My Not So Secret Diary


277. Explaining sobriety and recovery from alcohol dependency with Bee Sober Author and Ambassador Claire Hatwell writing blog My Not So Secret Diary AA Quitlit
When I started writing I was scared. I wanted to write because I loved reading, I had a romantic idea of being a writer, and it didn’t seem too far fetched, as I enjoyed the process of writing itself. I love writing and have from a young age, but that doesn’t stop me being afraid of getting it wrong, of being laughed at. In my recovery, I found reading the experiences of others to be super helpful. Not only was I learning from their experiences, but I was realising I wasn’t the only one, not by any stretch of the imagination. I saw that there was a way out, and that life without alcohol could be good. Great even. Seeing that was reassuring, because at the time, in all honesty, it didn’t feel that way.

I didn’t start writing to write a blog. It was just a way of sorting through my mind. Mostly I didn’t even start writing to solve a problem, but as I sat down and put pen to paper I found things flowed and seemed to begin to make sense. It’s very therapeutic like that, or at least I find it is, but then I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. It might not be the same for everyone.

Years ago I started writing in my spare time. I live in my head a lot, so I’ve always got something ready to go down on paper. I wrote two books, but I never did anything with them. I found the idea of rejection so terrifying that it was easier not to tempt fate. Although I got to the point where I’d have been happy to send them off, I never did. I’d never let anyone else read my writing you see, so I had no point of reference. Well, except for uni assignments, but that’s a completely different way of writing. Having said that, I enjoyed writing those too. Anyway, those two books never saw the light of day, and then a few years later I binned them both. That makes me feel a little sad now, but I guess hindsight is always a great thing to have.

Last year, I started to write again and by that, I mean fiction alongside this blog and my book about recovery. It felt strange to begin to write down the ideas and stories I had in my mind. I felt like I was doing something silly which is weird when you think how many fiction authors are out there. Readers enjoy fiction as it gives them a bit of escapism, a way out of their day to day lives. I’m not sure what it is, but I feel like I need a reason to do something, so my writing needs to be justified almost. Writing this blog and my book, was okay, because there was the hope that someone who needed a little help might find them. Fiction didn’t fall under the same umbrella for me. I suppose also, even if you don’t agree with me, when I’m writing about myself it can’t be wrong, because I’ve lived it. When it’s fiction, and a story I’ve made up, it worries me that people might not like it.

I decided to hide, as I’ve done before, namely when I started this blog. I don’t write fiction under my own name, I set up another Facebook page, another Instagram and decided to see what people thought. Putting things out there is hard, because I’ve found, when you put so much time and effort into something, you want people to like it. It feels a little like your characters are friends so to have someone not like them isn’t a nice feeling. Slowly, I’m gaining in confidence, I’ve had some lovely feedback and reviews and it feels good to flex my creativity in a different way.

The problem is, I have so many ideas, I don’t seem to have enough time to get them all down onto paper! It’s good having a focus, and something to occupy my mind, so we’ll see where it goes.

Thank you as always for reading.

Claire x

Day 10

Day 10 sobriety and recovery from alcohol dependency with Bee Sober Author and Ambassador Claire Hatwell writing blog My Not So Secret Diary AA QuitlitYou may remember that I said my habits aren’t an addiction, I’m wondering if I should take that sweeping statement back. A couple of days ago my husband came home early. It’s not a big thing, but any thing, regardless of the size has the habit of knocking me a little bit off kilter. I did what I normally did though, I made a cup of tea, (no biscuits), and we talked about what we were going to have for dinner (no Coke). The thing is, I found myself getting properly grumpy with no real reason. It reminded me a lot of the, “I don’t want to drink but I do want to drink,” nights early in my sobriety.

I can push through but FOMO (fear of missing out) is hard. Even when I don’t actually mind what I’m missing out on. I’m not sure if it’s the idea of it, or the feeling I get from it? It’s very different to giving up alcohol, although strangely, it’s so similar too, all the same feelings of confusion, guilt and remorse are there, and yet, it’s only something small.

Distraction works. As do herbal teas. Thank you all for your ideas and support. It actually makes it easier talking about it, almost like it’s making me accountable for it, because I’d feel like I’m not only letting myself down, but also you too if I was to give in. I feel a little bit bad because my lovely daughter feels guilty eating chocolate around me, I’m just trying to be honest and tell her that it isn’t a problem, because it isn’t, I just need to be healthier and she shouldn’t have to worry about that. In reality I know I probably could even have one can of coke but I’m scared, because I know what I’m like. I’m afraid that because it takes me such a lot to get over the habits I have, one little slip will cause me to be back there again. So it’s easier to avoid it altogether, at least for now.

I think the lack of caffeine has affected my sleep a little bit, I seem quite disturbed at night, and also, I’ve been stressing out a lot, probably through things changing. My anxiety goes up and down depending on what’s going on in my life anyway, but this seems a little bit more. Busy days affect me more, as does doing things out of the ordinary. I suppose learning to live in lockdown was one thing, now learning to come out of it is another thing entirely, and it’s pushing me out of my little safety bubble. I worry about all manner of things, from saying the wrong thing, to seeing someone I haven’t in a while, at night thoughts run around my mind, and I often question what I’m doing. It was lovely though the other day, as in the midst of my chaos, I had a message from a friend, who has been reading my book. Giving one to her stressed me out as she knew me, in all my challenging times. We went out many a time, but those times always involved wine, and although we’ve seen each other since, in the back of my mind, I worry that I’m not good enough. Her message gave me the reassurance that I didn’t know I was looking for. It told me she understood and that it was okay, and that means a lot to me. Kind words seem so simple, and yet they mean such a lot. I find they help me let go a little of the past too and some of my mistakes.

We can’t erase the past, it’s what makes us who we are, but we can acknowledge it and move forward. Always remember to be kind to yourselves.

So, ten days and counting, no coke, no biscuits, no chocolate, no sweets. Feeling like a win to me!

Much love,
Claire x

You're Published!

You're Published sobriety and recovery from alcohol dependency with Bee Sober Author and Ambassador Claire Hatwell writing blog My Not So Secret Diary AA Quitlit Elephant Journal
It makes my day to read things like this. I love sharing, but to think I’m doing something right and to hear it from someone else is so reassuring!

Follow the link to read the article.

Sober Bank Holiday

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A few years ago I would have looked at today, Bank Holiday Monday, as another excuse to have a few more drinks over the weekend. I would have been happy to have had a few more yesterday too, seeing as the weekend was extended and the week a little shorter and further away.

I’m not sure what triggered the memory, but it made me feel so sad to remember. It seems such a waste, to think I looked forward to pouring more wine down my throat, and for what? So I could have a good time? I can do that anyway! Maybe so I could relax, but no, I can do that now too. It certainly didn’t make me any more fun or a better person, and yet, like many people, I associated all the holidays with drink, and not just a couple, because it never was with me.

Today, I didn’t wake up with a hangover, although in honesty, I did wake up earlier than I’d like because my eldest son forgot to turn his alarm off! But putting that to one side, I’ve been up, clear headed and happy for a good few hours now, and I know that tomorrow will be the same, because although this is a holiday and we are at home, I don’t need to drink, I don’t even want to.

I hope you all have a lovely day wherever you are and whatever you are doing! Let me know what you’re up to!

Claire xx