Psychodynamic Counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

I have been hearing across the social media networks, that we non drinkers are somehow the New Puritans. That title suggests to me that we have a rather holier than thou attitude. As if we are in some way superior and a bit boring. Religious nuts, who are either health freaks or incredibly dull.

It’s true that we don’t get roaring drunk anymore, or even giddy with the assistance of alcohol. I am giddy enough without it. It’s also true that we are sharp, savvy and on time, with a straight forward perspective of how life is. We don’t pull sickies nor do we have lost days or weekends. There is no blackout, no embarrassing and shameful covering up to deal with, there is no waking up in strange places with a mouth that feels like the inside of Ghandi’s flip flop. Women I have helped get their control back have a bucket list which is longer than most because we have a lot of catching up to do and are simply excited.

Do any of us become puritanical preachers? We are really happy with our new lifestyle of clarity but not at all keen to thrust it on anyone else unless they really want to follow suit, just with gentleness and empathy. If you are drinking alcohol happily that’s great too. Certainly I am all for ‘responsible drinking’, although that phrase that makes me smile (a bit puritanically), in a head to one side sort of way, because I am still not sure how responsible drinking any kind of anaesthetic really can be of benefit in the long run. It certainly didn’t work for me.
Pub culture from the olden days seems so romantic and jolly, and if pubs were still like that, I think it would be wonderful for the community, especially in rural areas. No wide screen TVs showing football, no blaring music, just adult conversation, with a smattering of gossip, no text speak, no twitter.

Being middle aged, I remember my Father popping into the pub on his way back from work, all of us going on a Saturday lunchtime before a cricket match, we children in the beer garden with a packet of crisps and a lemonade, Mum having her once a week gin and It, even though secretly she was drinking Bombay Sapphire by the vat load at home, and Dad with his couple of pints of Timothy Taylors. All very Darling Buds of May.

By and large I really don’t judge anyone, for anything. So why is it, when women like me, who have at last got their lives under control, looking well, feeling well, fitter and more wealthy, some incredibly glamorous, witty and great fun, are judged as boring puritans by drinkers? We faced stigma as drunks, and still face it sober.

There is so much defensiveness and denial with booze, and this really comes through on comments following an online newspaper articles about heavy drinkers. They pile in with the usual tirades about it’s our life, we’ll live it our way. Well good. All I hope for is that it never descends into the chaos that mine did.

If sobriety is becoming more fashionable, on trend, then I am delighted. If more women are seen as svelte, savvy Goddesses of a certain age, and as an aside, they don’t happen to drink, then even better. Any woman in control of her life is a force to be reckoned with, and perhaps that in itself might just be frightening some people.

In my less than boring circles, I am very grateful to be a part of the new wave, it’s golden, and you know what, it’s catching on.



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

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