If you’re a soap fan you’ll be well aware of the current story line involving Lauren Branning and her family (Eastenders).  Lauren is drinking very heavily, but surely she cant have a problem, or can she?  She’s way too pretty, too young and too savvy to have developed an issue with drink!  Well, that’s what Twitter seems to have been saying recently according to my teen’s timeline.

I don’t watch soaps, I also don’t watch reality tv – on a daily basis I have my fill of reality in the myriad of social, domestic, health and other issues we face as a team working with addictions – my teen daughter however insisted I watch the Eastenders episode last night -Monday 24 June – as she felt I should be informed of Lauren’s situation, maybe she thought I could help her, admit her for treatment?  Sadly what I saw is happening way too frequently and the alcohol abusers we are seeing entering treatment are getting younger and younger, they are frequently female, and usually beautiful young women with loads of potential both academically and socially. Sadly we have seen women as young as 16yrs old seeking help for their alcohol addiction.

Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking an alcoholic has to be old, male, dirty, smelly and drinking from a brown paper bag whilst reclining on a local park bench.  It may affect any one of us or one of ours.  Complacency is no excuse, educate your teens on alcohol every bit as much as you do on drugs, just because its legal doesn’t make it OK.  Don’t laugh at their drunken tales of binge drinking, remind them that alcohol is a powerful mood depressant and highly addictive, and whilst your’re at it check your own drinking habits.  Its easy to get into habitual drinking patterns, just the one glass after work.  My advice? Make at least 2-3 days alcohol free days. Can you do it? Know your limits.  Dont judge, dont minimise, be honest alcohol abuse is increasing and sadly its becoming increasingly socially accepted.

Will they shock us all and make Lauren a statistic?  Will the Brannings be another family bereaved through addiction? We’ll know at the end of the week, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is just telly, this is happening to families all over the country and even further still…  There is hope, treatment is available and recovery is not only possible but sustainable too, if you’re worried about yours or another’s addictive behaviour, be it alcohol or drugs, please call us for a chat t. 01934 627550