine glass.
You know, we can still have the nice wine glass, but have the most, some mineral water with some fresh berries or some [00:23:00] mint or some lemon or lime or something. But also to, you know, another sort of thing that I sort of suggest is, you know, lighting a candle on the kitchen bench. If you’ve got this beautiful candle and you can smell the beautiful candle, that’s a nice thing.
It makes us feel nice or having a bunch of flowers in view because, you know, I know I struggled in the beginning buying myself flowers. I was like, oh, it’s a lot of money. They’re just going to die. And, but you know, when I have the flowers there and I always put them in a spot where I can see them, you know, I look at them and they make me feel good, you know, like it’s just that instant reward.
So, you know, when it comes to sort of changing out those habits of, you know, because we want to reward ourselves, we want to make ourselves feel better or feel good, or, you know, aren’t we great, we had, you know, had a great week, and you know, how can we do it in other ways? So we still get that kind of like little dopamine hit of our reward center without it being, [00:24:00] you know, on the flip side, something that’s potentially destructive.
Nicole: Well, I will say with the app it had in the app that I had in was telling me every day, how much I’d given up. It also has the money, how much money you saved. So I actually, my little reward at the moment is buying clothes.
Kylie: And then giving up alcohol. You also dropped a fair bit weight too.
Nicole: Yeah, I did. I did. I probably, I lost all up, put on a little bit more, but I lost all up 10 kilos.
Yeah. And it wasn’t difficult to do. And it was, and I didn’t, so I shouldn’t say this to you, Kylie, but I didn’t really do a lot of exercise. I did yoga, a lot of yoga, but, and walks, but not like getting out there and running, weights and all that sort of stuff. It was, but it’s also the healthier choices that I chose to, instead of, you know, grabbing, like we were saying before all the carbs that I [00:25:00] wanted, it would be, you know, I’d have something that was, I knew that would nourish my body.
And I think if I, the, the biggest thing that I got from when I stopped drinking was the self-love, I’d say the biggest challenge that I’ve found was the, the way other people reacted to me, not drinking. And it was. You know, it’s I found it. And then I was thinking to myself recently, whether, whether it was me reacting to them, but it, it was, cause people are like, oh, was she an alcoholic? Or did she have real issues with that? But maybe they weren’t. That’s me thinking, were they thinking that like no one actually said that to me. Because I think the people that I was speaking with, all those friends with, they’re thinking, oh God, I drink as much as she does.
So what should I stop?
Kylie: Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. It makes, makes [00:26:00] people think about their own, you know, what they are actually up to. So, yeah. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing your journey. It’s really, I think really interesting. It’s certainly given me a lot to think about, you know, the fact that, you know, we can give up something that we enjoy, that we kind of on a different level, know that it’s probably not doing us too many favors and we can give it up and we’re going to be okay.
You know, we’re going to be more than okay.
Nicole: Yeah. And I think so also with my journey moving forward, it is looking at trying to add that moderation into everything that I do. And giving yourself that acceptance to allow that well you’ve done it before. So, you know, if it gets down to that side where it’s going, oh, hang on, Nic, let’s bring ourselves back. You know that you’ve done it [00:27:00] before and just being compassionate, I suppose, is the word, to yourself.
Kylie: Show yourself some kindness. It doesn’t have to be a journey either. Exactly. All right, ladies. Well, I will put the link to the app that Nic and also to the book that Nic talked about in the show notes. And certainly, you know, if this is something that you’d like to have a talk about, discussion about, you know, we are always up for that as well.
So. Thank you, Nic, so much. It’s been a pleasure. And we may well check in with you again in a few months and see how you’re going. Thank you.
Thank you. Bye.