New Sober Yoga Girl podcast episode just dropped with @jasminetaylormusic ! Jasmine Taylor is a singer, radio host and entrepreneur originally from the UK, now based in Abu Dhabi. She gave up drinking during the COVID pandemic and says it was the best decision of her life. In this episode she takes us through the dark places she went to while consuming alcohol and agares her joyful & fufilling life now that she is alcohol free.
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Intro: Welcome to the “Sober Yoga Girl Podcast” with Alex McRobs, international yoga teacher and sober coach. I broke up with booze for good in 2019 and now I'm here to help others do the same. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.
Alex: All right. So, hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl. I am super excited to have on today's show, one of my friends here in Abu Dhabi, her name is Jasmine Taylor, and she is a singer, a radio host, and an entrepreneur.
Jasmine: Hello. Thanks for having me.
Alex: Thanks for coming on. I'm so happy to have you.
Jasmine: This is great. What you're doing as well, I love it.
Alex: It's so awesome to have a friend and I'm excited to chat more about your alcohol-free journey.
Jasmine: Yeah, let's get to it. Let's get to the nitty-gritty.
Alex: So, let's start off. Can you tell me a bit about yourself and kind of give me some background onto who you are, how you end up in Abu Dhabi?
Jasmine: Yeah. So, I have been a professional singer for 14 years and my dad was actually a pilot. He was captain for Etihad, and lived in Abu Dhabi. And so, I was always back and forth, back and forth, and I got to a point where I started to make quite a lot of friends here and I was starting to spend more time here than I was in the UK. And then, I just finally made the move. And I've been here, I think I'm in my seventh year now, here. And it's been a journey, it's been a roller coaster for sure, like, when I first moved here, I was very, very much in that kind of party lifestyle and I think it's a very, I think it was actually what attracted me so much to here was the fact that I had the ability to go out and get wasted every day if I wanted to, you know? Like, compared to the UK where nobody really does anything in the weekdays, it's all just like, weekend based and the pubs in the weekdays, they shut at like, 10 pm and I lived a lifestyle as a musician where I wasn't really working during the week and during the day, so I didn't have the same schedule as my friends. So, my friends obviously have to get up for work in the morning and then I would just be like, bored all the time and then come in here I'm like, Oh my god, people party every day here like, This is this is perfect for me. So, I quite quickly got sucked into the ability to feed my demons on a daily basis which became quite dark, I guess.
Alex: Yeah. No, I can completely, I think we had a very similar journey in that regard.
Alex: I definitely, I wasn't aware of like, the normalization of drinking on weeknights until I actually moved here. But I do remember being like, living in Kuwait and traveling over to Dubai, and seeing the brunches and just thinking like, this seemed like a really fun place to live. And you're right in that it sucks you in, you know?
Alex: And you can get deeper and deeper into this normalization of like, you know, being drunk at noon or, you know, at seven on a Tuesday which is just not normal where I'm from either.
Jasmine: Yeah. And I think it's, if you're someone that has these like, addictive tendencies almost, it can be quite a dangerous place for you to be because it's almost excused here. It's like, the norm. It's the, you know, it's the done thing to go out. And don't get me wrong like, no judgement, some people can go out and I'm all about like, the work-play lifestyle. If you can manage that, if you have the capability to to live that life with no regrets, then fine. But for other people, it's a different story. It's not as fun for some people. And I guess I became people.
Alex: So, why don't we back up, and you tell me a bit more about kind of your drinking journey in general. So, when did you start drinking? At what age and what aspects of the UK culture kind of started out with that?
Jasmine: Like, quite a traumatic childhood. And I think I started to look for things at quite a young age to, I guess looking back now, I was trying to numb something, but started drinking socially with friends and stuff at school when I was like, around 15. But I was actually introduced to my first alcoholic beverage when I was eight years old.
Jasmine: Yeah. And I think when I was 17, that is when it very quickly became an issue. Like, I went through my first kind of severe heartbreak and I dropped out of college. I moved to Spain, to Magaluf, which is party central of Spain. And I was the youngest person living and working in Spain, I was 17 years old, I wasn't even old enough to be working there. But I managed to sustain myself and I think from being there, it very quickly spiraled into more than just drinking and stuff, and I think it was there that my habits grew into something that was more than just like, socially drinking. It became more of like, the binge or, you know, and I think it was because I was around these older people that were probably, everyone was escaping from something. And yeah, that's probably when I was 17 that's when it took a turn. Yeah.
Alex: And then, how did it escalate over time?
Jasmine: After I left Spain, I came back to the UK when I was 18. And because I've had a taste of that life and that, you know, partying every day and stuff like that, I realized that I've felt like, something was missing then in the UK and I was constantly searching for that buzz, for that fulfillment, for that numbing, and it took me to some really dark places like, not just with, you know, I started doing other things, and I don't know how much I can talk about that on a UAE. But you get what I'm saying, anyway. And it got to a point when, even when I was in the UK, that when the phone, when my mom said that, you know, when the phone was ringing, she didn't know if it was going to be like, Oh, Jasmine's dead or whatever.
Jasmine: Yeah. And my friends were like, it got to a point where my friends were wanting to put me into a rehab and it took me to some dark places. But then, when I moved over to the UAE, I kind of, what I didn't realize at the time was I thought at that time that I was getting away from something. And even though it was the best decision that I ever made, it still was just not really getting away from something it was replacing with something else. And that is when, because before in the UK, it was more substance to do abuse than alcohol. That was, I mean, I know they're two of the same things. But when I moved over here, then I was just drinking even more to replace my habits from the UK. Because alcohol takes you to a place, doesn't it? Where it's just completely out of body, it's like somebody else. It's just you're letting somebody else drive your car, you know, like, bad nights out, I was having or the more drunk that I started to become, the more I started to feel this conflict with myself of this isn't who you are. Like, when you're letting something else inhabitate your body so much for so long, it's gonna cause this conflict with yourself. And the pain from that conflict almost makes you beat up on yourself harder, and then makes you do it even more, like, it's this horrible cycle that you just get stuck into, for me, personally, anyway. That's what happened.
Alex: Yeah. And so, that kind of leads me into the next question which was what was it that made you wanna quit?
Jasmine: Well, yeah. It was exactly that feeling like, just always I feel very blessed in the sense that I always had this thing in the back of my head that was just like, this isn't you. This is not you. It's not who you are. This isn't like, I had this overwhelming sensation of like, that I was suppressing who I really was. And it was almost like, little me inside, kept trying to like, come up and gasp for air and be like, Let me out. And you're just like, No. Get back down with a ball of vodka. You know? And it got to a point where I just was feeling so down like, all the time. I mean, before I quit drinking. So, don't get me wrong. All these stories that I'm telling, I was never really an everyday drinker, you know, I wasn't somebody that woke up in the morning and thought, Oh my god, I need to drink. Like, it wasn't, you know, I didn't have an issue with it in the sense that I needed it, but I definitely abused it and before lockdown, I think for that year before lockdown, I'd cut down a lot, you know, I reduced my partying from like, three days a week to one, I guess. And even still, just from one day drinking a week I would feel like, crap for the whole week. Just mentally, like my anxiety was constantly through the roof. My mood, like I was really grumpy, really moody. And just no motivation for anything at all, like I just didn't have any get up and go. I didn't have any, I just got depressed. I just felt really, really depressed all the time. And then, it would get to near the weekend and I'd start to feel okay again, and then I'd be like, Oh, okay. I'm gonna go do it again. I feel fine now, you know? Like, it seemed like a good idea again. And I just hated being in this constant cycle and I was like, I don't want to live like this anymore. I am miserable. I am absolutely miserable. And I knew what was causing it. And what originally started off, I was just I thought I'm just going to take a month off, is now eight months.
Jasmine: Thank you.
Alex: That's huge. I think you and I, as I'm listening to your story, I just feel like, there's so many parallels in it. And that I also really kind of hit this wall with my mental health where exactly I was like, I'm so unhappy and I know why I'm unhappy. And I had worked on every other area of my life, you know, yoga, fitness, eating healthy, sleeping, wonderful job, wonderful city to live in, and it was like, it must be the alcohol. That's the only thing left, really.
Jasmine: Yeah. I went to some really dark places like, two three years ago to the point where, you know, sometimes I just thought like, I just don't even want to be here anymore like, it was just so dark, and suffocating, and intoxicating, and when you're in, you know, when you're in that circle, you obviously have friends around you that are doing the same thing as you are, so you feel that like, that is your world. So, it just felt like, I just remember that feeling of like, feeling like I was suffocating with the cycle that I was in and the habits, and I knew that I was being an [ __ ]. I was hurting people and I was just always acting so out of character, and it was causing me so much grief and so much pain, because it's so hard to have to justify or have to answer for things that you know, aren't you. But how do you say that to somebody? How do you say like, Okay. I know I did those things, but it wasn't me. Like, I was talking to a friend the other day and he put it in a really, he's really good friend of mine, and he's been such an amazing teacher for me for like, these last few years and we were, he was in my band with me, his name's Adam, and he gave me a beautiful analogy the other day where he said, it's almost like, car insurance. Right? He said, You're, somebody borrows your car and they smash it up, and the insurance company is saying, Well, you have to pay for this. But then you say, but it wasn't me driving the car. And they say, Well, it doesn't matter. It's your car. And that's like, your body is the car and somebody else is driving the car for that time, but it wasn't you. It's still your car, so you still gotta pay the price for it, you know?
Alex: Yeah. I read a really interesting fact recently in a sober book I read. Did you know that when you're drinking, the human brain doesn't even create memories. Like, it's not that you're forgetting them.
Jasmine: I read that, yeah.
Alex: It's literally just not even creating them, which is just mind blowing.
Jasmine: That was, for me, one of the biggest things as well was because I just didn't, I wouldn't even, it got to a point where I wouldn't even need to be that drunk or even to have drunk that much to still not remember the next day.
Jasmine: You know? And there's so many people who say to me, What? You don't remember that conversation? You didn't even seem drunk. But it just started to the binge drinking and the abuse of how I drank had just started to, the bad effects of it would start to kick in a lot. A lot quicker, you know? Like, so my whole night would just be completely blank, even the points where I wasn't even that drunk, I still wouldn't remember it the next day. And that creates the the worst anxiety of not even remembering the whole night, not remembering where you went, what you said, who you were with. It creates this real darkness within you. And what I find so crazy, and what terrifies me, is the fact that these days, it's become the normal thing to do.
Jasmine: It's become so normal for people to just not go out and have a couple of drinks and have a good time. It's become normal to go out and the main aim of going out is to get absolutely wasted like, that's people's like, end goal when they go out these days. It's like, let's go out and get wasted. Let's get [ __ ] up, you know, like, and that has become so normal and I think it's really sad and really scary that there's probably so many people out there, probably really do have a problem, because problems come in so many different shapes and sizes like I said, I wasn't addicted to alcohol but it was definitely a clutch for me and it's something that I abused. And there's so many people out there that probably, you know, should quit or don't even realize how dark the path or the journey that they're on because it's just become such a normalized thing. But when you take yourself out of it and you're looking from the outside in now, you're just like, Whoa.
Alex: Absolutely. And I find it so interesting that, often, the people who quit are pegged as having a problem and, you know, I was sitting at a brunch the other day. I don't go out to brunch very much anymore, but I remember looking at these people doing flip cup at one in the afternoon on a Friday and I was like, How did it become that I'm the one who's the problem? You know, like, I don't get that. And because I'm the one that's choosing to opt out of this, and I have chosen to opt out of this for almost two years and yet it's like, Oh. She had a drinking problem and that's why she's not doing this, you know?
Alex: So strange.
Jasmine: Yeah. It's only when you take yourself out of it and you start to talk about all of the stuff that you did and the way that you were, and when you relay it to somebody in the way that we now feel about it, from the outside looking in, it does sound bad. Like, it does sound, to somebody else they're like, Oh, wow. Yeah, you really did have a problem. But what they're not realizing is that they're probably doing those things as well, but they're just not seeing it in that same way right now because they're still in it.
Alex: Yeah, it's so interesting.
Alex: All right. So, tell me about the process of quitting. What was that like?
Jasmine: I remember the night before I was gonna do my month off and I was in this bar, it was my friend's birthday, and we went for her brunch. And I knew that it was gonna be my last day drinking for like, a month. And bearing in mind as well like, I was only drinking once a week prior to this, but I remember just, I think they kicked me out of the bar at the end of the night because I was too drunk, but because they were closing, and they were like, it's time to leave and I remember like, all of my friends had left by this point like, everyone had gone home. We brunched all day and I was just like, sitting in the corner of this farm and like, This is gonna be my last drink for a month, I'm not leaving. And yeah, I longed that night out for as long as I possibly could. And, yeah. And the first couple of weeks were pretty hard because, obviously, in my job as a singer, I'm still having to go into these venues but luckily at the time, it was lockdown, so I didn't have to be faced with it the way that I normally would have when I've said that I'm gonna do a month off before. So, for me it was quite lucky that I was in lockdown, so I could just keep myself out of it for that period of time. But when it got towards the end of the month, even though a couple of weeks I was like, You know, I feel amazing. I feel so good. And I remember my mom saying to me once, like a couple of years ago, she said, Jasmine you never wake up like, feeling good, like I always used to wake up and I'd have like, a stuffy nose and a bad throat and a headache. Like, I would just never jump out of bed and be good to go. Like, I always had this groggy hour when I woke up of just feeling like crap. Not even on a hangover, just on a normal day. And, definitely, actually, something that's quite funny, for the first couple of weeks, it took some time for my, that part of my brain, to catch up with the fact that I wasn't gonna be hungover. I found myself waking up in the morning and bracing myself for my hangover. Like, you know, you open your eyes and you're like, Oh my goodness. Oh, okay. I'm ready for it. And then being like, Oh [ __ ]. I'm not gonna get one. This is great. This is so good. It was so weird. And I actually had a nightmare like, I've had some some things from my past kind of creep up the last like, recently, that I've kind of had to to process and deal with, and it took me back to that place. To that dark place, that feeling of suffocation and everything, and I actually had a nightmare the other night, and I think it was because I was like, reliving these things. But within this, I call it a nightmare as a dream, but it felt like a nightmare because within the dream, I woke up with a hangover the next day. Like, within the dream. And that feeling of dread, and anxiety, and everything, I felt it within my dream. And it was just such a great reminder of what it used to feel like, you know? Because when it's in a dream, you do really feel it even though it is a dream, you feel every inch of what's going on. And it was such a great reminder to be like, This is why I'm not doing it anymore.
Alex: Yeah. Oh my god. I don't know if I've had a drunk dream but I've heard of people talking about them like, in different groups I'm in, Facebook groups, in Sober Girls Yoga, I think someone was talking about it recently actually. That would be like, a nightmare.
Jasmine: Yeah, it did feel like a nightmare. Yeah. But since quitting, I just have so much more energy, so much more clarity, so much more motivation. As I said, I wake up in the morning now and I don't have that whole, you know, even on non-hangover days, I don't have that groggy hour where I'm feeling like crap, and it's just been such an amazing thing and the things that I've done with my life since I've quit like, it's almost like I'm trying to make up in this last eight months. I've been trying to make up for all of that time lost and wasted from before.
Alex: 100%. So, that kind of leads me to the next question. Tell me about how your life has improved since you quit. The biggest thing I noticed was the motivation. There's no, the anxiety, because your anxiety levels are reduced massively, this fear that we all have naturally within us that we create ourselves is reduced massively in the sense that something that I would have been too scared to do before like, even ask somebody a simple question for something that I want, you know, in terms of like, business or whatever. Those questions that I didn't ask before or the help that I didn't, I don't know what the best way of putting it is. Basically, the fear of doing things is minimalized massively because your anxiety is reduced massively. So, your feeling of self-worth goes up like, is increased so much and the motivation to do more is increased as well, because your energy levels are so much better. So you just, for me, personally, I've just been all around like, my motivation is on point, my go-getter attitude, my fear is reduced, my anxiety is reduced, my decision-making is definitely improved but that's something that I've always struggled with anyway, I'm very very indecisive person but that's definitely improved as well. But in a sense as well that you challenge yourself more to just be like, Okay. Make a decision. Like, your thinking is so much clearer like that brain fog is just gone and you don't realize. You know, when you think about quitting, you're just thinking about the kind of superficial things at first and when you actually do it, you just have no idea of how much else that you hadn't thought about that it was affecting your life, and how much that you started to gain that you didn't even realize that you were gonna gain.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely.
Alex: It's amazing. It just seems like it's been like, a complete life changer for you.
Jasmine: It has. Like, I was talking to my friend yesterday and when I talked about something from the past, because I was talking to him about, you know, this stuff, I've had to kind of deal with it. It's come back to light, recently. And he said to me, he said it's so crazy like, talking about that version of you because it feels like, just such a lifetime ago now like, that person just like, Who was that? What, that person existed? I don't even remember that person, you know, like, it's been such a, it's the best thing I've ever done with my life. It's been such a transformational experience and I finally feel like I'm embodying who I really am and, you know, that those demons aren't coming in to take over anymore, and it's just been the most rewarding experience. And there's been times, don't get me wrong, it's hard like, when your friends are going out and doing stuff, there is that little part of you that thinks, Oh, you know, like, I just want to go and let my hair down and blow off some steam and stuff, but then you're just like, But for what? Like, you know, when you do go to these things, and you were not drinking, you very quickly realize that you're not actually missing out on anything.
Jasmine: And really how much that you are actually gaining from not doing it like, the pros outweigh the cons in such a huge scale that it becomes something that you don't feel like you're missing out on at all.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree with that.
Alex: So, what are your new projects now? Like you said that you've gotten so much motivation and you're just kind of like, you know, a go-getter with all these different things. So, tell me about kind of what the new projects are in your life?
Jasmine: So, I I've been teaching a lot of private vocal lessons at the moment and I'm taking that to like, another level where I am holding workshops for adults and for kids. I'm doing like, some musical theater courses for kids, and then I'm doing some like, healing-singing workshops as well for adults. And also, just started a new dream job as well as a radio presenter as well, so I started that a couple of weeks ago for capital radio UAE. And that's just been amazing because I had that wrote on my vision board a year ago, and all these little things that have been wrote on my vision board since I've quit drinking, they're all starting to come to life which is just amazing. So, it's like, taking things off. So, yeah. So, starting the company, I'm actually, I've got a product in, like a beauty product as well, that I've got in the process of like, design stages as well. So, a lot's going on.
Alex: It's amazing. And we have our brunch coming up which is right--
Jasmine: I'm just gonna say that. Yeah.
Alex: So, if anyone's listening to this who is in Abu Dhabi, hopefully this episode comes out before I think it will. We're doing a sober girls brunch on April 2nd which we're super excited for. The first, I think probably the first one in Abu Dhabi.
Jasmine: Yeah, probably.
Alex: Yeah, that would be awesome.
Jasmine: Alcohol-free mocktails and a nice vegan three-course meal. Some singing, some painting, yoga, it's gonna be, I'm really excited about it, it's gonna be beautiful.
Alex: Yeah. So, if my listeners are interested in connecting with you, where can they find you?
Jasmine: They can find me on Instagram at jasminetaylormusic, Jasmine with an "e", just for all you people that like to drop off the "e" off of Jasmine.
Alex: Like Anne with an "e". Do you know that Anne with an "e" ...? Or is that too Canadian?
Jasmine: That's pretty much standard in the UK, I think I would agree.
Alex: Because she had a big thing about the "e" in her name. Okay. Can you do something fun?
Alex: Okay. I have some either or questions for you, all right? Kind of a lightning round. Okay. Coffee or Tea?
Alex: Coffee? TV or Book?
Alex: Beach or Mountain?
Jasmine: Mountain? No, beach.
Alex: Scary movie or Funny movie?
Alex: Okay. Mac or PC?
Alex: Mac. Oh, yeah. Me too. City or Country?
Jasmine: Say that again?
Alex: City or Country?
Alex: Iced coffee or Hot coffee?
Jasmine: Hot coffee.
Alex: Coffee cup or Thermos?
Jasmine: Oh. Coffee cup.
Alex: Okay. Last one. Coke or Pepsi?