Former alcoholic who drank up to FOUR BOTTLES of wine a day for 25 years says she was cured within days of writing a ‘letter to her mind’ begging it to stop craving booze
- Sara Coombes, 43, denied her addiction for 25 years despite boozing from 8am
- She was sacked, sectioned and her marriage fell apart, which made her suicidal
- Mum claims to have kicked 25-year habit in 10 days after practicing mindfulness
Recovering alcoholic Sara Coombes, 43, guzzled four bottles of wine every day for 25 years
An alcoholic mother who guzzled four bottles of wine every day for more than two decades claims she was cured of her drink problem after writing a letter ‘to her own mind’.
Sara Coombes, 43, from Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, denied her addiction for 25 years despite her 8am boozing and sneaking off from work to binge in secret.
Her life quickly began to spiral when she turned to the bottle heavily after losing her job for being drunk too often.
The former care worker suffered depression, her marriage fell apart and her family stopped trusting her to care for their children.
Realising she was at rock bottom, the mother attempted suicide last year by throwing herself in front of cars.
This left police with no choice but to section her and take her son Josh, now 15, into care.
After battling her addiction for two-and-a-half decades, she kicked it within 10 days after seeing a self-help guru who taught her mindfulness – a form of meditation – last November.
She was then encouraged to write a letter to her subconscious, pleading with it to stop craving booze.
She told MailOnline: ‘All I could think about was drink. I’d go to work and even though I’d finish at about 2pm, I’d make excuses to go home early.
‘Rose was my favourite and I’d go to the shop – often with a back full of coins which I’d scraped together – and buy three bottles for £10.
‘I’d raid my mum’s Christmas drinks stash and just take anything – rum, vodka, Baileys.’
Ms Coombes said that she became an alcoholic at 17 to deal with the pain of an abortion.
For the most part she would drink two bottles of wine a day, but at her worst it could top four bottles.
The drinking made her ratty at work and led to her walking of her job as a carer after a furious row with her manager.
This escalated her booze problem and she would begin her daily drinking from breakfast.
Although the mother thought she was hiding her addiction, it was plain to her close friends and family who stopped leaving their children with her.
Her habit drove her to suicide after her marriage to husband Martin (pictured with their son Josh, 15) fell apart and she lost her job as a care worker
After battling her addiction for two-and-a-half decades, she kicked it within 10 days after seeing addiction specialist Chris Hill (pictured) who taught her mindfulness – a form of meditation
On not being allowed to care for her niece’s children, Ms Coombes said: ‘It was heartbreaking, but in a way I knew it was the right thing to do because they weren’t safe with me.
‘When there were with me I would be drinking. We’d go to the cinema and I would by them a slushy and sneak in a bottle of wine.
‘Then on the way back I’d take them to get sweets, and I’d get some more wine.’
The drinking also took a huge toll on her health, but she said she lied to her doctors about the true devastating amount of her alcohol consumption.
Sliding into depression, Ms Coombes’ drinking culminated in a suicide attempt last year.
She said: ‘I walked to the shop one day to buy more alcohol and it was then I decided I just didn’t want to be here anymore and began throwing myself in front of moving cars on the high street.’
She was briefly sectioned and her 14-year-old son went to live with her sister. It also threatened to destroy her marriage with husband Martin, now 44, who moved out.
But, desperate to turn her life around, she explored a number of different treatments including counselling and a £2,500 home detox.
Her sister advised her to go to Chris Hill, an addictions specialist, after following him for some time on social media.
Within 10 days of attending his sessions she claims to have not touched a drop of alcohol since.
Ms Coombes was taught to meditate and ‘separate the human body into three parts: the subconscious mind, the body and the person themselves’.
By directly speaking to the subconscious, Ms Coombes claims you can convince the body it does not need alcohol.
She was encouraged to write a letter to her own mind, which spelled out her qualms with what her subconscious was telling her body to do.
Ms Coombes said that she became an alcoholic at 17 to deal with the pain of an abortion. For the most part she would drink two bottles of wine a day, but at her worst it could top four bottles
Through the self-help group, Ms Coombes was taught to separate her mind from her body. She was then encouraged to write a letter ‘to her mind’ (shown) and ask it to stop craving alcohol
She also asked her brain to help her ditch cigarettes and let go of the delusions she was having about her son Josh suddenly dying
In the letter, she details all the problems alcohol has caused her and the people who love her.
She pleads for her mind to ‘work together’ with her body so they can enjoy a ‘happy life’ alcohol free.
Ms Coombes was so convinced by Mr Hill’s methods that she has started working full time for him at his clinic in London.
She said: ‘I’ve been sober for over a year. I’m me again, I’m Sara. Thanks to the programme my life and family’s life has gone from strength to strength. We [my family] are all back together again, and we’ve never been stronger.’
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation is a technique used to empty the mind of thoughts, achieved through deep breathing and focusing the mind. As a result the brain is awake yet calm.
Meditation is highly skilful because it requires complete concentration. The idea is to stop the mind from flitting from thought to thought.
It leaves you feeling refreshed mentally and physically, with a mind that is calmer and more able to think clearly.
There are several different types originating from India, Japan, Thailand and Tibet.
The most common forms involve focusing on the breath, repeating a mantra or chant, or concentrating on a candle or image.
The practice has shown to improve mental clarity and reduce anxiety and fear.
Multiple studies have shown meditation to be a great preventer of addictive tendencies and significantly reduces recurrence rates.
Mr Hill is a recovering alcoholic himself who set up The Rob Hill Foundation charity in memory of his twin brother who died in 2014 after taking an ecstasy pill.
The charity provides free workshops and support groups open to help people overcome all types of substance addictions using meditation, therapy, and hypnosis.
Mr Hill, now 46, told MailOnline: ‘Much of the work we do is to ensure that addiction recovery and mental health support is available to everyone and that money never becomes a barrier to people getting help.
‘What we’ve found is that once people understand how their mind and body work, they are able to not only beat the addiction they came to us for, but make better decisions about their lives, families, work and more.
‘Plus, we give them the tools to actually take action and make their wishes for the future become reality.’
Ian Hamilton, an addictions expert at the University of York, told MailOnline that evidence has shown mindfulness can help treat addictions. But he believes Ms Coombes was already prepared to give alcohol up.
Mr Hamilton said: ‘There is some evidence to support the benefit of using mindfulness techniques like writing a letter to your brain as [Sara] did.
‘But I suspect she was already very motivated to stop drinking and this is likely to have been a more important factor than the specific technique she used.’
He added: ‘Unfortunately alcohol like many other drugs can quickly create a physical tolerance.
‘This can result in people consuming what appear to be eye watering amounts of drink which they need to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
‘Fortunately [Sara] seems to have managed to abruptly stop drinking four bottles of wine a day.
‘But this is an extremely risky thing to do on your own without medical supervision and support.
‘Suddenly stopping drinking this amount of alcohol has the potential to be life threatening or at least trigger severe withdrawal symptoms such as severe tremors, hallucinations and seizures.’
WHAT IS ALCOHOLISM AND HOW IS IT TREATED IN THE UK?
Alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse and involves the inability to manage drinking habits.
It is organised into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects.
If left untreated, any type of alcohol abuse can spiral out of control.
Individuals struggling with alcoholism often feel as though they cannot function normally without alcohol.
This can lead to a wide range of issues and impact professional goals, personal matters, relationships and overall health.
Sometimes the warning signs of alcohol abuse are very noticeable. Other times, they can take longer to surface.
When alcohol addiction is discovered in its early stages, the chance for a successful recovery increases significantly.
Common signs of alcoholism include:
- Being unable to control alcohol consumption
- Craving alcohol when you’re not drinking
- Putting alcohol above personal responsibilities
- Feeling the need to keep drinking more
- Spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol
- Behaving differently after drinking
Short-term effects of alcohol abuse can be just as dangerous as long-term effects.
For instance, drinking can impact your reaction time, causing you to have slow reflexes and coordination.
That’s why drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. Getting behind the wheel of a car can alter your perception of speed and distance, putting yourself and others at risk.
Several short-term effects of alcohol abuse may produce:
- Slow reaction time
- Poor reflexes
- Reduce brain activity
- Lowered inhibitions
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty breathing
Additionally, consuming too much alcohol can affect your long-term health. Some side effects may lay dormant for years before they surface.
Because of this, professional medical care is required for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Long-term health conditions caused by alcohol:
- Brain defects
- Liver disease
- Diabetes complications
- Heart problems
- Increased risk of cancer
- Vision damage
- Bone loss
Treatment for Alcoholism
There are different forms of treatment available based on frequency and severity of alcohol abuse.
Recovering from alcohol addiction is a process that continues long after rehab.
It takes commitment to practice and apply the techniques you learn in rehab, counseling, support groups and other types of therapy.
Although every individual will have their own recovery plan that’s tailored to their specific needs, treatment generally follows a structure.
Alcohol treatment is broken into three sections, consisting of:
The first stage in alcohol addiction recovery is detoxification. This phase should be completed with the help of medical professionals due to the potential for serious, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Many times, individuals are given a medication to help alleviate the painful side effects of a withdrawal.
There are two types of rehabilitation that help treat alcoholism: inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehabs are intensive treatment programs that require you to check into a facility for a certain period of time, usually 30, 60 or 90 days. Outpatient rehab allows individuals to participate in a recovery program while continuing with their daily life. Talk with your doctor about treatment options to determine which form of recovery will best fit your needs.
The recovery process doesn’t end with the completion of rehab. Long-term sobriety requires ongoing therapy and may entail support groups, counseling and other recovery resources. These will make sure you maintain sobriety and continue on a happy, healthy path for months and years to come.
Source: Alcohol Rehab Guide
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