My Not So Secret Diary

Freedom of Opinion?

I was really surprised recently to read an article online about an advert trying to bring awareness to the fact that, ‘Drink is a Drug,’ was banned in Ireland as it was deemed too ‘political’. It seems that the campaign is being promoted to target teenagers, as opposition to the current adverts promoting the fun and social side of drinking, and instead, to educate them to the dangers of it.

Declan Bourke, the Campaign spokesman argues the point, saying, “Is it okay for our children to be exposed to messages glorifying drink and drawing positive associations with sport and aspirational living, but not to see an ad pointing out the dangers of underage drinking?” I have to say I agree with him.

While I can’t say that all advertising is fair as clearly it is all there for a purpose, paid for by the company wishing to profit, I do wonder if, especially when it is health related like this, there should be a more broad perspective provided, rather than just promoting one aspect which will ultimately lead to bigger sales. I feel like by showing the public the side effects and the negative elements, it gives them a chance to make an informed decision rather than base it on one side of the argument.

I think really there should be stricter rules around the advertising of alcohol, or at least on the promotion of it. I think some of the emphasis should be removed from the ‘fun’ it provides, fair play if people want to drink, I just don’t think we need to be conditioned to rely on it. If we can tighten up the advertising rules for cigarettes and junk food, surely we can include alcohol? What do you all think?

Thanks for reading.


Alcohol Free Bars

“…we are starting 2020 with a celebration. A celebration of alcohol-free.” When an article starts like this, it’s definitely going to catch my attention! Brewdog, a craft beer company, are announcing their first Alcohol Free Bar, which opened this week in London.

Okay, so I know that alcohol removed beers and wines can be a point of controversy for lots of us that no longer drink alcohol, but isn’t it refreshing to see something where not drinking is for once being promoted. Although a pilot scheme, everything on offer in the bar is alcohol free, making sure there will be no room for error when ordering at the bar, and I have to say, I think it’s a great idea.

I’m not sure that I’ll be making a visit any time soon, because I don’t really know where I stand on drinking anything that resembles alcohol now, but the idea of being able to is nice. Knowing that if I did go there, I wouldn’t be the odd one out, or the only one not under the influence. Claiming that this is the world’s first alcohol free bar, I love the fact that there is a venue which isn’t focused on wine or beer sales, and yet is still providing a bit of a vibrant atmosphere.

This month, The Brewdog AF Bar are running “Drink All You Can Jan,” where they are providing free refills which makes a pleasant change to all the traditional Dry January campaigns. It feels like for once, we don’t have to feel like we might miss out by choosing not to drink, but instead we get to participate in something a little bit fun and quirky.

Finally something in the news that I approve of!

Here’s the link if you’d like to read more, and if any of you have been, let me know, I’d love to know what you think!

Thanks for reading!



Writing this blog is helping me work things through.

I know that people with addictions are all triggered by different things but recently I’ve noticed just how varied the range is. I’m a member of a couple of groups where certain things are banned as they could trigger a relapse, but then other things are posted which can affect the balance of the group. Rules are there to protect all members and so things like posting while under the influence aren’t allowed. It’s interesting how many different things can affect the way people think. For example, for me, I’m really affected by adverts portraying the ‘fun’ people have when drinking, it’s normally food adverts with family gathered around the table. They make me feel abnormal, because I can’t do the things the people in the adverts can. I can’t pour that glass to celebrate, and sometimes, I just wish I could. So that bothers me. Other things don’t, like adverts for non-alcoholic drinks and yet that really upset someone in one of the groups recently. They felt it supported a pro-alcohol movement, and I’m not sure that I agree, as for me, wine with the alcohol removed did play a part in my recovery. I know though, that it doesn’t work for everyone. Most things aren’t a one-size-fits-all.

So obviously we can’t all avoid everything that might be a possible trigger, I know I am not going to avoid the TV in case I see an advert or a portrayal of an addict that I don’t like. But how far should we push ourselves? Over Christmas although there was no wine in the house, I found a real trigger in having my in-laws come over, as we used to enjoy a few drinks together. I guess, although it is a trigger to me, and did make me wobble, I shouldn’t avoid it, as no one was actively drinking, it was just a situation that bothered me, and actually, although I do have a drink problem, not everything in the world should be about me and my problem. I wonder if I should have pushed myself more, if I should be going out more, and more able to be around other people drinking without thinking about it? I’m not sure, I don’t have the answer for that yet, but I’m hoping I will work it out soon.

Thanks for reading.


Do We Really Need More Excuses?

It might not be available locally, but I saw this advert before Christmas and it caught my eye, “Aldi are now selling $25 handbags you can pour wine from.” I know most of us have a local Aldi now, and after a quick internet search, I see this sort of thing is largely available online in most of the world.

I couldn’t believe it when I scanned through the article, not only is this being marketed as a stylish and desirable item, it is being regarded as clever for it’s hidden compartment allowing you to hide wine, and of course the writer suggests that, “It’s the handbag set to be on every mum’s Christmas wish list this year.” I can tell you now, it wasn’t on mine.

Do we really need to have items like this? If someone is going out for a picnic or similar, then surely they don’t need to hide the wine? What market is this really aiming for if it is targeted at mums and suggested that the wine needs to be secreted away to, “dispense whenever you fancy.”

Of course the article is supported by many claims from mums, illustrating the value and need for the bag in their lives. I wonder though, do you really need wine in your bag to take the kids out? One mum claimed it is a must for park play dates, and that seems really sad to me. Again, you know I don’t drink any more, but I get that many people do and can enjoy the odd one here and there. I’m just not sure that hiding a bottle in your bag seems like a good idea for anyone. I think one of the problems with addiction is the need to hide what we drink, and not face up to it. Surely this sort of item just encourages that along with the growing emphasis on ‘wine o’clock’?

I’d love to know what you all think.

Once again, thank you for reading, and the link to the article is below if you want a read.


Non-Alcoholic Wine

Non-Alcoholic Wine
After a Christmas parkrun with two of my lovely kiddies.

I had a great gaping hole in my life when I first stopped drinking, Part of that was the extra time and the chaotic mind I’d acquired but I also was used to having a glass in my hand for a large part of the evening. I’m a creature of habit and wanting to fix things as quickly as I could, I decided alcohol free wine would be a good replacement. I know there are very mixed feelings about this, it seems to be really good for some people, and a painful reminder for others. Bearing in mind I’d been drinking for a good few years, it was strange not to have a wine glass in my hand, other glasses didn’t cut it for me in the evening and a mug was certainly not okay. I had a friend in recovery that actually resorted to drinking milk in a wine glass for similar reasons.

Many people crave sugar when they stop drinking, it seems that both alcohol and sugar boost dopamine in our body, this gives us a feeling of pleasure. Obviously when we don’t get this from alcohol (and many drinkers are getting it in large quantities) we look elsewhere for it. Cutting alcohol and sugar from your lifestyle might be a contributing factor into why many drinkers lose weight when they stop drinking. For me it was the other way round, I put on quite a lot of weight because I started eating properly again.

I did crave sugar though, biscuits with my tea where my greatest weakness, as was chocolate in the evening. But none of it hit the same spot as a nice cold glass of wine. That was where the non-alcoholic wine came in. I spent many an hour googling how much alcohol was in these bottles that said they had the alcohol removed. I was pleased to find out that they were ‘safe’ and actually had health benefits! It seemed too good to be true. It wasn’t the same, but at least I could have it in the house. To start with it was fine, and to be honest, I drank it for a good year before the same panicky feelings started to come back. I had to make sure that there was some in the house at all times, especially on Sundays when the shops shut earlier. It began to remind me more and more of drinking real wine.

Then I had a melt down in our local supermarket. I’d been shopping with my biggest and littlest boys. I had a normal amount of shopping and in it was a couple of bottles of non-alcoholic wine. I was scanning it as normal when the baby started to cry and so I turned to him to check he was okay. My other lovely son carried on scanning… when I came to pay I was asked for ID. I gave it, and then my son was asked. The cashier was so rude, and told me that she needed Joe’s as he had ‘handled’ the alcohol. I told her 1) it was alcohol free and 2) it was mine, and may have said something like, “Look in the trolley, you can see it’s all mine. He isn’t partying with a box of cereal and toilet rolls is he?” I told her that I was paying, but had been distracted and was just comforting my baby and she accused me of lying, saying he hadn’t been crying at all. That escalated the situation somewhat to me in tears, reporting said cashier to her supervisor who upon being made aware of the situation apologised profusely and offered me the bottles anyway.

At this point I was so over it, I felt vulnerable, frustrated and stupid. I knew I was possibly over-reacting, but the challenge didn’t help me, as I was still just trying to get by, and at that point, it felt like they had cut off my life line, by refusing me my non-alcoholic wine. It just showed how confusing my relationship with wine was. It made me resentful of buying something like that and being put in that situation. I refused it then, and left, I wished I’d left the rest of the shopping too, I was that angry. And because I was so angry, even though that was our local supermarket, we didn’t use the shop in over a year and half. I refused, and my husband supported me. I know the cashier wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but having someone accuse me of lying hit a sensitive spot.

It was at this point I realised that the alcohol removed wine would have to go to. It had done it’s job, and it was time. I have about four bottles in the house, but haven’t drunk any in months. I even wondered whether to have a glass over Christmas and New Year, as I am of course ‘allowed’ to, but it’s strange, for the first time, it would seem like a real step backwards for me. Even using a wine glass would, and that was something that felt like an extension of my hand for a long time. So things change, and I guess, I am changing too.

Thanks for reading!