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Manifest your Sobriety with Anneka Reece


Meet Anneka Reece! Anneka, like me, is a former UAE teacher now turned coach. Anneka is a Health and Mindset Coach who specialises in alcohol free living and manifestation. Anneka works with clients to support them with releasing alcohol and raising their vibrations back up to the level of their highest self so that they can step into their true manifesting power once more.



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You can learn more about Anneka's coaching programs here: https://www.coachingbyanneka.co.uk and follow her on Instagram: @coachingbyanneka. Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at http://themindfullifepractice.com/.


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Transcripts


Intro

Hi friend, this is Alex McRobs, founder of "The Mindful Life Practice" and you're listening to the "Sober Yoga Girl" podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world at age 23 and I never went back. I got sober in 2019 and I realized that there was no one talking about sobriety in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, so I started doing it. I now live in Bali, Indonesia, and full-time run my community, "The Mindful Life Practice". I host online sober yoga challenges, yoga teacher trainings, and I work one on one with others, helping them break up with booze for good. In this podcast, I sit down with others in the sobriety and mental health space from all walks of life and hear their stories so that I can help you on your journey. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.


Alex

Alright. Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of "Sober Yoga Girl". I am delighted to have Anneka sitting with me here today. And Anneka and I met actually about six months ago, I think in the UAE. So she was also a teacher based in the UAE and I'm sure she'll talk more about that. And so we share that in common. And she is also a sober coach and I am really happy to have you here and hear your story. So welcome, Anneka. How are you?


Anneka

Thanks so much. Yeah, I'm great. It's really good to be here. A little bit cold, sat in my room in the UK, but I'm all good.


Alex

I know. Such a change from the UAE, I'm sure. I don't know how people do it, like after they go back from living in a hot climate to being back in a chillier climate like I am for sure a hot climate girl.


Anneka

Yeah, I think I am too, really. At the moment I'm just embracing the cold. Yeah.


Alex

So tell me a bit about yourself, tell me about where you're from and sort of your story.


Anneka

So I'm from the UK and I was actually--well, my dad was in the army. So when I was younger we moved around quite a lot. So I would say I'm not really, I'm not used to standing still. I've lived in Germany, in Gibraltar, and in different parts of the UK as a child. And when I went to University, I went to University in a place called Liverpool in the UK. And I'd gone from not actually drinking that much really compared to some people in 6th form, to suddenly being a part of this University culture of big drinkers. And I'm very much somebody that jumps into things with both feet and I just went for it. I was out every night. I kind of identified myself as being one of the boys. I was very much in 90s ladette and I used to pride myself on being able to keep up with the lads, and drinking a pint of beer whenever they had a pint of beer. And I used to use words like hardcore to describe you know, how I could take my drink. And yeah, I really got stuck in, and obviously, over time, it made me feel a bit rubbish. And after I finished University, I kind of carried on partying at the weekend, having wine after work in the evening because I thought it was a terribly grown-up thing to do and what everyone does when they get home from work. And eventually at the age of 26, actually, sorry, it was 25. I remember waking up at 3:00 in the morning on Tuesday and I woke up with a star and it was like the universe had slapped me across the face. And I remember waking up and looking at the ceiling and something in me just said, you've got to get out of this situation. You've got to get out of this flat. You've got to get out of London. And you're trapped. You need to do something really, really big. And I remember feeling so stunned by this realization that I had to promise to myself, I promise you that's it. Tomorrow, things are going to change. Things are going to be different. And I kind of realized at that moment I'm really depressed, I'm really, really unhappy, and I've got to do something about it. I cannot go on like this. And it took me the next week to kind of, like, pull the answers in. One of them was stopped drinking, and another one of them was, you need to get out of this job. You need-- eventually, I realized I was going to apply for a job in Dubai. And the more I kind of, like, look for answers, I felt like I was pulling them in on the right because they were there and I just needed to find them. And as I found the answers, I just knew in my gut what was the right thing to do. And I remember stopping drinking the first time when I was 25. And I went to something called the Allen Carr Clinic, where you just go for a day and they reframe how you see alcohol and help you to see it differently so you can stop drinking. And it was really successful. And I just remember what unfolded after that time was really magical. I had the best couple of years of my life. I manifested so many amazing things that I never thought possible, and it was just such an incredible experience. And then, yeah, after that, things didn't all go to plan after that. Life is complicated, and it has its twists and turns. And I did eventually go back to drinking a couple of times and stopped drinking again and really learn that there are so many different ways of giving up drinking. There's the amazing high vibe. I've made the most magical life version. And then there are the other ways where it's really not quite so fun. So I feel like I've spent the last ten years of my life researching the different ways and learning so, so, so much. And now I finally you know, don't drink, back to my lovely not drinking again. And all of this knowledge and experience is just so helpful in terms of how I--I now support other people through my coaching with not drinking. Yeah, sorry. That was a very long-winded answer.


Alex

I love it, though. Tell me about-- I've never heard of the Allen Carr Clinic. Tell me about that. What was that like?


Anneka

Okay, so Allen Carr has written a book. Well, he's dead now, but he wrote a book called "Easy Way to Control Alcohol". He also wrote a smoking one. And I read the book when I was 25, and he talks about the alcohol trap. He explains how it works. He makes you see alcohol in a very different way. And I've read the book and I totally got what he was saying but I just couldn't quite get myself to just draw a line in the sand. And I knew that was it like £300, which is like 1500 Dirhams for a day's course. And it claimed you just go, you just sit in the chair and listen to them for the day and by the time you leave, you will be free of alcohol. I did it and it worked, I think partly because when you hand over 1500 Dirhams and a day of your time, you are energetically drawing a line in the sand and saying right now this is the day that I've given energy to this. And that in itself was really, really helpful. But yeah, they just explain how it's false, it's a false reality that alcohol is giving you any kind of relief or any kind of happiness and explained how it creates the anxiety and the depression and the relief that you feel that you get from alcohol is just a fallacy. So I remember sitting there in a very comfortable chair for like six hours and just listening to this guy speak and it was like as he was talking, you could feel the cloud lifting from everybody in the room and by the end of it, it was amazing how we all just felt so differently.


Alex

Wow.


Anneka

Yeah.


Alex

Wow. And that was in the UK?


Anneka

That was in the UK, that was in London. And since I did the smoking one as well, which was just as helpful. So now no longer smoke either. Yeah, I found them really helpful.


Alex

That's incredible. And so then you said that you had a good few years, that you were then alcohol-free and manifested a lot. And then what happened after that?


Anneka

So I didn't drink for-- it was a year and a half was the first phase. I didn't drink and at that time I'd moved to Dubai. I created what at the time for me was like my dream life. I felt amazing, I looked amazing. I fell in love, I got engaged, I met my best friend. He's still my best friend, but I got what I would call re-brainwashed in that. And that's one of the things Alan Carr talked about is he de-brainwashes you and says that you know, alcohol is the fact that you think you're enjoying alcohol is just brainwashing. And I feel like I got re-brainwashed in Dubai. Alcohol is very glamorized in Dubai and ironically for Islamic culture, it's something that happened. A lot of drinking goes on in Dubai and it's a big part of the ex-pat social life. And I think because I'd met my now ex-husband, he was drinking and I just felt like I wanted to join in with him and so I started drinking again with him and that was fine. I would just drink it on the weekends with him and go to brunch. It was when our relationship started to go wrong, of course, that we both started drinking more. And obviously, after we'd broken up, again, I carried on drinking for a while. And of course, I was masking a lot of heartaches and not dealing with things.


Alex

Yeah.


Anneka

I was developing an anxiety disorder, which it was making, a lot worse. Now, eventually, I got to the point where I remembered how much happier I was when I didn't drink. And I was like, oh, I know what I need to do. I'm going to stop drinking. And I will be like waving a magic wand and I'll feel amazing and everything will be wonderful again. So I stopped drinking again for ten months and felt utterly disappointed. I was like, why isn't it work? I feel awful. And I was basically heartbroken, going through the process of grieving my relationship. And I didn't realize at the time that I had developed an anxiety disorder. So I was dealing with extreme anxiety every day and eventually got prescribed Beta-blockers because my blood pressure was so high from my anxiety. And of course, you have enough of your friends saying to you, just stop being so hard on yourself. You're going through a really hard time, like have a drink, relax, come to brunch. Why are you isolating yourself? And eventually, I just thought, you know what? Yeah, okay, fine. I'm just going to start drinking again. And it took me a long time to kind of work through the fact that I had an anxiety disorder and to start to deal with that and to properly file away all the things that happened with my relationship and what have you. And it took me a couple more goes and not drinking for a few things to start to click into place and to start to make those connections with what had happened the first time and what was different in the subsequent times. And it was those reflections that really started to give me huge insights into how I can really help people with my sober coaching thing.


Anneka

Wow. And, you know, I can so relate to what you talk about around life in the UAE. It's so interesting because places can really impact you. And I'm really noticing it as-- I mean, I've only been back in Dubai for like 24 hours, but I already feel like this is not as much about the alcohol. But when I was in Bali, I basically lived in you know, yoga pants and like one pair of Birkenstocks. And already being here, I'm like, this is the one outfit I have because all my stuff is in storage. And I already feel different than I did in Bali. In Bali, I didn't really feel self-conscious about what I was wearing or like you know, my makeup or my hair. And I already feel here different. And it's just really interesting the way different cities or different places can make you feel different things. Right. And so I can totally get how a place like this would re-brainwash you. Absolutely.


Anneka

Yeah. It's like the energy of the place, isn't it? The vibrations of a place really affect you. And it was stupid because I felt so incredible for not drinking and my new life in Dubai. But eventually it just all of the culture around you just becomes a part of what you want and what you want to do. And I got slightly sucked back into the glamour of going to brunch and the glamour of going on yacht parties and drinking champagne.


Alex

Yeah. I totally get that.


Anneka

But the upshot of it was the lifestyle that was kind of dangled to me as a carrot. Ultimately made me really anxious.


Alex

Right.


Anneka

Really anxious all the time. So it was like a false friend if you like.


Alex

Yeah, I totally get that. And so you are now-- how long have you been alcohol-free now?


Anneka

So is it nearly a year and one month?


Alex

Okay. Amazing. And so now you've since left Dubai and left teaching and you've gone back to the UK, and now you're doing coaching. So tell me about that.


Anneka

So, yeah, I've started my coaching business, Coaching by Anneka, and my coaching is completely centered around my truth, which is that alcohol is a manifestation block. So I love all things manifestation, all things spirituality. I've been obsessed with it for a long time and read so many books and then so many courses on it. And so many people in the spirituality field do you allude to the effect that alcohol has on your vibrations. And loads of spiritual people don't drink for that reason. But nobody overtly talks about the fact that alcohol is a manifestation block because number one, it lowers your vibrations, but number two, it allows you to numb and ignore triggers. And triggers are actually there to help you heal. Triggers are your-- in a guidance system telling you something's wrong here? We need to look at this, either it's like a faulty program in your brain that's holding you back, or it's something your gut feeling telling you don't do this or you need to do something differently. And society trained us when we feel these uncomfortable feelings, to numb them and ignore them, which is keeping you small, it's keeping us from manifesting what we want. And I know that from all of the learning I've done in spirituality and manifesting, that no one in this field would disagree with what I'm saying. It's just that nobody specifically and explicitly talks about it. And that's what made me start Coaching by Anneka because I wanted to provide a space for people who know that alcohol is not giving them what they need, but who want to focus on creating more of what they want in their lives. For me, giving up alcohol is not giving up anything. It's about letting go of what's keeping you small. And it's about creating more of what you want. And yeah, that's really what my space is about.


Alex

Wow. And I love that. And it's so true because I feel like once people give up alcohol, I mean, I experienced it. It's like, once I quit drinking, I just manifested the life of my dreams. Right. And so tell me more about alcohol being a manifestation block.


Anneka

I mean, anyone who's had a hangover knows firsthand just how it affects your vibrations, so it affects your vibrations. And we know that you can only attract things that are a vibrational match to you. So when we drink regularly because of the effect that alcohol has on the neurotransmitters in our brains, we are vibrating at a low frequency. We get into what's, like an anxiety trap. Our brain overcompensates with the endorphins and the dopamine that gets stimulated by the alcohol. And we have a lot of Dynorphin, which is a depressant flying around our system that our brain releases to kind of counteract the extra stimulation of dopamine and endorphins. And we have a lot more adrenaline and cortisol. So alcohol actually makes us feel more stressed and more depressed and more anxious, even though society teaches us that it does the opposite.


Alex

Yeah.


Anneka

So what happens when we drink regularly is that we get used to feeling a little bit crappy all the time, and we start to believe that this is what life is like and that alcohol is the only relief from this and that it's our only treat, where actually alcohol is the thing that's creating that lower vibe state all the time. So we get trapped in this lower vibe state of being where we're really under the control of alcohol. And our self-worth, therefore, comes down as well. And again, we can't manifest things if our self-worth and our vibrations are not in alignment with those things. So that's the first thing it does. It also cuts us off from our intuition. You can call it your intuition, your third eye. You're in a guidance system. The universe-- a massive part of the manifestation process, once you've asked for what you want is to follow your intuition. Your intuition helps to take you to where you want to go. But if you're drinking regularly, you're literally drowning the voice of your inner guidance system out. You're muting it. And sometimes your inner guidance system gives you really uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes it gives you good feelings, but they're all a part of your inner steering wheel trying to show you which way to go. But if you're constantly drowning that out, you are walking around blind, basically. You have got no map to tell you how to get where you want to go. And also, when you want to manifest things, you need to listen to things that are triggering you, because, in order to get where you want to be, you need to grow spiritually and emotionally. And in order to do that, you need to notice where you're getting triggered so you can heal those triggers. And again, alcohol is an anesthetic and it allows us to ignore any uncomfortable feelings. So yeah, that, in a nutshell, is the relationship that alcohol has with manifesting.


Alex

Yeah. Wow. I love that too because I feel like when I was first, like when I was first getting into yoga and my yoga teachers would say, I remember one teacher literally saying that alcohol would put out your inner fire. And I'm like, what is this guy talking about? And I just thought it was so ridiculous and it's so funny because so many years later I'm like, he's true. And the best times in my life in my drinking days were you know, the months that I was away on yoga teacher training. And I attributed that to like yoga and eating healthy and it didn't even occur to me. I was also for the most part sober during those experiences. Right. And so there is, absolutely, there's something spiritually to it, for sure.


Anneka

Yeah. And I don't know if you've heard of a book called "Spirit Hacking" by Shaman Durek, but he talks about alcohol in a really interesting way. And reading his book was my last little nudge from the universe that made me stop for the very last time. He talks about the matrix, which is like the web of darkness that kind of controls everyone and makes us conform and fills us with fear. He talks about the matrix quite a lot. And he calls alcohol a matrix trick. He says it's an agent of the darkness, his words agent of the darkness. And it's there to keep us from small. It's there to make us conform. It's there to keep us out of our power. And yeah, it's a trick. I really like the way he explains it. There's also another meme on the internet where it says that alcohol is from the Arabic word al-kohl, which means body-eating spirit. And again for centuries to keep human vibrations low and to keep us out of our power.


Alex

Wow. And then that's so interesting because there's this whole thing that I really believe kind of away from the manifestation topic. But I really believe that alcohol companies have convinced us in particular as women that drinking alcohol liberates us, empowers us, and makes us equal to men. But I actually think it's a really big feminist issue that women are drinking so much that they are being put in these vulnerable situations. It really is stealing our power, holding us back from our potential, and limiting us. And until I, you know, got a while into my sobriety, I was able to really see that and be like, wait, this actually caused me so much harm and keeps me powerless when instead of empowering me, which is like the opposite of what you know, big alcohol tells you it's doing.


Anneka

I completely agree. And actually, every single message that big alcohol gives us about alcohol is the opposite of the truth. Alcohol does not relax you. It creates stress in your body. Alcohol does not give you power. It takes it away. It does not liberate you. It keeps you small. Literally, every single bit of social brainwashing. Everything that you think is true about alcohol, if it's to do with why you want to drink, it is the absolute opposite of the truth. Completely. It's actually mind-blowing when you really start to pick it apart.


Alex

And so tell me about--so you mentioned your coaching work. What do you do now? How do you support people in their sober journeys?


Anneka

So at the time that this is broadcasted, I've just finished running a three-day January, Dry January Kickstart training, which is like a group training. So I run group training throughout the year. I also do one-to-one coaching. So I do one-to-one coaching for people who are just starting out on that alcohol-free journey. I also do it for people who might have given up drinking for a little while. Maybe they're at the point where I was when I stopped the second time, and I was like, I feel awful. Why isn't this working? So if the people who feel kind of stuck and like, they're not really where they want to be with it yet, I support them with that. And it's just such a pleasure helping other people on their alcohol-free journey. And really, all of my coaching is very much based on manifesting. Okay, alcohol is one part of the puzzle piece, but really, what do we want? We want the happiest, most empowered life possible. People want to manifest the life of their dreams. So that's a big, big focus, of creating your dream life through letting go of alcohol.


Alex

Yeah. That's amazing. That's so incredible. And I feel like when I talk to other coaches, I just love to hear how people offer different things. And I really feel like we all have the same end goal in mind, which is that we all want people to live happy and healthy, alcohol-free. And then there are just different strengths or different angles that people bring into it. And so I think the work that you do sounds so incredible.


Anneka

Thanks so much. And likewise with you. I feel like we've got so many similarities in our end goal. But, yeah, I find your work really inspiring because you've got that deep yoga knowledge, which I just love. And of course, yoga completely links to your energy field, your electromagnetic field, your vibrations. It's so healing. So, yeah, it's all so complimentary when you stick it all together, isn't it?


Alex

Totally. Yeah. And so tell me-- I have one more question for you. I'm wondering if someone was curious about giving up alcohol, what advice or what wisdom would you suggest? What would you tell them?


Anneka

So the first thing I would say is, stop beating yourself up and thinking there's anything wrong with you at all. There's not. Alcohol is highly addictive, and society asks us to attach a lot of guilt and shame to feeling that we're not in control with alcohol, when in fact, nobody is. So let that go. And number two is just jump into the sober community with both feet. There are so many amazing Quit Lit books out there that are inspiring. There are so many lovely podcasts, this one included. There's a whole world out there of really very inspiring and empowering sober heroes, I call them. That I would just say start following them on Instagram, start listening to what they've all got to say, start seeing who resonates with you the most, and start building up a community or join some sort of community, whether that be the sober yoga community, whether that be many of the other sober communities out there. But identity is such a huge part of this. Big alcohol has told us to build an identity around alcohol. And this is what I do and this is what you know, I'm a wine buff and this is important to me. This is a part of who I am. And that's all a part of the social brainwashing. And actually, when you can start to create an identity around being sober and friends around in the sober community, that's when you will start to find big shifts happening. And the last bit of advice I would give you is to pick one thing that you can do that makes you feel accountable, that feels right to you. So for some people that is, signing up with a sober coach, for some people that is, joining a sober group and posting in it every day. But pick something that feels to you like you've drawn your line in the sand and that you know, you're showing up for yourself and saying, you know what, no, I've had enough and I'm doing this for myself now.


Alex

Yeah, I love that. Just drawing a line in the sand. And it's true. It's making some move and taking some action that just says, I've said it before where it was like this moment where I was like, you know, I love myself more than this. And it was that moment for me that was really the game-changer.


Anneka

I love that. I love myself more than this. And that is the truth. I think whenever we've gone through a phase in our life where we're not happy, you know, we can let it go for a certain amount of time and then eventually, it's like our inner parent comes out and it's like, no, that is enough. I'm not having any more of this. And it's if you suddenly protect your inner child and say, no, I want more for you than this, I'm not having it anymore. And you do need that kind of empowered stamping of feet moment where you say, enough.


Alex

Anneka, this was amazing. It was so wonderful to talk to you, to chat with you more, and hear your story. And the work that you're doing in the sober world is just amazing. So when I post this episode, I'm going to put the links to you, your offerings in the episode bio. So if anyone wants to click and check out and find out more about what Anneka offers, you can find out more there and I'm sure she will be around and involved with Sober Curious Yoga. So if you're part of our community, I'm sure you'll probably meet her there.


Anneka

Thanks so much. And just for anyone who doesn't have time to check the show notes, my website is coachingbyanneka.co.uk. That's spelled Anneka and if you want to follow me on Instagram, it's @coachingbyAnneka.


Alex

Amazing. Excellent. Thank you so much. See you soon. Bye.


Anneka

Take care. Bye.


Outro

Hi friend, thank you so much for listening to this episode of "Sober Yoga Girl" podcast. This community would not exist without you, so thank you for being here. It would be massively helpful if you subscribe to this show and leave a review so that we can reach more people. And if we haven't met yet in real life, please come hop on Zoom at "The Mindful Life Practice" because the opposite of addiction is connection. Sending you love and light wherever you are in the world.





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