Mum who almost died from alcohol addiction warns of dangers of lockdown drinking

A fitness model and mum-of-two who was once struggled with a near-fatal alcohol addiction has posted a stark warning about drinking too much during lockdown.

Justine Whitchurch, from the Gold Coast, Australia, posted on Instagram about the dangers of mothers using alcohol as a coping mechanism during the pandemic.

The 47-year-old revealed that she had a dangerous addiction that saw her ‘medicate with alcohol 24/7’ – so it worries her when she sees posts about alcohol being the ‘one thing’ saving mothers from the ‘misery of isolation’.

‘This is an epidemic that will long surpass the pandemic,’ wrote Justine in an Instagram post.

‘I saw a post from someone on Mother’s Day that referred to her children as being her reasons for “being” and her reasons for “drinking”. 

‘I can’t help but feel the most immense sense of anger every single time I see this kind of notion,’ Justine continued. 

The 47-year-old said messages like this teach children that ‘alcohol is the only answer to frustration and overwhelm’.

‘You can laugh it off, put it in a meme, throw it away as a tagline in conversation and downplay its validity all you like, but the end result is simply a disastrous educational tool for the people that we love the most,’ Justine added. 

‘I preach about this because this was my path.’

Up until seven years ago, Justine was using alcohol to cope with everyday situations – she says her children saw every day, and it was teaching them that it was normal behaviour.

‘My habits would have turned into their habits and I still feel sick to the stomach that this may have been their fate,’ she added in her post.

‘What you are teaching your children is that alcohol is the ONLY answer to frustration and overwhelm. It is as simple as that. 

‘And this is the dangerous introduction to chemically relieved coping mechanisms brought to them by YOU!’

Justine said she realises not everyone who posts on Facebook about alcohol has a problem, but she says she has been receiving messages every day from men and women who are privately struggling to get their alcohol intake under control during lockdown.

‘The more people who have underlying problems feel “normalised” and “accepted” through social means with what they are doing, the longer they will partake and not address the true issue,’ Justine said.

‘Stop the cycle now by creating healthy habits you are PROUD to pass on.’ 

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The epidemic that will long surpass the pandemic. I have often been referred to as the ‘truth speaker’ and I am learning to become comfortable with that. Because the alternative for me would not see me showing true authenticity and perhaps saving another human from the misery and despair that I found myself in not so many years ago. This post will probably ignite a debate and if not, provoke thought which is exactly my intention. Amongst a million and one quotes that I have seen during this pandemic referring to alcohol as the one thing that is saving them from their misery of isolation and home schooling, I saw posts from a number of Mum’s on Mother’s Day that referred to their children as being their reasons for ‘being’ and their reasons for ‘drinking’. I can’t help but feel the most immense sense of anger every single time I see this kind of notation. I’ll tell you why. What you are teaching your children is that alcohol is the ONLY answer to frustration and overwhelm.  It is as simple as that.  And this is the dangerous introduction to chemically relieved coping mechanisms brought to them by YOU! You can laugh it off, put it in a meme, throw it as a tag line in a conversation and downplay its validity all you like, but the end result is simply a disastrous educational tool for the people that we love the most. I receive numerous messages every day from women (and men) who are privately struggling to get their alcohol intake under control.  What started as a ‘wind down’ at the end of the day is now the only trick they have up their sleeve to cope with the basics of life.  Add a pandemic to the mix and the compulsion to block it all out is real.  But one of the key themes to their conversation is how they want to show a better example to their kids.  Further adding that they have slowly recognised that what they believed was once a well-hidden little habit, was now being questioned by little eyes and ears that are now being affected by their actions. More in comments.

A post shared by Justine Whitchurch (@jusswhitchurch) on

Justine said the people who are messaging her about their drinking all say that they want to show a better example to their kids.

‘They have slowly recognised that what they believed was once a well-hidden little habit, was now being questioned by little eyes and ears that are now being affected by their actions,’ she said.

‘What we need to create is a safe space and a sense of belonging for those that no longer want to cope with life with alcohol by ensuring that these kind of memes and messages are not pushing them into further isolation.’

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Faux pas. We’re all human. We all slip up from time to time, but the most common mistake we make when it comes to committing to a goal is how we react when we stumble. When we stray the most important thing to do is look in the mirror and ask why. How did it happen? What can I do to prevent this happening again? 🔹The more you justify your faux pas the less value it holds. 🔹The less value it holds the more likely you are to do it again. 🔹The more frequently you do it the further away you are from where you want to be. Then inevitably you tell yourself it doesn’t really matter anyway. My own personal faux pas was a culmination of all of the above. A tsunamis of excuses, sadness, desperation and in the end the only person that could save myself was me. Little by little I took accountability. The person on the left had a lifestyle that was miserable, unmanageable and seeing her into to an early grave. The one on the right radiates happiness , internal peace and coping mechanisms to take life by the horns. My 12 Week Online VIP Program kicks off next Monday 7th January. Places are limited and they are filling fast. If you'd like to be guided by a coach that has been called more than once, the 'truth' speaker, register your interest by using this web link or emailing me (in the bio). It's time. https://tlfthelifefactory.wufoo.com/forms/m1ek760g0jvg7ou/ . #fitmum #healthymindhealthybody #sober #onlinecoach #mentor #over40 #transformation #itstime

A post shared by Justine Whitchurch (@jusswhitchurch) on

The post has amassed hundreds of likes and comments, with many people agreeing and questioning their own habits.

‘Very well written,’ wrote one woman. ‘I have definitely been struggling and I have been thinking a lot of late how my kids see me drinking. Day 3 sober and focused on going one day at a time.’

‘I’m so glad I gave up drinking,’ commented another. ‘It has given me so much appreciation for life. And awakened me to a lot of bullshit I believed for too many years.’

Lots of people of drinking more in lockdown, and doctors have issued warnings about the health consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.

If you are worried about your drinking, talk to someone. Speak to your GP via a video appointment, or call one of the official helplines.

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