I seem to be spending a lot more time recently writing blogs for parenting websites, and in particular mum’s bloggers, about how to drink less!
Many years ago when I wanted to publish my Drink Less Mind book, every publishing house in the country rejected me. I was told I was crazy to even think about a book that would talk about reduction rather than abstaining.
So, with my heart and my head telling me to self publish, I found a typesetter, a printer and away I went feeling extremely nervous and fearful about my decision. I asked myself many times, as I wrote that book, whether I was taking myself on a professional journey of failure, but I stuck to my guns. And thank goodness I did for it was not long after the ink was dry that I had some journalists who really resonated with my work and the books were literally flying off the shelf!
I started to become a ‘secret club for mums’ who had swapped my book at their book club or secretly talked about the results they were getting when friends noticed they were drinking less.
When I think back to those very early days, I smile to myself and feel incredibly grateful, for it was many of my clients who are parents, who ultimately helped fund my book, and I can’t thank them enough. Parents all around the world sign up for the Drink Less Mind online program and I receive an incredible amount of testimonials from this target audience. Mums and dads who run a very busy household, work full time, part time and all of the in-between.
I knew then that there was mileage in my approach and like I do know that most habitual, unhelpful drinking is consumed in the home. One of my clients called it her ‘dirty little secret’ because all of her friends thought she was practically teetotal, and this was true socially. However, once home and the kids were tucked up in bed it was a different story. She could easily drink one or two bottles a night.
I am, as you may know, not here to judge at all about drinking but what I do know is that ‘dirty little secret’ is not dirty for one and secondly, shouldn’t be a secret either.
Secret or sneaky drinking is driven by unhelpful emotions that make people feel vulnerable, whether a mum, dad or singleton. Unbeknown to many of us, it’s the vulnerabilities that drive us to drink, which then create the vicious cycle of heavy drinking.
I know myself, when I became a mother of triplet boys, even though I have always enjoyed my wine, I was sitting in the seat of my parenting clients saying to myself ‘I could be one of my clients right now!’
Thank goodness I know the signs of how to stop the unhelpful cycle of drinking too much.
So, for all those parents out there who are thinking about that drink or two or three tonight, remember there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol. However, we need to remind ourselves of why we are drinking and if it is taking you down a slippery slope of reliance on the booze then The Drink Less Mind is there for you.
I am constantly frustrated with tabloid newspapers’ frenzied attacks on the latest ‘so called’ stats, in particular about middle class women drinkers.
Last week typically The Daily Mail called me desperate to find a case study for their article about the latest statistics about women trying to keep up with men in the booze department. Hello, recent study????
And typically, I spent hours contacting clients to help with the article and what happened? They took out all of my quotes and as usual decided to keep the scary bits in there without any resolve or resolution for people.
Does the media not get it yet? Why write an article that does not give people the tools to find a solution to their drinking issues?
I had a very clear conversation with the journalist about the underpinning issues about why women drink to keep up with the boys. It’s simple! It is a desire to be liked, to be accepted, to be part of the team and to belong. Self-esteem is the core issue here, not alcohol.
Another article recently that got my back up too, about Julie Merner and how much the NHS spent on her.
Some may be highly critical of Julie Merner and her bottle of vodka a day habit but if you read her history you will clearly see many emotional triggers that started her drinking one or two vodkas a day. This is the culprit, not the vodka.
Julie was clearly traumatised by her partner leaving. That would have been enough for many people to drive them to drink. Then, having to live with her brother; another stressful life changing experience, and then her children not being with her. I think there is more than enough reason here for her to assume that vodka was a good way to suppress the emotional pain of what was going on in her life. For others it could have been chocolate or heroin, but Julie’s mind chose vodka.
It is sad that she did not have, or did not realise, the resource of therapy to aid her feelings of abandonment and loneliness, rather than hitting the bottle. For that was what triggered her drinking behaviour, not her alcoholic tendencies.
It’s a slippery slope when you use alcohol as a way to numb the extreme challenges in life and for Julie Merner this is what seems to have happened. Sad but true, the mind can learn very quickly how to deal with life habitually in unhelpful ways, to the detriment of someone’s own health and wellbeing. Julie’s self esteem was clearly at rock bottom for a long time. The vicious cycle of drinking to excess kept the ‘chicken and egg’ problem going for way too long.
I think we should all honour that Julie’s story, albeit one that cost the NHS a lot of money, could have been a lot cheaper. Let’s be truthful here, if the NHS had had the right emotional tools in place in the beginning, Julie could have had a very different and insightful journey of healing. The belief that medical rather than emotional interventional solves all problems is ignorant and offensive to those who are in a trauma state. It is clear the NHS treated the symptom not the cause.
How long will it take for people to realise that alcohol abuse is an emotional habit that can be unlearnt without spending £100,000?
Let’s join forces and start a campaign to educate these statisticians on the truth behind these figures i.e. stress, anxiety, loneliness, low self worth, insomnia and boredom just to name a few drinking triggers.