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Sliding doors...

Updated: Jan 13

Sliding doors

Do you remember a movie called Sliding Doors?

I loved that film, I like anything time travel or alternate reality based. Or sci-fi. Of course I do. I'm a massive geek for these things. In case you have not seen it, it was a "what-if" scenario in which a character called Helen, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is fired from her job in PR. In one scenario she misses her subway train, and in the other she catches it, and the two versions of her life play out. It's a great film.

Question: What if I told you you could star in your own version of Sliding Doors right now?

Hear me out here. I'm deadly serious.

Take 1: You, version one.

Ok, so in scenario number one, you drank last night. It's a Friday, its cool, but you woke up at 2am, heart pounding, wishing you hadn't, tossed and turned for a bit and then got worried about that nagging shooting pain in your chest that keeps coming back, and you wonder if alcohol might be damaging your health. What ensues next is a lot of night time worrying and turning things over in your head, wondering if you have given yourself heart disease with all the prolonged drinking, or cancer, or worse. A couple of hours later, you fall fitfully asleep again.

You wake up later than planned, and wince at the headache you now have, and blurry head. Stumbling out of bed, you drag yourself to the bathroom to clean your teeth, and grimace at what beholds you in the bathroom mirror. Perhaps you have make up down your face because you did not wash it off last night before passing out in your bed. Or maybe you have a light bruise below your eye, and you cannot remember for the life of you how you might have procured it. Hmmm... speaking of which... What DID happen last night? Not knowing makes you feel unsettled.

You cook up a greasy breakfast of eggs, bacon and sausage to try and soak up some of last nights alcohol. Hell, you even throw a piece of bread into the frying pan. Nothing like fried bread to help with hangovers. You take a couple of the anti-anxiety pills you got from your doctor, with water. Then you reach for the first of the seven coffees you will need to start to feel like you again.

Full of a fry-up, you switch on the TV, and settle in front of a box drama set you will never remember, and loaf on the sofa until it starts to get dark outside again. Or perhaps you fire up a game, and play it deep into the evening. You call this "you time", but honestly, the way you feel, you can barely do anything else.

As the evening draws in you start scrolling through socials. Your heart almost stops in your chest as you start seeing the pictures from last night. You do NOT look good...

Flipping to messages, you see you have missed seven messages from your best mate, wanting to know where you are and whether you got home safe. Hastily you text back - you're fine, you reply. For the next hour you message each other back and forth, and your heart sinks.

It turns out last night you had gotten yourself into a pointless argument and left the club early. You have no idea how you got home, or when, its a blur, but apparently you were falling all over the place and picking fights with anyone who looked at you sideways. Oh, and you snogged someone you shouldn't have and then told your partner to make them jealous.

Heart pounding, you get up for another coffee, you feel so dehydrated today. Will they forgive you? You daren't call them. No way. As you rise, there's that sharp chest pain again, and you remember the worries from last night. Instantly, you wonder again if drinking is harming your health. The stress of this thought causes you to skip the coffee and pour a glass of red wine instead, you know it will make you feel better. Even as you pour the wine, you can feel yourself cheer up. Checking the wine rack confirms you have at least another two bottles. This makes you feel safe. You might as well write off today as done, and get an early night, but first, wine....

Take 2: You, version 2

You wake up, its Saturday, stretch, and blink at the early daylight in your room. Last night you dreamt deeply, you feel good, and rested. Your stomach rumbles slightly, and you remember with excitement that a new module in your new course lands this morning. You are training for a career change, and it is beyond exciting. A little shiver of anticipation runs through you, and you fling the covers back to go and get showered and clean your teeth.

In the bathroom mirror you observe your eyes are bright and clear, and your skin looks fantastic at the moment. Your hair is thicker, too, and it probably does not need washing today. You clean your teeth, and note that nowadays they are never stained, like they used to be back when you were drinking. You grin at yourself in the mirror. Why on earth did it take you so long to stop?

You step on the bathroom scales, and note with delight you are still slowly losing a little weight each week. You feel great. Jumping in the shower you scrub yourself with the expensive shower gel you bought yourself as a treat last week. It smells amazing! You can afford to treat yourself more often now you are not wasting all your money on alcohol and smelly kebabs on a Friday night.

As you make a delicious breakfast, you smile again at last night. You had met up with your favourite people, and it was just too funny. Honestly, you cannot believe how much you all laughed! It's a shame Pete ruined the evening slightly by drunkenly picking fights with everyone he saw, but the rest of the evening was just hilarious, and you had all managed to get rid of him eventually. The whole, brilliant night was just what you needed after a long week at work.

After coffee and breakfast you take the dog for a walk in the early autumn sunshine, and natter to occasional dog walkers you meet along the way. You find a nice park bench to sit down for a while, you are in no rush today. Your dog grins at you widely, and bounds off to play with her doggy friends as you absentmindedly gaze at the golden trees in the park, dreaming of your potential new career once your course has finished. Your best friend texts you to say thank you for the fun night, and sends a funny GIF that makes you chuckle again. You chat on text for a bit, and find out Pete was arrested and never made it home. He spent the night in a police cell. Poor Pete.

Calling the dog over to you, you clip on her lead, and take a slow walk home. Once there, you make yourself a coffee, grab your laptop, and mull over this weeks study module. So exciting... it's marketing week! You will learn how to launch your business, and how best to find the clients you will soon be able to help in the same way you were helped all those years ago. The course is invigorating and super interesting, really good stuff, and it motivates you. You switch your browser over to your website, and create a new blog post, telling the world about all the wonderful things that have happened to you ever since you gave up drinking those insidious few drops of alcohol that had once controlled your days and nights. With delight you notice your traffic is rising steadily, and you even have a new subscriber to your newsletters! It makes you smile uncontrollably, and another shiver of excitement travels down your chest into your stomach.

As you get up to make some lunch, you marvel at how much happier you feel, now that alcohol is not stealing your life away. You have a brand new game downloaded on your PC, and you plan on spending a relaxing afternoon playing it, before going out again to see friends again tonight. You smile to yourself. Life feels so good. You are so lucky.

Take 3: You right now.

Does this read like a fairy tale to you? It really, truly does not have to, you know.

"Big Alcohol" - the brands you buy every night - make a LOT of money by making you ill every night. By poisoning you. And then your body has to get rid of all those toxins, and this makes you sick too.

Big alcohol brands spend billions every week on glamorous adverts which promise the world and give you nothing but worry, anxiety and pain. Just like the tobacco industry before.

Why let them use you like this?

Get mad. Get even. Get out. There is a happy ending for you when you are free. And I can help you get there if you like.

Love always, have a great weekend!

Amanda x

Happy dog - sliding doors

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