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You can't polish a turd.....

Today I was asked the question I knew was inevitable: “Jo, is it true you were an alcoholic?” The question came out of the blue from someone very dear to me, who has never accepted her own problematic relationship with alcohol. I answered her with complete honesty and said: “I’ve never identified myself as an alcoholic, but I definitely used alcohol in a harmful way for most of my adult life. That’s why I don’t drink now, nor will I ever.” I don’t like labels, I never have and that’s exactly what that is - but that’s not the reason I rebuff it. Saying “I’m an alcoholic” is saying there’s a problem within me that means I can’t drink ’normally.’ Alcohol creates a habit loop in the exact same way as nicotine - yet we don’t chastise forty a day smokers any differently to ten a day smokers. They’re just smokers of varying degrees. Both substances are proven carcinogenics. When people identify as an ‘ex smoker’ we celebrate it. When people identify as a ‘non drinker’ it sparks concern, suspicion and a desire to label them as something different to other drinkers. Why? It keeps the majority safe to carry on drinking, because it’s not the substance that’s the problem - it must be the person. When people develop a problematic relationship with alcohol, all that means is that the alcohol has done exactly what it’s supposed to do. Their brain has done exactly what it’s supposed to do. As a society we need to acknowledge the harm that alcohol does. We need to stop placing responsibility onto individuals to manage their usage of a highly addictive neurotoxin and show compassion for this of us who choose to step out of the matrix. I followed up my admission earlier with this: If what they’ve said has come from a place of love, I’m grateful. If (as I suspect) it’s come from elsewhere - then their opinion of me or my journey is none of my business. Love to all the beautiful warriors out there. Keep doing you, with your eyes wide open

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