Risks and Reward

18 Jul 2012

Psychodynamic Counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

I have always been fascinated by risk takers, and when I was at the height of my drinking career, I took many risks. Not only with my health, and my relationships, but sometimes I am quite sure I got a buzz from getting away with some spectacularly bad behaviour. That was the reward. All drinkers think that they deserve a reward, usually in the form of a green bottle or two, for coping with the ups and downs of daily life, and of course, like me, they run the risk of becoming reliant, habitual alcoholic drinkers, users of a legal and acceptable drug. Base jumping was child’s play in comparison.

I was once told that our mental growth is stunted from the time that we first become to dependant on alcohol or drugs for our behaviour and day to day chaos. It does make quite a lot of sense as many alcoholics are deeply immature, almost child like, often throwing tantrums when we can’t have what we need rather than want. I certainly could become the ultimate Diva. If I stamped my foot hard enough, and became loaded enough, I could, through fair means or foul get what I wanted. But the costs of that gradually became higher and higher. Yet still I thought the reward was worth it.

It becomes understandable that highly functioning professionals often rely on drugs, both legal and illegal. The film Wall Street showed that side of a high risk business, albeit Hollywoodesque, on various levels the same type of risk/reward goes on throughout the world with alcohol. Winning and achieving is always rewarded. When you are child it is with a treat perhaps of cake and the latest electronic game, with grown ups with a drink a little bit of retail therapy.

My risk and reward system is now completely changed. Often the risk in the past for me was to gain things, especially of monetary value, and of course you know the reward.

I now take risks on people, I use my experience and knowledge to trust them to follow a plan, sometimes with bumps and trials, but ultimately to achieve control or abstinence with alcohol. My reward is obvious, their wellbeing and contentment is partially down to me.

That is a good feeling that never fades. In fact it can continue for years. The people that I helped now help others, and the pleasure from that for me, knows no bounds.



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 Soberistas.com.

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