Over and over again I hear from my clients who drink wine that the purpose was not to get drunk. Rarely is a premediated thought that they are intent on harming themselves or others or being out of control. Either at the weekends if the habit is binge, or daily if it is maintenance. Seemingly, the desire to almost ‘float’ is where the aim is headed. To be aware but untouched by any emotional disturbance, which often is not necessarily bad. Coping with too much praise can also raise the desire to have a cheeky Pinot or two.

Floating or coping emotionally in such a pacey world with all the decisions and choices that we are bombarded with is exceedingly difficult when once upon time our relationship with alcohol was a reasonably measured one. We could go out, get giddy, dust ourselves off, and the need or pattern of wine time was not on the radar at all, nor was the feeling of being out of control on the to do list. So the reward pattern was set, after all, that’s what everyone else did within our tribe. Or at least the image seemed to be that.  Always seeming to be such an easy fix.

Another big excuse, because technically there is never a good reason to lose your marbles, is that they were always the party girl, the entertainment, as was I back in the day. It was only when it was pointed out to me, quite cruelly at the time I thought, that they actually remembered me and my antics, and I did not. I relied on them to recount the madness of the previous evening or weekend. On reflection that seems very sad, but it was not my less intoxicated  friends job to tell me that I was drinking too much, and even if they had, they knew me well enough to know that it wouldn’t have made a difference, such was the stubbornness which I am sure many would call denial. I wasn’t in denial, I knew there was a problem, and I thought eventually I would handle it.

To assume that women who drink too much are on a mission to get trollied is not the case. It just sneaks up on them, they just want to be normal, whatever that is. Drinking a bottle of wine a day just isn’t normal, but my women do not measure in units or bottles, they measure in glasses. Talking to friends or others about having a couple of glasses of wine a night sounds quite acceptable, except for the size of the glasses.

They have great courage to stop and intervene before there are the catastrophic consequences and family breakdowns. They have not been seen falling over, wailing to a bartender about their often very complex and toxic lives, they have battled to contain themselves, until the point that going out for them would be way too much of an effort, and hypocritical, they are not having a good time at all with booze. It has just become self-medication and taking them to a very lonely place that adds to the shame and depressing thought that perhaps this their only way of not feeling a total failure, yet. It was never their intention to be a problem to anyone else either, or a victim. Quite the opposite, each and every one of them are survivors. Unless attitudes change and the perception of courageous people who want to take control is more of admiration than scorn, more and more dependence will be buried in the recycling bin.

Emma’s Story


When I first met Sarah Turner at the Harrogate Sanctuary (following a 20 year relationship with alcohol) I was scared stiff that I would fail to change my life. We discussed my journey, the chaos the heartbreak and the tough days caused by booze. Sarah understood my fear yet we concluded that the alternative of continuing my drinking career would lead to a whole set of scarier events.

And so I began the six week program. The first surprise was that the fear was so much worse than the reality. Sarah’s approach was firm, honest & fair. Always timely, I was never alone & never judged. As days turned into weeks, my head cleared, confidence grew, & I began to sleep better, achieve more, spend less, tone up, and gain my self-confidence back.

Sarah has such a centred approach, which has enabled me to achieve what 6 months ago I could only ever have dreamt of. It’s been said before by Sarah’s clients, and yet I firmly second that I would be more than happy to talk to anyone considering the 6 week program. As a result working through it myself I have walked away from chaos & exhaustion caused by booze & feel confident that I have succeeded in changing my life and will continue to do so.