My Not So Secret Diary

Sober Girl Book Club

Sober Girl Book ClubRepost from @sobergirlbookclub•Up next: My Not So Secret Recovery, by Claire Hatwell. @soberme_claire. Grab your copy, start reading and we will see you the 26th for book club meeting! Even more exciting, Claire will be joining us to give us the inside scoop on her book!

Jubilee Celebrations

Jubilee copyVillage school life and our Jubilee celebrations! .The best thing, besides the children having fun of course, was all the tea! And of course, the sunshine!


ModerationTrue story… I can’t moderate. I tried it several times to be sure but it always ends up messy. With sobriety I know where I am, and what to expect and you know, so does everyone else around me. To be fair I know even now, after five and a half years that one drink would not be enough and so I don’t have any. I’m not missing out, I’m living a better life.

Repost from @sober.vibes
I tried moderation for FOUR years prior to giving alcohol up for good on 8/18/12.
I get a lot on this account about people talking about moderation via DM or in my stories when I do my Q&A series and the truth is yes you can moderate IF YOU DON'T have a problem with alcohol. I believe we call those normal drinkers.

I Saw This...

I saw thisI saw this and it really spoke to me. I think we all need to remember this sometimes!

Sunday Morning

Sunday MorningsSunday morning… Mum’s taxi service. Okay, so there are probably other things I’d rather do than drive a couple of teenagers to the train station to catch a train that they ended up missing (not my fault) but, actually, being able to get up and drive without thinking is one of my favourite things. Who knew how brilliant it would feel to be able to get in the car at any time of the day or night and drive without even considering whether it would be safe to or not? Years ago, I used to plan my life so everything was done, and I could be safely at home, so drinking could commence. Then that was it for the evening, or on a sunny day like today, it would have been earlier, because you know, there’s always a reason to drink earlier if you look for it and sunny Sundays were one of my many reasons. Now, I don’t even have to think about it, and it feels like I’ve been given so much freedom, even though freedom was something I had before and chose not to use. Like I seem to always be saying nowadays, it’s the little things that matter more now and I appreciate them so much. Sobriety doesn’t always come easy, but trust me when I tell you, it’s so worth it x

Sober Saturdays

Sober SaturdaysSober Saturdays are the best… woke up, no hangover. I remember exactly what I did, said and watched last night. I fell asleep because I was tired, not because I blacked out. We popped out, had a picnic in a field and did some food shopping. There was no rush to get home so I could have a drink. In other words my need for a drink didn’t ruin anything. I’m currently sat in my hammock while my husband and oldest son are on the BBQ. Child two and four are playing on the grass and number three is on his way to join us. It’s simple and lovely and all the things I wanted that wine couldn’t give me. It’s peaceful. I hope you’ve all had a lovely day too? xx


ImpostersI’ve written about imposter syndrome before, but it touches so many of us that I wanted to address it again. For me, I guess the best way to explain it is that I’ve always been waiting for things to click, so I’d feel like a success. It’s not quite like that though, because however much I achieve, I still feel like I need approval. The first time I ever posted anything for you all to read, I felt sick with nerves. It’s not quite so bad now, but to be fair, the feeling is still there. I question who I am to write, why anyone would care and most of all, I worry about causing offence. I guess I just want to please? But, if I am like that for my blog, imagine what I was like when my books were released! With the first one I convinced myself that after a few reviews, I’d be okay, but even now, I still wait for the fatal blow. It’s like I don’t feel good enough, or worthy enough, which might be fine on some occasions, but is pretty ridiculous when you relate it to me writing my own blog. No one else knows the way I think better than I do, so how can I be wrong? That’s the thing with imposter syndrome; we’re able to look logically and say we’re deserving but that awful little voice is always there to make us question and doubt ourselves.Apparently more women than men suffer from imposter syndrome, which I find strange. I don’t see why our gender would have anything to do with our self-belief? Maybe men do suffer, but don’t want to admit it? I know I never would have done when I was at the height of my difficulties. I was terrified to let anyone see a chink in my armour. Now though, those walls are down. I want to help others and if that means laying my feelings bare, then so be it. I think the biggest thing for me is understanding. I know I tend to doubt myself. I know that I am my own harshest critic. But now, rather than let those feelings run away with me, I try to be aware of them, and where I can, let them go. That isn’t always easy, and I’m working on it, but it’s about being aware, and really, that’s all I can do. Well, that and keeping on doing what I’m doing, because even though I have ups and downs like most people, something seems to be working, and that’s good enough for me. Take care, Claire x

Our Stories

Our StoriesOur stories are so important. They make us who we are, and shape us as people. One thing I’ve learned from my sober journey is that no two people have the same experience, even when they’re on the same path.

Reading about other people’s experiences, good and bad, helped me realise I wasn’t alone, and that was a huge factor in enabling me to overcome my drinking problem.

So with that in mind, I’m asking you to share your stories with me for my new project. I want to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly, because being open about our problems really helps other people identify and move on from theirs.

You don’t need to give me your name or any identifying information, and I will completely respect your confidentiality. I know only too well how I felt about talking about my problem. Now it’s different for me, but that doesn’t mean I expect everyone to be so open. I’d just appreciate the chance to share as many stories as possible. If you’re interested, there’s a link below.

Think About This

JudgementI don’t know how many times I was told to moderate… as if I had any control left at that point. Trying not to drink when all I wanted to do was drink was uncomfortable physically and mentally. It took a long time to get over the physical addiction before I could learn to cope mentally without the thing I relied on. It was a hard time, so I do understand if you are going through something similar. Now, on the other side, I wouldn’t change a thing!
As per normal, @paul_sober_harris hits the nail on the head with his post.

#Repost Morning you lovely lot....
I saw this the other day and it really struck a chord with me....
There will be plenty out there who will be saying..Paul's rambling on again when i do my posts...but i can assure you these people who are saying this won't be addicts...
And for those who are not addicts...and dont quite understand what us addicts feel when it comes to sobriety...seriously try this...if you depend on your mobile...put it away for 24hrs...the feelings you will feel are very similar to what we feel when withdrawing from alcohol...
Panic, Lost, Irritable, basically feeling useless, nothing to occupy you...feels like you've lost a limb...a friend..
You are so used to having this phone with you 24/7 it just doesn't feel normal to not have it...does it?
Welcome to the world of an addict...that's exactly how we feel in early sobriety...
That's exactly how i felt in early sobriety and the most difficult part of getting used to life without it...but you can and you do..
Can you imagine living without your phone? would take some me getting used to wouldn't it...?
So be kind....always...
Be brave...
Much love

Listen to the watering can

Watering CanI found @katieabey the other day and super love her page. So to keep things simple just listen to The Watering Can

In The Meantime

My BooksSomething new is on it’s way, but for this one, I’m going to be needing some help from you! More information to follow very soon… in the meantime, have you read these?If you have enjoyed either of my books I would be so grateful if you could leave me a review on Amazon as it really helps other readers to find my books.Thank you so much for being here, it means the world to me x

Fill Your Cup

Be GentleIsn’t it funny how things appear as if by magic in your life. I was just going to write a piece about making sure our own cup is full, as we cannot pour from one that is empty and then up pops this!

#Repost from @theblurtfoundation
You do not have to do it all. You have every right to expect space, time and support for yourself too. We cannot pour from an empty cup, so be gentle with yourself. What can you do today to celebrate YOU?
The artist of this image is @inspirivity


NormaliseYes!!! We need to do this.

Sod mummy wine culture. Let’s be present for our children. We might not be perfect but we can be ourselves, not a sloshed and messy version, but the true, authentic version. All I know for certain is that alcohol doesn’t fix our problems, so let’s stop teaching our kids that we need to rely on it.

Sums up my feelings perfectly!

Removing AlcoholDrinking won’t solve any of your problems. It will just add a hangover to go with your problems. Getting sober starts with removing alcohol but then it’s doing the work and addressing the reason why you drank in the first place. The goal is to become someone who doesn’t even want to drink because you feel so good without it..Photo credit @drop_the_bottle_

Finding Time

Finding TimeA few years ago I really struggled to slow down and find time for myself. I felt like admitting I was tired, or not being constantly busy was a reflection on my character, and not in a good way. My answer was to push myself more, to prove myself, although even now, I’m not sure who I was trying to prove myself to. I think, because the only time I really relaxed was when I had a glass of wine in my hand, that the rest of the time I felt I should be ‘on’ and achieving. It took me a long time to reconcile the fact that I was allowed to be quiet sometimes, that I didn’t always have to achieve everything on my to-do list to be valued.

Nowadays, I make sure I take some time for myself. I feel it if I don’t, and by that I mean that I notice the scattiness creeping up, along with my patience depleting. It doesn’t have to be hours, or things that are expensive, I mean, I’d love spa days, but that’s not something I’ve ever done. Instead, I spend time at the beach, or in the water. I like to read, and I like time just listening to the world go by. It’s the little things that really make a difference to me.

Before, I wasted so many evenings, drinking wine and trying to convince myself that I was relaxed when I wasn’t. Now, I make the most of the time I have, because let’s face it, none of us know what’s around the corner. Tonight, after our littlest was in bed, we went out to the garden. It was peaceful, and in the early evening, the only sound was the birds in the trees. It was bliss, and now as I sit here writing this, I feel relaxed and more than ready for the week. There’s no feeling of regret, no dread at what’s to come, just me, doing the best I can, with my family by my side.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.
Sleep well x

Peach and Calm

Nothing like the peace and calm of the sea, especially when you get it (and the beach) to yourself!!

Beach 1Beach 2Beach 3


HeavenFound myself a little piece of heaven today!

Sneaky Five Minutes

Sneaky 5 minsSneaky solo lunch out today. I never used to do things like this. I probably wouldn’t have even bought a takeaway drink if I was on my own, let alone sit down by myself and eat… but I do now. How things change! The little things really make all the difference!


DisconnectionI was pretty shocked to see this headline pop up on my news app this week… “A government minister has suggested that people struggling with the cost of living could take on more hours or move to a better-paid job.” I know, it was only the other day that I said I don’t like the news, mainly because it stresses me out, but if I cut myself off entirely I worry that I don’t know what’s going on in the world.

So anyway, I was getting ready for work and checked my phone, making sure there were no disasters I needed to prepare myself for, but instead of anything useful, I saw this remark. I’m not sure how this is supposed to be any help to the majority of the families living in the UK right now. There are literally no more hours in the day for many of us to work, and while we can all be frugal, we can’t conjure money from thin air.

The thing is, for so many of us, there’s no more we can do to help ourselves cope with the soaring bills we are facing. I feel strongly that our government should be providing support, and while I know that many of them don’t live the same lives as us, they could at least try to understand. This politician’s comment made me angry. I have no idea who she is or why she feels able to make such a sweeping statement, judging and basically implying we need to up our game, but it’s not helpful to anyone. We should be pulling together, not pointing the finger and appointing blame.

It seems while so many of us are looking out for each other and being kind, those unaffected are unable to see the reality of the average person. It’s sad to see people in positions of power so out of touch with the real world. I really hope this one person is the unlucky minority.

Take care of yourselves,


ReintroductionI’ve been writing my blog for over three years, but I realised recently that a lot of you may not know my story, so I thought I’d share with you a bit about who I am, and why I write.

I’m a normal mum, like so many of you out there with kids and responsibilities, but at the end of each day, I turned to wine to help me unwind. My drinking crept up so slowly that I didn’t see the addiction forming until it was too late and I was well and truly hooked. Being reliant on alcohol was never something I thought would apply to me, but I quickly realised, wine is just as addictive as any other drug, and drinking the way I had been meant it felt almost impossible to stop.

At the time, very few people, especially those like me, talked about alcohol addiction, and not knowing where to turn for support made me feel quite alone, which just added to my shame, and really affected my mental health. Everything I thought I knew about myself was wrong, and I didn’t know how I’d enjoy life without wine. I didn’t see the point. It took time, and several failed attempts before sobriety stuck and I began to relearn the way I thought about everything, including wine.

So I started talking… If my story can help just one other person, then it makes me feel my struggle was worthwhile. It’s been five and a half years now and while it’s been hard, I can honestly say I don’t miss the person I was when I was drinking.

If you’re interested in reading more about my journey or my guide to recovery, both my books are available from Amazon, link in bio.

This Week

The last couple of weeks have involved a lot of sand and a lot of water, because sometimes you just need the simple things!

This week 2This week 4This week 1This week 3

Friday Mornings

1This is honestly a feeling I will never get tired of! It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, although admittedly, it’s even better when it’s sunny, but getting into the sea, and feeling the power of the waves is one of my favourite things. I’ve been busy this week, so I haven’t had any free time to swim, but I planned this morning, and after dropping off the littlest one at school, I headed straight to the beach. I took my sixteen year old with me, he likes to swim too, and at one point he turned and asked me if I was okay. I was floating on my back at the time, but I answered him honestly, telling him I felt great, and that’s true, the one place I truly relax in is in the water. It’s peaceful and calming, and settles my mind like nothing else does. I know I can’t stay in the sea forever, but making it a regular thing really makes a difference to me.


OverwhelmI’ve been experiencing a lot of emotions of late. Firstly, there’s the constant anxiety that seems to underlie everything I do. Sometimes it’s not so bad, at other times, it’s awful. It’s all the little things; I worry I’m doing things right, that I’m okay, and that I’m doing the best I can. Couple that with the fact that I’m so busy, like many of us are, and it seems that when I finally get two minutes to myself, I either fall asleep or zone out completely. I can’t remember the last time I managed to concentrate on a TV program, or read a book. But… I’m dealing with it, and I don’t want to have a drink. I can safely say that besides the fact I’m knackered and frazzled, I’m okay, and I wouldn’t be if I was drinking wine every night to help me cope.

I think on top of my personal worries and day to day life, the news gets on top of me. I struggle because I want to know what’s going on, but equally, I find it overwhelming. I sympathise with so many situations, but it adds to my feelings of inadequacy when I can’t do anything. I’ve found I’m a bit of a control freak and I like to be able to solve every situation I can. Every time I turn the radio on I’m reminded of the war, or being told many of us will soon be choosing between food and heating, but the thing is, I can’t do anymore. None of us can. We make the best choices we can, but ultimately, we’re in the hands of the government, regardless of where we are in the world. We can insulate our houses and use less, but when many of us are working all the hours we can, it’s impossible to know what more we can do, there’s only one pot of money after all. So being reminded of everything, all the time is hard for me.

My mental health is so much better than it was a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean I’m ‘fixed’. In some ways, it’s probably more scary, because I’m anxious about being back there again. Who knew you could be anxious about being anxious? I suppose if anyone could, that would be me! Again, it isn’t a constant, just an underlying worry that I might slip and not notice. I’m so affected by things beyond my control, like what I read, or the moods of others that I’m exhausted trying to fix everything. I’m working on letting some of it go, but it’s hard. I’m sure I can’t be the only one to feel like this?

I’m attaching a link here to the brilliant Blurt website, where they’re acknowledging the struggles many of us are coping with daily and signposting places where support might be available. I hope it helps!

I think as always, my message is to be kind to yourselves. It’s easy to take on too much, and actually, we need to remember that as good as it is to help, we’re no good to anyone if we’re broken. So say no sometimes if you need to, it’s far better than letting people down further along the line, and take some time for you. It doesn’t have to cost anything. A walk in any weather can change your mindset.

Take care,
Claire x

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