My Not So Secret Diary

The Current Situation

The Current Situation my son Barn running the Vitality Little Half in London awareness of the covid19 virus coronavirus and anxiety and alcohol addiction recovery blog My Not So Secret Diary
Barn running in London.

I didn’t really want to write about Covid-19 on my blog, it seems like it’s everywhere, and I didn’t want to add to it. But…

I honestly didn’t think it would affect everyone to the point that it has. Mostly when we get something contagious, it’s contained relatively quickly and the only people that are affected are those who have travelled to some far off country or put themselves at risk in some other way. This new virus seems to be relatively indiscriminating as we don’t know enough about it to do anything. I mean, yes of course, everyone is washing their hands, but on the verge of something of this scale, is it really enough? I’m not sure.

I don’t usually panic about the news, in fact, I tend not to watch it too much. I confess though, that yesterday at work, I had Sky News running in the corner of my screen so I could keep up to date while I worked. The problem is, it has the chance to affect so much, so many of us and to so many different levels. My husband and I run a business, and so like many others, we aren’t only worrying about how this virus will affect us and our family, but we have the balancing act of worrying about how it will impact our staff, and the greater impact it will have on the company and other local businesses on the whole in the long run. It seems that every year something new is sent to challenge us!

On top of that, my running son is at the end of his Cross Country season, with loads of Championship Competitions to run. Last week he went to Loughborough and this morning I had to put him on the Cornwall Team Coach going to Liverpool for the Nationals tomorrow. They’ll be away most of the weekend, and he is so happy to get to where he is, but I can’t help but be a bit worried. I normally do worry when the kids travel without me, I think it’s just the lack of control I have for them travelling with others. I know they’ll be safe, but still I worry a bit. Of course, this time there is the concern, not so much for him and the other athletes, as they are all young and fit, but the fact that they might come into contact with the infection and perhaps bring it back? I know they’re limiting the time they spend in service stations, but they will still be stopping for breaks as well as staying and eating in a hotel.

Down in Cornwall we seem to be largely doing okay at the moment, there haven’t been a huge amount of cases, and although I know schools are putting in extra measures, there doesn’t seem to be too much to worry about on that front. On the other hand, going into the shops on Wednesday, I picked up the last bag of pasta, not kidding, it was all gone, as was all the soap and toilets rolls. I left, to take my daughter to college, and needed fuel, having been on the fuel light for ages went to the petrol station, but they were queued up the road. I thought nothing of it, took Katie to college and came back for fuel but they were still queued right up. In the end, I had to join the queue as I was so low, but it seems to be normal now for people to be filling up all the time. I wasn’t expecting that. I guess people like to be prepared.

I was in two minds about letting Barn go to be honest, I know he is in the same country as us still, but I can’t help be concerned. I just worry that something will happen. I can’t imagine we’ll end up with road blocks in place over the weekend, but who knows? The way the virus is spreading so far, I guess we don’t know what measures will end up being put into place. I’d hoped, probably a little selfishly, that the event would be cancelled and that the decision would be taken out of my hands. I waited to hear, and was surprised when they said it was going ahead, but due to the fact it’s in the open air, the risk seems minimal, with the only concern being travelling and accommodation. I don’t want him to miss out, so I didn’t say no. He’s supposed to be going to Spain in July with the school, who knows what will be happening by then!

I can tell you though, although I hope he and the team have a great time, I will relax a bit more when he gets back on Sunday!

Stay safe everyone!
Claire x


An Inspector Calls…

An Inspector Calls theatre royal in Plymouth to see a show with my son blog about alcohol addiction and overcoming My Not So Secret Diary
Barn and me.

My 14 year old son Barn is sitting his English GCSE’s this year. He’s the third of my four to sit these exams so I know roughly what to expect, but that doesn’t make it any easier for him. Just before Christmas he came home to tell me there was a trip to the Theatre Royal in Plymouth to see one of the main plays in his syllabus, ‘An Inspector Calls’. He was interested in going, but by the time I’d logged onto the school’s online payment system not long after, all the available places had gone. He was disappointed, and me being me, I felt like I’d let him down by not getting him a place, even though there was little else I could do. I thought about it and suggested booking it separately and just the two of us going, I wasn’t sure if he would want to go with me or not, but he was happy to, as long as we went on a different day to the rest of the school.

I’d forgotten I hadn’t taken him to the theatre before. It’s something I used to love, and I often used to go with some of my friends, before, when an evening out involved wine. I took my daughter a few years back to see Hairspray which was fun, but even then I was a little preoccupied with wanting to get home afterwards for a glass of wine. I didn’t drink when I was ‘on duty’ as a mum, and not at all when I was driving, but that didn’t stop me wanting to. I always noticed what other people were drinking and felt envious of those who had something I didn’t.

Since I stopped drinking I have got out of the habit of going out. Everything has been a little harder than it was before. I felt for a long time, rightly or wrongly, that I’d be judged, and to be honest staying in felt safer and easier. When you’re in the habit of going home straight after work and staying in all evening, it takes quite a lot to change your habits. It’s scary, and pushes you out of your comfort zone, which is hard when you’re already feeling on edge. I’ve had to relearn a lot of routines and behaviours. I’ve had to acknowledge and sit with feelings I didn’t even know I had. It’s not all bad though. It’s just new.

Although I was looking forward to going out with Barn, I still had that familiar pull reminding me that it would easier to stay at home. I worried that I would be tired in the morning for work, I worried that I would be tired to make the drive home. But, as I try to do at the moment, I pushed myself. We went and it was great. As I said, Barn had never been before and it was lovely to enjoy the experience with him. He was surprised at how big the theatre was, and hadn’t see a live performance like that before so it was all quite new. I did let him down a bit though, only in that I’d promised him ice cream in the interval, and there wasn’t one. I’ll have to make it up to him next time!

I’ve read a couple of books by a writer called Jen Sincero. In one she said, “When you change who you’re being, you’re basically killing off your old identity, which completely freaks your subconscious out.” It’s true. It takes time to change, and you’re fighting against all your ingrained and learned habits that have been with you for years. Before, I always used to feel rushed to get home. I knew that waiting for me there was my familiar glass of wine. My reward at the end of the day. Things do change and although it has taken a lot of time, finally some things seem to be getting a little easier.

I often, although not as often as I used to, get a fleeting panic when it’s getting late at work or similar. I feel like I should be rushing home, but when I stop and think, I realise I have no reason for it. I used to worry about early mornings or late afternoon appointments because they might have affected my plans. Now, they don’t. I can pretty much do what I want to do and there’s no hangover or residual alcohol left hanging around upsetting things. It’s a good place to be. So if you are going through something similar, hang in there. There will be ups and downs, but it does get easier.

Thanks for reading!
Claire x



Love - daytrip to London with my husband Lee to run the vitality half marathon wedding anniversary blog My Not So Secret Diary
Me and Lee.

Addiction is non-discriminating, it doesn’t care who you are, where you are from or what you look like. I learned that in recovery. I met people from all walks of life and few were the stereotypes you think of when you imagine what an addict might look like.

Aside from the substances we were recovering from there was nothing that linked us. It was this invisible cord, all of us different, and yet so similar. It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t been through it how it feels to want something you hate, and it’s impossible for them to understand when they don’t live in your crazy brain.

All the way through my ups and downs I have been lucky enough to have one constant, my husband Lee. While he couldn’t always make things easier for me, I certainly couldn’t have done it without him. He has always been there, always tried to understand, even when I didn’t understand myself. I know I’ve made things hard for him over the years, and even at my best, I know I can be a bit of a pain at times, but he is patient, kind and understanding, and I feel so lucky to have him. If I didn’t have him, I don’t know where I’d be now.

So, I suppose, what I’d like to say is, if you have someone that is always there for you, even if they don’t quite get it right, make sure you tell them how much you appreciate it. And if you’re one of those that is always there for someone who is struggling, hang in there, they do appreciate it, even if they don’t say it.

Today is our 19th wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Lee, I love and appreciate you more than you know.

As always, thank you.
Claire x


The Fear

The Fear admitting to addiction and overcoming it writing a blog to share experiences as a mum with a two year old son My Not So Secret Diary
Say cheese!

I know how I felt about admitting I needed help, but just recently I’ve come to realise I’m not the only one who felt like that. It’s terrifying to admit you need help for anything when you’re used to being a strong, independent person. To come to rely on something, on a substance, and then realise you can’t do without it is an awful feeling. It makes you feel powerless and it destroys relationships, you might feel you can’t talk to anyone, and may not trust yourself, because every time you promise yourself you won’t drink anymore, you let yourself down.

There isn’t a rule book for dealing with addiction, though thankfully more and more people are beginning to talk about it. The stigma is being broken and it is easier to ask for help or if not ask, it’s easier to access shared experiences.

I don’t think the openness actually makes it easier to talk to your loved ones though. They are the hardest to talk to. Although an addict’s mind is centred primarily on getting the next fix, and the logistics of getting it, ultimately they are at their lowest point when they need help, and admitting that they need it is not only almost impossible, but worse than that is the possibility that they might fail.

I knew I had a problem quite a while before I stopped drinking. They say you need to hit rock bottom and I think that is probably right. I was scared to admit it though, once I had got through the questioning and the denial, because I wasn’t sure 1) how I would cope without alcohol in my life but more importantly 2) I was afraid if I did admit it, that I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. I didn’t want to seem weak, and unable to kick my habit, even though realistically, I couldn’t kick it. Looking back I know I wasn’t weak, but ill, only then I didn’t understand that. I was so afraid of letting my family down. It was frightening.

Everyone is very different in their approaches to life, and their addictions. I’ve just read a book about a woman who ended up stealing money from her family to fund her habit. Her mother even became her carer as she was physically dependent on the habit and unable to get clean. While I know what addiction and dependency on a substance are like, this is a situation I don’t understand. To admit you have a problem and not do your best to get over it doesn’t make sense to me. But then everyone has a different circle of support and as I have said before, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family. At the same point knowing that you are asking them to understand you and stand by you, even though you can be irrational is hard. I know I was irrational, and tearful. I still am at times, but I guess to a certain extent that is normal.

The fear was a big thing for me though, it was there making me feel I couldn’t admit my problem, that I couldn’t move forward, but it was wrong. I am moving forward every day, and every day I move a little bit further from the person I was and that feels good. I’m not even so fearful now that I’ll slip back. I don’t think I will. Although I’ve been told complacency is the worst, as you feel secure and are actually more likely to fail. That doesn’t mean it is easy for me not to drink, I have days where it is quite hard not to feel tempted by alcohol, I guess for me, the difference is that I no longer want to. Now, that is a feeling that makes me feel good.

Thanks for reading!
Claire x