How Alice went from problems with Interpol to the life of her dreams

·4-min read
Alice Crawley waves while on stage wearing yellow dress, smiling.
Alice Crawley turned her life around. Here's how. (Images: Getty).

Read part two to find out how Alice Crawley kicked her debt and tripled her salary to $150,000.

One morning in 2004, Alice Crawley found herself sitting on Sydney’s Coogee Beach contemplating her circumstances.

Her phone history would have shown calls from Interpol and creditors in Australia and Canada, while her bank balance would have shown a nauseating $185,000 credit card debt.

Physically, she was battling a horrendous drug-fuelled hangover, and mentally she was on an elevator that was only going down.

Jaz's story:

As it often goes, externally her life looked great. She had expensive clothes, lavish holidays and extravagant spa treatments.

But, sitting on that beach, Crawley realised something: enough was enough, and she needed help.

Hello, Mr Actuary

Alice Crawley in black and white photo smiling at camera.
Alice Crawley today is a successful transformations coach. (Image: Supplied).

Seventeen years later, the author, speaker and transformations leader Crawley is at the top of her career, happily married, debt-free and completely clean.

This, she attributes to two things.

The first, herself. Kicking that much debt and obliterating self-destructive behaviours requires an enormous amount of personal work.

Sam's story:

The second, a six foot six actuary she met during a few drinks at Ryan’s Bar in Sydney one afternoon in the early 2000s.

“[Martin] was hard to miss,” Crawley told Yahoo Finance.

“We started chatting and we had this great conversation. I found him absolutely fascinating and I loved that he had this great sense of humour.”

That was what got her attention - an actuary with a sense of humour. She was stunned out of her “death by a million spreadsheets” perception.

It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with this tall, funny, musical actuary. Ultimately, this man who was to become her husband is the person she credits with saving her life.

Mr Actuary - as she calls him - saw her, and he didn’t turn away. She’d expected him to clean up her finances for her, but the opposite happened.

Briony's story:

When he came to understand the depth of her financial stress, his words weren’t of comfort but of truth, Crawley said.

“I won’t go that low,” he told her. “So you need to come up and meet me here. And I’ll walk the journey with you, but I’m not going to bail you out.”

As Crawley said, he expected more from her than she expected from herself, and it was what it took for her to get the help she needed.

“He was integrity with a capital ‘I’.”

He was unable to be manipulated or fooled. He saw everything, so Crawley went to rehab.

‘You’ll be dead in six months’

Crawley checked into rehab twice to stop the drugs and to stop the drinking.

She’d had overdoses all over the world and nearly died more than once. The thing was, she said, she came from “a long line of fully functioning, seasoned alcoholics”.

She was on speed, sleeping pills, tranquilisers, and would polish off a bottle of valium in the space of a week. It was a $10,000 a month habit.

She rattled off her story to the intake doctor with ease - the product of “tonnes of therapy”.

Cathy's story:

The doctor took off his glasses and looked her dead in the eyes, Crawley remembers.

“You realise you have a serious f**king problem, don’t you?” he asked.

“You talk a really good game, Alice. But I’m sorry, I need to get your attention: the concoction you’re on? You’re going to be dead in six months.”

It was the beginning of a major mindset change for Crawley. Through rehab and therapy she came to understand that she had been self-medicating bipolar and ADHD through drugs and alcohol, and when that didn’t work, she was turning to compulsive spending.

At the heart of it was a fundamental lack of self esteem, she added, and that was the biggest problem she had to unpick.

“Ultimately, that journey into rehab [was where] I started to really get an insight around how deep the addictions ran. It wasn’t a surface issue at all, it was about how I felt about myself and past pain and trauma,” she said.

“There was a lot of healing that needed to happen.”

Crawley emerged from rehab, but there was still hundreds of thousands of dollars of work to do.

Read part two to find out how Alice Crawley kicked her debt and tripled her salary to $150,000.

Take control of your money and learn to maximise it with the Women’s Money Movement! Join the club on LinkedIn and follow Yahoo Finance Australia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the Women’s Money Movement newsletter.

Sign up today!
Sign up today!