rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


Psychodynamic Counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

I am Sarah and I am an alcoholic. Not active, an ex alcoholic.

The first statement is one that many are familiar with, quoted millions of times at the famous AA meetings. Prior to my sobriety, those words always conjured up for me, an image of perhaps a down and out, skid row homeless person, that had sunk to the depths of depravity, more than likely male, late 50’s, bumming change on the streets of a city for next hit of Meths.

Not me. Smart, intelligent, woman of the world, highly functioning, attractive, beautiful family and beautiful home, living in the Golden Triangle of the gentile Harrogate area.

The best way I can describe my drinking career is to compare it to a doomed love affair. It started off with me in control, social drinking, a couple of glasses before dinner, and then maybe some more with the main, champagne with celebrations, something a little less fizzy for disasters. The love of my life was always there getting stronger, no matter the reason, to allow me to cope, my crutch, my habit. But he turned into something far more sinister and I was dying. Dying for a drink. I was not a ladette laying in the gutter with my knickers showing after a binge on Friday night, I was the woman you see in Aisle 4 at Marks and Spencer’s food hall.

The two glasses after the school run preparing dinner turned into a bottle, the bottle turned into a few, the few turned into anything I could get my hands on and still I functioned, in agony, shameful, often embarrassing, always guilt ridden.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease that I now understand. Eventually I surrendered, but not without a great deal of chaos and grief. The chaos came from losing my forever home, my mask of respectability and very nearly my family and my life.

I now am a counsellor, although I am not really keen on that title, more of a facilitator, that helps many women like me, just ordinary, everyday, Mums and or not, stay at home and professionals, cope with either problem drinking, or full blown alcoholism. As an ex alcoholic, I realise that although AA does a wonderful job, one size does not fit all, and I have yet to meet two alcohol abusers who are the same. Nor was I comfortable sharing with strangers who had only one common denominator, booze. This recovery process has to be selfish but at the same time filled with empathy. My partner helps the nearest and dearest, he was once one of them. For those that love you are the victims in all of this too.

By coming out of the wine cellar, and talking openly I hope to de-stigmatize this invidious disease and show that like many other life threatening illnesses this can be discussed with bravery and pride, instead of feeling like an object of mockery and scorn hidden and so afraid.

So join me on the life raft, there is plenty of room, without any judgement or anger even if you happen to capsize occasionally, this is not a straightforward voyage, just gentle support with some established steerage to change those habits and triggers that may lead you to despair, isolation and desolation. It can be done, I am your safety net.



I am Sarah Turner in my 50's married with two sons. I live in between two pretty villages, just outside of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. My vocation and passion has been to help Women and their families beat alcohol dependence and misuse for many years, and are not able to access appropriate care. Harrogate Sanctuary was born through my fight to find empathetic treatment when I desperately needed it, and failing abysmally. Although I am fully qualified on paper as an Addictions Counsellor and Congnitive Behavioural Therapist, I much prefer to use my own experience as a drunk up until my late thirties, to empathize and understand the problems that Women of today face with the effects and consequences of drinking too much. I adore my family, both human and animal, have three beloved chickens, . My garden never ceases to amaze, and now my boys are grown, I have rather taken to plants to vent my nurturing side. In addition to my own services to my clients, I campaign relentlessly to raise awareness of this hidden epidemic, that still remains such a taboo subject. In the 21st century, it's time for change. To this end I have also co-authored The Sober Revolution, Women calling Time on Wine O'clock, with my friend and ally Lucy Rocca, founder of

3 Responses to I am Sarah and I am an alcoholic…

  1. Anne

    Hello Sarah – I saw your blog tweeted on Twitter and decided to take a look. I read your blog with a mixture of interest and sadness – sadness that there must be many others out there like you were before you took control.

    I think alcoholism in the UK is a real problem and very much these days a problem of an increasing number of professional people.

    I think what you’ve done is amazing.

    My husband drinks too much (well I think so anyway). But over time, and as he’s got older, and as I’ve nagged, he’s drinking less and restricting his drinking to weekends which I’m pleased about. But I think it’s always something he will need to keep in check.

    I think drinking is a subtle disease and it’s fantastic that you are talking openly about it.

    Look forward to finding out more about you and alcoholism.

  2. Tony Whitfield

    Having read your comments carefully I find no information regarding how you were able to recover. You say you are an ex alcoholic whereas the term most commonly used and accepted is recovering alcoholic. Surely AA played a major part in helping? also AA has numerous sponsors all willing to help and give individual counselling. How you recovered would be of great interest to me and look forward to finding the solution that saved you.

    • I will explain in more depth as the blog continues. I am an ex alcoholic, for I am no longer at risk. You may like to read my friend, Nick Charles’ book on ex and recovering alcoholics, there is a big difference! AA could not help me unfortunately, have sent you an email Tony.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *