My Not So Secret Diary

Do I drink too much?

Claire Hatwell sober blogger and author for sobriety in Cornwall, UK inspiring and writing about shared sober experiences, soberme_claire, with Lee Hatwell
I realised something last night. Something I should probably have realised years ago… I drink more than the average person. I’m not talking about alcohol nowadays, just drinks in general. It was really noticeable yesterday at the party I went to as I watched my neighbours nurse one drink and make it last for ages, while I had several cans of coke. Now, of course I don’t drink alcohol, but back then it would have been no different. Other than the fact that I would have got drunk as the night worse on of course. Interesting isn’t it? So it is just me, or is that part of the way ‘we’ are? Are we just a thirstier bunch than those who don’t form addictions? Or am I drinking more as part of an old habit? Just thinking out loud really, but I’d be interested to hear what your thoughts are!

Magazine Articles

Claire Hatwell sober blogger and author for sobriety in Cornwall, UK inspiring and writing about shared sober experiences, soberme_claire, Low no drinker magazine
Well this arrived in the post yesterday! Have you got your copy of @lownodrinkermagazine yet? There’s loads inside, including a whole sober curious section, written by me 💖

Garden Parties

Claire Hatwell sober blogger and author for sobriety in Cornwall, UK inspiring and writing about shared sober experiences, soberme_claire
Real life proof that you can have fun, remain sober, and enjoy yourself at parties, even when other people are drinking. Once upon a time I wouldn’t have thought it was possible. Not only is it possible, it’s great. I didn’t just have a good time, I also won’t have a hangover or forget anything that happened today. I’m tired, because socialising is hard work for me, but so glad I went!

The Beach

Claire Hatwell sober blogger and author for sobriety in Cornwall, UK inspiring and writing about shared sober experiences, soberme_claire, summer evenings in Cornwall
The best evenings look like this… straight to the beach after school and work. Swimming in the sea, building sandcastles, making memories. 💖 Once upon a time, I needed to drink in the evenings, especially on a Friday night, but tonight, that would have ruined it all! 💖 Sober evenings at the beach are the best!


Claire Hatwell sober blogger and author for sobriety in Cornwall, UK inspiring and writing about shared sober experiences, soberme_claire
Today I am feeling grateful. Earlier our elderly neighbour bought us the most beautiful plant as a late house warming present. It was such a kind thought, and something she didn’t need to do. Then on top of that, last night there was a fire very close to our business. We could see the flames across town from our house, and the noise of tyres popping from the heat was actually what woke us up. Maybe describing a fire is a strange thing to be grateful for, but actually, I’m grateful for the fact that no one was hurt, that our community all jumped onto social media to contact other people, making sure that no one was left to find a nasty surprise this morning, and of course, I’m grateful that our business was okay. It was only half way through the day that I realised another thing to be grateful for… the fact that last night I didn’t drink, and when I needed to be, although tired (it was the middle of the night) I could be present and able to think clearly. This had the knock on effect of meaning that when I woke up, I wasn’t panicking about what I had or hadn’t done. Being sober gives me peace of mind, and of course, that is something I will always be grateful for.


lunch out with my daughter Katie Hatwell at Costa Launceston, Claire Hatwell sober blogger and author for sobriety in Cornwall, UK inspiring and writing about shared sober experiences, soberme_claire
And today, lunch looked like this 💖

A few years ago a lunch break from work would have involved a trip to the pub if there was any way I could wangle it… and then I would have been desperate to get home to continue where I’d left off. How times change!


Claire Hatwell sober blogger and author for sobriety in Cornwall, UK inspiring and writing about shared sober experiences, soberme_claire, Stanley Hatwell, mum, sober mum
I’ve tried before to articulate how when I started my sober journey, my feelings came back to life. It’s common to use alcohol to numb unwanted, unnecessary and unneeded emotions but it’s not meant to be that way. I was reading a book recently that really brought it home to me. We are alive and so we are meant to feel. If we didn’t, we’re not living our lives to the fullest. It’s not always going to be easy. Sometimes it’s going to be hard, but it’s all meant to be. No one said life was meant to be easy, but then the really good things seldom are and I for one want to enjoy it!

Secret Club

If you have kids you may have seen the ‘secret club’ episode of Peppa Pig… Or maybe you remember being in a secret club when you were a kid. I do. I also remember that I wanted to tell everyone I was in it so they’d know I was accepted. Although it was secret there was an element of trying to work out who else was in it, who was ‘like’ you, or your friend, and I guess we could tell. We had things in common. I feel like that a bit now with my not so secret club of sobriety. I’m proud to be a part of it, and yet, I often feel like I can guess who else is in it, even when they don’t announce it. Someone in the public eye opened up recently about their addiction, and it confirmed something I’d already assumed. At other times I’ve been approached by people I know who seem to have guessed about me without me saying. If you’d asked me years ago I would have said I didn’t want to be part of this club, but I was wrong; it’s a club I’m proud to be part of. It’s given me back my life, and I’m proud to be able to share exclusive membership with so many of you!


My favourite time of the evening… story time with my youngest. We’ve consumed a fair few books together, it’s quiet and peaceful and just lovely. A few years ago I would have rushed this time to get downstairs to finish my wine, or I would have had a glass upstairs with me. It makes me sad to think of all the times I rushed away, and while that won’t change it, it does remind me to enjoy this precious time while he’s so little and to take nothing for granted.


I was talking to my son last night, he’s 17 and has just left college. He’s just got a new job but he’s also just passed his driving test so his funds are limited… anyway, he was telling me how difficult it is to buy presents for me and his dad, as it’s fathers day here tomorrow. I told him we don’t need big gifts, but his point was that it would be easier to buy for us if we still drank because the supermarkets make it so easy to buy alcohol as presents. The aisles for Mother’s day especially always annoyed me, but until this conversation, I hadn’t really appreciated that society is brainwashing our kids into thinking special occasions equals alcohol, and that makes me sad and quite angry. I don’t know how we begin to change the way alcohol is sold and advertised, but I for one am glad I have the ability to tell my kids that drinking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They need balance and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of that in supermarkets during celebrations. My sobriety was too hard to earn to through it away. Alcohol wouldn’t make my life any better and I’m not missing out on anything by not drinking. One day I hope the rest of the world cottons on to that too! 💖


I remember a time when alcohol free options were really limited. Obviously we still have a long way to go, but how nice is it to see the range expanding in our ‘normal’ shops, so we can grab a treat when we’re shopping rather than having to make a special trip? Sobriety is becoming more mainstream!!


One of the most important factors in my recovery is the way I looked at alcohol. How we feel about it influences how well we’ll find living without it. For instance, if we tell ourselves that we’re missing out, that life isn’t good enough without it, then that’s how it will feel, and it will be harder. Instead, if we see the positives, like the freedom we’re given without the ties of needing to drink then it becomes easier. Remembering it’s an addictive substance, not a treat helps, as does rephrasing the words we use. Personally, and there is no right or wrong, but I like alcohol free rather than tea total. There’s nothing wrong with either, but for me ‘total’ implies a limit, whereas ‘free’ clearly is what it is. The way we think influences the way we feel so keep yourself real and try not to romanticise the thing you’ve those to love without. Remember, we can drink, it’s our choice not to, and from where I am, it’s a great choice.

Starting the week right

Monday morning yoga class… the perfect place to remember that you are not perfect (and neither is anyone else), that your body is strong and pretty amazing, that you are capable of far more than you imagined, oh yes and that if you breathe and move, your worries disappear, at least for a bit. Far better than drinking and a great start to the week!


Anxiety is a funny old thing. When I was drinking, I always had an underlying bubbling anxiety. It was always there, never stopping me from doing things but always making me aware it was there. When I stopped drinking, instead of that I’d have nothing and then a full blown panic attack out of nowhere. Although I never drank in the day I think that drinking as much as I did took the edge off my worries, and stopped me overthinking before something happened. It was almost like I did things on autopilot without engaging my brain too much. Afterwards, I could drink to stop myself worrying. Now, I don’t rely on alcohol to numb my feelings, so it was hard to learn how to ‘be’ and deal with certain situations. Like today, I had to take my son to meet his Beaver group on the moor for a hike. What with one thing and another, I was panicking before I got there, and although I’d planned to stay, I found my flight instinct kicking in and before I knew what I was doing I was half way home. Logically I know no one can see my insecurities, I know that no one is judging me, but I feel horrible all the same. So I went home and cried, because that’s normally what follows a panic attack, and then I had a cup of tea and waited for my emotions to settle down. I come out of them much better than I used to, and managed to go back to collect him without any drama, although I did fall asleep this afternoon, which again is normal after I’ve felt this way. My point is, that I may be 6.5 years sober, but I’m still learning, and that’s okay. We all are. Learning to live without a substance we’ve relied on emotionally can be hard, but it isn’t impossible, and I’d much rather feel my emotions than numb them, even when it’s difficult.

Evening Running

Last night while my little man was at Beavers, I went for a run. It seemed like a good idea, but blimey it was hot! Now it might seem strange, because I post so much on here, but as I was running back, red faced and sweaty, I felt quite embarrassed that people would see me when I picked him up. I suppose it made me feel vulnerable. I wondered if I people would judge me, mainly because I don’t feel as perfect as I think other people seem to be. The thing is, perceptions are a funny thing… I posted a video as I was chatting saying how insecure I was and one lady told me how she would have looked at me differently, thinking how cool it was that I’d managed to fit a run in. It’s so easy to be down on ourselves and sometimes we don’t see what other people see. Anyway, despite the heat, the run was great, so this evening when he was at dance class, I went out for another one!