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Mom whose crippling addiction to alcohol nearly killed her reveals why wine culture is so dangerous

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A mother of two whose crippling addiction to alcohol nearly killed her has revealed how “mummy wine culture” and acceptance from parents who need a drink to get through a long day will “take your life.”

Justine Whitchurch, of the Gold Coast, quit alcohol seven years ago when she saw what it did to both her own life and that of her children.

At her worst, in the last six months before she quit, the 48-year-old would consume at least three bottles of wine a day “with the occasional shot of vodka if she wanted to go ‘unnoticed’.”

Ever since Justine quit alcohol for good, she’s made exercise and healthy living a priority — and she looks better in her 40s than she does in her 20s.

On Wednesday, she shared a comparison photo to Instagram of her, glass of wine in hand, aged 36 and now 48 with both a clearer complexion and a clearer mind.

On Wednesday, she shared a comparison photo to Instagram of her, wine glass in hand, aged 36 and now 48 with both a clearer complexion and a clearer mind.

Justine Whitchurch, of the Gold Coast, quit alcohol seven years ago when she saw what it did to both her own life and that of her children (pictured at age 44)

Justine Whitchurch, of the Gold Coast, quit alcohol seven years ago when she saw what it did to both her own life and that of her children (pictured at age 44)

“By definition, mummy wine culture makes using alcohol to get through your day as a parent an accepted, even celebrated, part of modern life,” she captioned the image.

All over social media we are inundated with quotes advocating how primary care providers need the escape of alcohol to cope with a long day of caring for their children, among other mundane maternal ‘touchy’ things.

“Add to that a career or busy job and you’re 1000 percent in the category that deserves a reward for being superhuman. You actually do; just not that kind.’

Ms. Whitchurch despises this wine culture and “memes” that poke fun at a drink at the end of the day because it helped her hide what she already knew was a deep-seated problem with alcohol.

‘I don’t subscribe to the ‘mummy wine culture’. I think it’s dangerous,’ she said.

“We teach our children that drinking is what you do when you can’t handle life otherwise. A dangerous introduction to chemically enlightened coping mechanisms.

Ms Whitchurch gave up alcohol when she was 40 years old after spending most of her thirties

Ms Whitchurch gave up alcohol when she was 40 years old after spending most of her thirties “alcoholised 24/7” (pictured at the height of her addiction)

Ever since Justine quit alcohol for good, she's made exercise and healthy living a priority — and she looks better in her 40s than she did in her 20s

Ever since Justine quit alcohol for good, she’s made exercise and healthy living a priority — and she looks better in her 40s than she did in her 20s

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR DRINK DURING CHRISTMAS:

1. You don’t have to attend EVERY position that is offered to you. Pick the one you know you’re comfortable with and say no to the rest. You don’t owe anyone an explanation either.

2. Nominate yourself as the designated driver. This always gives you a legit out when the champagne is offered on tap.

3. Set a limit on your intake and commit to it and fill your wine glass with something non-alcoholic where necessary to fill the void. While this is something I could never do, there is a strange person who can.

4. Exercise through the cravings. If you feel your urge to drink has increased during this time, distract yourself with a healthier alternative.

5. Get enough sleep. Go to bed as early as possible and let your body rest and recover.

“We as a collective of women voraciously empower each other to avoid work and treat our mind and body in the most negative way to health, while hiding under the guise of ‘connecting’.”

“You can laugh at it, put it in a meme, throw it into a conversation as a catchphrase and downplay its validity, but the end result is just a disastrous educational tool for the people we should love the most.”

With the holidays — and summer — just around the corner, now is the time when habits can slip and old problems bubble to the surface.

To maintain control, Ms. Whitchurch recommends that you only attend functions that you know you are comfortable with and nominate yourself as the Designated Director.

With the holidays — and summer — just around the corner, now is the time when habits can slip and old problems bubble to the surface.

With the holidays — and summer — just around the corner, now is the time when habits can slip and old problems bubble to the surface.

Put a limit on your intake and fill your wine glass with something non-alcoholic to fill the void if necessary, work through the cravings and make sure you get enough sleep to recover

Put a limit on your intake and fill your wine glass with something non-alcoholic to fill the void if necessary, work through the cravings and make sure you get enough sleep to recover

Put a limit on your intake and fill your wine glass with something non-alcoholic to fill the void if necessary, work through the cravings and make sure you get enough sleep to recover.

Ms Whitchurch gave up alcohol when she was 40 years old, having spent most of her thirties “alcoholised 24/7”.

“The only turning point was when my nine-year-old daughter looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘Mom, I’m afraid you’re not getting better,'” she said.

“I lost 14 pounds in six months, my liver count was about 2,500 (it should have been 42), my triglycerides were so high I was at high risk of heart attack, my platelet count was so low I was bruised from head to toe and my hair fell out.

“It got to the point where my father saw me for the first time in months and said that if he hadn’t known it was me, he wouldn’t have recognized his own daughter.”

Doctors also told Ms Whitchurch she had only months to live if she continued the way she had set out.

Ms Whitchurch explained that when she first quit, it was the first few months that were the ‘hardest’.

“The initial stage of recovery is a lot about self-protection,” she explains.

“You can’t expect to be exposed to social situations with nil effect.”

Ms Whitchurch explained that when she first quit, the first few months were the 'hardest' (pictured above)

Ms Whitchurch explained that when she first quit, the first few months were the ‘hardest’ (pictured above)

BEFORE AND AFTER: Once you get over the first stage, the mom of two explained that you still need to be careful about what you do and choose your social occasions wisely

BEFORE AND AFTER: Once you get over the first stage, the mom of two explained that you still need to be careful about what you do and choose your social occasions wisely

If you want to give up, the 48-year-old advises you to distract yourself as often as possible.

“Make sure you’re doing things that benefit your health, such as exercise, proper nutrition and sleep, as well as reconnecting with the things you used to love,” she said.

Once you get over the first stage, the mom of two explained that you still need to be careful about what you do and choose your social occasions wisely:

“When you socialize again, choose a time of day that you know you have the least chance of being seduced,” she said.

‘For me it was always breakfast or brunch. At that time of day you are less likely to drink. And remember, you don’t have to explain a lot.’

For support with alcohol-related problems and addiction, you can turn to one of the many services available, talk to your GP, local health service or call a helpline. Trained telephone advisors are available in every Australian state and territory.

Justine’s recovery story and the steps she took to get sober are detailed in her book, Sobriety Delivered ALL Alcohol Promised, is available on Amazon and her website.

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