Across the news at the beginning of 2023 is the great news that data is showing that we are all drinking much less. A very well written article in the Guardian this week, by Maggie Doherty described her journey with being alcohol free for a year a woman in her early 40s.

As she points out, Generation Z have mostly  eschewed alcohol, as to a large extent have Generation Y, my son falls into this category, where there is both empathy with those like me who had a problem with it, had a far broader and better education about alcohol as a drug, not a frilly drink, but still struggled understandably as to why I hit the bottle, a late member of the baby boomer generation. My son and his peers do not seem to want to have any kind of love affair with booze, and are so connected through technology to fix stuff if both with mental health and frustrations in every day life, and way more prepared to openly discuss their problems openly without any kind of stigma.

My generation, the over 50s and 60s and beyond are unlikely to talk to others about their issues with alcohol, until other underlying health conditions give the game away. We are all living longer, but are we living well?

My clients for the most part keep this a secret. They also have busy lives and work well past their retirement age. Their engagement with social media is usually via their children or younger members of the office staff, and we forget that so many older people are still very highly functioning, not going on Saga holidays or sat making antimacassars. The cost of living crisis, bank of mum and dad takes it’s toll, if the go to reward mechanism has been a glass of wine or four, the impact is generally far more severe in the older generation, as many medics will attest.

The modern methods of sharing often do not apply. My age group are still incredibly useful, wise and compassionate, but they are hiding a very big problem in plain sight because of upbringing and a generational disconnect.

My experience internationally is that my demographic, this age group, is one of the biggest misusers of alcohol, dependent and unable to find a fix that suits them. It is a great shame that they are unable to be out and proud, and I and some of my posse are hoping to change that this year because one of our worst fears is being a burden not only on our children but also the crippled health service, which sadly has zero help in place that would be remotely effective with this very important group of people who are terrified of what might happen next.

Author: Sarah Turner

Founder of the Harrogate Sanctuary.