Becoming a Coach, Part 1: Disability, diet, and vodka

Welcome to my first blog post! I’m looking forward to creating a forum for posting and discussing health and wellness news, info, and nutrition tips and trends. I also promise to post delicious recipes and restaurant reviews. Dear reader, before we buy a condo and share a mortgage, let’s go on a first date and get to know each other a little...

If you asked me a year ago what I’d be doing now, I would have never thought I’d be running my own health coaching business, helping creative people reach wellness. Mostly, I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d actually be healthy. One year ago today, I left my swanky job in film development at Universal Pictures, thinking I’d just go to a doctor’s appointment, get some pills and head back to the office once I rested. I had felt this pain before, ignored it, worked through it, and thought it was “normal.” Little did I know that my entire life was about to change and I didn’t have a choice! I couldn’t sit in a chair for more than a few minutes without horrible pain, I could barely drive, and I was loosing my balance, a lot. I thought I was maybe stressed, tired, not in shape, but I’d get some pain meds and be back to my old self in no time. However, after a couple days rest, the pain in my back and running down my legs didn’t get better. In fact it was worse.

Two weeks home “sick” and one MRI later, back at Orthopedic Doc’s office it became official; I had something wrong with my spine, and it was likely a surgical case. I needed to see a spine surgeon immediately, and because I could no longer drive, sit or stand still at all, Orthopedic Doc decided that I should not return to work until I regained strength (my butt muscles couldn’t really flex, imagine how they looked in pants), and the inflammation around my spinal column needed to be repaired. Then he said it; “You need to go on disability. Three months to start.” I mean, I could barely move, but I hadn’t even thought about disability, and I didn’t want to accept it. Me, the happy workaholic, me, the one who had either worked or been in school, or both for at least 60+ hours a week since I was basically 14, me/I was not disabled and could keep going. I could totally keep working 14 hour days at a desk without getting up. Right? No way, lady. The little pain I had for years had blown up into an “I refuse to be ignored” situation, and I was in for a really rocky rest of the year. I told job. Boss understood, though I’m sure it sounded like I was crazy. That’s the thing when you have pain, and not something really obviously wrong with you; you automatically fear everyone thinks you’re nuts and that you’re making it up. Surprisingly, the typically paranoid me stopped worrying about this pretty quickly because it Hurt. So. Damn. Much.

Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots...

Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots...

The surgeon scheduled an epidural nerve block on my spine (for you anatomy nerds at L4/L5) at their surgery center for the next day. My case was unusual, and Spine Doc wanted to avoid more invasive surgery if possible because of my (#yolo31) age. The plan was to keep doing epidurals and getting me into wicked hard-core physical therapy so that I could build strength and try to support the vertebrae on my own. Epidurals are really fun; they give you valium, and you’re not allowed to eat before hand because when they are injecting sh*t into your spine you’re naturally inclined to puke, but a day or so later, you feel like the Incredible Hulk. When the magic fades and the medicine wears off, the pain pills du jour don’t cut it; you tend to self-medicate. I’ll share my favorite, “this makes my back feel good” cocktail. And then I’ll catch you next post for Part 2 of this lovely little talk about how it had to get very very dark before the dawn…

Vodka Lemon “Holy Sh*t This Hurts, but I’m Staying Classy if it Kills Me” Fizz



  • Ice
  • 1-2(to taste) Shots Vodka (I love Tito’s)
  • Juice of One Half of a Lemon (or lime)
  • Soda Water (I use the Sodastream machine with filtered tap water)

Put ice in glass/mug/cup, pour in lemon juice, then vodka, then soda and stir. Add rosemary spring if you’re feeling really fancy/glimmer of hope.

Now the funny thing is vodka has been shown to not cause an increase in pain caused certain chronic inflammatory conditions unlike other forms of alcohol; I actually had read this in one of my “health” books so I decided it was super true. It’s usually gluten free, and there’s no added sugar in the above drink. I’m not advocating self-medicating with alcohol, certainly not drinking everyday, or exceeding recommended standard alcohol intake on a daily basis. Currently I actually do a lot of work on alcohol consumption with my clients, because it is a serious challenge to navigate Hollywood without copious amounts of booze. But, I’m being honest with you in this moment from my past, I am a pathological truth teller; those were some dark days in pain, stuck in my house, unable to be social or work, facing my to-be-determined future. This was my elixir.

Dear Reader, it gets so much better. Check back for Part 2 later this week, which includes a savory nourishing recipe that helped me truly heal, and helped my butt look better in pants. And it you haven’t yet, “follow” me on the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more recipes, health and nutrition tips, and encouragement.

Alyson Roux1 Comment