My Not So Secret Diary


One of the things that lingers a little from the days when I used to drink is the fact that I like being at home. That may sound odd, I mean, a lot of people like being at home, but for me it’s a bit more than that. In the beginning it was just normal, but over time, it became easier to go home and stay there than to go out. I could always guarantee there was wine at home, and I couldn’t if I went out. I liked to be home early too, because that gave me more of the evening for a few drinks, after I’d done all the jobs around the house of course. I always liked to know things were done before I sat down, because then I could properly relax.

I don’t think I realised how stuck in my ways I was back then, how much I planned things to make sure I was home each evening. I just knew I enjoyed a few drinks, as I was sure every one else did, and so after a long day at work, it was good to get home and relax. I just didn’t see how gradually that crept up and became more important than everything else, until it almost seemed like the day was just a mission to get through so I could get home and stop.

Definitely in the early days it was a huge reminder to me to come home and not have that drink. Getting through the so called ‘witching hour’ was difficult but I overcame it. Still though, there in the background was the need to get home. I just didn’t know why. There wasn’t so much of a reason anymore, because I wasn’t running home to open the fridge. It just seemed that I needed to be there. Sometimes, I’ll admit, on the drive home, I’d think about pouring a glass when I got there, but then I remembered that wasn’t something I did anymore. It’s taken time to get out of the habits I’d formed, but going home isn’t one of them.

Home is my safety net. It’s the one place in the world I don’t have to worry about anything. I feel safe and secure here. I’ve always told the kids that, when they were younger and being mean to each other, I used to tell them home is our safe place, here we can say and do what we want, and we should all be considerate to each other. Everyone at home knows the way my mind works, and they don’t question it. They laugh at me sometimes, but there is never any harm in it, and often it’s when I’m laughing at myself too. I’m lucky to have this little haven, and while I am pushing myself to get out and do more, it’s good to know that once I shut my front door my safe place is always here.

I hope you have a safe place?

Take care and thanks as always for reading.
Claire x


Small Businesses

Small Businesses Sobriety blog by Claire Hatwell called My Not So Secret Diary, writing about sober living in Cornwall SoberMe Etsy Shop Addiction and Recovery Gifts
Years ago I ran a fused glass business. It ran fairly successfully and I made all kinds, from coasters and small bits to large custom sets of awards. I enjoyed it, but I’ll admit, I did find it stressful making things for others, not the things I wanted to do myself, but the things where others had an idea of how they wanted them to be. It was lovely to be able to create something I had thought of and then for someone to buy it. It felt good and made me feel like I had a purpose. It was at a time when I was beginning to fall apart, and so having this little pretend world where I could exist made me feel better.

I associated creativity with ‘before’ the end and for a long time I couldn’t set foot inside my workshop because I didn’t have wine to take with me. I know that isn’t a good reason, and it was probably more of an excuse than anything, but everything had changed so much it felt too hard.

Craft/making/designing - whatever you want to define it as makes me feel vulnerable. Before, I had my wine induced coat of armour, but after, I had to learn it was okay to try things, and they didn’t all have to work out. I found it easier for a long time, not to try, rather than to feel like I had got something wrong.

Then of course, about a year ago I started posting my writing and finding that people I didn’t know liked it. It was nice to feel it wasn’t just friends and family trying to be kind to me. Gradually I began to let myself get creative again. I let myself explore what I liked and what I didn’t, only now I find, I am doing it more for myself that anyone else. It’s a wonderful bonus that other people like it. It’s empowering. It makes me feel good, but now I see that it’s important that I enjoy it first and foremost, for me.

I was sitting with Katie recently watching TV. Finally now that Stanley has got into a slightly earlier bedtime routine we can catch up on scary things he can’t watch. We were interrupted by my phone letting off a loud, ‘kerching!’, that sounds like a till and always makes me smile. It’s the noise Etsy makes when someone purchases something from my shop. It’s funny how much the small things matter! That noise means that somewhere in the country (or the world) someone has clicked and bought something. Little do they know how much it means to me or other sellers like me.

The simple things are good. Life is good. It changes, and we can stay stuck in our rut or choose to change. I’m glad things are working out, I’m feeling more positive and more hopeful, than I’ve done in a long time.

Thanks for reading,
Claire x



Peace 3 Sailing and kayaking in Rock, Cornwall Sobriety blog by Claire Hatwell called My Not So Secret Diary, writing about sober living in Cornwall
We haven’t been out on the water since we sold our boat. I used to swim a lot in the sea too, but since all this Covid business Barn’s surfing lessons have been cancelled, and that was the time I took to swim. It’s funny how you can miss something without realising you do, and when you get out of the habit, it’s not that you forget, but you fill your time up with other things and it’s easy not to do those things that you used to enjoy.

Most weekends we end up driving out to Rock to drop Barn at work. He gets the bus in the week but at the weekends the times don’t quite match up with his shifts, so it’s easiest for us to take him. We often plan it, at least when the weather is nice to take Stanley to the beach which is lovely. It’s nice in some ways to have a reason, to be almost forced out of the house to do something. I find it so easy not to go out, so having that reason really helps. It’s a bit like having parkrun or a race used to make me run more, I seem to need things to help with my motivation.

Peace 2
Anyway, on Saturday, just before we were going to leave the house, Lee suggested taking our kayak. It’s been over a year, closer to two actually since we’ve used it, so as we didn’t have much time, I quickly checked Stanley’s life jacket still fitted while Lee bundled it all into the car and off we went.

We don’t like an audience when we do things. It’s one of those things that puts us off. Some people thrive on being watched, while we just like a bit of space. It’s one of the reasons the boat we had was so remote, it was just us when we were out there. When we ventured down onto the beach, after paying the harbour master, we found a quiet corner out of the way of inquisitive eyes. It’s always fun trying somewhere new, but of course, it’s also hard when you don’t know the beach well, or the current, so there’s a lot to consider, and that’s without a three year old running around!

Once we were out on the water though, it was perfect. I forgot how peaceful it was, how soothing. Of course, it was hard work too at times, paddling upstream and trying to keep out the way of the rest of the boats out on the water, but it was lovely. The tide was going out, and it uncovered a large sandbank in the middle of the estuary, which is usually inaccessible, so we pulled the kayak up and let Stanley out to explore. He loved ‘Pirate Island’.

Peace 1
Of course we got pretty wet, but it was so much fun! It’s a lovely feeling to feel tired from doing something like that, to feel that we had spent time together doing something fun and effectively free. Stanley never sleeps in the day, but we must have worn him out because he slept the whole way home.

The simple things in life are great, I’ve realised that more and more in the time I’ve been sober. I don’t need shopping and expensive things to make me happy. I just need the people I love, and a bit of an adventure.

Take care,
Claire x