Stopping and Starting with the Ugly Juice

Many of us do Dry January, Sober October et al, which is great, and gives us a good detox. However, it generally followed by a good whack with alcohol the following month.

As we age, and no matter how fit we are, alcohol has much bigger effect on the body, no matter how great we may look on the outside, with a real mask generally telling all that we are fine, job is great, children wonderful, and partnerships if we are in them ticking along nicely.

However, stopping and starting most especially in middle age and for the more mature, becomes more and more harmful. Naturally if we have had a month off, our tolerance goes down, so the first hit can be ghastly. But because of our determination not to show vulnerability, we keep going, and before we know it, are either back up to the same amounts, and often more. The average intake of my clients is between 70 and 100 units a week which sounds horrific. But we are talking about around a bottle of wine a night. With the size of the glasses these days, that can represent 3, which if we are chatting on phone to friends, and telling them that we are just having a couple sound fairly low key.

Gradually we become concerned, tiredness becomes unbelievably overwhelming, but we fight it. For again my clients do tend to be survivors, not victims. So the cycle begins, we start to not just lie to ourselves but more harmful to us, we lie to our loved ones, and absolutely hate it. None of us were born liars, and for the 32% of medical professionals I saw last year it makes them feel so dreadfully unauthentic, shameful and self esteem just goes down the toilet.

We all need to realise that this con trick most especially with the wine manufacturers, and Big Alcohol in general has been played superbly. Even without knowing what ingredients are in the ugly juice, without any warnings, we are seduced by it. The old adage, one won’t hurt. That used to be one glass, now it’s one bottle or more.

I remember when I lived in France for a short time, watching the crops being sprayed with pesticides and wondering what the hell was going into the grape. If we research that, we immediately find the nature of those, along with many more unhealthy and sinister ingredients.

I am never pious or evangelical, I never count the days, but I do look at bigger picture. The typical apple shape, the tiredness and all the regrets.

We deserve better, and I just would love now not for MUP, but the listing of ingredients in this so wonderfully seductive drug.

Dealing With The Fear

I and my Sanctuary have been featured both in the press over the years all extremely nerve racking. This week I shall be speaking at a corporate event. To say that I am anxious is an understatement. By nature, I have always been shy which of course played a large part in my instant love affair with the ugly juice, alcohol all those years ago. Fear of life in general. The drinking years allowed me to be outrageous sometimes, and during my twenties and thirties, I appeared to be frighteningly confident.


Until inevitably, I lost it. Then of course the fear was whether I could get to lunchtime without a drink. Fear of being found out and fear of the catastrophic consequences that followed the binges. So much fear that it simply swallowed me up.


When I got well, I had to deal with the fear in a different way. I had to re-wire. One of the very best phrases I heard that helped me was that fear was courage in action. Inaction leads to fear. It soon became clear that the thinking about what could happen, and of course always thinking of the worst case scenario, was the biggest instigator of the fear.
Now I imagine the outcome rather than dwell on the build-up. So far there have been no seriously inappropriate outcomes. I may have failed a couple of times to put a point across, time is always short, and I could write and talk several books, and I have had disagreements with the great and the good. But I have never been ashamed, or guilt ridden or embarrassed.


All my clients have a fear in different degrees. But there is no doubt it has played a part in their individual drinking careers.
One to one my clients and I discuss the fear. It’s really a very intimate subject sometimes, because yet again, we tend to beat ourselves up over any perceived weakness. It is vital to try to eradicate it and that can only be done with empathetic long term support. At the height of our intoxication there was no fear, so getting to grips with new coping mechanisms is yet another part of the work we do together, and perhaps one of the most vital parts of true emotional control and sobriety.
So there is real benefit from being proactive. Never standing still, never letting the void created by not drinking become unused. We wasted so much time, making the most of it now seems to be one of the most satisfying parts of this journey, and shows us just how much simpler and positive life is without the ethanol.


For which is the worst fear, the fear of stopping or the fear of carrying on?