EASTERN EYE April 11, 2008
SANITA was a brainy A-level student
poised for a lucrative career as a lawyer
– until she grew addicted to alcohol.
She turned to booze to help her cope with the
pressure from her family to succeed. In a sad
irony, her addiction caused her to flunk her ex-
ams, miss out on university and feel like a sui-
cidal wreck. It got so bad that she was soon
pouring a 70cl bottle of vodka down her throat
The 23-year-old told Eastern Eye: “My addic-
tion started when I was just 17. I was stressed
with my studies, my family, and not having any-
one to talk to.
“It was easy for me to smuggle alcopops in
my room and then rinse my mouth or drink
when everyone else had gone to bed. This pro-
gressed to harder drinks. I lost motivation and
got bad [A-level] results. I ended up lying to my
family about my ‘ill health’.
“I stopped seeing friends, suffered loss of ap-
petite, had stomach cramps and period prob-
lems. I was thinking of taking an overdose, I
hated myself. After four years of this misery, and
with the help of my GP, I detoxed at home, with
only my sister knowing.
“I also attended the women’s support group
at the Drug and Alcohol Action Programme.
“Young people do not realise how much alco-
hol can affect them.”
This week is Alcohol Concern’s national alco-
hol awareness week. It and other leading groups
have told EE that the trend of British-Asian wo-
men between the ages of 17 and 40 who drink
heavily has reached crisis point.
Unlike the weekend binge-drinking culture of
desi revellers in pubs and clubs, desi women
often drink at home in secret to escape prob-
lems such as domestic violence.
Treatment groups claim they hide alcopops
and spirits in the house, and even borrow or
steal money to fund their addiction. They have
slammed the government for failing to make
treatment services suitable for such women to
deal with language and cultural barriers.