My Not So Secret Diary


Advice Claire Hatwell recovery blog My Not So Secret Diary - writing, addiction, alcohol abuse, mental health Cornwall
I’m seeing more and more blogs turn up online lately. It’s obvious to see that nowadays it’s easier to get your work out there for people to read. A few years ago, the only way of having work read by others was to submit and have it accepted by a publisher or magazine. Now it’s relatively easy to set up a website, blog, Facebook or Instagram account to share your thoughts, and like me, I expect a lot of people gain a lot of clarity through sorting through and sharing their thoughts. On the other hand, what worries me is that some of the ‘advisors’ out there are actually only just themselves beginning to explore their own sobriety. How can you advise someone else when you haven’t finished working on yourself? I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be out there or that I am better. That isn’t my intention at all. I suppose I just worry that someone might suggest something detrimental and I know from experience when I was at my lowest point that I was naive, impressionable and vulnerable.

I share my thoughts because I hope it helps. Reading the experiences of others certainly helped me, and still does. It unites us against a common enemy. It stops us from feeling alone. But, and this is quite a big but; I don’t advise. I can share what worked or didn’t work for me, but our lives and our experiences are very different. Those things might not be the same for anyone else.

I also felt I was doing something wrong when I repeatedly read (and still sometimes do read) comments about how cutting out the drink fixed things straight away. I thought I was doing sobriety wrong and I wondered if there was something wrong with me, because all cutting out wine did for me was expose how poor my mental health was. Suddenly, instead of just a drinking problem, I had to worry about my mind too. I just wanted to get better and reading about people who one week or a month into their sobriety were sleeping better with a huge improvement in their anxiety did nothing to make me feel better. It just made me feel worse.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t share our experiences. In fact, I feel very strongly that we should. I just shy away from the idea of dishing out advice. I hope my experiences help others, but truthfully, I have no idea. I can only hope for the best. I don’t profess to be an expert in addiction or recovery, but I have been there so I do understand. I’m wary of anyone or anything that makes a promise to help or fix a problem. Especially when they charge for the service, or offer advice and expertise when they haven’t been sober for that long. To me, a promise should only be made when you can guarantee it will be met, otherwise you’re in danger of building up hopes and letting people down.

If you’re in recovery, just remember, everyone’s personal experience is different. There is no right or wrong. Just do what feels right for you and remember to be kind to yourself. Things do get better.

Take care of yourselves.
Claire x