mental health not defectiveI often hear people refer to their alcohol problem as ‘a weakness’, or a sign that they are weak people. But I don’t think this is a helpful view, as it labels the person negatively and discourages change.

Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or alcohol problems, can be thought of not as a weakness, nor a defect, but merely as a sign that someone is not functioning at their best. Very few people function perfectly, most of us function well enough, and some of us don’t function that well; it’s a sliding scale.

If instead we consider mental health problems, including alcoholism, as a sign that a person is further down the scale of functioning than they would like to be, perhaps there is more room for manoeuvre.

Similarly, people who are emotionally ‘strong’ can still struggle, or have periods when they’re not functioning well, or have faults.

Many of us will have grown up with the belief that if we don’t achieve certain standards, then we’re not acceptable, or not worthy of love. But that would make most of the human race unacceptable; so perhaps we can consider that we are still worthy of love and acceptance despite our flaws, our bad habits, and our difficulties.