Sally B’s blog



Well, how do I begin…

Here goes, once upon a time there was a girl of sixteen who was completely crippled with social anxiety, lack of self-esteem, although outwardly seemed to have it all. Good family background, loving parents, great education that led me to becoming a successful professional, and then at 27 married to a man who received the stamp of approval of both friends and my family. It was my rose-tinted glasses time. I was seemingly in a great place. I had never though revealed my cruel pal, alcohol. Socially I drank within the fun limits, but on my own I would sneak bottles of wine into both my parents’ home and then my home with my husband and quickly two children, to deal with this anxiety. Up until I was about 35 it was  going so well! Then the changes started to happen. My secret drinking ramped up,  I began not wanting to be social at all, I really couldn’t be bothered I suppose with the control and smiley face I put on.

By the time I got to 40 I hit the buffers. My children approaching their teens, husband working all hours, me getting ratty or should I say rat arsed when I did see him, as the saying goes, I did lose the plot. Stuff started to slide, my work suffered but more importantly my relationships with both parents and my immediate family unit went off the rails. From being apparently a capable woman, I was a mess. My daughter noticed it the most, my husband didn’t get it, who can blame him, and buried his head in the sand.

I knew I was drinking too much, so did eventually do the right thing and seek help from  my GP. He was kind but couldn’t offer the sort of support I was seeking. By this time, I hated drinking, but it was my way of coping

One drunken night I was browsing away, looking at all sorts of ways to resolve this, and came across a link to the book, The Sober Revolution. That is how I found Sarah.

I live in London, working day always at least 12 hours, followed by my swigging time then a very blurred bit of ‘family’ time, so drunkenly I called her at 8 o’clock in the evening. I can’t really remember what I said, but she did, and the next day sent me a text to say how brave I had been. I rang her, sober.

Long story short, well, six weeks to be precise, this feisty Yorkshire woman fixed me. She made me see that I was way more pivotal than I thought, she got rid of my shame and self-obsession with being a complete failure, and see that alcohol was making the anxiety I had suffered from all of my life was compounded by the booze.

She seems to pick up on those little things that trigger wanting a glass or four and react so quickly not quite sure whether she ever turns off! I have never known a more hard-working passionate person. If anyone wants an alternative from the usual, where usually you have an hour, after that out you go, or ten minutes on the phone and we are done, Sarah is never on the clock. She is open about her problems with drinking too, which I found so reassuring, she understood and has such empathy.

I am not going to say I shall never have a drink again, Sarah taught me that, never say never, but stay in the present tense,  nor I am not going say I don’t still suffer from anxiety but have found different coping mechanisms. Working alongside Sarah has made me way less stressy, irritable and a bonkers over thinker, if you want a far less regimented approach, try The Sanctuary, it is a real revolution.



Author: Sarah Turner

Founder of the Harrogate Sanctuary.