60 Medical Conditions that are Related to Alcohol Habit & Dependence

60 different medical conditions can be attributed to alcohol misuse.  For example, 3 glasses of wine a night increases the risk of breast cancer by 40-50%.

52% of children now living with a harmful or hazardous drinker. 30% binge, 22% dependent.


The current available facts are the tip of the iceberg.  Professor Gilmore, points out, these are hidden drinkers, and because of that there is little data apart from the consequences that are now presenting. None of the women I treat will be honest to mainstream agencies or GPs, because of fear, guilt, shame.  My local surgery even calls them niche drinkers, which is rather a quaint attitude considering the actual size of the problem. They just want empathy and support along with a non-judgemental way of breaking the dreadful cycle they are now in. Many are not alcoholic yet, just habitual or dependent, and they want control back. We must de-stigmatize this. Openness has to be key, and wellness must be celebrated not scorned just as it is with giving up smoking. Attitudes have to change, among professionals and employers. The majority see this as a lifestyle choice or terrible weakness that is far from the case, being out of control was never a lifestyle choice.

We have a successful, 89% recovery rate after six months. Empathy and a real understanding is the only way for good outcomes. No-one feels vulnerable with me, nor do they have to beat themselves up for the rest of their days for a problem that they once had.

There is plenty of help for the disadvantaged, and for those time rich enough for eight week rehab, but not for middle class women, middle aged women, many Mothers.  It takes tremendous courage and humility for them to face their problem.  They have so much to lose, their drinking is a taboo subject and will remain so unless attitudes do change. Many are able talk online anonymously which is great, and can be a useful tool.

We juggle so much. We wanted equality, for the most part we got it. But we are just not physical able to drink as heavily as men without expecting consequences. The simple, biological fact behind that is that women have more fat than men, who carry more water, hence the dilution of alcohol. It all starts with having a drink to relax.  We use it to self-medicate, stress buster. Wine has become social oil. Then a drink to forget, and slowly it isn’t fun anymore. No cup of tea at teatime, a glass 250ml glass of Pinot instead. These women never drink in units, just glasses.

Its legal acceptable and everywhere. Minimum pricing will not affect problem drinkers.

Mother’s drinking usually is more chaotic to the family, without being sexist generally speaking the Mother is the lynchpin. The family suffers all the symptoms of the illness, except for the physical need.  I truly hope that we can start to celebrate clarity and moderation with openness and honesty, only then will we start to see a dramatic change.

Rosemary’s Blog

I have always known that there are thousands of excuses for drinking too much, but I think that 10 years ago I got the best one. Both my husband and son died in a car accident, immediate wipe out. The police at the door of our home at 6.32pm precisely, to break the news. I had my glass of wine as routine, one or two whilst cooking supper for the boys after their day at a rugby match, Saturday, my only day of the week that I relaxed whilst cooking their favourite beef casserole and dumplings, happy, fortunate, bare foot in my favourite place, making food with love for the two most precious boys in my life, that was now totally decimated.

There was shock, no real in take of details, just my boys were dead, forever dead. Grief I thought that I understood was like no other feeling I had ever had, and seeing them both looking so perfect and peaceful with no marks on their faces was just like being in a fog.

There was no screaming, I didn’t cry, not even at their funeral, but I drank, took pills the GP gave me, and seemed to feel nothing.

The real emotions kicked in with smells, my sons room, my husbands clothes, the family gone. I was gone, wine gin vodka, it didn’t matter, all of them worked to make me numb, invisible. I didn’t want to talk to bereavement counsellors, other family or friends, wanted aloneness, nothingness, and time to find a way that I now know was to just slip away, and the easiest way was to drink as much as I could, so I did. It didn’t kill me.

After around three months the fog was sort of lifting and had a huge desire to make my boys proud of me. Not quite sure how that happened, I had kick started my business again, it was more to distract than to earn, but the booze caused lots of missed deadlines and mistakes, all forgiven of course by clients who knew my position.

One morning for the first time really since they had died I actually looked at myself full face in the mirror.  The face was not mine. It was sad but it was scared. Red blotches, red eyes, bloated where was I?

I needed to take charge, so having nothing to hide or lose I went to my doctor and asked for help with the alcohol excess. She referred me first to a local addictions group, and also mentioned Sarah at the Sanctuary. The first option just wasn’t me, I didn’t want to tell my story to the group, it was mine, and I am private, I wanted empathy, one to one, and an idea of what the hell I did next.

So enter me and Sarah. There is just not a word, one or a thousand that can explain this woman. Yes she is very good with alcohol dependence and resetting the way I used it, but there is way more to her treatment than that. She seems to read you before you say what is on your mind, much of which had nothing to do with the alcohol or the grief.

I am alcohol free, because of her and only her, I am sad quite frequently, often cry, at last, but if there are any women out there that think that they are hopeless cases, I can only say The Sanctuary is one of the most amazing methods of making you whole again, even when you have been ripped to shreds as I was.
Thank you doesn’t say it, but Sarah will know what I mean.