Antonia’s Blog

Generally, I do not even leave a review, never mind give testimonials, but this is just far too important to not make a very small effort.

I waited over a year to contact Harrogate Sanctuary, had read the website, seen the press, casual Sunday paper reading with a large glass of red in my hand, and at least back up of another six or so in the shape of the bottle on the kitchen worktop, and the pecking in my head that I desperately hoped my partner would be bringing another back with him from his morning at the rugby club. It was a sort of tit for tat arrangement we had, knowing he had beer after the training, it was only fair I had a drink too. As ever I was deluded that he thought that I would have been just having one before he got home, glass that is, not bottle.

There was just a silent understanding, he didn’t want to rock my boat, and neither did he know how to help. As close as we are, somethings were just never said. I never got so drunk when we were out that it caused him or I embarrassment, but the slow slide in the evenings and at the weekends at home were a different matter. The view was ignore it and it might go away or get better.

I wasn’t ignoring it, I was just terrified. Who could I tell? Maybe at 20 odd I would have been more open with it, but I just didn’t drink as I was doing now, at 45. It was my medicine, not my enjoyment, but that was the excuse.

Work was fine, but was beginning to feel slower, quite paranoid and began to check and double check the simplest of projects just in case I’d dropped a clanger. The amounts were harmful, but again I kept up with exercise, had blood tests that showed no sinister activity, and lied through my teeth when asked by the GP about amounts.

Then there was a very big tragedy in the family in July. I immediately ramped up the booze, the coping mechanism, my strategy, I am a very strategic woman. By the end of August, not only did I look dreadful I felt lost, lonely, frightened and knew something had to happen to get this off my back.

So in September I called the Sanctuary. After half an hour of a consult with Sarah, the relief was epic. Even without starting the programme, I knew that this was a woman who knew this inside out. Almost a mind reader.

I signed up with her, and the skill, compassion, service and care was extraordinary, and weirdly for all my fear I wasn’t fazed at all. It all made sense, to me, and that was the most important point. As she said for once, this was for once all about me in a completely unselfish way.

Drum roll November, now 8 weeks off the sauce, the prospect of Christmas and New Year for me feels almost childlike. There is an excitement, no wobbles about what if I drink too much and ruin it all.

Recommending this just seems inadequate. There is a cost, but in terms of having my health it is just a drop in the ocean, and the best money I have ever spent.

No hesitation at all to write this, and certainly no cajoling from Sarah, I just wanted to put into words that women like me who think there is not a chance of dropping this habit without some sort of pain is possible, with this remarkable woman.

Author: Sarah Turner

Founder of the Harrogate Sanctuary.

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