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10Sep

Psychodynamic Counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Now smokers are going to be encouraged in October, to give up en mass. According to some Government Tsar, we are all herd/pack animals so will find it much easier to be texted by some smoking cessation team to egg us on.

Can anyone please tell me why there is such massive support for smokers giving up and not drinkers? Why there is not a service in place that would designate an entire month to stop drinking?

If this is about cost, I am sure that any nurse or doctor in A & E on Friday and Saturday nights,  will tell you that there are zero smokers screaming obscenities at them but quite a clutch of drunk, injured people, both men and women, who have been fighting, fitting or falling. The cost of lives lost and money, to the NHS, rising to 3.7 billion by the way this year for the treatment of alcohol and the diseases as a consequence. This figure is conservative.

There will be thousands more who put themselves and their families at risk. I was told earlier today of a Father who had fallen, drunk, into his child’s cot, thankfully not injuring the child or worse, this time.

Of course there are normal drinkers, having a perfectly happy time. But really, when are the stark facts of these two addictions, going to be put into a realistic context?

I once smoked.  I was never dangerous driving, looking after my children, hurtful or hazardous to anyone except myself. I didn’t smoke in front of people who found it offensive.

The same cannot be said about my drinking career.

I  find a drunk far more at risk than a smoker. Not only because it’s a reminder of my black dog, but also know, because in the grip of my addiction, I had no idea of what I might do or say. Does a man stab his wife because he smoked a cigar? Does a woman make herself vulnerable to rape if she has smoked 20 fags?

Smoking is a dirty filthy habit. It can potentially kill you. But in spite of that, you have enormous support and encouragement to stop from the medical profession, friends, family and the government. Not so with drinking. For smoking cessation your treatment is immediate,  with alcohol cessation there is enormous difficulty and more often than not a waiting list. In my opinion, a far more destructive, debilitating drug. There is an openness to stopping smoking, why is there such a secrecy about stopping drinking? Why is it not celebrated in the same way? If one admits to being a non smoker, it is praised, as a non drinker I know how I am often perceived, there are so many stigmas to it. Almost as many as being alcoholic. It seems to be a no win situation. When you refuse a cigarette, you are commended, when you refuse a drink you are a party pooper. I was once asked early in my recovery, ‘You look well, have you lost weight?’ When I told them that in fact no I hadn’t, just stopped drinking, they quickly changed the subject, not a well done in sight.

Another of the many brick walls I face on a daily basis. Very few recovering alcoholics want to openly discuss their descent and subsequent rise from this addiction and that is all down to the attitude to abstinence. Because of that a few old war horses like me have to battle through the without any serious help from the powers that be. Of course there are alcohol workers within the system, but unless they have actually been at the pointy end of this illness, there is just a box ticking exercise in place.

I find it gobsmackingly unfair.

  

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