So here she is, the real me, after six weeks with Sarah, Caroline is BACK. After twenty years of trying to be so genuinely passionate, somehow approved because of my wine habit. We all do it after all. My tribe, my network, both at home and at work. I wanted to approve myself most of all.
There was joy with it in the beginning, I would be lying if I didn’t recognise that a cheeky Chablis, or Pinot had the effect of arriving, being a grown up, living the dream. Having been a medical student I had got trollied at the weekends, giggled at the vomiting and wasted faces of my friends and I at the pub on Sunday, or a bar somewhere. We all got through it, there was no tragedy, no real consequences, and there was never a thought of it being a daily dose, just a binge, we all were in the same boat, floating down a river of well, any alcohol that was cheap and got us to where we wanted to be.
That changed. Joy drinking went, work responsibility and relationships changed the settings completely. This was not a conscious decision, it just happened, sneaking up on me and becoming a real concern at around 32. There was too much ease and acceptance with it. Initially it did the trick, it took the pressure off, but then very insidiously began to create problems, not solve them. I stopped, I started, I discussed with myself mainly the madness of the habit.
After a particularly heavy weekend, I started to look for help, found the Soberistas website, and then go in touch with The Sanctuary, and Sarah. She was the least judgemental, non-patronising, ever optimistic woman I think I have ever met. I didn’t decide immediately to start, just considered the options. Eventually, realising I was now sinking at least 70 units of wine per week, I made the call, her approach was just perfect for my situation, a woman very concerned about where this current habit was going to end.
Sarah is not remotely interested in addiction, only the dependence and habit. As she says, if you are physically addicted, then you are ill, you have a condition, very poorly, and ironically, that is when you must seek help from the medics, me!
So I am here, having broken a very bad habit, and considering the options it has given me. Not once did I feel as if this would be a life sentence of denial, just a choice, which thankfully was still mine to make. I am not a reformed alcoholic, Sarah never stuck that label on my head, I once had a problem, and issue and I have dealt with it, in a way that worked for me, and I strongly suspect would work for many more women and men for that matter like me. Those of us who were on the edge, the invisible line that could have been crossed, from habit to full blown need. I never needed wine, it needed me more, and all the promises it made were entirely false in the end.
So just a thank you to Harrogate Sanctuary for making sense, rather than coming up with all the weaknesses that I may still have, but focusing on the real strength of believing in myself and what was the right path for me to take. Needless to say, if I can introduce anyone who I feel is ready to take control of their own demons and particular situation with booze I will most definitely recommend Sarah’s unique way of ploughing another furrow towards contentment and satisfaction with life, without any fakery or con trick played by big alcohol.