Numbing pain with drugs, alcohol, shopping, food and people pleasing are the everyday crutches that women are increasingly leaning on to cope with the emotional pain they feel in their lives. It’s a fact. Women are drinking more. We’re twice as likely to drink in ways that would put us at risk of harm* and addiction rates are climbing.
Angela Raspass – known as the Australia’s answer to Brené Brown - knows only too well the impact of being a ‘high functioning alcoholic’ which is why she today launches #MyNextChapter2017, an awareness raising campaign for women who are hiding, struggling with self-confidence or maybe don’t realise the full grip that an addiction has on them.
#MyNextChapter2017 is aimed at women in their forties and beyond who are going through transition; whether its overcoming addiction, moving through divorce, starting a business, re-entering the workforce after children or wanting to cross some other personal frontier.
The hashtag will be used across social media channels and Raspass says, “the aim is to get women to share a photo and a commitment to one new project they’d like to focus on in 2017. I want to create a place of community, support, camaraderie and a place of belonging where women can heal, reconnect with themselves, build their confidence, support each other, and for some, perhaps start to admit they may need help.”
Raspass’s own story is one that from the outside looked perfect, but inside she felt very different.
Raspass says, “from the outside, I had a 'charmed life'. Great husband, two gorgeous kids, a nice house in the suburbs, lovely friends, a successful corporate marketing career followed by a small business I ran from home.
“But underneath I was unhappy and unfulfilled, struggling with debilitating self-doubt and carrying a massive load of guilt for feeling that way. I was in the midst of a spiralling self-worth crisis and unfortunately, rather than seek help for the way I felt, I increasingly turned to alcohol as an anaesthetic. I loved the way it quietened the doubts and turned down the volume on the judgmental voice that harassed me from the inside."
"A lot of women self-soothe like this. Many, like me, turn to alcohol, for others it’s shopping, drugs, food, exercise, people-pleasing – we can be very inventive in the ways in which we push away our doubts. But if you’re doing this to dull your emotions you can find it gets out of hand. And as I discovered, when you numb the bad emotions, you also numb the good. Your life can become very dark."
"Eventually, with help and support, I flicked that switch and stopped numbing myself and now have 10 years of sobriety and lessons to draw upon. And as I began to grow again, my confidence has returned and my life and business have flourished. Being a part of a supportive community in the recovery movement has been a big part of my journey – women benefit enormously from hearing similar stories so they know they are not alone."
“What spurs me on today is that I don’t want any other women to feel as crappy as I felt, to be stuck in the quicksand, for as long as I was. It’s about rebuilding their confidence, showing how they can leverage their life experience and build their self-worth back up.”
The #MyNextChapter2017 Campaign launches today and runs until 31 January and aims to amass hundreds of photos to inspire women to embrace life. For more information go to www.angelaraspass.com/mynextchapter