A guest blog by a woman who I think is beyond brave and wise. Lucy spoke at the WELL Summit in April and closed the event with her heart-rendering story of her struggle with alcohol addiction, in light of the news stories a few weeks ago and the fact that this issue will run and run as it has for hundreds of years, I asked Lucy if she would be kind enough to write a blog on this challenging subject for many of us and our clients......
Is Your Drinking a Problem? 10 Things to Consider…by Lucy Rocca
- For most of the twenty years I spent drinking, up until giving up completely in April 2011, I was so far down the road of denial I really didn’t see much wrong with downing one or two bottles of wine a night, more at the weekend.
- Three large glasses of wine a day increases your risk of developing breast cancer by 50%. As soon as you stop drinking, that risk begins to melt away.
- By far the biggest changes I have witnessed since becoming alcohol-free have been those to my emotional state and general mental health. As a drinker, I was depressed, anxiety-ridden and suffered awful mood swings which resulted in me being snappy with my daughter and struggling to maintain relationships for longer than a few months. Without booze fogging my mind, I am almost always happy, full of energy and passion, optimistic and certainly never depressed or anxious. I am a much better parent, and am now engaged to be married to my partner of almost three years.
- A recent major study indicated a rise in alcohol-related deaths in young women, especially in those who were born in the 1970’s (detailed in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, published 19th July 2013) – this pattern fits perfectly with the rise of the ‘Ladette Culture’ in the early to mid-1990’s, during which time the 1970’s babies were in their late teens and early twenties, and drinking hard to keep up with the boys.
- As we grow older, the embarrassing incidents that occur when under the influence gradually morph from funny and something we laughed off in our younger years, to hideously shameful behaviour which we become desperate to keep hidden from those who know us. This growing accumulation of guilty secrets damages our self-esteem and destroys our confidence – in turn this is likely to make us drink more as we attempt to blot out the feelings of low self-worth inside.
- My life as a non-drinker is full or productivity, energy and passion and from the moment I wake up I am driven by my self-belief and the desire to pack as much as is humanly possible into my day. I am grateful for even the smallest of things, and cannot recall the last twenty-four hour period that slipped past without me thanking my lucky stars for the fact that I am alive in this amazing world, surrounded by so many wonderful people.
- When I drank, I would rush my daughter’s bedtime story to allow me to break free from the responsibility of parenthood, to drown out my thoughts with wine, alone. Since quitting alcohol, I’ve often thought that I would do anything to get those precious hours with her back but obviously, I never will. My regret serves as a reminder of what a destructive force alcohol used to be in my life, and that it prevented me from doing my best as a Mum.
- My family is the most precious thing in the world to me and I can honestly say hand on heart that nothing comes before it. In the drinking days I would frequently place alcohol above the needs of those around me.
- Denial of my dependency upon alcohol prior to quitting was so powerful that I could not imagine how life might improve, should I ditch my booze crutch – I had absolutely no idea how big the world truly is, and how much of it was permanently off limits to me as a direct result of my being either drunk or hungover. When I look back now with sober eyes on my past life, I see a tiny world with closed doors.
- As I see it, the best gift you can give to yourself and to those you love, is to allow yourself to be the person you were born to be. And you’ll never reach that place as a heavy drinker.
Lucy has just published & co-authored her first book The Sober Revolution that is now available on Amazon, here's the link and catch Lucy at our Spring Women's Wellness Summit in March.