• Val

Fear of Releasing the Blog & the Real Dangers of Alcohol

Updated: Jan 6

“Feel the fear and do it anyway!”

Susan Jeffers


Feel the fear and do it anyway’ was one of the first self-help books I ever read, and I still love the sentiment today. Although, that said, some things can still take a while to do due to the fear evoked by thoughts of what could go wrong. Simon Sinek highlights the ridiculousness of fear with this quote:

“It’s not the statistical probability that one could get hurt by a terrorist, but it’s the fear that it might happen which cripples a population.”

Simon Sinek

I was previously incredibly fearful of releasing this Blog despite wanting to publish my story since 2017 and originally planning to release it in May 2018.

I did not feel in the right place to release the blog in May 2018. Unfortunately, the friendship group I had opened up to in order to help me go teetotal were no longer in my life. This in itself was a very emotional ending and I didn’t feel like I had a big enough support network around me to release the blog. I was incredibly fearful.

I felt disappointed in myself for not having got to a place where I felt I could release my story.

The Stigma of mental health issues and alcohol addiction

“I feared the worst in terms of how people might view me if I spoke out on the subject."

The stigma of both mental health issues and alcohol addiction or alcoholism, meant I did not feel best placed to be able to speak out on my problems due to fear of castigation and judgment. I felt ashamed of getting myself into trouble with alcohol, hence using the word castigation. I felt like it was my fault I was in trouble with an addiction and subconsciously I think this left me with a feeling that any negative judgement I could experience would be somehow justified. Somewhere inside I knew this wasn’t so, but knowing that there is little real understanding in society of addiction and dependency I feared the worst in terms of how people might view me if I spoke out on the subject.

The dangers of alcohol

“Alcohol is a drug and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly”

​“No level of alcohol consumption is safe”

“It’s not your fault you want to drink, alcohol is a powerful and

addictive drug that’s not only legal, but enmeshed in our everyday life.”

Professor David Nutt

After reading into research on alcohol and on the way the brain works, I now am confident in my belief that it was not my fault that I got so in trouble.

Alcohol is also in plentiful abundance in our culture and abstaining from alcohol seems to upset people more than it does engaging in drinking at harmful* levels to the body. In my late teens and early twenties I rarely drank alcohol on nights out and this always seemed to pose an issue to those around me who were drinking.

Those who smoke do not push cigarettes on others, but those who drink often push for others to drink.

Alcohol is an addictive drug.

Alcohol is a poison to the human body.

These two facts are very much downplayed in our culture in order that alcohol can permeate our social lives.

*Harmful levels of drinking are misunderstood in our society because of the lack of information, understanding and awareness out there on the subject. Alcohol is also ingrained within our culture, heralded as being positive, beneficial and sometimes evened deemed necessary(?!) for social interaction. I believe this is why discussing alcohol and its problems can be difficult to do because it makes for uncomfortable thoughts and feelings for those who regularly consume alcohol for pleasure.

If you enjoy something and it is highly regarded within society, it can be hard to reconcile negative associations and facts. UK Government Research published in 2016 showed statistics from England in 2014 which indicated over that over 10 million people, over 18% of the total population at that time, were drinking more than the recommended safe limit of alcohol for health on a weekly basis (over 14 units per week) and 1.9 million of those were drinking at levels deemed to be a high risk factor for ill-health (over 35 units for women and over 50 units for men per week).

To bring those statistics to life, one bottle of 750ml 13.5% (abv) wine is equal to 10 units. Therefore, if you consume 1 ½ bottles of wine per week you are consuming more than the recommended safe level of alcohol. One pint of 5.2% (abv) lager, beer or cider is equal to 3 units. Therefore, if you consume more than 5 pints in a week, 1 pint per night for five nights or 2 pints three or more times per week, you are drinking more than the recommended safe level of alcohol.

This makes for uncomfortable understanding for many people in our society because many people regularly drink more than this, and it is socially acceptable to do so despite being proven to be harmful to health and longevity.

"The truth is, that given the right circumstances any human can and will succumb to the addictive properties of alcohol"

The term alcoholic is often used to describe a particular type of person who is deemed defective towards alcohol and therefore susceptible to addiction and dependence on alcohol because of this defect. There is a notion that only this type of person can become addicted or dependent on alcohol.

The truth is, that given the right circumstances any human can and will succumb to the addictive properties of alcohol because of how it changes the way the brain and certain hormones work within the body.

The book ‘Drink?’ by Professor David Nutt - a professor of neuropsychopharmacology (the study of how drugs affect the body, mind and behaviour) - provides great awareness into the dangers of alcohol. I highly recommend this book to all who consume alcohol to any degree. It is incredibly insightful. Chapter 2, however, can make for uncomfortable reading as it discusses the health dangers associated with regularly consuming alcohol.

"If you have never experienced addiction to a drug, I urge you to reserve judgement on those who have."

Knowing that the drug did in fact cause me to become addicted rather than me as a weak or defective soul, I now care less if people chose to judge me for speaking out on the subject of alcohol addiction. If you have never experienced addiction to a drug, I urge you to reserve judgement on those who have. I promise you, you have no idea what it is like. Nothing else in life is comparable to drug addiction and it is not as simple as needing to just employ more willpower!

I believe it is very important for me to tell my story because I was a high-functioning addict with a well-hidden issue. It was very scary and very difficult to break from. I would not wish the struggles I went through on anyone and hence I want to use my story to warn others of the dangers of misusing alcohol.

I ask all readers to be respectful. This is an honest and heart-felt account of the struggle I incurred.

I thank you in advance for your respect and kindness and I encourage you to sign up to my mailing list so I can notify you about new blog updates.

If you are struggling with how much alcohol you are consuming or if you would like to talk further on the subject please get in touch. Your conversations with me will remain confidential. Please note that I am not a therapist but I can support you to find a way to address any issues you may be having with alcohol.

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