My Not So Secret Diary

Hitting the Share Button

Hitting the Share Button My Not So Secret Diary
Anyone else find this offensive rather than funny?

These sort of posts drive me mad! I just don’t get it, and yet posts like this one, and those similar to it, are shared and re-shared all over the place, with laughing emojis depicting just how funny they are and comments like, “Yeah, me too!” or “I’ll need that to get through!” This one is particular was accompanied when I saw it by the words, “Lockdown day 2”. My kids call posts like this memes, but it’s not a word I’ve ever used so I feel a bit daft saying it, but I’m sure you all know what sort of posts I’m referring to.

What I see when I look at this one in particular, is a woman who doesn’t really want to be with her kids if she needs a box of wine to herself, and those kids, albeit it on TV look a lot better behaved than most! I see a woman who maybe needs some help if it’s got this far. The one thing I don’t see is anything amusing. It seems to me that all it is doing is reinforcing how wine is supposed to help, and numb our feelings. At a time like this though, with so much going on I think it is entirely the wrong message to send out. Especially to our children. They need to know that we are okay, because if we aren’t how will they be? They need to see us taking sensible steps to protect ourselves and our families and through that, our wider communities. Drowning our sorrows in alcohol will not do that, and instead will just show them that we can’t cope, that we need to rely on something external to help us get through. Of course, as they get older that message will be remembered.

I find it so frustrating in this day and age, when our media and advertising are so policed in many ways, that things like this are out there. I’m not saying we should remove all humour, I just think there should be some common sense. You don’t see adverts for cigarettes because people know they are addictive and cause cancer, so why do we still see adverts for alcohol? It does the same thing, only under the misconception that it’s ‘cool’. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, but little videos like this send out the wrong message, and while I know at the moment, we all need a little bit of relief, a laugh and a joke to keep normality where we can, I really don’t think this is the way to do it.

Sorry if this sounds like a rant! The stupidity of some of the posts I’ve seen recently just gets to me. I hate the idea of it undermining anyone’s sobriety, especially at a time when things are so difficult so for many anyway. But what do you think?

Take care, and stay safe.


Here's the link in case you want to watch the whole thing!

Easter Break

Easter Break daffodils outside quarantine spring blog about recovery and sobriety living My Not So Secret Diary

I've been thinking about where to spend the holidays. So far it is very weather dependent, but I've managed to narrow it down to the lounge or the garden. 😁
What are your plans? 💜💜

Kindness and Community Spirit

You can't catch covid-19 from two metres apart, sobriety and kindness at this time writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary
Just a few little reminders.

I often think that we’re quite an isolated society on the whole. We live independently and we certainly aren’t as interconnected as our previous generations were. My mum used to tell me how her family all lived closely, within a few streets of each other when she was a child, but I’ve never known anything like that. It seems a little strange to think of having people so close. We don’t have people in and out of the house, nor do the kids (I guess they’ve learned it from us), so it seems like a different way of life.

In the last month or so, before the news got so serious, my newsfeed was full, as I expect everyone else’s was too, of offers to help others, to collect shopping and exercise pets. The offers were almost a bit overwhelming and as there was so much, it did make me wonder just how much of it was some people jumping on the bandwagon so to speak, seeing a kind idea, and wanting a little bit of glory for it themselves. Often those out there who are most genuine in their reasons for helping do so without shouting about it. In the last week or so things seem different, things have got a little bit more serious, and people are finding it hard. We are so used to our freedom, especially in the UK, there is very little we cannot do when we want to, except for right now.

The situation is unprecedented and somewhat unexpected. We don’t know how long it will last for, and what might be next, and most of the world is in the same boat. We could all fall apart, and yet, recently I’ve heard of a few real acts of kindness, great examples of people thinking outside the box and helping out others. Here are a few, but if you’ve heard of any others I’d love to hear them!

• A garage offering to pick up cars for MOTs for those who are self-isolating, and return them, with any supplies the owners may need.
• One of the lovely ladies at nursery offering to help provide breakfast and lunches for children that normally receive free school meals. This was offered before the schools closed and she was worried that families might struggle.
• Postcards to fill out your details showing your neighbours what help you are able to offer them.
• Stanley’s nursery offering additional sessions to relieve grandparents from their babysitting duties to help protect the elderly, again, this was before the stronger measures came in.
• My own 14 year old son phoning his grandparents to offer to get any shopping or walk their dog if needed.
• Authors taking to social media to read their books aloud on a daily basis to provide entertainment for those who are in self-isolation.
• The National Trust opening it’s parks for free so that people can get out in the fresh air with space from others during this time. Of course, this also has changed now.

Although it’s hard, we’re all doing the right thing, we’re pulling together and doing what we can for our family, our community and our country. It’s strange but true, in this case I think every little bit does help.

Lets all try to remember to take care of each other at this very strange time.
Claire x


Quarantine (of sorts)

Quarantine (of sorts) standing on my head, headstand in yoga while out on a run during the coronavirus and covid-19 lockdown in Cornwall in the sunshine My Not So Secret Diary
Outdoor yoga is so good!

Yesterday was my first ‘proper’ day of quarantine. It’s been a bit weird to be honest. It feels like a holiday because I’ve got all the kids at home and yet, there’s this uneasy feeling of what is going to happen at work. I know we aren’t the only ones in this situation, it’s just a worry when you have a business you’ve worked hard for and then things are taken out of your control.

On the other side of it, with everything being cancelled, I suddenly have a lot less demands on me and my time. There’s no work, no school, no nursery, no running track twice a week, no dentist, no orthodontist and no hairdresser, and that’s just the cancellations for this week and next week! In some ways, it is a relief. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just I always have so many things on, and now I don’t.

My anxiety means that I often worry until I’ve ticked off the things on my list each day. It’s an imaginary list of things like emptying the dishwasher, hoovering the whole house and sorting the washing. I feel like these things have to be done and until they are I can’t go to work, and I can’t quite relax. Logically I know it’s daft, but that doesn’t change the way I feel. It is quite annoying but I’ve come to accept it’s part of me, and nowadays it’s just easier to do the things I know will make me feel better. Call it a coping strategy if you like, but it works for me. (Most of the time.)

Anyway obviously yesterday was the first day of a different way of living for a while. It was strange, because I really feel like a pressure has been lifted. We didn’t need to set an alarm for one thing. Of course that meant little man was awake in the night, which he never normally is, and we were both wide awake way before the alarm would have gone off. I woke the kids up, asking Katie if she needed to sign into her virtual lessons to be reminded it was Wednesday, a day she doesn’t normally have lessons. I actually managed to ask her that three times, clearly, I’m having trouble keeping track of the days of the week already! Lee and Joe had a few things to check at work to put their minds at rest, so Katie watched Stanley for me while Barn and I went for a run. It was sunny and warm and beautiful out there. Having the lock down in place really made me appreciate the time we had outside. It’s funny what you take for granted when you have it all the time isn’t it?

While we were running we didn’t see many people at all, but the few we did we gave plenty of space to, as they did to us. A few smiles from a distance were all the contact we had, but it was nice to think people were respecting the rules. On our way back we ran through a nature reserve close to our home and Barn suggested stopping for a bit of yoga. It was so quiet that it seemed silly not to, and we had half an hour of stretching before we ran home. It was lovely.

Deciding to make the most of the sunshine that we get so rarely, we decided to go out into the garden, just having a little tidy up, and then ate lunch out there. It was like a summer day! Maybe not quite so warm, but good enough. Stanley loved it, just pottering around with us.

It’s odd, but I feel better than I have done in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to do all my little jobs, my mind would have been preoccupied while I was running otherwise. But who knew lockdown would give me the freedom to slow down and take a break? It’s not what I expected, and who knows if this feeling will last, but for now I’m going to enjoy it! I love my family, but sometimes life gets in the way. It’s quite nice being forced into spending more time with them all, just being together.

How are you all finding things at the moment?

Take care.
Claire x


Sobriety in Quarantine

Sobriety in Quarantine self isolation in Cornwall for the corona virus covid-19 walking on Bodmin moor, and writing about my experiences for my blog about sobriety and mental health My Not So Secret Diary

If there is one thing I am grateful for right now, it’s my sobriety. I certainly wouldn’t be coping with this crisis if I was still drinking. I think in all honesty, I would be impossible to live with.

As a family we haven’t stockpiled, but as there are six of us living together, we have bought a few things that will last, in case the shelves stay as bare as they have been recently and also, in case one of us contracts the virus and we actually can’t get out. Both sets of our parents are at home in self-isolation and there is no-one else I would be able to ask to get things for us, so I’ve had to prepare us a little. I couldn’t reasonably ask my parents to collect something for us, and live with myself if they got ill because of me. I was thinking the other day though, how I would have stockpiled before. I can’t quite get my head around how much wine I would have bought, how I would have excused it and where I would have put it. It would have cost a fortune!

One of the reasons I began to address my drinking problem all that time ago was because I began to worry about the amount I had to buy, not only to drink, but to calm my anxiety in case I couldn’t get to a shop, like late on a Sunday. Now, with the lack of food, especially alcohol in my local supermarket, I would be very concerned.

On top of my worry about getting enough wine to drink, I would have also not been as present as I am at the moment, I wouldn’t be as clear headed and able to listen to the news, and the events in the world. I’d most likely be making excuses to drink earlier in the day, because we are at home, and the weather is nice or it feels like a holiday, or we don’t have to get up for work… I’m sure I would have been able to think of something that seemed like a good enough reason, but all it would have done would be to numb my feelings. It wouldn’t have fixed anything. I wouldn’t have been so open to listening to events unfold. I would have been falling asleep in the evenings, or not remembering what happened the night before. I know this is true, because I know what I was like.

It might seem tempting to drink, to stop all the worry and to ‘relax’, especially at a time like this. I know I found myself scrolling through Instagram and saw a photo of a glass of freshly poured wine next to the bottle. Someone had poured it to reward themselves for something they had achieved earlier in the day. Before I even realised, I had stopped scrolling and was just looking at it, remembering. And then I caught myself and I scrolled on by. I don’t actually want to drink anymore, it’s just that sometimes the memory is still there and catches me out. I know honestly that it won’t help in the long run. It doesn’t make things better.

So here are a few tips to help you, if you’re struggling, because the last thing anyone needs now, is to relapse.

• Occupy yourself, keep your mind busy and it will help you to stay positive. Take advantage of the extra time you might have on your hands to take up a new hobby. It might be harder than normal to buy supplies, but if you’re happy to wait, you can get most things online.
• If you’re not already a member of any online groups, join some. Your online sober community can provide a safe place to talk to many people in similar situations and share, even though you can’t meet up.
• Get outside if you can. I went for a run this morning and spent the afternoon in the garden with the kids. I felt so much better. Granted, the weather is nice at the moment, but let’s make the most of it, and take advantage of it where we can. Walking, running and fresh air are all good for your mental well-being, just respect the social distancing rules.
• Distance yourself from negativity, whether it’s social media or excessive news consumption, don’t get too drawn in, and make sure that your news comes from a trustworthy source.
• Whether you are home alone, or with others, try to stay in contact with others, by safe means like FaceTime, and don’t isolate yourself.
• Equally, remember the difference your contact will make on others, don’t isolate them either. It’s easy to forget how others are feeling at times like this.

Above all, stay positive. We will get through this!

Take care and stay safe everyone.
Claire x



Quiet antidepressants working to help calm my anxiet, out for a run in Cornwall on a sunny day in quarantine for covid-19 and coronavirus, writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary about sobriety and mental health
Mid-run selfie!

A month or so ago I finally gave in and admitted I needed some help with my anxiety. I’ve done everything I can by myself, but it’s exhausting to keep having to fight my mind at every turn. It can be something insignificant, or just a change in situation, but my mind circles and worries and blows things out of proportion escalating to panic attacks at times. I’ve always been interested in alternative therapies and actually trained as a holistic therapist years ago. Since giving up alcohol, I’ve tried to employ all manner of alternative ways of defusing my anxiety and keeping my mind calm. You name it, I’ve tried it, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, oils, crystals, walking, running, everything. They all help a little, but nothing takes the edge off my busy mind like wine used to.

Really, I should have gone a long time ago, but I don’t really trust doctors so I avoid at all costs if I can. Past experience has taught me that they don’t always listen and they don’t always help. However, I saw a physiotherapist a few months ago who suggested I saw someone about my mental health. She could clearly see I was struggling and I hadn’t expected that. She pointed out that I had a lot of coping strategies in place, and when they weren’t there, I struggled more. I listened but dismissed her. On my next appointment she suggested it again, and again I thanked her and told her I was okay. She was keen for me to see someone, so I felt it was easier to discontinue my appointments with her. Not long after, I had a phone call from the doctors surgery, asking me to make an appointment to follow up from a letter from the physio. I made the appointment, but cancelled it not long after, not wanting to waste it if someone else needed it.

Deciding I needed to finally address things I phoned and asked to see my doctor who was of course fully booked for the following two months. I explained to the receptionist about the physio referring me, and promptly burst into tears which I hadn’t expected. It takes a lot for me to ask for help and I find it so hard, so it makes me emotional. Anyway, the poor receptionist then conjured up a new appointment for me. My doctor is lovely, and was really helpful towards the end of my drinking, she was the one who prescribed my Antabuse which helped me finally kick it. Although it was a way off, it was a relief having the appointment, but of course, as I do, I began to convince myself that I didn’t really need it and that I was wasting their time. Usually I would have cancelled it, but this time I didn’t. The night before, I was certain I should cancel it, but I still didn’t. So I went. I waited for the doctor to tell me I was being silly, that I didn’t need anything to help me along, that maybe it was all in my head. But she didn’t. She listened and she seemed to understand.

I explained how things have been since I stopped drinking. How I am so much better, but I still have so far to go, that I don’t want to worry about ridiculous things that aren’t even going to happen, but it’s like my mind needs to. That sometimes it runs away with me. She didn’t judge and she didn’t tell me I was silly.

When I had my laser eye surgery last year, my surgeon recommended I take Diazepam for the day. It’s something I’ve been prescribed in the past before as a relaxant for the muscles in my neck which I damaged a long time ago but I don’t take, as I know how addictive they are and it frightens me. I don’t quite trust myself, given my history, so I prefer not to risk it. I did however take it on the day of my surgery and I was amazed at the effect it had on me. I still felt like me, just a calmer me. I expected to feel more out of it, and I was happy that I didn’t. That was one of the things that made me think going to the GP might be useful, that maybe there was a medication that could help. That was in November, but it took me until March to actually get there. The doctor understood my worries and offered me a few options of things. Apparently beta blockers can take away the physical symptoms of panic attacks, but I think now I’ve got a fairly good handle on that side of things, it’s just my mind that is too busy. So she went through some others, all non-addictive ones, so I don’t have to worry and then gave me a prescription.

It was so nice to finally be heard. I’ve asked for help from the doctors over the years and been brushed off. I told her that nothing quietened my mind like wine did and she listened, she didn’t tell me to pull myself together or any of that crap and it made me feel better.

So, we’ll see how it does. What I can tell you is that my mind currently feels the most quiet it has in a long time. I can concentrate on the TV again or on reading, without my mind wandering off somewhere else. I feel like me, just more relaxed. I’m glad I went before this whole crisis kicked off, it’s certainly helping me keep calmer! It’s good. So I hope it lasts. I’ll let you know.

Thanks as always.


Scary Lady Bug is Coming To Get Me!!!

Scary Lady Bug is Coming To Get Me!!! corona virus covid-19 beach trip with my son before lockdown and quarantine, in cornwall freedom, writing about life and sobriety on my blog My Not So Secret Diary
Stanley last week at the beach.

Everyone is talking about Covid-19 in some form or other. It quite clearly is affecting everyone across the world at the moment.

It’s hard to explain to the kids how serious the situation is. They think they’re invincible and forget that they aren’t, or that we’re over-reacting, and that their behaviour might have severe consequences on others. It’s not because they don’t care, they just don’t want it to apply to them.

In all honesty, I think over last weekend it sunk in a little bit more of how real it was, at least for my kids. Joe, my eldest was very disappointed that we wouldn’t let him go out. He often meets up with others and their cars in the evenings and told us he’d stay in his car but we still said no, making sure we were following all the guidance, even when it’s hard and makes us unpopular and of course that was before the ‘lockdown’ was implemented. We even said no to him going for a walk with a couple of friends. Barn is still running but not at his track and of course, not with his team or his club. He’s worried he has been getting slower, I’ve told him for the time being, it is okay, but it’s making him stress out a bit. Katie is happy, she quite likes hibernating in her room and as long as she’s got her phone and her art supplies she really doesn’t mind what’s going on. She’s quite easygoing like that.

Stanley is of course a lot younger. This time is probably a little more unsettling for him than it is for the others in some ways. Both sets of his grandparents are self-isolating and so is only has seen them from a distance when we’ve dropped things off for them. This might not seem so strange but as his Dad and I work with one set of grandparents, he sees them most days. Now he doesn’t. Secondly, one of his brothers and his sister are no longer at school or college meaning we no longer drive them there in the mornings and he is also not in nursery anymore. Work is like a second home to us all, and we’re no longer there either, so a lot has changed, and he doesn’t understand why. On top of that he is probably picking up my worries about food, feeding a family of six is hard at the best of times! I’m also worrying about work, our company like many others is going to be affected in one way or another by this pandemic.

I’ve tried to keep things normal and not show my worry, but I’ve also been trying to talk to him so he gets it. I’ve told him there is a ‘nasty bug’, and we need to look after everybody and wash our hands a lot. He’s thought it over, and seems to understand, but I didn’t realise how literally he’d taken it until he told me that the Nasty Lady Bug is getting his friends at nursery. It did make me smile! I tried to explain to him that there isn’t a nasty ladybird or ladybug out there, and that it’s an invisible germ that we can’t see, but he seems sure and has told everybody he can about it. So just keep your eyes open in case we’ve missed something and there really is a scary ladybug out there!

Take care and stay safe everyone.
Claire x


Social Distancing

My Not So Secret Diary

This social distancing malarky is strange isn’t it?
Stay safe everyone!


My Not So Secret Diary

This made me laugh, but it might answer some of the craziness right now! 😂 Let’s remember to laugh where we can!

The World is Changing. Why Aren’t We?

The World Is Changing. Why Aren't We? Stanley my two year old and me at the beach today, watergate bay, corona virus and covid19 avoiding relapse from alcohol addiction My Not So Secret Diary blog
Stanley and I at the beach today.

We’ve known for years that the way we are treating the world isn’t sustainable. We know that we can’t go on the way we are, and yet we have.

When I was young (and I’m not that old), recycling wasn’t even a thing. Then banks popped up in car parks to take your recycling to. Our first collection from home was when we first moved into the house we are in now, and we’ve been here 19 years. It was fairly hit and miss, one green box for all the mixed recycling, and it frequently wasn’t picked up, so we would have to throw it away with the rubbish. It was way harder than it needed to be. Now it’s easier, I recycle religiously as many other people do, but it is possible it is too little, too late?

This year we have had storm after storm, creating so much damage and destruction. It’s almost like the earth is fighting back and putting us back in our place. But still, we haven’t stopped. Australia has experienced terrible wildfires and the rest of the world has watched with sympathy, and yet, nothing has really changed.

We’ve had Ebola, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and now Coronavirus… Finally we stop.

And yet, no one wants to. If we do, businesses will fail. Things as we know them will change and it is frightening. I’m not sure how many businesses will survive. Even in light of the governments plans which offer so much to so many, there are still so many more who will slip through, who don’t fit the categories they are offering the help to. It’s hard to make a provision when no one really knows what they are dealing with.

I’ve never known anything like this before. Most people of my age and younger won’t have. The unknown is scary. We can do all we can, but it doesn’t feel like it is enough. Self-isolating is fine, but it is only a matter of time before things grind to a halt.

I’m aware that provision is made for key workers to remain in work and their children in schools. But what if they also contract the virus. What are the contingencies then?

I can’t imagine we are looking at the future as seen on TV in an apocalypse programme, but I’m not quite sure what we are looking at. Especially with the food shortages we are already seeing.

I think this one might take a while to bounce back from. I think changes are afoot and I hope we begin to listen, to slow down while we can because who knows what is round the corner?

On the positive side, my daughter showed me a photo online, the smog had cleared and there were blue skies over China. My son showed me another where the water had cleared in the canals in Venice allowing swans to return, fish to be clearly seen and dolphins have even been spotted.

Maybe on some level we need this? Maybe we need to reset a little? To stop and just be. What else is there we can do? So this morning after I’d done the housework, we played boardgames. This afternoon I took the kids to the beach. It was quiet, with the few people who were there all giving each other plenty of space. It was cold, but sunny and it was beautiful. We just spent time together, and while it won’t pay the bills, it was lovely. I’m going to try and make the most of it if I can.

Stay safe everyone.

Claire x