Speaking on the Leaders Council Podcast, critically acclaimed Executive Woman’s Alcohol Coach and best-selling author and public speaker Michaela Weaver discusses how the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated problem drinking and outlines her priorities to help people manage their addictions in 2022.
Michaela’s mission as the master coach that she is today, which is to help others overcome alcohol addiction and realise that they can thrive in all aspects of their work and personal life without it, is one that is grounded in her own personal experiences with the drug. In a society where alcohol consumption is normalised, Michaela believes it is easy for anyone to fall into what she refers to as the “alcohol trap”.
Sitting down with podcast host, Scott Challinor, in a special interview to mark Alcohol Awareness Week, Michaela explained: “I was once that executive in the boardroom nursing a hangover with a very strong cup of coffee after having been drinking the night before. I used to sit down and feel full of shame and that went on for a long time because I thought there was something wrong with me. I was thinking ‘well, alcohol is what everybody does, so why can’t I do it? Why can’t I cut down when I say I’m going to?’
“I lived with this for a long time before I worked my own way through it using The Science of Transformational Freedom and realised that alcohol was one massive con that had been sold to us all. The reason for that is that we are expected in society to consume alcohol. We see it in the media, and we see it advertised just the way that cigarettes and nicotine were advertised back in the 1950s.
“Although we now know the devastating effects of smoking, alcohol seems to be behind that. We do talk about it being addictive but we don’t really understand the reality so there is a huge amount of confusion around it.”
Michaela went on to describe how the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and social restrictions have brought sweeping changes to the daily routines of many individuals, making the last two years a hotbed for incidents of problem drinking to increase.
“It is a combination of working from home, which has changed people's routines, overwhelming uncertainty, and the additional stress that goes hand in hand with that,” Michaela said.
“The fact that high-achieving people are falling into this trap is also important. Just because one is high achieving doesn’t mean you are immune. There is often this misunderstood idea about the alcohol trap and the nature of people that fall into it. Alcohol sales went through the roof during lockdown, and many people of various backgrounds are left with these latent problems as a result of it.
“What I’d like to say to anybody who is in this situation where there are feelings of shame and guilt, is that you must understand it is not your fault. People get addicted to addictive substances, and alcohol is among the most addictive drugs on the planet. People are often dealing with stress when they consume alcohol and what is not very well understood is that alcohol actually causes feelings of stress and anxiety and so makes it worse.”
Michaela went on to outline her ambitions for 2022, which involves spreading the message to business executives and the C-Suite audience of how a simple shift in mindset to understand the science of alcohol addiction and how one can rise above it can make people view alcohol differently and overcome their issues.
“I have joint ventures in place with top-flight organisations and top-flight people all over the world. I’ll be giving talks in the US and Australia, and more widely around the globe on this issue. As that person who has been in executive roles themselves, I know what it feels like to fall into the trap and have a problem. The next 12 months is about being able to offer those one-to-one services for people who want them and using other resources to get people to open their eyes and offer some relief and support and simply tell them that ‘you can get out of this’ and empower them with that message.
“There are a great many people in all sorts of roles that may be working from home and so are now drinking at home during work hours. I want to help break this down and build people back up. When people were going out to work, there was a sort of subconscious boundary before Covid that drinking at work was inappropriate, and then when we get home or finish work, we may then have chosen to have a drink. Now, those boundaries have moved. We’ve gone from drinking at five or six o’clock to four o’clock and three o’clock, perhaps even earlier. All of that simply exacerbates the issues in the post-Covid world we find ourselves in.
“With people just becoming aware of what I’m saying about those unconscious boundaries in the working day and how they have moved, that alone might be enough for people to see that they need to do something. That is the first step: recognising that something needs to be done, drawing a line in the sand, but after that somebody who wants to make that change may not know what to do. To those people, I say reach out and find someone who can help you navigate it in the most efficient way. That person is going to be me in the next 12 months, going out into the leadership realm and breaking all of this down.”
Michaela Weaver runs a series of master classes on the issue of problem drinking that are open to all. She specialises in working with executive women but also offers one-on-one support for men. Further information can be found here.
Michaela Weaver’s book The Alcohol Con: How To Outsmart It can be purchased through Amazon.
Watch one of Michaela’s TEDx speeches here.
Watch Michaela Weaver's interview on the Leaders Council Podcast below.
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash