How I Went From an Alcoholic to a Life Coach


{Disclaimer: We are working with Ginger B. Coaching to bring you this post.}

Hi! My name is Ginger and I am an alcoholic.

A Life Coach can have a complicated past. I remember the first time I uttered those words. May 22, 2000. I was in my first 12-step meeting. I had become a daily drinker and I didn’t know how to stop. I was married 7 years at this point and our daughter was 4 years old. On the outside, it appeared as if my life was wonderful: a loving husband, adorable child, house and 2 cars.

On the inside, I was miserable.

I had everything I thought I wanted. A theory I used to live by was “I was responsible for getting what I wanted.” This included giving an ultimatum to my now husband that he better ask me to marry him or I would walk! Similarly, this is how I “persuaded” him to have a baby. Ultimately, I never felt good about my manipulative tendencies and they piled on top of the guilt and shame I already felt.

As a child and young adult, I always felt inadequate, or not deserving. You would not have known that from looking at me. My demeanor was one of confidence, always! I was what was known as “an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.” The way it manifested was in my competitiveness. I always had to be the best and made sure everyone knew it. I was also a compulsive liar. So even when the truth was good enough, I would embellish it to make it sound better.

So here is the real truth: I thought the birth of my daughter would make me happy and useful, but I was sorely wrong. I looked to my infant to heal what I thought was broken in me. When that didn’t happen, I was angry. That is when my drinking grew to epic proportions.

I would say to myself, “If only my husband was more emotional” or “If only my daughter wasn’t so difficult.” I spent countless hours in therapists’ offices, hoping they had the answers. All the while, I really was not telling the entire truth. I had an addiction to alcohol and drugs, and, one might say, this addiction was the only true motivator in my life. At the time, if someone suggested that I stop drinking, I would have thought they were crazy.

But I was the crazy one.

Life Coach and daughter.My sole reason for walking into that 12-step meeting in late May was to satisfy a therapist that I actually started to trust. She suggested that the meeting could be a place where I might be understood and where I would, in turn, identify with people. She was absolutely correct! I always felt like a black sheep and when I walked into that room, I felt like I found my herd!

For the first time in my life, I found a group of people whose thinking was similar to mine. Wrapped up in resentment, fear, and anxiety, we all coped with alcohol. Many of us began drinking during adolescence, and therefore never learned basic rules about life. Emotionally, I was a 13 year-old trapped in a 33 year-old body. Through this 12-step program, I began to see people around me that were genuinely happy and living full and productive lives.

Here are 10 truths I have learned along the way:

  1. If I am filled with self-pity, it is because I lack gratitude.
  2. If I am angry, it is because I am afraid of losing something I have, or not getting something I think I deserve.
  3. I always have a better day when I put other people first.
  4. My happiness is in direct correlation to my level of acceptance.
  5. I can’t sit with resentments for too long because I will use alcohol or drugs to quiet my thoughts.
  6. I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need.
  7. On my own, I will mess things up. But with a Higher Power in my corner, I can do anything.
  8. My sobriety is the most important aspect of my life because without it I would never have the loving relationships I have today.
  9. There is opportunity all around. You just have to open your eyes and you will start to see it.
  10. I am lovable and worthy and so is everyone else!

After many years of learning how to be a productive and sober member of society, I went back to school to get certified as a Life Coach.

Through Ginger B. Coaching, I use my own life experiences and professional knowledge to support and guide my clients. I love to work with people who are looking to move forward in their lives after being held back by negative thinking, limiting beliefs or unfavorable interpretations of life’s events.

When my clients begin their coaching relationship with me, I have them take an online assessment. The assessment is made up of 75 questions and reveals the filter, or lens, through which you experience the world in all dimensions – spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, etc. The assessment also shows how you react to stress. This is important because recognizing your reaction to stress is the first step toward reducing the level of stress you experience.  Once the assessment is complete, I take an hour to review the results with my clients. This will form a roadmap for the developmental possibilities.

Most people just go through the motions in life and are somewhat to mostly disengaged from true passion and fulfillment. When people become more conscious and engaged, self-judgment and stress lessen, and productivity, pleasure, and the feeling of purpose and fulfillment increase.

It is my pleasure to offer the ELI Assessment and debriefing (valued at $399) for FREE all BVTMB readers!** To schedule a debrief or to set up a time to chat with me, EMAIL ME.  

**Online assessment must be taken, and debrief completed, by the end of November 2016.

Ginger Berkelhamer CPC, ELI-MP

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Written by Ginger Berkelhamer

Life Coaching by Ginger BerkelhamerBorn and raised in New York City, I had a privileged upbringing. From private schools to country clubs, I wanted for nothing. However, from an early age, I knew I was different. I did not feel like I fit in with the Park Avenue crowd. In high school, I worked at the infamous Studio 54 where I found my identity. The identity of alcoholic followed me through college, where I miraculously graduated in 4 years (and 4 summers). I started my career in advertising at Ogilvy & Mather, where I also met my husband. I was not built for the corporate world mostly because I did not like to work! I floundered between different jobs in different industries until having my daughter in 1995. After getting sober in 2000, I began my journey of REALLY finding my true identity.  My journey has lead me to become a Certified Life Coach in order to help people who struggle with addiction. I have helped many women find out what truly makes them happy while not compromising themselves in any way to achieve their goals.  I can say, without reservation, that today I am truly authentic inside and out. My husband and I moved to Vermont in 2014 and our daughter is a Senior at UVM. I am a complete and whole person today and I thank the many people who have helped me along the way.


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