Hi, I’m Elena Skroznikova,
founder of the Sweet Science wellness program. I’m a nutrition counselor, science-based health coach, and addiction survivor. I help people who have achieved sobriety to realize complete lifestyle recovery so they can feel, look, and perform their best—not just be sober.
Beating addiction was one of the best and most satisfying things I ever did for myself. But the aftermath of getting clean was just as problematic for my mind, body, and emotions as addiction itself. Wild mood swings, caffeine and sugar dependency, fitful sleep, gross weight gain… I went through it all.
No one told me this could happen. So after I achieved sobriety, I set off on another journey to figure out what was going on with my health and what I could do to live better. My world was so rocked by everything I learned that I wanted to share it with others in recovery so they wouldn’t have to go through it alone. That’s why I started the Sweet Science wellness program.
Now, I provide individualized health counseling to people who want to take their recovery to the next level and realize balanced, joyful, whole-person health that lasts. Won’t you join me?
My life before recovery
On the outside, my life during my 20s and early 30s must have looked fabulous. I was an educated, well-groomed, well-dressed person with a great job and a nice salary, living in a posh Manhattan neighborhood. I took fancy vacations, ate at the best restaurants, and hung out with prestigious people. Even I was convinced I had it all.
But my inner life was a different story. I had grown up with an abusive alcoholic father who molested me from an early age.
As a teenager, I started drinking to numb the pain. Alcohol muted my anxiety and depression, and kept me disconnected from my real, brutal emotions.
It gave me confidence, and made me feel more interesting and funny. Alcohol became the best friend I couldn’t wait to spend time with. But during this “friendship,” I attempted suicide three times. The last try landed me in a psychiatric unit for a month. I was arrested for drinking and driving three times. The last one almost landed me in prison for five years (if my last name were Gomez, it probably would have).
Underneath my pretty life, I was emotionally unstable and depressed every single day. I had terrible anxiety and panic attacks on a regular basis—ranging from emotional breakdowns to my legs going numb while walking to work and just falling down on the street. My hangovers were so severe, they could take two weeks to get over.
When the hangovers got so bad that they made me want to die all over again, I began to understand that alcohol was no longer helping me. It was making my life, my health, and my spirit weaker by the minute. I started having problems at work and in my relationships—with men, my friends, my family—and my physical health began to deteriorate.
I could see that I was “skinny fat” (not overweight, but not fit). My digestion was weak; I either had constipation or diarrhea. I struggled with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. I crashed on diet after diet (coffee and cigarettes in the morning, lunch at noon, then wine and cigarettes at night was a favorite). I didn’t like my body. I realized I was also addicted to nicotine: first cigarettes, then the vape, then the gum.
When I found myself calling a suicide hotline from my boss’s office, I knew I needed to change.
My experiments in health & sobriety
I began experimenting with stretches of sobriety in my late 20s, from a weekend to a couple of weeks to a month. I would lose a bunch of weight during these intervals, but then gain it right back either by binging on food or going back to drinking.
I started seeing a therapist, tried a 12-step program, and signed up for boxing and yoga classes. While it was cathartic to talk about my problems, a relief to hear other people’s stories in AA, and energizing to be more physically active,
I was still afraid of not having fun in life without alcohol, and went back to drinking off and on.
I grew into taking longer and longer breaks from drinking—sometimes for several months. I would feel great during those times—even like I was getting high on my sobriety.
But ironically, those soaring feelings would lead me to celebrate—not with alcohol, but with junk food and other unhealthy indulgences. I would “treat myself” to three espresso drinks a day, followed by an afternoon double-scoop of ice cream, then go dancing after work (sober, but until the early morning) and order a mountain of greasy takeout on my way home.
After a while, I realized that I was relying on these new destructive habits in much the same way I’d relied on alcohol: to give me something to do, something to look forward to, something to hide behind and to distract me from my reality.
I was JUST shuffling my addictive behavior from one substance to another.
One day, I looked down at the spare tire around my waist, opened my computer, and Googled “nutritionist.” Little did I know that this would be the biggest step yet on my path to the fulfilling healthy sobriety I had never dreamed was possible.
I really couldn’t believe what I started to learn from working with my holistic nutrition counselor. Her knowledge was so simple, yet profound. From her, I learned how big a difference small changes could make in how I felt: from just drinking enough water to chewing my food properly.
Gradually, as I built a better daily routine around easy, tasty, nutritious foods I could enjoy making at home, other aspects of my health started clicking into place. Cutting my sugar intake quickly lowered my cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 60 percent. Yoga got me into meditation, which helped me reconnect with my feelings. I began keeping a sane sleep schedule, and getting more deep rest each night.
One by one, my junk food cravings, mood swings, poor digestion, and every other health problem I had began to dissipate.
Finally, there came a day when I realized I just didn’t want to drink anymore—or smoke, or binge on sugar, coffee, or fries. I now knew how good it could feel to live healthfully, and I knew I would never go back.
Nutrition was the cornerstone of establishing my healthy sobriety for life. It always will be. Still, I knew that exercise, breathing, and other activities played a role in making me healthy, and I wanted to know what else could help.
I began a years-long journey (which continues to this day!) to find and incorporate different healing methods I can use to forge even greater freedom and wellbeing in my life.
This search led me to establish five elements—eating, sleeping, breathing, moving, and meditating—as my holistic health pillars. My excitement about this system and eagerness to share it with others drove me to create the Sweet Science wellness program. Today, I help my clients find whole-person wellness, calm, and joy in their sobriety using these elements as their guides. I now call them the Sweet Science 5.
I fixed all the health issues I struggled with in early sobriety using the Sweet Science 5 (yes, I eventually even lost that stubborn belly fat!). I still employ them every day, and as I keep going deeper, I am surprised to see that my health keeps improving.
So yeah, it works :) If I, the addict who thought she would never stop struggling, can learn to live healthfully and love sobriety, then so can you.
My mission is to reverse the stereotype that sobriety is boring, to actually make people jealous of sober life, and to help make living without alcohol the norm—not the exception—in our society.
Selected credentials, certifications, and studies
Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP)
Certified Holistic Health Counselor (CHHC)
Annual Vipassana Meditation Courses as taught by Goenkaji (centers in the US and India)
2016 - present
Therapeutic Applications of Yoga by Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram
Cousens School of Holistic Wellness Garden Apprenticeship
Tree of Life Center (Patagonia, AZ)
Tom Monte Healer's Program
(New York, NY)
Institute of Integrative Nutrition
(New York, NY)