Today’s and tomorrow’s post comes from my old home of Brighton & Hove. It’s where I worked and cared for alcoholic liver disease patients so I am only too aware of the issue that the city has locally. In Brighton and Hove there is an average of two alcohol-related deaths each week.
This was covered in the local newspaper The Argus in November and I want to contrast the shared personal stories with new products being bought to market by the alcohol industry at the same time to highlight what we are up against. New ways to market alcohol in different formats and to different market segments are being worked on all the time and for this person alcohol ruined their life.
5% wine ice-cream! Yes really ……… and thank you to the member of the SWANS group on FB who bought this new product to my attention.
Empty nest syndrome led Sarah to drinking
SARAH loved coming home to a full house and being surrounded by her family.
But when her children grew up and moved away, the single parent found herself feeling increasingly lonely. Her job in hospitality kept her busy until she lost her driving licence and struggled to find work.
She lost her confidence and became incredibly unhappy at the prospect of entirely empty days looming ahead of her. Never one to drink heavily – only a pint of lager or two at the pub – she turned her attention to spirits to fill the void.
This escalated into more than a bottle of vodka a day.
“I thought with vodka you couldn’t smell it but I was wrong,” she said.
“I just couldn’t cope with going home and there being nobody there. It became so bad that I could not function without a couple of glasses of vodka. I would be shaking and it would calm me. I couldn’t go out unless I had a drink. I would drink through most of the day. “I knew I had a problem but I didn’t know how to deal with it. I stopped but then I started again. This carried on for quite a few years. It completely ruined my life.
“I was told later I had what they call empty nest syndrome.”
It was her doctor who noticed the signs and arranged for her to get the help she needed. She has taken part in three detox treatments since then. This time she said she has made a breakthrough in her struggle and is indebted to the Brighton Oasis Project. The 65-year-old Brighton mother-of-two said: “I feel so much better. I can cope with things much better now. I had let everything take a back seat – my personal hygiene, financial matters.
“I had very little support from friends and family but the people here have been wonderful. I tried AA meetings but that didn’t quite work for me. But since I have started this I really enjoy it. I don’t know if it is because it is all women that I feel part of a community. I look forward to coming to sessions and I want to come to them. “I don’t want to drink, I don’t need to drink. “I am facing problems now rather than pushing them under the carpet. After Christmas I want to look at getting involved in volunteer work.”
PS Thank you to the lovely SWAN who bought this radio series to my attention yesterday:
Amy Liptrot’s incisive memoir of overcoming alcoholism amid the luminous Orkney landscape. Read by Tracy Wiles