Harriet’s Blog


Well here I am on 1st February 2018, well, content possibly still slightly shell shocked that I have been AF since November.

When I finished The Six Week Programme with Sarah and The Sanctuary in November, I will be honest, because I am now, I was sceptical that given that I had spent six weeks without booze, I was a little wobbly about the up and coming then festive season. I almost had to, at most supermarkets to trip over special offers on the jolly japes that Big Alcohol were trying to seduce me with. Not just the usual beer and vodka, but all manner of ideas that apparently would make me and my family so joyous about the big event.

How do you resist such a scam? After 20 years of being an enthusiastic drinker myself, and in an industry, or should I say profession, medical, which, at every opportunity we would ‘relax’ and ‘wind down’ with wine mostly, it seemed in the years prior to working with Sarah just sensible to stock up so that I could be ready to entertain, such a great excuse to be a super hostess and ready for any eventuality! Resist I did, and on the advice of Sarah really gave the whole business of contentment and happiness sans booze serious thought, as I stood quite still sometimes it seemed for a long time, looking not just at the wine aisle but the way the marketing of the Christmas cheer was aimed not just at me, but anyone who had a yen for a quick one at tea time, that led to a very long one by the time bedtime arrived.

So, I used my normal wait and see attitude, which I always do and did with change, and see if this experiment on me as I saw it worked. Well, drum roll, it has.

What made me the most upset was not the stopping wine, but the fact that I was being influenced so strongly by Big Alcohol and it’s very clever marketing. I consider myself bright, having worked with doctors and clinicians for over 25 years, knowing the dangers of hazardous drinking, but not seeing myself in that category, nor did my husband, who had initially laughed at the thought of either of us stopping drinking at any time, least of all Christmas and New Year. The conditioning of our brains was really disturbing and that is what began to frighten me more and more. Sarah seems to have a knack of connecting us to that, rather than making judgement on what we are drinking, that actually is the side effect of our mental conditioning, and certainly for me as one of the baby boomer generation.

On a less serious note, but equally important, the tangible effects are just remarkable. The usual ones of course, the brain is engaged, but I can disengage when I am ready and feel like it, can use that big word NO if I feel like it, never did when I drank, guilt driven and not wanting anyone to think I was too hungover to get on with stuff, being able to have some serious fun that I remember, and not be in the slightest judgemental of friends who still drink, but ready to hold their hand if they need me to, that is a good bit, playing that empathy and compassion forward, Sarah does so much of that, and not just with clients, she will hate me for dropping that secret, but having met thousands of ‘experts’ in their field, she has to be one of the most humble I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She has taught me that priceless gift inadvertently too. I have lost 15kg, my skin is clear, still wrinkled at the sides but through laughter not worry, and I can be totally spontaneous and understanding. I do have moments of nostalgia but not so much about the booze, but how it could have been if it had never become a thing I did as relaxation, alone, at home and the time that perhaps I could have made more of a difference.

I am beginning to ramble now, but those of you who have had any doubts about investing in yourself with The Sanctuary, I just have to say it is the best one I have ever made, and will never forget the straight talking, Yorkshire woman I met and engaged with last year, and still do, she is indescribable in very unique way.

Oh and in monetary terms I have saved twice the amount already I spent on alcohol on working with Sarah, she is worth every single penny, and much, much more.

Author: Sarah Turner

Founder of the Harrogate Sanctuary.