So much news and social media recently has been instrumental in breaking down the stigma of mental health issues, including this week Prince Harry joining in with his support, along with many celebrities and sports personalities.
They have, rightly been praised for their bravery in speaking out, and helping ‘ordinary’ people.
Yet virtually all of my clients, members of a number of good groups online that promote Alcohol Free living, although praised in private for our battling with the booze, overcoming it, and then playing it forward in whatever way each of us is able, is still considered a taboo subject. There are loads of platitudes, and well done yous, but as yet, even after years of trying to open this discussion up, we still struggle to feel remotely normal, most especially over the age of 40. There is still an underlying unsaid vibe that somehow it’s just not acceptable to be completely off the sauce, unless of course we have been full blown alcoholics. None of my clients were at that stage, they had a choice and wisely made the right one. So as non-drinkers who didn’t cross the invisible line into physical addiction, why can’t women like us have positive attention given to a new way of approaching this potential life threatening problem? Not via medication and hitting rock bottom, but by showing real courage and taking personal responsibility?
One of the biggest reasons as I see it is that we, once habitual dependent drinkers, were classified as alcoholics, and therefore ill, diseased. Full blown alcoholism is a disease, that requires clinical intervention, our issue was an emotional one, a mental state of reliance on something that once seemed so effective and fun, and then became self-medication. Overcoming this, women need acceptance and praise, and to be listened to. None of them were comfortable with the standard 12 steps, because none were powerless, they have all proved that. I am baffled as to why this particular condition seems to be endlessly swept under the carpet in terms of approach and new ways to update and modernise care. There are simply no mainstream options, either AA or go away.
So would those who want to get behind great achievements get behind the many thousands of women who have called time on this, and give them the support and recognition that they truly deserve please.