Inspirational Woman: Michaela Weaver | The Alcohol Coach

Michelle WeaverMichaela Weaver is the world’s leading authority for enabling highly successful women to embrace life without alcohol.

Based in the UK,  she has worked with countless high achieving women globally including corporate board members, company directors, industry leaders, senior lawyers, medics, entrepreneurs and other career professionals. The commonality is that each of Michaela’s clients aspire and inspire, build authenticity, personal growth and fulfilment without alcohol.

Michaela, a scientist, Master NLP coach and practitioner, Executive Coach, Life and Wellbeing Coach, has also trained in addiction therapy, guided imagery, how to manage chronic anxiety, motivational interviewing and hypnotherapy.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I spent my early years in London and when my parents moved out to the country, I knew that I’d be back. I went to UCL to study biochemical science, and then worked in the city.

Most of my career has been spent in the corporate world as a management consultant, and as an executive coach.

What nobody realised was that often at 9am in the boardroom when I stood to make a presentation I not only nursed a strong cup of coffee, but also a hangover from the wine that I thought had relaxed me the night before.

It was the hangover, the drink cycle, and stopping drinking through the sheer exhaustion of it, that brought me to my current role.

My science, coaching and new learning in addiction therapy led me to start The Alcohol Coach Ltd in 2019.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

I would like to say, ‘yes’, I did, but ‘no’, I really didn’t. Things just came to me. I ran a management consultancy for almost 20 years, and I did plan the business – you have to in order to prosper. But the career change in starting my current coaching business wouldn’t have come about if I hadn’t first transformed my own life.

If you had told me when I was 35 that I would be a leader in helping women to change their relationships with alcohol, and break up with alcohol, I would never have believed it! What drinker ever would!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I think that life presents many challenges along its winding road, and each brings an opportunity for new growth. Certainly, being honest and brave enough to face the reality that I had a drink problem was challenging in terms of being vulnerable and authentic about the problem. My life turned through 180 degrees once I had done that.

My first husband walked out on me when my son was 11 months old. That was one of the hardest periods of my life to navigate, but I picked us both up, dusted us down, and we moved on with our heads held high. We never saw him again.

As a woman raising children alone, I wore many different hats, and juggled even more. I was always passionate about being able to get that balance of work and life, and working from home interspersed with travelling to clients enabled me to get that balance – most of the time.

Michelle Weaver

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Wow! That’s a tough question. There are different dimensions to my life, and different achievements have different impacts.

I am really proud of the fact that I am an advanced motorcycle rider because I was terrified when I had my first lesson! I now ride a 1000cc motorbike and have travelled all over Europe.

I am very proud of my achievements with The Alcohol Coach and the impact that I am making. It is a wonderful gift to share the insight into the illusions of alcohol and to watch my client’s faces light up when they figure it out, and they break free.

My biggest achievement has been the change around my relationship with alcohol, and even writing that seems like a strange choice to make. I chose that over thirty plus certificates on my wall, and three published books.

Changing my relationship with alcohol has had a wider impact on my life than I ever could have imagined.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Without a doubt it is mindset. Mindset has been fundamental for me in life, and in work. It led me to pick myself up when I stumbled, to ask the questions no one will, and to keep moving forward.

My father always said, “it’s not the answer that is important, it is asking the right question.” I learned that from him.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I mentor my clients now. The role of coach, therapist and mentor blur in my role when I use my own journey travelled to help a client through a difficult patch. I was there and I know the pitfalls, challenges and the lure of the sunshine and blue sky on the other side.

A great mentor is a wonderful asset in life!

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If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I would change the conversation in homes, so that parents don’t pass their own experience and judgement to their children.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Alcohol is a con, don’t be fooled!

I would sit myself down and calmly explain that alcohol doesn’t help us deal with emotions, it just makes them harder to manage.

I would tell myself to feel everything that life brings your way. It is human to feel, so accept the feelings while they are there, and ignore the unwelcome ones like you would an ignored bottle of ketchup hiding at the back of the cupboard!

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future? 

On a personal level, I am planning to take a motorbike trip this year to Portugal with a friend, and then to travel back on my own. Having been a mum to three children for 25 years I haven’t had the opportunity to travel alone, and certainly not overland on a motorbike!

Professionally, I want to spread inspiration and learning amongst strong and capable women that they are not flawed if alcohol causes them problems that they can’t figure out. I want to have influenced many hundreds of thousands of minds for change.

How can we change the negative connotations/perceived stereotypes that come with not drinking?

Alcohol is a highly addictive psychoactive drug that is completely misunderstood in our macho drinking society. Smoking used to be the same many years ago, but society has woken up to it, and societal norms have changed.

Alcohol will go the same way as more of the beliefs about it fall away. Currently, it is the only drug on the planet that we have to justify not taking. That alone shows that we have a good way to

How can we recognise when alcohol is causing problems in both our personal and professional lives?

Alcohol problems always manifest first in our personal lives, and there may be no direct manifestation professionally as women function well for many years and mask any problem.

The first important realisation is that alcohol is the second most addictive drug on the planet after heroin and any drug taken often enough or in enough quantity is likely to cause addiction – it’s just common sense.

Here are some questions to consider…

Do you drink regularly when you feel stressed, happy, sad, lonely or any other emotion? Do you promise yourself that you won’t drink, but find resolve disappears? Does alcohol leave you feeling anxious, unsettled, or miserable? Does drinking affect your behaviour around loved ones? Any of these questions would indicate a problem.

Ask yourself this… if I had the same relationship with bananas as I have with alcohol, would I conclude that I have a banana problem?

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