Today I am sharing with you a few words from my guest blogger Katherine Deamer. Addiction Specialist. The Lighthouse Spirit, London to the members of my Dry January Facebook Group.
As the New Year begins we make our resolutions and for some, like yourselves, we choose Dry January. It is truly a massive gift that you are giving yourself, every cell of your body will thank you for what you are all doing, and have been doing, for the past 31 days. A month free of the powerful toxins in alcohol is a real boost to your well being. But remember that doesn’t help you if you then start the month of February on a binge as a reward for how ‘good’ you have been. Hopefully the month off has given you food for thought regarding the amount you drank before and encourages you to create changes, if you need to, to bring your consumption down in the remaining 11 months of 2019 and beyond.
Let’s not sugar coat it alcohol is a massive problem in modern Britain and the 3rd biggest killer in the western world. We can use it to console ourselves after a bad day, congratulate ourselves after a good day. Friends around, we drink. All alone, we drink. Out socialising, we drink. Our children grow up seeing bottles of wine in the kitchen, glasses of wine, and other tipples, in our hands. All just part of normal life until it escalates. Of course everything in moderation, it’s OK to have the odd glass or more if it’s not a problem. Most people can enjoy it in the moment and then stop, it is not an issue in their lives at all.
Most people may be you. Maybe you don’t think it’s an issue and maybe it’s not. But for a growing number of us alcohol is a habit and a friend, a comforter and a crutch. High functioning alcoholics continue to work, do family stuff, socialise and look seemingly in control, they may even see no problem, but this is unsustainable. Everything will start to crumble away as life shrinks to the size of a bottle of booze. Eventually they either decide to stop or take the consequences of continuing to drink, and those consequences are not pretty.
So why am I talking like this to you, you that are doing so well in Dry January with Hans, supporting each other and feeling good? Well, because I want to bring to your awareness how quickly alcohol can take hold of your lives and the devastating consequences of being addicted to it. It may never happen to you, and that’s great, more than great, but if you see yourself in this then now is the time to take control.
With my addiction clients there is always an emotional starting point. That is, wrapped in many different explanations and scenarios, but commonly a feeling a losing oneself. Literally a separation from who they are or want to be, their identity as an individual. A loss of control of situations and feelings. Emotional trauma caused by all sorts of events and people in their lives that leave them struggling to be strong, authentic, happy and what starts off as a glass becomes a bottle, becomes more than one bottle and so it goes on.
You may be thinking that this will never happen to you but it is an addiction that can creep up on us. Starting off small and building and growing until all of a sudden we realise that we can’t actually get through a day without it and we think about the next drink constantly. Discovering quite quickly that not drinking hurts, it actually hurts. Self medication with alcohol is so common now. It may start with stress and then create stress. It may start with depression and then, as a depressant, it creates depression. It accelerates anxiety, we start losing sleep and being unwell with a variety of illnesses as our bodies are dealing with the toxic aftermath of each drink. Then a feeling as if being in a deep dark hole where the light cannot shine begins.
No one wants to be there, no one would choose that place, so let’s keep an eye on where we are with our drinking. Lets love ourselves enough to understand how we feel and get help if, or where, it’s needed. Being honest with ourselves and recognising if there are emotional issues that can be helped and turned around. Is there self doubt or depression or sadness that needs support? Alcohol is never the answer if we want to feel better, it never creates a better version of ourselves, far from it.
You have proved over this past month that you can live without alcohol and succeed at feeling healthier and happier. So I say congratulations. What a wonderful start to a New Year where you don’t rely on alcohol to help you through anything. A year where you are your own best friend and stay awake and aware to your emotional and physical health doing your best to sustain all your hard work from this great beginning.
If you find yourself in a position where you feel that you may need professional help and support with alcohol or drug issues then you can call me on: 07780001340 for a free confidential talk or email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Don’t suffer in silence. Needing some help along the way is not a sign of weakness because being proactive in your own health, both physically and emotionally, is a sign of great strength.
Happy 2019 to you all.