Welcome to my July Entries. For the current month, please click on 'My Diary'
I really feel recently I’ve found my people. I didn’t know I was looking for them, but I found them anyway. I’ve told you all before, I’m quite self sufficient and more than happy to spend time on my own, and with my family. I didn’t necessarily have friends to chat to, but I also didn’t feel lonely. I isolated myself a bit really, I think I’m always afraid of feeling judged, and not good enough. I’m happy in myself, but also I suppose at times a little insecure and my sense of self worth is fragile, so I don’t want to rock the boat.
I stepped out of my comfort zone recently and joined the Bee Sober team, becoming an ambassador and coach which makes me feel like I’m giving something back. Although I’ve been writing this blog for a few years now, I feel like I can be the person that I wanted to talk to in the rocky days of sobriety and even now. I’m approaching five years, and although everything is way more balanced and I am happier, stronger and healthier, I still have wobbly moments. They don’t usually involve me even thinking about drinking anymore, it’s more of an unsettled feeling. I normally have this feeling of having done something wrong, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. It’s annoying. So anyway, I’ve digressed. What I mean, is that by being in this group of people, all in various stages of sobriety, I feel understood. We may not know each other, or have anything in common, and yet without explaining anything, we get each other. We know because we’ve been there. We all understand through our different experiences what we’ve each been through, and we don’t judge. It’s supportive and accepting, and I think that by being more and more open to share what I’ve been through, I’ve come to accept myself more.
Then, as someone who doesn’t do group activities, I joined a group of wild swimmers. It was something I’d wanted to do for ages, but I was still nervous to go on my first swim with them, as like normal, I didn’t think I’d fit in, that I’d be the odd one out for some reason, and yet, they just accepted me. I took my daughter, who also likes to swim, and we had a lovely time. I’ve made some great friends, well, we both have. It doesn’t matter about age, ability or anything else, once you’re in the water, you’re all the same and no one gets left behind. We are a diverse bunch, so there’s always something to talk about. Katie and I still swim on our own, but having this group of other swimmers is a welcome encouragement to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. I even met them at 7am one Sunday for an early morning swim, something I certainly would never have managed when I had been drinking.
I don’t advertise to them the fact I don’t drink, but I don’t hide it either. I’m not ashamed of it, but it isn’t the first thing out of my mouth, because I’ve realised it isn’t the only thing that defines me. So recently, a few of us were talking, while swimming, about having a girls camping trip to some far off beaches and one of them suggested having a few drinks. I thought I’d be honest, and told them I didn’t drink, mostly because I felt comfortable. I didn’t excuse it, I just told them and you know what, they didn’t bat an eyelid! Not even when I told them why. My standard reason is that I’ve already drunk enough to last me a life time. I have never felt so accepted for who I am, without question. It was lovely, and somewhat unexpected.
I’d heard about the benefits of cold water swimming for wellbeing, but I’ve found it really helps. One lady describes the water as her happy place, and I have to agree. Even when it’s a bit cold! But maybe it’s helped by the fact I like myself a lot more than I used to, and because of that, I’m letting other people into my life too. I’m not sure that I care really why it works, I just know that I feel the happiest and calmest I have for years. Long may it continue!
I hope you have a lovely weekend!
Another beautiful day for wild swimming. Nothing like it to clear your mind! This is me and my daughter after a morning swim.
If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would have said you would be mad to suggest I didn’t drink. It was everything I associated with fun and enjoyment, and the thought of stopping was terrifying. The thing is, it’s an addictive drug, and it’s hard to shake off the need, but once you do, you find life is so much better. It’s liberating being sober, I love being alcohol free. Who knows, you might too?
It’s so good to be able to get out and enjoy some fresh air, see some beautiful sights and chat with other ladies. It definitely helps me feel more relaxed too!!
A beautiful but rather wet walk across Bodmin Moor ending with a lovely swim in a hidden quarry with The Bluetits - the things I do now are so different, but I love it!
This speech is one of the post inspiring and brave things I have seen in a long time. Thank you Dan Carden for sharing this!https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2021/jul/01/choose-to-live-dan-carden-emotional-commons-pride-speech-about-alcohol-addiction-video
There are so many of us about now, and we all are offering events and lounges, if you’re in the #cornwall area I’d love to see you at my next meet up! #Repost @beesober.cic···If you would love to connect with like-minded sober people, join one of our Bee Sober Ambassador-led groups. There are groups across the UK and beyond, and new ones are popping up all the time!Bee Sober Ambassador groups are all about connection, meeting new people, supporting one another, and having fun. Browse through our Ambassadors today and get in touch.If you're confident in your sobriety and feel ready to lead a sober social group in your area, then why not become a Bee Sober Ambassador yourself and represent our amazing brand.Australia | Birmingham and the Black Country | Bolton | Bristol | Chester | Chorlton | Cornwall | Dorset | Durham | Falmouth | Liverpool & Wirral | London | Manchester | Oxfordshire | Preston | Sheffield & Rotherham | Surrey | Tameside | West Didsbury | West Midlands https://www.beesoberofficial.com/.../find-a-group-near-you
I am working on something new right now, but I have a question for you all. If you were looking for a book to help you stop drinking, and inspire you to live a sober life, what would you want to find in it? xx
Thinking back I don't think it was so common to talk about sobriety openly around the time I got sober which is almost five years ago now. I mean, I did in groups, but there wasn't the ease of chatting on-line so much as there is now. Maybe we can thank the pandemic for that, it's made us all fairly proficient with online meetings, something I hadn't done before, and now we're all jumping on and inviting people into our homes, even if it is virtually!
I joined forums when I was newly sober, often under an assumed name, and I never met anyone, because I didn’t know how to find people like me. I felt like there was a lot of shame attached to my addiction, and while I’m not saying that’s gone, the freedom in which we can meet now can only help shake that feeling off. The more we can share our experiences, the more normal we realise they are. The forums were helpful of course, but there was an element of writing and then hoping someone would write back, which of course you'd have to log back on to check. With social media it’s much the same. You know people are out there but maybe not quite as and when you need them. Meeting in some form of virtual chat room on the other hand allows you to chat instantly almost as if you are in the same room.
I'm one of many who run free drop in lounges now for those who are on their sober journeys. It's not formal or pressured but there's at least one on per day, every day, so wherever you are in the world if you need to chat someone should be available. It provides support when you need it and a place to talk to those in a similar situation without judgement. It can really help through the tricky times.
I heard something the other day that got me thinking because it was so true. You see, when you meet someone else in recovery, you don't have to know them or even like them, because right from that first moment, you have something in common with them. It's unlikely you'll be able to shock them, because they've probably had some shocking moments too, and you won't have to explain anything, because you know what, they've been there!
It's quite liberating finding your sober community. I'm not saying you have to limit your activities to just sober groups or even social activities to just sober people, but adding them in is quite a help. You suddenly have a group where you can let your guard down and be you. I'm not saying you have to relive every moment of your journey, or dissect all of your actions but I’ve found, rather than packing them away and leaving them in a box, letting them out helps you let go. At least it has for me.
I find it a relief to talk to people who are like me. It’s nice to know we aren't the only ones, that we might find things challenging, but there are other people out there who do to, and like them, we can overcome it.
The sober community is growing, we’re getting stronger, individually and together. We’re finding we can turn our backs on the way we lived and the reliance on the substance we thought helped us. We can live better lives and I for one am grateful that I found a tribe of people who can help me, as I can help them, as we journey down our paths.
Have a great day everyone.