I downed 3 bottles of wine a day at the height of my near-fatal addiction – now I’ve quit booze & feel better than ever
A MUM-of-two who was months away from death after downing three bottles of wine a day and vodka has shared her incredible 10-step journey to recovery.
Justine Whitchurch, 47, quit drinking seven years ago after seeing the impact it was having on herself and her family – admitting even her own dad didn’t recognise her.
The mum, from Australia, says she spent most of her 30s ‘medicated from alcohol 24/7’.
In the six months before she quit, Justine would down three bottles of wine a day, as well as vodka shots, if she wanted to go ‘undetected’.
She told Femail: “I dropped 14kg in six months, my liver reading was around 2500 (it should have been 42), my triglycerides were so high I was a major heart attack risk, my platelet count was so low I had bruises from head to toe and my hair was falling out.
“It got to the point where my dad saw me for the first time in months and he said that if he had not known it was me he would not have recognised his own daughter.”
She said the turning point for her was when her daughter, who was nine at the time, looked at her with tears and told her she feared she’d ‘never get better’.
Doctors told Justine that if she carried on her destructive ways, she’d be dead in a few months.
Now seven years after getting sober, Justine has turned her life around, and works as a wellness coach, as well as a fitness model, author and Mental Health Advocate.
Exercise was a big part of Justine’s recovery, and she shed 17kg of unwanted weight when she overhauled her lifestyle.
Her ten steps focus on being active, with Justine recommending eating healthy and trying to work out every day – even if it’s just a ten-minute walk.
The mum has just brought out a new book, Sobriety Delivered Everything Alcohol Promised, and shared her 10-step plan which helped her get back on track.
She revealed the first few months were the hardest, and navigating social settings was tough, as people pressured her to have a drink.
- Step one: Assess your real relationship with alcohol
- Step two: Enrol in a program that suits you and your situation
- Step three: Start exercising daily
- Step four: Start nourishing your body with good nutritious foods
- Step five: Set yourself a challenge with exercise
- Step six: Reward yourself for achieving success
- Step seven: Socialise at times that give you the greatest chance of being sober
- Step eight: Don't become complacent
- Step nine: Recognise early when you are falling off track
- Step ten: Exercise in some shape or form most days
Justine noted alcohol is the only drug ‘you have to justify not taking’.
She recommended meeting friends at times of the day when the temptation to drink is minimal, such as breakfast or brunch.
Arranging activities which focus on something else, such as a long walk, sports or even coffee, can help keep you on track.
Inevitably she acknowledged anyone on the road to recovery will find themselves at a bar or pub eventually, such as for a birthday party.
In these situations, if you’re struggling Justine advised getting a wine glass and filling it with soda or apple juice so it ‘looks as if you're chugging away on a Chardonnay’ – as ‘no one will know the difference’.
Ultimately if you’re pressured to drink, she advised sharing your reasons with your friends, and ‘own them’.
She said: “When I am asked ‘Why are you not having a drink?’ or my favourite, ‘Can't you just have one?’, I am now confident enough to say ‘Actually, no. I can't just have one. Because one for me turns into two, which turns into three and ultimately becomes all-consuming and completely ruins my life. Is that reason enough for you?’”
Writing on her Instagram page, which documents her journey, she said: “I am healthy, fit, happy and present and that kind of s*** you can't find in a bottle.”
While this dad who started boozing at 14 & drank a litre of vodka EVERY night shares inspiring before & after photos after recovery.
And this woman says ditching booze for just a month left her skin clearer and smoother.
While this woman says going sober even improved her sex life.
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