Doreen grew up in a dysfunctional home environment with an alcoholic father and an emotionally unavailable grandmother. Doreen’s mother died when she was very young and her father moved back home so his mother could look after his two daughters. Doreen was the second daughter and lived in her sister’s shadow as she was the pretty one that people adored.

By the time Doreen was 14, she was on her way to a life of misfortune and looking for love in all the wrong places. Her education was limited and her social skills were non-existent. Her eldest sister was blessed with good looks and a charming personality, unlike Doreen’s plain face and tomboy nature.

Their father was an alcoholic and, as we know, alcoholism is a genetic disease. Both girls had a 50% chance of inheriting their father’s alcoholism. Guess who won that negative gene? Yes, it was Doreen. She did not know about alcoholism or that it was genetic.

Doreen was totally unaware what lay ahead of her when she picked up alcohol at a young age. She did not know that alcohol would ultimately take her life at 42 years of age. She did not know that she had a disease and that help was available if she only stepped out of her alcoholic haze and asked for help.

Doreen bulldozed her way through life with a victim mentality and victims always attract human predators. She tried to stop drinking and started taking prescription medication, including tranquilisers not realizing that they too, were addictive. She never married but had many predators in the form of toxic relationships, in her life.

Doreen used to say “if you really knew me would you still like me?” That was the essence of her self-worth. Did anyone really love Doreen? Did anyone really care about the way she lived her life with a bottle in one hand and a cigarette in the other? She had a heart of gold but no one really knew what was going on inside her head. What was she thinking the day she took her own life. We will never know.

Alcoholism is a fatal disease for anyone who allows it to go unchecked.

This disease affects the whole person, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, psychologically and spiritually. It is a primary disease, which leads to other diseases, such as heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage and may others: but it can be stopped. It can be arrested, so that desperately ill people can return to productive, happy lives - provided the habits they have learned while drinking alcoholically are changed. These unadapted and destructive habits are the ones that cause those in contact with practising alcoholics to shake their heads in amazement at the alibis that these drinkers dream up to cover their absenteeism, at the patently obvious “reasons” they invent for their drinking, at the offensive behavior they seem to have forgotten by the following, at their memory lapses during blackouts, and at their apparent inability to see that their lives are disintegrating around them.

In part, the development of alcoholism is aided by the reaction to diseases that carry a social stigma compared with the reaction to conventional diseases. When someone gets pneumonia, develops an ulcer or begins to stagger from diabetes, it is expected that he or she will seek diagnosis and accept treatment. Family members and workmates will sympathetically encourage them to accept this treatment. However, when the symptoms of alcoholism begin to appear and start to affect the whole life of the alcoholic, he or she is told to “pull yourself together”, to “exert some will-power” and to “cut down on your drinking”.

By the very nature of the disease, the alcoholic cannot recognise that heavy drinking is the major cause of his or her problems and she or he cannot stop, even though he or she attempts to cut down on intake or to give up.

It is falsely believed that alcoholism is self-induced, self-inflicted and evidence of a lack of character.

A lack of realisation that alcoholism is just another disease, delays or prevents treatment being sought. Alcoholism is a disease that is treatable and capable of being arrested. Since alcoholism causes problems at work and within the family, it might be expected that pressure would be brought to bear on the alcoholic to accept treatment. In fact, the opposite occurs. As holding down a job is socially and economically desirable, the family covers up for absenteeism, it maintains silence about abusive drinking and matrimonial discord; and within the family the extent of the drinking is blamed on work stresses and ill health. At work, fellow employees cover up for the reduced productivity. Underlying this reluctance in both the family and work place to force the alcoholic to seek treatment is the stigma attached to alcoholism, because it is not recognise as a disease by many ignorant people.

What can be done?  Help is only a phone call away. With the assistance of supplements, counselling, exercise and good nutrition, alcoholism can be put into remission, but never cured.

Total abstinence is required to start the journey of recovery followed by counselling. The brain chemistry must be functional. When it comes to feeling mentally and emotionally switched on, we have to have the correct brain chemistry – get it wrong and you will never achieve the feeling of wellbeing that you crave.

The alcoholic has a predisposition to a depleted dopamine neurotransmitter – the centre of satisfaction in the brain. What can we do about it?  Tyrosine Mood Food is necessary for the manufacture of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy stable mood. Magnesium is the great relaxer and is assists in the reduction of stress, nervous tension, anxiety and sleeplessness. LivaTone Plus supports liver function and metabolism and supports phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways, ensuring optimum detoxification of many toxic substances, including alcohol.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result . . .