Women and booze – beyond Go Sober October

Women and booze - a topic that isn’t going away anytime soon. And as yet another ‘Sober October’ has come to a close and Alcohol Awareness Week is upon us - how many ‘Soberheroines’ thoughts linger upon the prospect of a cold, crisp (large) glass of white? Or a rich, spicy, aromatic red? Or a G&T… take your pick of flavours and garnishes?

But equally, how many are wishing they could just #gosober. Period?

“Jenny didn’t think of herself as an alcoholic, but she knew she was falling into some bad habits. She was drinking alone, and sometimes found it hard to concentrate at work after a night of booze. She brought it up with her therapist, but says he dismissed her, saying he was more concerned about the extra calories and weight gain. Over the years, her consumption ebbed and flowed. During a decade-long marriage to a non-drinker, she cut down; when they divorced, she again found herself drinking heavily alone.”

- Ruth Graham, mindbodygreen


Women and booze health messages – do we hear them?

Few of us need reminding that regular drinking probably does much more harm than good and that excessive drinking damages the body and the mind. And few of us need reminding that women are a higher risk for alcohol related health issues.

Women and booze - culture and stigma

Despite the warnings, women are surrounded by and a part of a drinking culture that’s hard to escape and has been ‘normalised’…

In a post for The Temper, Nichole Slaughter Graham writes:

Alcohol is everywhere. It’s in restaurants, at weddings, available during work events, during book club, and even during playdates. It can be overwhelming to figure out how to live a sober life. In fact, it might seem impossible or inaccessible.

Because we live in a society that is centered around alcohol, figuring out where to go to learn about how to get and live sober can be hard. It’s not like all the options are listed out on a billboard. The good news is there are many ways to get sober.

When women are open about how they got sober and the resources they use, it gives those who need those resources a starting place.”

In her post, Nicole speaks to stigma, shame, hope, optimism, access to information, building community and sharing experiences.

If this resonates – you’re certainly not alone. Alcohol Change UK tell us:

  • In England, of the estimated 589,101 dependent drinkers (2016/17), a whopping 81.7% are not accessing treatment.
  • And, alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49-year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.
  • Every day, 20 people die as a result of their drinking.

If you’re hearing your body whisper ‘hey, hold up there’ or hearing it scream ‘‘whoa!’ chances are you need to listen up.

Women and booze: I listened… eventually

I love(d) good wine - and yep, I probably enjoyed it too often and a little too much; the thought of giving it up was never on the agenda. Besides, what else could I possibly put into those beautiful wine glasses?

Yep, I loved wine until I had to accept it did not love me.

With an autoimmune disorder, I learned that alcohol was contributing to/causing gut dysbiosis, systemic inflammation, depression and that it was maintaining and exacerbating my body’s autoimmune response. It was preventing me from healing. I began to cut down, drink on occasions, stop intermittently, and ultimately stop altogether.

It was NOT easy. From childhood, we are socialised into alcohol – and that’s the point: alcohol is a solid platform for social occasions. Not to imbibe (for whatever reason) implies you’re being ‘anti-social’. I was surprised at how many were quick to imply that I’d be ‘boring’ and made a mission of persuading me to have ‘just the one’ to be sociable.

And in the moment, I often caved - knowing that later I’d be beating myself up over weakness and utter lack of resolve.

But you know, occasion by occasion (and there is always an occasion) I got tired of having to make and re-make the decision on whether or not to have a drink.

So – I made a decision to stop altogether.

Autoimmune disorders take years to manifest symptoms -over time, I’ve seen the benefits of banishing alcohol in huge measure…. if only I’d known then, what I know now. L

So, if this resonates, check out resources like The Temper and the UK based ClubSoda.

About The Temper

The Temper “explores life through the lens of sobriety, addiction, and recovery. We acknowledge that whatever we struggle with has fundamentally changed the way we exist in the world."

That’s often alcohol, but is just as likely to be food, smoking, social media, overspending—all the things we do to numb ourselves.

The Temper exists to show people in all of their power, and as agents of their own recovery. We are authoring and owning a new, very real narrative that positions sobriety as a viable, radical, and empowering lifestyle.

About ClubSoda

Whether your drinking goal is to cut down, stop for a bit, or quit alcohol for good, this is the support group for you.

Here you will discover a community of people helping each other by sharing real experiences.

Find us at joinclubsoda.com for hundreds of blogs about changing your drinking, and to sign up for our weekly emails.

Women and booze: Dry January 2020?

With Christmas and New Year just around the corner - have a look at my 2019 post Dry January… and beyond from January 2019. Does it resonate?

Izabella Natrins

I'm here to inspire and support women at midlife and beyond to re-ignite purpose and meaning to take back control of their health and create the radical, resilient heath they want and deserve. As a whole-health expert with over 30 years experience in the field, a qualified Health and Wellness Coach and Ballymaloe-trained nutritional chef, my real food nutrition and lifestyle medicine programmes support women fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues. As an advocate for real food nutrition, regenerative agriculture and whole-health, my book 'The Real Food Solution' is an evidence-based treasury wisdom for energy, vitality and better health for people and planet and a call to action to change the way we grown, source and cook our food. As the CEO at The UK Health Coaches Association, I'm proud to continue the task of leading the first professional association for Health and Wellness Coaches in the world and the gold standard for the UK and Ireland.

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