31 May. 2023
Starting out in a life less intoxicated can be a fraught with insecurities, doubt, and lots and lots of questions! We've all got questions, and for some, they never go away. Author of three books on the subject of recovery Claire Hatwell joins us inside issue 2 of @lownodrinkermagazine to share some of the answers that worked for her in her journey from multiple nightly bottles of wine to full sobriety.Read her advice on page 10 of the latest issue of Low No Drinker Magazine. And if you don't find the answers you're looking for there, why not reach out to Claire directly? You'll find her here at @soberme_claire
28 May. 2023
It might be sunny, it might be a bank holiday weekend, but you know, you don’t have to drink. You can even sit in a beer garden with your family like I did yesterday. It was great having a coke in the sunshine and walking away with a clear head!
25 May. 2023
So as you might know, I recently went to my first sober wedding. Not going to lie, I was nervous. I wasn’t afraid of drinking, I was afraid of feeling different, but actually none of the things that worried me happened and we had a great time! I even danced sober, which is something I never imagined, and the best bit was that I didn’t have a hangover or even a headache the next day. There was certainly no feeling of impending doom as I tried to work anything out from the night before. Alongside that obvious win, it was cheaper, and I took advantage of many alcohol free options. The next day, I could enjoy breakfast without worrying I was going to hurl. I hated that. Most of all, I feel like I was present. I didn’t get hammered because there was a free bar and embarrass myself, (done that), or get grumpy because I tried to limit myself (also done that!) Instead, it was just lovely and I have all the memories without tainting anything with alcohol. Most of all, I think I proved to myself that I can do it. And if I can do a wedding sober, I’m pretty sure I can do anything sober
19 May. 2023
So I'm six years sober, but today was my first sober wedding. I'd been, not anxious, but apprehensive about it, not worried that I would want to drink, more worried about being questioned about my why. I was a little disappointed with the af drinks on offer at the venue to begin with but when we got into our function room it was better. We had fun, and I don't regret for a moment my decision not to drink. In fact, I was stopped by a relative who told me how proud they were of me, and how good it was to see me so well. If that isn't a positive sobriety message, I don't know what would be! And tonight, I get to sleep, knowing I had fun and even danced sober. I remember what I did and who I spoke to. The only things that hurt are my feet from my shoes! The most important thing is that I feel happy. Sobriety makes me happy. I never thought I'd say that!
19 May. 2023
Going out out! Well to a wedding anyway! Feeling quite excited which is unknown for me, social events normally stress me right out!
16 May. 2023
There was a time when I avoided alcohol free wine like the plague. It was really helpful in my early days but then it became something I found myself relying on again and so I decided to quit while I was ahead. Normally if we eat out I check the drinks menu, but I'm never hugely impressed. Tonight however, I found a massive choice, not only mocktails and beers, but af wines too! It felt a little wrong (God knows why!) but I had one with my dinner and do you know what? I enjoyed it. I didn't drink it to get drunk; I actually enjoyed the taste. More importantly, I was present with our family, and enjoyed the conversations without getting daft. I still laughed, but now, as I'm sitting in bed writing this with a cup of tea, I know I won't wake up panicking tomorrow. I'm not afraid of what I have said or done because I remember. Things change. I don't drink, and that will never change, but maybe occasionally I can enjoy an af glass of wine!
16 May. 2023
It was only as I was driving to work this morning that it hit me… when I had my first ever drink, I didn’t like it. If it had been anything else, I wouldn’t have pushed through and continued to try to convince myself that I did, but rather than be honest, I pretended. I think I thought I was the one that was wrong, because ‘everyone’ drank, so clearly, it must be something special. We are sold the story that alcohol will make us complete, that it will solve our problems and make us happy, and yet, that isn’t really the truth. Instead, we become convinced we should drink to fit in, until we forget the reason and drink because we need it. We come to rely on this magical, mythical substance that actually doesn’t do us any good and is the only drug in the world we have to make excuses for not partaking in. Something, somewhere has gone wrong. But then I see us, the not so silent revolution, slowly waking up and seeing it for what it is, weaning ourselves off and waking up in the real world; a place where we feel everything, the good and the bad, and live the lives we’re supposed to. I’m not saying it’s not going to be a challenge at times, we’ll still be faced with advertising telling us what we’re missing, but trust me when I tell you, it’s not true. My life is so much better without alcohol. That is something I never thought I’d say, but trust me, when I say, not drinking is something I’ll never regret.
15 May. 2023
It’s interesting to hear other people talk about their journeys, even now, I have plenty to learn from others. Recently I was listening to a podcast discussing the effect alcohol has on our children. It’s something I’ve always struggled with; I always considered myself a good mum, but I also knew my drinking altered my capacity to do the job to the best of my ability. Looking back I feel a lot of regret, but I also know that however much I beat myself up, I can’t change anything. I heard a lot that I agreed with, for example, that alcohol is put on a pedestal, something we come of age to be allowed, although many of us want to drink beforehand to look grown up and fit in. Alcohol surrounded me as I grew up, available at any social event, and obviously I wanted to be a part of it. No one spoke of sobriety, or if they did, it was because someone was a rockbottom alcoholic, condemned to live a life white-knuckling it through as nothing would ever be the same. .When I began my journey I had no idea what to tell our kids. I suppose back then I wasn’t that proud. I felt being sober was something I had to do, rather than looking at it as disrupting a norm that society has come to rely on. When I look at myself now, I see someone genuine who doesn’t need a substance to have fun or relax, someone who might struggle but deals with it rather than ignoring it. Being honest, that’s the sort of person I want my kids to see, not someone who pops open a bottle at the end of every day, hoping they’ll wake up different to how they passed out. Remembering how difficult my drinking career was reminds me how much I don’t ever want to go back to that way of living, so while it’s not nice to remember, I guess remembering keeps me grounded. When you look at it like that, it’s easy to see all the positives sobriety has given me, and I’m proud to show my kids that challenges can be overcome. While I’d never try to stop them drinking socially, I can show them there is another way, and that makes me feel proud 💖💖💖
14 May. 2023
Sunday used to be a day where I’d allow myself to drink earlier. There were a lot of reasons, maybe we’d have Sunday lunch and then I would just carry on. Often it was sunny, and of course that was a good enough excuse. Sometimes it was purely just that I’d want to ‘relax’ before we started work again on Monday. The thing is when I look back now, it makes me sad, because none of it was real. The fun would have been fun without it, the sun would have still shone. All I did was spoil memories by slowly letting my life revolve around alcohol. It creeps up so slowly, that often you don’t realise you’re stuck until you’re in it up to your neck. I had a lot to unpick and wine was well and truly entwined in my life, so trying to have those sober moments was a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Of course, I always drank too much because I had no ability to limit myself. Days like today remind me why I’m on journey, they’re lovely just as they are, with family, sunshine and good food. I won’t wake up tomorrow struggling to remember, or worrying what I may have said or done. My life is enough, and so I’m not going to ‘reward’ myself with a drink tonight, because I actually want to be present in my life. We Do Recover! 💖💖💖
14 May. 2023
A rare photo of me and all four kiddies! 💖 So it turns out kids parties are quite stressful to organise and quite loud when you’re there. But, they are lovely, and despite all the effort, they are worth it. So now I may be absolutely exhausted, but I have no desire to spoil our day by drinking. Tea and a takeaway it is! Have a lovely sober Saturday everyone! 💖🥰💖
13 May. 2023
It’s funny how things change. I was recently sitting in a restaurant drinking a strawberry lemonade mocktail when two ladies on the table next to me started discussing what they’d like to drink. I wasn’t trying to listen, but I’d been left alone for a few minutes and it was difficult not to hear. Anyway, once they’d decided they’d have wine, they started to discuss how much. One asked if they should get a large glass while the other said no, just a small one. It hit me right then that I would never have said that. If ever I was presented with the opportunity to drink, I’d make sure it was worthwhile. In fact, I would probably have had a bottle because one glass wouldn't have been enough, even before I started contemplating my problem with alcohol. When I look back further it seems obvious that I depended too much on the contents of a bottle, but I suppose the benefit of hindsight is always a wonderful thing. 💖💖💖
12 May. 2023
I saw a post the other day that irritated me a little bit. Now I know that everyone has their own battles to deal with and people should be able to vent, but sometimes, even though it’s not, it feels personal. I don’t think it was aimed at me, and yet I felt bothered, and not only for myself, but because I’m protective of our sober community. Earlier in the day I’d seen a post saying that many of us were judgemental when it comes to recovery options. I don’t think that’s true at all. I clearly know what has and hasn’t worked for me, but I also accept that we’re all different and that the same thing will not work for everyone. Shortly after that post I saw another one, where someone said they were shutting their account down. That’s fair enough, but the reason surprised me; they said the sober community was growing too big and becoming less authentic, full of attention seekers. They said it was becoming a fashionable habit. Well of course, I can think of a lot worse habits to have than sobriety, but I was also really surprised at how venomous the comment was. Why suggest we’re attention seeking when all we’re doing is voicing our opinions, worries and challenges? Surely this is the community we’ve all been looking for, where we should understand and accept each other more? It makes me sad to think someone who has clearly benefitted from the sober community now says we’re not valid, but I suppose what bothered me the most is that someone out there could suggest I’m not authentic. No one can tell me that I’m not real, you don’t get the filtered version of life with me, you get reality, because that’s what life is. Some bits are great, some bits are more challenging, but that’s what makes it interesting. To be clear, I’m not going anywhere, as I’ve said before I share my story to help others feel less alone, if my story isn’t authentic, then I don’t know what would be. It’s easy to say but sometimes we just need to remember to be kind to each other and ourselves. Everyone has their challenges, who knows what’s going on behind the scenes? 💖💖💖
07 May. 2023
I do yoga a lot at the bottom of my garden. Our new decking wasn’t intended for me, but I’m claiming it, it’s the perfect place in amongst the trees, but nice and flat too. I suppose I’ll have to give it up when we get some chairs down there, but for now, I’ll make the most of it. Anyway I’ve gone off subject. The class I was doing was online, but the instructor said something that caught my interest, telling us to hold a pose, even if it was uncomfortable because nothing is permanent. And she’s right. It hit me then how many areas of our life this can apply to, whether it’s normal day to day life or our sober journey. The thing is, we might encounter difficult things, but they will pass. Nothing is forever, the good or the bad. So really, we need to make sure we stick with the hard things but also enjoy the good, because all too soon we’ll look back and realise that time has passed. We can choose to enjoy what we have while we have it, or regret the fact that it’s gone. I know which one I’d prefer.
04 May. 2023
Who do you tell?
As you may have gathered from my social media, I’m not quiet about my sobriety, and yet, it’s not the first thing I announce either. I kind of think of it in the same way that I would my weight, I don’t announce that when I meet someone so why would I announce the fact that I don’t drink? And yet… it’s a crucial part of me. It’s not who I am necessarily, but it has certainly shaped who I am. It’s contributed to the way I act and the way I interact with others. I’m more open about my anxiety, and have told several of my closest friends that I have panic attacks, but while it’s been on the tip of my tongue to say, oh yes and by the way, I’m an alcoholic, I just never have. It’s not that I’m ashamed; I write for a local magazine so it’s very likely that some of my friends know already, and then I wonder if it’s more awkward to address something that doesn’t really need addressing. While I’m not necessarily looking for acceptance or approval, I think it’s more that I don’t want secrets. I don’t want my friends to think I didn’t trust them enough to tell them, so maybe there is some insecurity there, but it’s more about them than it is me if that makes sense. My instagram isn’t private so anyone can stumble across it, and they have, which doesn’t bother me. I suppose I just feel like I’m keeping secrets, even though I’m not, well not really. So what are your thoughts? Who do you tell? Do you see where I’m coming from, or am I just overthinking it all?
02 May. 2023
Hello Tuesday morning. 💖💖💖 Today I am appreciative that the sun is shining and I can peg my washing out before I go to work. I’m grateful for a clear head and no hangovers. I’m grateful for my life and my family. I feel like it’s going to be a good day. What are you grateful for this morning?
01 May. 2023
You don't have to be paid to be an influencer. We influence others everyday through our choices and our behaviour. While I'd never tell my kids not to drink, I am very open with them about the impact drinking has had on me.
So the sun may be shining. It may be a bank holiday. We may have worked hard in the garden. We may be going to see family... but I will not let alcohol ruin any of it. I will enjoy the time we have together without alcohol, because actually things are better that way.
I hope you're having a lovely bank holiday, what ever you're up to 💖💖💖