None of these women regret giving up alcohol
Life coach and author Jojo Bailey, 57, lives in Stamford, Lincolnshire. She stopped drinking in 2014.
SHE SAYS: “MY BIGGEST problem was I didn’t realise I had a problem with drink.
I’d spent 40 years living in denial, always laughing off the embarrassing situations I found myself in or pretending nothing was wrong.
My love affair with alcohol first began when I was 15, at an end-of-term party; I didn’t feel like I fitted in so I sipped on a Babycham nervously.
From then on drinking helped me through many of the challenges I faced during my adolescence.
At 23, I landed my dream job as a personal assistant for a global music company, which involved lots of socialising and drinks after work.
Then, in 1989 when I relocated to Singapore I quickly fell in love and within a few months of meeting we were planning our wedding.
For a time I couldn’t have been happier.
Jojo suffered two strokes
For three days solid all I did was drink to numb the pain.
But then my world came crashing down when my fiancé left me for his ex-girlfriend.
For three days solid all I did was drink to numb the pain.
Whenever I found myself having a bad day I reached for the wine bottle and even after the pain subsided I threw myself into the glamorous expatriate whirl of champagne brunches, boozy golf games and endless happy hours.
The cycle of heavy drinking was never-ending and my lifestyle masked my alcoholism – although friends around me could see I had a problem.
Everything spiralled out of control in 2014, however, when I found myself in hospital after suffering not one but two strokes.
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It never dawned on me that my hard drinking was the cause.
And so for the next three months I carried on. It was only after my sister, who was terrified of losing me, asked me to make her a promise not to drink for one year that I finally realised how much I was hurting not only myself but the people who cared about me.
That promise, made four and a half years ago, saved my life.
That was my opportunity to stop drinking once and for all and – with the help of recovery meetings, friends, family and excellent resources on the internet – I haven’t looked back since.”
Jojo’s book Happy And Sober is available on Amazon.
Lauren Derrett rewarded herself with drinks
Author Lauren Derrett, 45, lives in Essex with her husband. She has four children and two stepchildren.
SHE SAYS: “THE LAST time I got drunk was December 28, 2017, at a family party to celebrate my niece turning 21.
And I got really drunk. The next morning I woke up with a dreadful hangover and the usual feelings of guilt, disappointment as well as the fear that I had made a drunken fool out of myself at the age of 44.
As I had many times in the past, I promised myself that I wouldn’t do it again.
Except this time, I really meant it.
Was my life so awful that I needed to reward myself with a glass of wine simply for making it through each day?
Were my kids so awful that I needed to medicate myself just to get through the horrors of parenting?
Up until 13 years ago, I only ever drank socially but after the birth of my third child Darcey, now 14, I felt I was struggling with the demands of parenthood and I began rewarding myself with a drink or two at the end of every day.
Aside from the nine months when I was pregnant with my youngest child Ace, now six, I continued to drink daily, sometimes a bottle a night, perhaps more at the weekends.
For some people this kind of drinking might not be a problem but for me it was.
I began to plan my day around my next drink.
Some days I would eat lunch out, alone, just so it would be socially acceptable for me to drink before my official wine o’clock began around 4pm.
I knew what I was doing was harming my body, I knew the guilt I felt and the money I was wasting but I ignored it all.
But after my niece’s party I finally realised I had to do something to end the cycle.
Previous attempts to stop drinking had ended in failure because I’d never held myself publicly accountable.
This time I knew that if things were to be different I needed to say it out loud. ‘I’m drinking too much’, ‘I need to drink daily’, and the one that nobody ever really wants to admit, ‘I’m slowly killing myself’.
My first step was to sign up for Alcohol Concern’s Dry January campaign, sharing my donation link online with everyone I knew so that I would have to go through with it.
I then surrounded myself with people who were choosing to live sober lives. I also educated myself on the health risks of daily drinking, which although was a tough read, proved to be a real wake-up call.
I made myself a little beaded bracelet with the word ‘sober’ on it. It became my talisman, a constant reminder of the commitment I’d made.
Bringing the word so openly into my life for all to see added another level of accountability.
It’s been over 100 days since I last had an alcoholic drink and while there have been times when I’ve truly missed it, the feelings of being in control, an increase in my energy levels, freedom from the guilt I felt, the money I’ve saved and the impact on my health have definitely made the trade-off worthwhile.”
Lauren Derrett is the author of Filter Free: Real Life Stories Of Real Women, available on Amazon and via her website at thisgirlisenough.co.uk
Esther Nagle managed stress better with yoga
Yoga teacher Esther Nagle, 45, lives in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales.
SHE SAYS: “IN 2013, I found myself newly-single after a bad break-up and a new job had left me feeling out of my depth.
So if anyone deserved a drink after a tough day at work, I thought it was me.
But one glass of wine was never enough and over the course of an evening I could easily polish off a bottle of wine or six cans of cider.
The problem was as soon as I found myself feeling the tiniest bit stressed, my solution was to get drunk.
Soon I turned to alcohol for even the most trivial of issues, such as getting stuck in traffic.
What went from two cheeky halves of cider with friends at the weekend when I was 16 quickly became a habit. I found myself drinking more and more regularly to de-stress.
But eventually this tactic stopped working and I found myself in need of a new coping strategy, so I decided to change my life by enrolling on a yoga teacher training course.
Through this I learnt how to manage my stress levels via deep breathing, postures and meditation. I soon realised that the more I practised yoga, the less I needed alcohol and curbed my daily drinking.
Weekends were a different matter though and I continued to binge drink until October 12, 2014, when after waking up with one of my worst-ever hangovers I quit.
Since then I can look back on my life and see I was creating reasons to drink.
But from practising yoga I now have the tools to manage my stress in a way that 25 years of drinking never gave me.”
Carly Thompsett hated the smell and taste of alcohol
Carly Thompsett, 29, lives in Cardiff, Wales, and runs fashion business Anaphase Store.
SHE SAYS: “SEEING how alcohol can change people put me off drinking from a young age.
My late grandfather used to drink all the time and would reek of the stuff.
I remember on one occasion when I went to visit him, he asked for a hug and I said “No” because he stunk of booze.
He became really nasty and started calling me names, so eventually my mum and dad had enough and we left. After that he drunk-dialled our house every day for two weeks saying that he hated me.
I was only nine-years old at the time and while he probably never remembered the incident, I never forgot it.
Like most teenagers I experimented with alcopops and in my 20s I tried vodka and whisky but I never liked the taste.
Once I passed my driving test my friends barely even noticed I didn’t drink because I was always the designated driver, which was fine until they started getting out of control.
Then, I just ended up being their babysitter, which ruined my night.
Eventually, I decided to stop giving lifts and told them to get taxis.
As I’ve got older I’ve noticed that there’s a constant pressure by strangers to have a drink.
I regularly go to events where I’m offered a glass of wine. When I decline they say, “Go on, one drink won’t hurt you” and won’t take no for an answer.
In the end I’ll pretend to take it and then put it down somewhere else.
People always ask how I can have fun without alcohol but I don’t need a drink to enjoy myself.
Every Christmas it’s our family’s tradition to have a glass of Babycham and that’s enough for me.”
Read more here: Daily Express :: Health Feedhappy wheels
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