DREAM BU I L D I NG WI TH ALY F . CANAVAN
When did your drinking career start? I started drinking young out with friends In Dublin. As teens we drank before the local disco and it dominated the weekends. How long do you think you had a problem with alcohol before you took the decision to make the changes and do the work? I think our relationship to alcohol as a society is incredibly warped. From a teen the aim was to get wasted because everyone else was. I have memories of competition and knocking back naggins with friends in fields. I was never taught any respect around alcohol which is interesting as I remember going on a student exchange trip to France and noticing how different their relationship to alcohol was. They had wine with dinner and that was it, they didn’t finish the bottles every night. I think as Irish people we have an excessive culture and think nothing of people falling around and slurring their words. As kids we thought it was funny, but you can normalise anything especially to young people and then they will grow up and rarely question it. I come from the clubbing era and I loved house music and dancing. There were many years of fun and great nights but over the years what I began to notice was that I never wanted the party to end. I began to notice how some people had an off switch and could just call it a night and head home. That off switch seemed to be missing for me and I would party until I was the last one standing. When you are young there is always someone to party with and hang out with. I also started modelling at 15 and began travelling around the world. I had full access to the party lifestyle and to the most glamorous parties. When you are surrounded by this lifestyle you normalise excess. The problem became apparent when my mental health was suffering and after a night out, I would find myself crying and feeling so low. The highs needed to be higher and the lows became lower as a result. Drink began to be an escape route from my life and as my partying progressed so did the blackouts and scary nights. I began to attend AA meetings in NYC and that alone needs a whole book. It was bizarre and generally uncomfortable for me. I never resonated that in the same room there were people with one day sobriety and people with 20 years. I also never resonated with going over and over and over your story and listening to people tell their darkest tales. However, there was no other option available to me at the time. So, I continued with meetings on an off for many years and never made it more than a few weeks. There are so many reasons for this and primarily I realise now that I never really wanted to be sober after all who was I and would people like me? All my friends drank and drank a lot. Getting serious about giving up alcohol would mean changing my life dramatically and dropping a lot of people, places and things.
They say that most people hit rock bottom or get some sort of life shock which triggers deep change and sobriety. Well for me there were many low points, but my catalyst came in the form of my beautiful baby boy. I had postpartum depression and again the answer was medication and as I was breast feeding, I questioned this narrative. I had never questioned anything a doctor had ever told me before. I blindly trusted authority, after all I had been indoctrinated into a system where these people were smarter than me and knew much more than I ever could. I was questioning would the medication go into my breast milk and into the baby. The basic answer is yes which I realize after 10 years of study in the nutrition health and coaching fields seems basic common sense to me now. I’m grateful to that doctor and to that time in my life because it woke up a part of me that began asking questions. What I realized very quickly is that professional don’t like questions and so I asked more. As I had been pregnant and breastfeeding, I wasn’t drinking and one night I headed out with friends for a few drinks thinking I’ve got this and found myself over the toilet throwing up at 5AM. The off switch was still missing, and I realized that my relationship with alcohol was unhealthy but more than that it was dangerous. It didn’t stop there as I tried over the next couple of years to only drink every few weeks and when I went out, I would tell myself that I was just going to have one and then some water and then a second etc. That never happened. One night I was dropped home by a stranger, I didn’t remember any of it and received a message on Facebook from a guy telling me he fund me outside a nightclub and managed to get my address out of me. That could have ended very differently for me and that day I got on my knees and prayed. I prayed and promised God that if I could get sober, I would show up and serve every single day for the rest of my life. I have never drunk since, I have never wanted to drink since and every day as I wake, I pray I ask god: How can I serve today, show me the way. What program did you use to reach freedom from alcohol? Twelve Step or Modern Recovery? This time I stepped away from the 12-step program. I believe that each person’s path to recovery is very different and for me saying daily that ‘Hi I’m Aly and I’m an alcoholic’ led to me feeling trapped and it didn’t resonate. I used to think well I don’t smoke anymore, and I don’t wake every morning saying Hi my name is Aly and I’m a smoker. As a transformational coach I believe in the power of the word. Our word is our wand and it’s what we use to create our reality. There was no freedom for me moving forward on my path and labelling myself. However, I did exercise more, eat well, have therapy, read amazing books, go on self-development course, meditate, practice gratitude and attend powerful retreats. My soul was looking for expansion and growth, so I listened to the call.
Made with FlippingBook - Online magazine maker