My Not So Secret Diary

Welcome to my January Entries. For the current month, please click on 'My Diary'

Sober Thoughts


My Book!

thirdI never thought I'd be able to hold a book in my hands and say, "I wrote this!" - Feeling pretty proud of myself!

Reality TV

Reality TVSince the start of the pandemic, I’ll admit I’ve got a little sucked in to reality TV. Before I might occasionally watch a show, but not religiously and I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t and don’t watch all of them, even now.

I think it’s the escapism for me. The break from reality. Watching ‘The Great British Bake Off,’ and I’m not a great cook, is just nice. There’s no drama, unless a cake burns, and no arguments. In the world we’re living in right now, with all the worry and illness and death, it’s just nice to enjoy something safe and happy.

On the other side of it I’ve also enjoyed a bit of ‘Love Island’, I think mainly because I like the romance of it, and hope everyone will end up happy ever after. I know that’s unlikely, but it still makes me smile.

Just recently we’ve started watching ‘The Cabins’, and while I can’t say I was too fussed, I said I’d watch it with my daughter and it sucked us in a little. The idea is two people get matched and put in a cabin to see if love blossoms. There’s three couples on the site at once and they don’t see each other at all. It sounds random, but in some ways it’s quite sweet seeing people getting to know each other, a kind of socially distanced ‘Blind Date’. The thing that surprises me is that how much some of them drink. Now I know they’re young, and most probably nervous, but I really don’t know how healthy it is to encourage that sort of behaviour. That possibly sounds a little high and mighty and I don’t mean it to, I just worry that by showing people who seem to need to have a lot to drink just to be able to talk to someone they like, I feel we’re reinforcing the need to drink. One couple seemed to really suit each other but I really felt for both of them when one drank so much he was sick in the bed, leaving the other to tidy up the mess and sort the dog out.

It’s hard viewing to see someone drinking so much for dutch courage that they spoil their night. It was even worse to see the other being so kind and generally picking up all the pieces. I’m not sure which one I felt more sorry for.

I’m not saying that we should remove all alcohol from TV, I just worry that by showing characters, whether fictional or real on it, relying on drinking then we’re showing our youngsters that is what we should do. We’re also reinforcing the behaviour for people who struggle to regulate, because I know full well I would have loved an excuse to make my drinking seem normal.

The other thing that was interesting was seeing one or two of them wake up with hangovers. It really reminded me of how I used to feel, and I tell you what, it really made me think how grateful I am not to feel like that anymore. Ever.

It’s funny how things change isn’t it? It’s nice to look back and realise how far I’ve come. It’s refreshing to see the odd person on the shows admit that they don’t drink either. It reminds me that I’m not the only one in the world who doesn’t drink. It also reminds me that it doesn’t have to be a choice because we have no other. Some people are just wise enough to not need to start drinking in the first place. In some ways I’m envious, in other ways I think I had to walk the path I did to get to where I am now.

I can’t say seeing people drinking to excess is enjoyable, but at the same time, it’s easier than it used to be and if it serves as a reminder of how I was then I don’t suppose that’s a bad thing.

Thank you as always for reading.
Claire xx

Reasons to be Grateful

Getting sober was a massive challenge for me as many of you probably know. I was afraid to admit I had a problem with alcohol, because by doing that I was effectively saying I was going to do something about it and I didn't know how. Back then I literally didn't see the point in a life without wine.

Fast forward four years and four months and I can tell you it's a different story now. I'm not saying getting here was easy, because as anyone who's ever been addicted to anything will tell you it’s not. Is it worth it? Yes! 100% and that is something I never thought I’d say.

Let me tell you why - in no particular order of greatness...

  • No hangovers in the morning. I don’t miss that foggy headedness one little bit!
  • No regrets about drinking the night before, because I haven’t!
  • No worrying about whether I’ll be able to drink later, because I won’t.
  • No random illnesses, worries about illnesses, or concerns about illnesses (all drink related).
  • The ability to concentrate on something I'm reading or watching, to get to the end and generally be able to remember it in the morning.
  • The freedom to be able to go out and drive my car whenever I want without even thinking about it. No matter how late it is!
  • Keeping a level head in an argument, although arguments happen less often now anyway. I used to lose the plot a little, lose track of what the argument even was about and get muddled up. Now I can make my point and keep a clear head.
  • I’m less likely to embarrass myself, either in public, or on social media.
  • I don't panic in the morning and have to check my phone for things I've said or posted or sent that were supposed to be funny and weren't.
  • I don't have to pretend to remember things I don't.
  • I’m not constrained to what I can or can't do based on whether I'm planning to get home for a drink or not.
  • I don't wake up in a panic in the morning. Okay this one is a lie; I sometimes do, but it's because of my anxiety, not because I've been drinking.

In general, everything is a little easier. I’m calmer, more balanced, more settled in my mind. I don't escalate quite like I used to. Life isn't such a challenge oh, and I'm not panicking over wine supplies or stock-piling during Lockdown. I honestly don't know how I would have managed!

All in all life without alcohol is a good place for me to be! Just remember the hard work pays off in the end, and by choosing not to drink, we really aren’t missing out on anything!

Much love as always.

The Fragility of Life

The Fragility of Life Stanley Hatwell my little boy covid 19 lockdown in cornwall writing for my blog my not so secret diary
What a year last year was! Who could ever have predicted at the beginning of the 2020 what a bumpy ride we’d be in for? But we had good points too, spending time together, getting to know people we live near that we wouldn't normally chat with, getting to help people…

For me, I enjoyed the slower pace of life that lockdowns have enforced. I've enjoyed making time for the simple things. But, times have been trying too. We haven't been able to connect. We've been kept apart from those we love and care about. We haven't even been able to visit our loved ones in hospitals. It's difficult when we live some distance from our family when it's not just counties dividing us, but tiers too. When we hear someone is in hospital we are powerless. We can't see them and even if we could get close we wouldn't be allowed in. It’s for our protection too though isn't it? Most of us do understand the reasons for the distance - we know we're protecting ourselves and our families by following the rules, but that doesn't mean it feels any better.

We had some bad news recently. We're lucky in a lot of ways because we have a lot of older or 'at risk' people in our family and so far we've been okay. We’ve counted ourselves lucky and kept as safe as we could. Recently however, things have changed and several (younger) members of our extended family have contracted the virus. They all seem to be on the mend but then both of my husband’s Grandads fell ill and ended up in the hospital. One contracted Covid-19 while he was there. He did seem to be improving but I guess with these sorts of diseases, you never really know what's around the corner.

It got me thinking really, when you see it happen in front you, you realise just how fragile life is. How can it be that people who were 'fine' and relatively well a week or so ago are now needing ventilators? It's frightening how quickly this disease moves and how fast things change. It’s unbelievable to think that someone who was with us is no longer there and we can't even see them to say goodbye. At the end of this long and challenging life, they just slip away.

It’s so sad, but it also makes me think just how lucky we are. I know things are difficult at the moment. Everything is hard, whether you are young or old. I really feel for the kids who are still trying their hardest to learn but have lost the structure of school. But... just think of all the things we can do, even if we're in Lockdown. I'm sure all of us could find at least one thing we can be grateful for. Even during hard times I try to remember that, to remind myself the struggles usually have a reward and that, "Rainbows often follow storms.”

Especially now, but always I think we need to remember to be grateful for what and who we have and to take care of them, and ourselves.

Much love,
Claire xx


My Book

My Not So Secret Recovery by Claire Hatwell my blog My Not So Secret Diary - recovery addiction and life
For a long time I've been toying with the idea of writing a book about my journey. It's something I've always wanted to do, but however much I share here, it's almost scarier, even when I have so many of you that are so kind and encouraging.

I am so very excited, and also a little petrified to share this with you all....

I hope you like it!
Kindle version is available now, and the paperback will be available very soon, both on Amazon.

Much love,

Here's the link to it on Amazon -

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Sometimes, we all need to remember this! 💖💖💖

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I hope everyone is okay?

Take care of yourselves in this strange old time
💖 xx

Lockdown Stockpiling

Lockdown stockpiling
Lockdown stockpiling... I have been caught, and to be fair it’s not really lockdown - it started as I didn’t want to run out over Christmas. That’s nine boxes of coke behind the door in the utility! I’m just glad it is coke and not wine! Can you imagine what that would have looked like?! 😂😂