Huffpost UK Lifestyle
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Go Giver: Two Women Set Up Addictive Daughter To Offer 'Savvy, Sexy Self-Help'

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For a lot of us, our teens and twenties are about experimentation, getting drunk on 99p shots and wondering why there's a shopping trolley on your lawn. It's something most of us grow out of, but for the few of us that have addictive personalities, it can be deadly.

But whether you're the addict or you someone you love is slowly but surely self-destructing, where do you turn for help?

Addictive Daughter, the self-help programme set up by two women with 'addictive personalities' - Persia, 28, and Joey, 26 - fits that gap perfectly. It helps parents who are exasperated and don't know what to do, and most importantly it helps young women who are lost and don't quite know how to find themselves or fix the situation.

addicted daughter

As they say reassuringly on the website: "Addictive Daughter will help you to shift your mind-set and re-focus that chaotic, destructive energy into creating a life of satisfaction, excitement and purpose."

There's nothing quite like this in the UK.

Sure, there are drug and alcohol charities but they're just a little bit too straight. This is for young women, by young women and the language is helpful but not patronising, understanding but not judgmental.

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The two ladies met while training at drama school in London and moved in together soon after graduation. While studying together they witnessed each other making "some pretty destructive lifestyle choices".

Talking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle about what brought them to their lowest point, Persia said: "We’re from very different backgrounds in lots of ways. I am the daughter of two addicts and had quite a chaotic childhood until my parents got sober when I was in my teens, whereas Joey’s upbringing was much more stable and conventional.

"Despite our differences, we were both reckless teenagers – involved in drinking and boys from an early age. Fast-forward a good few years… we both found ourselves partying a lot, jumping from one toxic relationship to another, feeling lost in our careers and wondering what the point of it all was, really."

They had different approaches and triggers for addiction, which proves that a one-size-fits-all approach to being sober doesn't always suit.

Joey says: "I for one am not brilliant with moderation. Before I gave up drinking alcohol two years ago, I struggled with drinking moderately. It’s not that I was out every night of the week, but when I did drink, I didn’t seem to have access to the stop button."

Whereas Persia was a lot more frequent in her habits.

"At drama school, I’d often turn up to ballet first thing still high or horrendously hungover from the night before. The reason I used substance was to give me confidence around men, because my biggest addiction – like Joey – was to love.

"Joey had a habit of being co-dependent in relationships – often failing to focus on herself and her own life at the expense of the person she was with. When her relationships inevitably broke down, it had a pretty devastating effect as she hadn’t been nurturing the others areas of her life and so sh*t really hit the fan across the board!"

Self-esteem, unsurprisingly was a huge factor. Persia sought validation through men - cheating on a partner the moment she had won their affections - while Joey slogged away at getting the most hopeless relationships to work.

"Our lowest point was also our biggest blessing. We both got cheated on and dumped on the same day by our addict boyfriends. We’d let our friendship drift apart in the months preceding this and both feeling like we’d lost our sense of selves in a relationship yet again, decided that something significant had to change," says Persia.

There came a turning point for both of them. Both of them had to decide whether they wanted to exist in the same destructive pattern they had always been in, or change.

"When we were in that low place, we began to see we had spent such a lot of energy pursuing short-term highs (substance, fixing on relationships to make us feel better, shopping, chasing the idea of outer “success”). All of these things were external and no matter how much we had, it never seemed to be enough," says Joey.

"We asked ourselves: what would happen if we put the same amount of energy into pursuing all things positive as we have chasing the crazy destructive stuff?"

And so the seeds of Addictive Daughter were sown.

First they had to work on their own recovery. So they started self-help and explored other ways of boosting their spirituality. Soon enough, their sense of self-worth returned slowly and this mean they made better choices.

The final push came when they tried to share their version of self-help and realised that it "wasn’t really marketed in a way that speaks to the bright, young things of today – it felt reserved for middle-aged folk going through their mid-life crisis."

They also feel quite strongly about how young people are talked about in the media with regards to drinking.

"There’s so much in the press about ‘binge-drinking Britain’" says Persia, "but little exploration as to why our is seeking escapism in this way. From our experience, it’s got much more to do with how, as young people, we are learning to deal with our realities."

website

Drinking heavily in Britain is also seen as totally normal. In fact if you don't do it, you're not normal. "Social media has definitely normalised heavy drinking," says Joey. "You only need to look at a 20-something’s newsfeed on a Sunday morning to find all sorts of hangover-related status updates."

Addictive Daughter has a mentor programme (called Sister Sister that is done through Skype), self-help, online resources and life-coaching. There's also a test, loads of helpful videos and articles to provide support if you can't talk to your parents or your friends about what's going on.

For a lot of people, it can be a mountainous task trying to acknowledge you need help in the first place.

Joey says gently: "Whatever your addictive behavior is, it’s about getting honest with yourself about what role it plays in your life.

"For both of us, ‘fun’ nights out began to be followed by a full day wiped out in bed with feelings of paranoia and impending doom - often we couldn’t actually remember much of the night before at all! The cons definitely began to outweigh the pros."

Persia adds: "Love addiction is massively common in women as by nature, we tend to be nurturing. So many of us stay in relationships that don’t serve us, or lose ourselves in our partners and forget about who we are and what we want from life. Often, it’s only when a relationship falls apart and we’re left broken and alone that we realize how far we’ve slipped."

The initiative has done very well from the start, and they've received lots of positive feedback.

"We’ve had a lot of feedback from girls who have felt supported by Addictive Daughter when they have felt like they had nowhere else to turn," says Joey. "When you’re feeling alone, stuck and desperate, it’s a place that I think offers hope and a solution.

"We’ve helped lots of girls through heartbreak, through changing their lifestyle choices. By helping women look at their behaviours and begin to really value themselves, they become aware that they can make different choices that in turn, completely turn their lives around."

As for what the future holds, the girls have a busy year ahead. They already speak at a lot of engagements and workshops, they'll be featuring in Russell Brand's A Royal Hangover documentary about binge-drinking, and a book offer may be in the offing.

For the near future, they will be launching a YouTube series called Life Nuggets and for now, you can visit their Facebook page or sign up to the newsletter if you want some regular advice.

Visit the Addicted Daughter website for more information.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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