Two mums quit drinking & help other women Thrive
This blog describes how Lucy and Jen came together to start Thrivalist and what they want you to know if you’re struggling with your drinking.
Lucy Quick and Jen Clements may have grown up on opposite sides of the Indian Ocean, but their journeys with alcohol share many similarities. For starters, they both chose to quit drinking in their thirties despite not being labelled or labelling themselves as alcoholics. A courageous and perhaps rebellious act in a world obsessed with alcohol and one in which there seems to be an unwritten rule that you don’t quit drinking unless you have to.
Choosing to step away from the crowd, they found themselves justifying their decisions not to take this drug again and again. Why? They couldn’t think of any other drug people have to justify not taking. Why is alcohol so insidiously intertwined in almost every aspect of adult life, and why does it hold such power over us?
These and many other questions fired a burning passion within them to understand the landscapes of alcohol, problem drinking, overcoming problematic use, and personal development. So much so, that they each chose to quit their ‘real’ jobs in marketing and law to become Life Coaches, empowering other women to change their own relationships with alcohol for the better.
Lucy, from Melbourne, started drinking at 14. She describes the warm enveloping feeling from her first sips as though it was like coming home to herself. She quickly became a party-girl, more often than not, taking her drinking too far, getting messy and blacking out.
As she got older she used alcohol to cope with work stress, lifelong anxiety and the demands of motherhood. Binge drinking and blackouts still happened occasionally and towards the end of her drinking her days were filled with anxiety, regret, shame and exhaustion.
She felt stuck in the ‘alcohol trap’; she’d drink too much then wake up swearing that it would never happen again. Then a day or two later she’d promise herself it would just be one glass, but once she started she usually couldn’t stop, and she’d find herself back to waking up hungover and swearing never again.
Despite being a successful Marketing Manager, with the husband, the house, the kids and the fur babies, a quiet internal voice had been telling her for years that she needed to stop drinking. She knew she was not showing up as the fullest, happiest, most successful version of herself, however thought that only alcoholics needed to quit drinking and she didn’t identify as one. The thought of never drinking again just felt so extreme.
After a big boozy Christmas period in 2018 that ended with Lucy in a blackout and being banned from Uber, she listened to a podcast interviewing Ruby Warrington, author of Sober Curious. The podcast episode opened her mind to choosing sobriety to improve her life, not because she needed to quit.
She had her last drink on new year’s eve 2018 and she hasn’t looked back.
In Jen’s case, her first drink was at 13 years’ old in Cape Town where she grew up. She hated the taste but loved the effect. Through her teens and university days she binge drank and danced the nights away, sometimes waking up not knowing how she got home or what she’d said to who.
As she moved into working full-time as a lawyer, she worked hard and partied hard. She barely drank during the week but always seemed to go big on the weekend. Birthdays, music festivals, and weddings, were all great excuses to get drunk.
She drank just like her friends, and thought that her drinking would settle down as she moved into her thirties and became a mum. But a traumatic birth experience left her mental health in tatters and the social drinking of her twenties morphed to self medication in her thirties. At this point, a glass of wine or two each night seemed like just what she needed to take the edge off.
Over the next three years, the quality of her mental health decreased in an uncanny proportion to the increase in her alcohol intake. And while there were zero outward signs of her having a drinking problem, she found herself wishing the day away until it was 5pm, when she could pour that first glass.
Although no one else was concerned, she wanted to cut down and became locked in a special kind of hell trying and failing to moderate.
She wanted support but, like Lucy, didn’t see herself as an alcoholic, so traditional options like AA and rehab felt too extreme. She took matters into her own hands and used her legal research skills to figure out how to free herself from alcohol.
Thrivalist is born
Lucy and Jen met while completing their Life Coach training in 2019 and instantly clicked. They had both been alcohol-free for nearly 12 months and quickly realised that they shared an extreme passion for helping other women to break free from the alcohol trap, just as they had.
They decided to join forces, and combine all of their knowledge, evidence-based research, strategies and tools to create an online course, accessible to any woman (or person who respects their feminine approach) around the world.
They created Thrivalist, a community and coaching service for women, which students are calling ‘life-changing’, a journey that arms you with the knowledge, tools and mindset to control your drinking or master sobriety.
The Thrivalist 8-Week course guides its students to build a deep and loving connection with themselves while being fully supported and coached by Jen and Lucy and surrounded by a community of like-minded women, all on the same path. Lucy and Jen believe that there is so much magic to be found on the other side of alcohol, if the right process is followed and work is done.
What they want you to know if you’re concerned about your drinking
You are not alone
Alcohol abuse has traditionally been seen as a problem for men, but research shows that women’s alcohol consumption is catching up.
Mummy-wine culture is real. Women are actively encouraged (by the Big Alcohol industry and each other!), to drink to take the edge off parenting. This is reinforced by memes and merchandise stamped with mantras like “It’s not drinking alone when the kids are home!”.
“When a mum starts to worry about her drinking, she often keeps her concerns to herself”, Lucy shared. “There’s so much shame around feeling like you can’t ‘handle’ your drinking, and you don’t want anyone to think you have a drinking problem, so you don’t talk about it”.
“The crazy thing is, that in a group of mums, there may be a number who are quietly concerned about their drinking, but because they’re not being open about it, they all think they’re the only one!”, Jen added.
What Lucy and Jen have realised since starting Thrivalist is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of women out there, who worry about their drinking. Most just don’t talk about it unless they feel they won’t be judged.
You have nothing to be ashamed of
Alcohol is the only drug where the person taking it gets labelled as the problem, rather than the drug itself. If a person smokes cigarettes regularly, no one is surprised when that person becomes addicted and starts smoking everyday. The same goes for heroin. But with alcohol, one of the five most addictive substances on the planet (along with heroin and nicotine), we’re expected to be able to consume it regularly without getting hooked. If we do, society labels us the problem, not the alcohol.
These pervasive double standards protect alcohol; the world’s most beloved drug. A drug that, to paraphrase Ruby Warrington in her book Sober Curious, maybe we’re all just a little bit addicted to.
It’s helpful for every person questioning their drinking to know that alcohol drinking isn’t just black and white. It’s not just alcoholics and normal drinkers with no grey-area in between. Alcohol Use Disorder, the medical diagnosis given to problem drinkers, consists of three sub-classifications: mild, moderate and severe, meaning that problem drinkers sit on a spectrum. A spectrum that includes a massive grey-area of problem drinkers, many masquerading as normal drinkers.
If you’re worried that you’re drinking too much and finding it hard to cut down, please know that it’s not your fault. Alcohol is the problem, not you. There is nothing wrong with you. And as Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind, puts it – you’re just a human being consuming a substance that is addictive to human beings. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
You don’t need to commit to quitting forever
When considering quitting alcohol, the thought of never drinking again can seem impossibly daunting and off-putting. The good news is that it’s not necessary to commit to ‘never again’, especially at the start.
What Lucy and Jen have found works well is to commit to taking an extended break from alcohol. A challenging but achievable amount of time, preferably at least 60 or 90 days. This clean break from alcohol gives you the opportunity to experience some of the beautiful benefits of sobriety that might not be obvious in the first few weeks as your body adjusts to the change. It also gives you a clear mind and plenty of unintoxicated time to ‘do the work’ discussed below.
Once you come to the end of your set time period, you get to decide whether you’re enjoying alcohol-free living and wish to continue on this path longer. If not, you can go back to drinking. The choice is always yours.
You do need to ‘do the work’
The reason Lucy and Jen believe that many people think sobriety is miserable is because they decide to stop drinking and then do nothing else to support themselves through this massive lifestyle change. They don’t learn the tools to help them overcome cravings, they don’t implement new healthier coping mechanisms to deal with their feelings, they don’t address the deep root causes driving their drinking, and they don’t do the personal development work to create lives they love so much they don’t need to drink to escape from.
The Thrivalist students who apply themselves fully over the 8-weeks of the course, who show up in the community, who read the modules in detail, watch the videos and complete the workbook tasks, are the same students who share testimonials such as: “I cannot thank you enough, Thrivalist has changed my life forever” and “I never thought I would never drink again, but thanks to Thrivalist, I now know for 100% certainty that alcohol will not be part of my future”.
You can read more reviews here. Unfortunately, there are always a very small percentage of students who don’t do the work, and then find themselves back at the beginning of the cycle again.
FOMO can turn to JOMO
When you ditch the booze, it’s easy to feel FOMO, the fear of missing out. Often, we don’t have many other people in our lives who don’t drink, so we can feel like we’re missing out when everyone else is drinking and we’re not.
The key to loving alcohol-free living is to switch the focus from loss to gain. Instead of dwelling over the things you’re missing out on by not drinking, you focus on the abundance of things you gain. And there are so many, such as improving mental health, sleeping well, waking up without a hangover and feeling fresh, being more patient and tolerant, increased energy and productivity, feeling calm, being more present with your kids, and so on. This is how FOMO gets alchemised to JOMO, the joy of missing out.
Support really helps
Sobriety is a journey made much easier through support and connection with like-minded people. Besides Thrivalist, there are tonnes of communities out there waiting to support your alcohol-free journey. From private Facebook groups, Instagram accounts, other sobriety and mindful drinking programs, to traditional recovery meetings, and sober meet-ups, your tribe is out there!
For more information on Thrivalist visit: www.thrivalistsobriety.com