My Not So Secret Diary

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Monday afternoon thought from my car…

Monday Thoughts
I’ve always said community really helps overcome addictions. Just the simple act of being around other people who ‘get’ us and our journey helps. I still feel this way, even 5 years into my journey, it’s not that I’m worried I’ll drink, I just seek out other like minded people who I can talk to without having to explain I don’t drink or why.
When I’m driving, I quite often pick a podcast to listen to, although I know a lot of people listen when they walk. Sometimes it’s better company than music, it can feel like you’re having a chat with friends. Some of the best one’s I’ve found are the @beesober.cic podcast, and more recently I’ve found One For The Road by @soberdave - Listening to a recent episode with his guest @unexpectedjoyof was great. It reaffirms everything I feel on the journey I’ve been on, and reminds me that I’m not alone in the way I feel.
Recovery is a journey. I’m not sure that we all reach the destination, as we are works in progress. Understanding that, and the fact that we aren’t alone is sometimes all we need to help us keep going.
I hope you’re all having a lovely day? Take care xx

Bookshelf Inspiration

Books Club
I popped into Waterstones in Truro today. It is so good to see a whole section of books dedicated to alcohol awareness. Finally maybe something is changing. It’s great to think the sober curious or those who might need help can access it a little easier. I do think the section would be even better if my book was there too though!

Addiction is not a Choice

Yes!! I was so pleased to see this! The more people speak out, the more I hope things will change and we will be able to face our demons without the feat of judgment.

Reposted from @telegraph

Addiction is not a choice and none of us are immune, the Duchess of Cambridge has said, in a taboo-busting speech to beat the "taboo and shame" that surrounds it⁠

In a landmark speech, aimed at breaking the stigma of addiction, the Duchess urged the public to try to understand the “multi-layered and complex” journey towards addiction, which has been compounded by the “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.⁠

Echoing the mission of her late mother-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales, to change society’s attitude towards difficult, unglamorous topics, she said: “By recognising what lies beneath addiction, we can help remove the taboo and shame that sadly surrounds it.”⁠
We need to keep on banging the drum to end the stigma surrounding alcoholism and addiction.

The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect
If you search online for the ripple effect, the top hit describing it is, “the continuing and spreading results of an event or an action.”

I used to think the only person my drinking affected was me. What I mean by that is that it was my body, my health and my wellbeing that was directly affected, no one else’s. I considered it very different to smoking for example, where second-hand smoke affects others, or gambling, where I might lose money that wasn’t mine. In my mind my addiction was different, and of course being as it is so socially accepted, I decided everything else would be okay. Although one of my priorities became wine, it didn’t change my other priorities. I loved my kids and always kept them safe. I held down a high pressure job and I know I did it well. My house was always clean and tidy, and I never let anything slide… but… underneath that charade I wasn’t okay, and that came out in other ways, like a lack of time and patience. Like me prioritising things so I could be at home and have a drink rather than be out and about. I just couldn’t see that at the time.

Addiction, whether you like it or not ripples out from the person using the substance. It ripples through our lives, affecting everything it touches to some extent. It might not even be a direct impact, like anger or violence, but I often wonder about the messages we send out to others, like our children who consciously or not, see us turn to alcohol for so many different reasons and come to see it as normal.

It all sounds so negative, but on the other hand, in the same way, sobriety also ripples through our lives. We don’t have to go on a crusade to convert people, but instead, by recovering loudly, we allow others to see what we’ve done, how we’ve overcome our challenges and perhaps inspire them to do something similar. My mission isn’t to convince people not to drink. Whether someone else drinks or not isn’t my choice and I know I wouldn’t and didn’t react well to anyone questioning my drinking. Instead I’m open and honest, not just about how much I like living alcohol free, and how much freedom it’s given me, but also the challenges I’ve faced along the way, because I want others to be aware that it’s not all smooth sailing, but it is a journey worth taking.

When I first got sober, it was still quite a taboo subject. People were beginning to talk more, but it felt as if they’d take a look around to see who was listening first. If I joined a group, I did it with a fake name so people I knew wouldn’t know. I haven’t felt like that in a long time now. Yes, I’ve been through a lot, and there’s a lot I’m not proud of, but what I’ve been through has got me to where I am now, and that’s the message that I want to ripple out. I want people to know that it’s okay, you can come from a dark place and move out into the light. Life without alcohol is good, despite what a lot of advertising tells us. We don’t need it, and it certainly wouldn’t make my life any better, in fact, I think it would ruin it.

Be conscious of the messages you let ripple out, you don’t know who they might affect, and who might be waiting to hear something that will help them.

Take care of yourselves.
Claire xx

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