Not enough alcoholics are educated about this

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Image: VSRao/Pixabay

My father died of alcoholic liver cirrhosis four years ago. It came as a surprise to all of us, even though it was clear he had a severe drinking problem for decades. It was especially surprising to me, as a former nurse and a recovering alcoholic. You would think I’d know more about liver problems and alcohol use than the average person. But the truth is, in the months before his death, I had no idea my father’s liver was struggling at all. …

And an Ayahuasca ceremony helped me remember it.

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Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

It was during the last Ayahuasca journey that I remembered the terror from my childhood bullying experience.

Before that, I only remembered the “fact” of it. Kind of like how I know Mars exists, but I don’t know what life on Mars feels like. Likewise, I didn’t remember what it felt like to be almost choked to death.

I retained some memory of the before — me, in my new dress, hoping to make friends at a new school. Innocent child words were said, but I don’t remember what they were. …

And some tips for how to manage it. From the viewpoint of a former nurse with a mental health and addictions history.

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Photo by pressfoto on

Did you know that 1 in 7 people worldwide has been diagnosed with one or more mental health or substance abuse disorders?

That means that every time you walk into a store, an elevator, or mingle in a group, you will encounter many people struggling with mental health and addiction issues. And because these are invisible issues, you won’t know it by looking at them.

Is that surprising? Not really. Most of us know that mental illness and addictions are a global problem that’s likely to get worse in 2020 and beyond.

The facts are indisputable. By March of 2020, online alcohol sales rose 243% in the US, mental health crisis calls were up 891%, and drug-related deaths have increased by 13%. The pandemic made mental health and addictions worse, but the numbers were already concerning before this crisis hit. …

But it may not be what you think. My thoughts as a former nurse, recovering alcoholic and a child of an alcoholic.

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Image by Лечение Наркомании from Pixabay

A month ago, I wrote an article about the first signs of alcoholic liver damage. Since then, I’ve received many questions and comments from people about how to help an alcoholic they know and love. Mainly, they want to know how they can make them ‘see the light.’ Many of them said they gave my article to their loved one in hopes that it might turn them around.

“My brother/sister/mother drinks too much, and I’m afraid that he/she will die if they keep going. How can I help?”

I can feel the desperation and chaos behind this question. I have felt this desperation myself watching my father slowly kill himself and struggling through my own alcohol issues. …

A deeper look at how and why some stay sober while others cannot.

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Image by 4924546 from Pixabay

I quit drinking alcohol on January 14th, 2016. Writing that always gives me some apprehension. There’s something too short and practical about that sentence as it never does justice to my recovery journey.

Getting sober is one thing; staying sober is another. It’s not a simple process, and I suspect it isn’t either for many people trying to quit whatever addiction they’re battling.

Addiction is a tricky issue that still baffles the minds of doctors and researchers. Although some theories have been discovered, no one knows for sure why some people get addicted, and others don’t. …

This may be one of the toughest parts of getting sober.

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Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

I have been sober for four and a half years. Before I quit drinking, I had contemplated getting sober for several years but couldn’t quite get there. I knew alcohol was killing me and stripping away all my motivation. Still, I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

Who was I without alcohol? How would I fit in anywhere?

For me, and probably many other alcoholics, drinking was more than just self-soothing. It was an identity that I learned from an early age growing up in a family and culture that uses alcohol as a salve for everything. …

It’s high time we release this toxic ideology around mental health.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Although the pandemic has been challenging in many ways, it’s helped evolve our understanding of mental health. This is a good thing. With so many of us feeling mentally unwell during this time, some critical discussions have opened up.

People are asking — what does it mean to be mentally healthy? And what does it mean to be mentally unwell both temporarily and chronically?

The same goes for our physical health, especially in light of a pandemic where some people became temporarily ill.

Some people got sick and then recovered. For others, the illness ended their life. Still, covid19 may lead to some chronic health issues for the rest of the infected people. …

And many of us don’t realize this when we’re trying to turn our lives around.

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Image by m storm from Pixabay

I had this fantasy of what my life would be just after I quit drinking 4 years ago. I imagined that quitting drinking would suddenly make me the person I always wanted to be overnight.

I imagined that I’d wake up refreshed and able to do all the things I couldn’t do when I was a slave to alcohol.

The truth is, the first year of sobriety gave me a lot of unexpected challenges. The fantasy I had of everything turning around right away was dashed by a raw and humbling reality.

Once I took alcohol away, my problems were actually amplified. …

Liquor sales have sky-rocketed, and so have mental health issues.

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Photo by alleksana from Pexels

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been seeing more social media posts about excessive drinking. This is not surprising given that alcohol is the most widely accepted legal drug in most parts of the world.

Alcohol was already a popular crutch for many people. Still, if social media trends are correct, some may be moving from social drinkers to problematic daily drinkers.

Unfortunately, market trends corroborate social media trends as liquor sales in the US have sky-rocketed by 55%. And online sales have risen by a walloping 243%.

The scary part is that these facts were released at the end of March when social distancing and quarantines were just beginning. I can only imagine what’s happening to people’s alcohol consumption now that many countries are entering the 5th or 6th week of the pandemic. …

The microscope of quarantine can help us improve our communication skills.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Quarantine is testing every intimate relationship on the planet right now.

My wife and I have had a few blowouts here for sure. Most fights are the same old stuff we usually fight about but with the added bonus of severe stress piled onto it. I know we’re not alone in this.

However, with every fight my wife and I have, we come out of it with a new insight. But we only do that because we dare to get into it with each other. …


Gillian May

Former nurse turned writer. Focus on mental health, addictions and wellness. Writer for Elemental, Mental Health and Addictions Community & Beautiful Hangover.

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