Bryony is a journalist with the Telegraph who has written entertainingly and perceptively about her personal life and her festive past both in her newspaper column and in her autobiography, The Wrong Knickers: A Decade of Chaos, which you can read reviewed here.
she has written a number of articles about her relationship with alcohol:
My ‘just one drink’ always leads to one or two more – October 2007
I wanted to blog about this firstly because of the link with hypnotherapy (of which more, later), and secondly because there are not many examples of a woman’s relationship with alcohol, and the progression of that relationship, being publicly documented in this way. eg in extracts from the three articles in succession:
in 2007: ‘I start with saintly intentions, but invariably, the seductive taste of a Rioja leads me to just two drinks, or just three drinks or… well I could go on, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I’m an alcoholic. But it does concern me ever so slightly that the only time I don’t have “just one drink” is when I have had too many “just one drinks” the night before.’
in 2012: ‘It was the last night of 2011, and I had taken to carrying a box of Gaviscon with me on nights out (phone? Check. Keys? Check. Heartburn medicine? Check!), the contents of which I would wash down with glasses of sauvignon blanc.
Shortly after the clock had struck midnight, I fell over in my six-inch heels, twisting my ankle (which I didn’t realise until the cold, sober light of day). It was at this point that my boyfriend suggested a dry January, to which I apparently replied, a little too enthusiastically, possibly to convince myself: “YESSSSH! That’shh a great idea!”
in 2015: ‘With responsibility has come clarity: I have realised that alcohol is not my friend, but my nemesis. It is at the root of almost every problem I have in my life: anxiety, weight gain, exhaustion, crabbiness with my husband. I may now drink on the sofa watching a boxset rather than while dancing on a table in a pub, but the units are still there, totting up, to eclipse the recommended weekly intake (14 units for women, 21 for men). So finally, and not before time, I want a divorce from alcohol. I want, not just a Dry January, but a Dry Life.’
does anything in Bryony’s journey resonate with you? it certainly does with me. in particular the failed attempts to moderate, the subsequent lengthy but defined period of total abstinence (although I gave up for Lent several years ago, rather than Dry January) and the eventual decision that Enough Is Enough. my timescale was rather shorter, though, at around five years (but then I didn’t have a year or so off drinking within that time for pregnancy and a new baby, as she did).
I wish Bryony much success in her new endeavour. she is hoping that hypnotherapy will help her in this effort, which she also used in her attempt to learn to drink moderately in 2007.
if you have any experience of hypnotherapy helping you, either with alcohol addiction or any other substance problem, I’d be interested to hear it, as it’s not something I have come across in my recovery reading. although there are plenty of hypnotherapists advertising otherwise, I can only find limited studies which say that there is no scientific medical evidence that it is helpful in treating alcohol addiction.
PS: I’ve tried to make this a respectful and supportive blog post – this is a real person we are talking about here so please can that be borne in mind in any comments.