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It's National Alcohol Awareness week and we've invited guest bloggers to contribute their thoughts and experiences on this subject.
Here, support worker, Hayley Eagle writes about the prevalence of alcohol and the problems that this causes to people who are fighting with their addictions.
'When you have an addiction to alcohol and are on the wagon, the only thing you ever see is alcohol. Everywhere.'
This was said to me by a woman I supported several years ago who was addicted to alcohol. After being caught drinking and driving, she’d come to the realisation that her relationship with alcohol was far from healthy and that she needed to make a change. Until she said this to me, I’d never really taken the time to consider how difficult it must be to not drink when you are an alcoholic. (image courtesy of willskii)
I have a healthy relationship with alcohol (although if you’d seen my drinking habits when I was 18 you might question that statement) and can go months without even considering a glass of wine or bottle of cider. It’s just not as delicious to me as a good hot chocolate or a cold glass of pineapple juice – and you can quote me on that!
My customer explained to me that there is absolutely nowhere you can go where you will not find a reference to alcohol or drinking. Because of this, every day is a daily reminder of addiction and every day you have to fight the urge to drink. I wasn’t convinced of this, and duly forgot all about it until I went shopping the next day.
Walking into the supermarket, smack bang opposite the entrance was a display of wine. Strolling past the ready meals, I saw that you could buy a dinner for two for £10 which included a bottle of wine. Champagne truffles in the chocolate aisle. Chicken and cider casserole. Rum and raisin ice cream. And of course two aisles dedicated to beer, spirits, wine and cider. Hmmmm, maybe she’s got a point.
It didn’t end there. After my mini revelation in the supermarket, I noticed Jack Daniels adverts on the side of the bus and endless adverts on TV for a dizzying array of alcohol manufacturers. Characters in TV programmes love a drink or two. Friends entertained me with tales of their weekend drinking adventures. Colleagues needing a glass of wine when they get home on a Friday after a stressful week. Cocktail recipes in a fashion magazine. Trying to find a recipe in Nigella Christmas that didn’t contain some form of alcohol. In the end, I had to admit that my customer was spot on and alcohol really is everywhere. (image courtesy of katzi)
At a wedding (which, as we know, are always soaked in booze) I thought as I raised my glass to the happy couple that being a recovering alcoholic at a wedding must be incredibly difficult. Drinking is the norm, and to have to say ‘no champagne for me please’ when it’s speech time must invite some intrusive questions.
It’s all too easy for someone to say to a recovering alcoholic to just not drink, but looking at the world we live in it’s obvious to me now just how easy it is to drink. As well as being everywhere, alcohol is now more affordable than it was 30 years ago and we have more options than ever before. It takes a huge amount of strength to overcome an addiction and the prevalence of alcohol must make abstaining an even tougher job. After hearing my customers’ pearls of wisdom, it certainly made me look at the issue of alcoholism in a different light.
This is one a series of blogs being posted during Alcohol Awareness Week. Please click on the titles below to read the others: