Lizzie’s Blog

I never wanted to not drink, and when I contacted the Sanctuary I made it perfectly clear that abstinence was never going to be on the agenda. I wanted to have a completely free rein, to be able to drink socially if I wanted to, but not to overdo the drinking at home.

When I met with Sarah at the very tranquil Sanctuary headquarters, I boomed this message to her! There was no lecturing or disagreeing for that matter, which rather took the wind out of my sails. I expected to be told that it wouldn’t work, and that I would be doomed from the start.

However, I did agree to abstain for six weeks, because the logic behind it was so solid. There was no mumbo jumbo about higher powers or not ever being able to drink again, just a completely true understanding of what I wanted and how it might be achieved. I think Sarah has far too much experience to lay down any law or rules with clients.

So given that I was satisfied that after the six weeks it would be entirely in my hands where I went with my drinking, I started the programme in June. At first doing the diary in the early evenings, each evening, was a bit like checking in with myself, but with an amazing rapid response which came with really very good reasons why I was doing this with Sarah, there was a rather heavy penny beginning to drop. As much as I tried to see the sense in drinking alcohol on what is a termed a ‘healthy, reasonable’ basis, there was very little to recommend it. I used all the usual excuses of it being relaxing, it wasn’t it just made me anxious the next day, it was fun, it wasn’t, it used to be twenty years ago, it was social, it wasn’t because when I did go out and stayed AF, the only boring people were the ones who were drunk. This list went on, rattling around in my head, until I did run out of excuses to use the stuff.

Then I got quite angry. Angry that I had been duped by all the promotions with wine especially, and lately cheap Prosecco, pretending that it was full of life and fuzzy stuff. What a load of crap! The more intense the desire became to really get mad with marketing, the more I ranted about it, the more my drinking friends started to see what I was doing and saying. One the most bizarre habits we had got into was having playdates with our kids, and drinking with huge enthusiasm bottles of this mock happy juice. That has now been completely knocked on the head, along with my drive to drink wine or any alcohol again. I lost so much time, so much energy, and so much focus, not to mention the money.

So a few weeks on from finishing with Sarah, who never once wasn’t there when I needed her, I am still AF, and as clichéd as it might sound, loving it.

Thank you, and rather than looking at this as some sort of life sentence, it is quite the reverse, live giving and lifesaving.

If the Sanctuary method can work for me, it can work for anyone!

Author: Sarah Turner

Founder of the Harrogate Sanctuary.