Making Informed Choices: The Truth About Alcohol and Stress

Alcohol is often seen as a stress reliever, a soothing elixir to wash away the pressures of the day. But how accurate is this belief? In my latest podcast episode of De-Stress For Success, we delve into the complex, and often paradoxical, relationship between alcohol and stress.

We begin by exploring the physiological effects of alcohol on our bodies. Despite its initial calming effects, alcohol can exacerbate stress levels. This paradox is attributed to the complex interplay of neurotransmitters and hormones in our bodies. Initially, alcohol triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, leading to feelings of pleasure and reward. However, this initial relief is short-lived. As the dopamine levels decrease, the body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, leading to increased stress and restlessness.

Regular and heavy drinking can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance, causing the release of stress hormones even in anticipation of alcohol. This contributes to heightened anxiety and sensitivity to stress, leading to a vicious cycle where alcohol is sought as a means of escape, but which ironically contributes to the very stress you’re trying to escape from.

We also delve into the psychological implications of using alcohol as a coping mechanism. When alcohol is relied upon to relieve stress, it can stifle the development of healthier stress management strategies. This can lead to psychological dependence and a cycle of escalating stress and alcohol consumption.

Alcohol’s impact on our mood and sleep patterns further complicates its relationship with stress. While alcohol may facilitate falling asleep initially, it disrupts the later stages of sleep, leading to poorer sleep quality overall. This lack of restorative sleep contributes to higher stress levels. The neurochemical effects of alcohol can also amplify negative emotions and thoughts, leading to increased feelings of anxiety and depression when the effects of alcohol diminish.

Moreover, consistent, regular to heavy alcohol consumption can lead to various physical health problems such as liver damage, cardiovascular issues, weakened immune system, and even an increased risk of certain types of cancer. These health concerns can trigger stress and anxiety, further exacerbating the cycle of stress and alcohol consumption.

However, the purpose of this episode is not to advocate for absolute sobriety (although congratulations if this is where you are at or your goal!), but to provide listeners with the knowledge and understanding to make more informed choices about alcohol’s role in their lives. It’s an invitation to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol and stress, to move from merely surviving to truly thriving.

The key takeaway is the need to explore healthier coping mechanisms for stress. Exercise, mindfulness, and deep breathing are just a few examples of strategies that can break the stress cycle without the negative effects associated with alcohol.

In conclusion, the relationship between alcohol and stress is complex and multi-faceted. While alcohol may seem like a quick fix to stress, its long-term effects can exacerbate stress levels and lead to a host of other health issues. By understanding the true impact of alcohol on our bodies and minds, we can make informed choices that contribute to our overall well-being.

From Addiction to Endurance: Nikki Langman’s Journey to Authenticity and Sobriety

Meet Nikki Langman—international speaker, author, thought leader, and endurance runner. Nikki, once a career alcoholic, started her journey with addiction quite early, at the tender age of seven. She was introduced to the world of drinking, and it quickly spiraled into a manipulative and deceitful relationship with alcohol. Join us as she bares it all, revealing the struggles of confronting the person in the mirror, and the bravery it took to get honest with herself. Nikki’s journey is a testament to self-improvement and authentic living.

But there’s more to Nikki than just sobriety. She’s a long-distance runner, a love she discovered as a method to regulate her high energy levels and find joy in extreme physical activities. Nikki redefines what it means to be a badass, embracing bravery, authenticity, a sense of direction, and self-love. She candidly discusses her support system and the positive changes she made to support her sobriety. Get ready to be moved by Nikki’s incredible journey from addiction to endurance running, from self-deceit to authenticity, and from surviving to thriving.

Embracing the Benefits of an Alcohol Coach with Lived Experience

Embarking on a journey to drink less alcohol or to overcome problematic drinking is a courageous step towards reclaiming control over your life and well-being. While this path may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in your struggle. Engaging an alcohol coach who has lived experience with problematic drinking can provide unique and invaluable benefits that go beyond conventional approaches. This blog delves into the reasons why a coach with lived experience can be a game-changer on your path to ditching the booze.


  1. Empathy and Understanding

One of the most significant advantages of having an alcohol coach with lived experience is the deep empathy and understanding they bring to the table. This coach has personally walked the path of overcoming problematic drinking, allowing them to connect with your journey on a level that a traditional coach might not be able to. Their empathy is not just from a theoretical standpoint, it’s rooted in their own struggles, successes, and setbacks, making their support more relatable and authentic.

  1. Reduced Stigma

Unfortunately, societal stigma around addiction and mental health challenges still exists. Engaging with an alcohol coach who has faced similar struggles reduces the sense of isolation and shame that you might feel. This normalisation of the recovery process helps break down barriers to seeking help and encourages a more open dialogue about mental well-being.

  1. Real-World and Relatable Strategies

While conventional alcohol coaches and counsellors possess theoretical knowledge about recovery strategies, a coach with lived experience can provide you with real-world strategies that have worked for them. They’ve tested and refined these strategies in their own lives, giving them firsthand knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. This practical advice can be invaluable, as it’s tailored to the realities of overcoming the challenges you’re facing.

The path to quitting alcohol is not a one-size-fits-all journey, and what works for one person might not work for another. A coach with lived experience brings a toolbox of relatable strategies that have worked for them personally. They can offer practical advice that goes beyond generic recommendations, tailoring their guidance to the individual’s unique circumstances. This targeted approach increases the likelihood of success and helps clients navigate challenges more effectively.

  1. Personalised Guidance

An alcohol coach who has battled problematic drinking understands that recovery is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Their guidance is personalized to your specific needs, triggers, and goals. They can help you navigate the complexities of your individual situation, making adjustments and recommendations based on their own experiences. This individualised approach can lead to more effective results and a higher likelihood of sustaining your progress over the long term.

  1. Inspiring Hope and Resilience

Witnessing someone who has triumphed over their own struggles with problematic drinking can serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration. A coach with lived experience embodies the possibility of change, demonstrating that recovery is achievable even in the face of adversity. Their story of resilience can motivate you during challenging moments and remind you that you’re capable of achieving the same transformation.

  1. Building Trust and Rapport

Establishing trust and rapport with a coach is essential for a successful coaching relationship. A coach who shares their own journey of recovery fosters a sense of authenticity and transparency. This openness can create a safe space for you to share your thoughts, fears, and setbacks without judgment. Knowing that your coach has faced similar struggles can help you feel understood and accepted, enhancing the effectiveness of the coaching process.


Engaging an alcohol coach with lived experience of problematic drinking can be a transformative step on your journey towards reaching your drinking less goals. Their empathy, real-world strategies, personalised guidance, inspirational story, and ability to build trust all contribute to a coaching relationship that goes beyond the ordinary. Remember, you deserve all the support and resources available to overcome problematic drinking and lead a healthier, happier life. Embrace the benefits of a coach who not only understands your journey but has walked the path themselves.

The decision to seek help for problematic drinking is a courageous one, and having an alcohol coach with lived experience by your side can be a game-changer. Their empathy, relatable strategies, authentic inspiration, personalised support, and ongoing assistance create a comprehensive support system that propels individuals toward lasting recovery.

The bond formed with a coach who has walked the same path serves as a reminder that transformation is not only possible but within reach. Remember, you’re never alone in your journey towards better mental and emotional health.

Let me support you

One of the most rewarding things that I have done in my life is to have quit alcohol. It was incredibly challenging at times. However it was and is worth it. Once I became alcohol-free opportunities opened and life just felt easier and happier. It is now my pleasure to guide others through this process.

Book in an introductory call with my using this link and let’s see if we are the right fit to work together.

Why Moderating Alcohol is so Incredibly Hard to Achieve

In Australian culture, where alcohol is deeply ingrained in everything we do, the concept of moderation can seem deceptively simple. However, for many, moderating alcohol consumption is usually far more challenging than anticipated. This blog delves into the various reasons why achieving moderation can be difficult and offers insights into how to navigate these hurdles.

The top reasons why moderation is difficult

The Illusion of Control: One of the main reasons moderation can be hard is the illusion of control that alcohol can create. You often start with the intention of having “just one drink,” believing you can stop whenever you want. However, alcohol’s ability to impair judgment and lower inhibitions can easily lead to overconsumption. The saying “I can only say no to the first drink” is true for many.

Social Pressures and Norms: Our society often associates alcohol with celebrations, gatherings, and relaxation. As a result, social pressures and norms can make it tough to stick to moderation, especially when surrounded by friends or family who might encourage drinking more than intended. How many of us know a non-drinker? No many and certainly not when we were growing up and developing our beliefs around the role that alcohol plays in society. At a young age we can form the belief that we need alcohol to socialise and fit in just by observing those around us.

The Slippery Slope of Escalation: For moderation to “work”, you really need to only have one or two drinks when you are out. Most people’s idea of moderation is usually much more than this and resembles binge drinking instead.  A single drink often leads to another, and before you know it, the line between moderation and excess is blurred. On top of that your tolerance increases and you need more alcohol to get the same buzz.

The All or Nothing Mindset: Many people struggle with an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to alcohol. You might find it challenging to stop at one or two drinks, leading to a sense of defeat and ultimately consuming more than intended.

The Pleasure Principle: Alcohol triggers the brain’s reward system, releasing dopamine and creating a pleasurable sensation. This biochemical response can make it difficult to stop after just one drink. What’s more, dopamine is the brain’s reward chemical, making you believe that you need alcohol to cope.

Emotional Triggers: Emotions play a substantial role in our relationship with alcohol. Stress, sadness, or even happiness can trigger a desire to drink. Using alcohol as a coping mechanism for emotional turbulence can make it exceedingly difficult to stick to moderation goals.

Constant State of Withdrawal: Unlike abstaining from alcohol entirely, moderation involves keeping your body in a constant state of withdrawal. Even with a glass or two, your body needs to get rid of the alcohol in your system to reduce it back down to normal. With that comes a feeling of restlessness and anxiety, uncomfortable feelings which often lead you to want to drink some more to avoid.

Obstructing New Habit Formation: Moderation does not allow the time and space for you to develop new neural pathways that allow new healthier habits to form without alcohol. On top of that you don’t get to experience all the amazing benefits of living alcohol free, such as restorative sleep, improved energy and motivation (and the rest!). This makes the whole process of drinking less even harder to achieve.

Overcoming the challenges

Gaining self-awareness around your personal triggers and drinking habits is the first step. Do you drink when your stressed, or lonely or to calm an agitated nervous system? From there you can begin the process of reframing how you view and respond to alcohol.

Understanding the science of alcohol and what it does chemically to your body is part of the change process and can empower you to seek what you really need elsewhere.

If you are caught in a cycle of trying but failing at moderation, allowing yourself a decent break from alcohol for a period of at least 6 weeks is often the best place to start. This will allow you to evaluate your triggers and degree of reliance on it, establish new healthier habits, gain confidence in your ability to socialise and relax it without it and to reset and recalibrate your system.

Engage extra support

Often it is hard to drink less alcohol on your own and reaching out for additional support to reach your goals can be just what you need to motivate you to succeed.

Please book in a discovery call with me if you would like support to drink less alcohol.

Alcohol, Breast Health and Transforming Australia’s Workplace Drinking Culture: Kath Elliott’s Story

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a cycle of binge drinking, weighed down by the shame and embarrassment that comes with it? We’ve been there, and so has Kath Elliott, the Alcohol Mindset Coach. In a candid conversation, Kath allows us to peek into her four-year journey of sobriety, highlighting some uncomfortable yet transformative moments. She takes us back to her teenage years when she was applauded for her drinking prowess and how a family vacation led her to make a life-altering decision.

Kath also brings our attention to the often overlooked connection between alcohol consumption and the increased risk of breast cancer. Even more alarming is how celebrities glamorising alcohol can influence many of us to dismiss the risks.

Finally, Kath and Bella discuss the benefits of engaging an alcohol coach with a lived experience of problematic drinking.  This episode isn’t just about the perils of alcohol but also about finding hope and liberation beyond it. So join us as we unravel the complex relationship between alcohol, breast health, and Australia’s workplace drinking culture.

Neuroscientist, Professor Selena Bartlett on stress, alcohol, neuroplasticity and brain health

Professor Selena Bartlett, world-renowned neuroscientist, joins us today to share her powerful message about how to train our mindset using the principles of brain plasticity to mitigate stress without reaching for alcohol. Have you ever wondered why you handle stress differently to others? Or why you immediately reach for alcohol when you walk in the door after a stressful day? Did you know your childhood experience is highly relevant to your stress response as an adult and the likelihood you will reach for alcohol to cope? Professor Bartlett answers these questions plus provides us with practical tips on how to create new healthier neural pathways or “pave a yellow brick road” that will impact future generations for the better. Guess what?! Listening to this podcast and learning the science behind your stress response and brain health equals one new paver down on your new amazing  yellow brick road.

Why Moderating is So Incredibly Hard to Achieve

In this episode, Meg & Bella address the pros and pitfalls of moderating alcohol. Everybody who drinks or has drunk has practiced it but not many succeed at it! We talk about alcohol moderation in the context of Dry July, this being the second day of it, when thousands of Australians dip their toe into the alcohol-free water and try their hand at giving up the booze for a full 31 days. Why this topic? Well, firstly, because most people who sign up for Dry July are having trouble moderating and curious about taking a break. Secondly, most who do Dry July plan to return to the booze but with great intentions to tighten up their moderation rules – at least at the start anyway! So why not use this month off alcohol to learn about your relationship with alcohol and make some changes that stick long term.  **IMPORTANT NOTE:  Dry July is a fundraising campaign, raising funds for people affected by cancer. To signup and donate, visit**

Bella’s Story

In this episode, Bella shares her personal story which lead to her becoming an alcohol free woman and a This Naked Mind Certified Coach.    Bella’s story addresses her experiences with alcohol in her legal career, in becoming a mum and step-mum and how she leapt into mummy wine culture with wild abandonment only to hit rock bottom and end up with a wake-up call in rehab.  Bella opens up about the 4 themes that have been ever present in her life involving confidence, finding her tribe, her voice and anxiety which she believes she drank alcohol to overcome but which she then had to deal with head-on in order to successfully become alcohol free.  Bella is the founder and counsellor and coach of Isabella Ferguson Counselling & Coaching.  She supports women in mid-life and parents and teenagers in relation to issues involving alcohol, life balance and diet culture.