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.
I love being asked to contribute to other people's messages as we get the word out about sobriety, recovery and living alcohol free. It's so important to break down the stigma and show people that we are okay, and that this life is great. Addiction can happen to anyone, let's change that xx
Ever thought about going sober for October? If you join our newest Bee Sober CIC challenge you get to do it with amazing group support and me as a coach!! Starts 1st October!! xBee Sober October
Supported Sober October Challenge - Includes The 30 Day Sober Experiment
Why just survive October when you can Thrive in October?
Friendship, community, connection is hugely important in the early days of sobriety which is why these challenges are working so well!
Why: You are more likely to succeed when you are accountable to a group, peer accountability is proven to keep people on track and remain committed, celebrating as a group will make it more likely that you will achieve your goal.
The key to success is the support of your group, every single week, no matter how you are feeling, what cravings and self-doubt you may be experiencing, we will be there to cheer you on.
What you get: ◦ Free access to Bee Sober exclusive membership through the challenge ◦ Welcome introductory lounge with an accredited Bee Sober Coach - where you can share your stories and really get to know each other. ◦ Exclusive Telegram group for the duration of the challenge. ◦ Weekly Zoom check-in with an accredited Bee Sober Coach ◦ Daily check-ins on Facebook ◦ Max 8 places - This keeps the groups intimate ◦ Certificate and limited edition Bee Sober water bottle on completion. ◦ How: You can join for £3.05 a day, (less than a glass of wine) payable upfront £95.00. (Discounted for all official members - details in the private group) ◦ Our promise to you: ◦ We care about everyone and whatever your story we can support you, no matter what. ◦ Please know at Bee Sober we never give up on anyone and if the worst should happen, you will be entitled to a free 20-minute support call with your coach to get you back in the game.
- Free access to Bee Sober exclusive membership through the challenge
- Welcome introductory lounge with an accredited Bee Sober Coach - where you can share your stories and really get to know each other.
- Exclusive Telegram group for the duration of the challenge.
- Weekly Zoom check-in with an accredited Bee Sober Coach
- Daily check-ins on Facebook
- Max 8 places - This keeps the groups intimate
- Certificate and limited edition Bee Sober water bottle on completion.
- How: You can join for £3.05 a day, (less than a glass of wine) payable upfront £95.00. (Discounted for all official members - details in the private group)
- Our promise to you:
- We care about everyone and whatever your story we can support you, no matter what.
- Please know at Bee Sober we never give up on anyone and if the worst should happen, you will be entitled to a free 20-minute support call with your coach to get you back in the game.
Join today: https://www.beesoberofficial.com/.../bee-sober-october/
Becoming a valuable Bee Sober member is not just about what you get, but what you give: When you purchase any of our items you financially support NACOA and allow Bee Sober to continue to support others. It also helps fund our podcast and allows us to continue to support the community.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but I always had a front when I was drinking. It wasn't until I stopped that the front fell away and I realised how awkward I could feel without wine. It’s funny, but because I didn't drink at all in the day I didn't associate the two things, and yet if I’m honest, I drank so much at night, that in the mornings I was always probably just riding the wave of the night before.
Everyone has a different way that they choose to portray themselves to others. My front looked capable, strong, in control, able to deal with stressful situations and most of all confident and chatty. All of these things were things that didn’t come naturally to me.
Since I’ve been sober I’ve moved away from many of my old circles. I’m not as social as I was. In fairness, a lot of the time, I don’t even miss it as I’m so busy, but at other times I do. It’s a hard balance to get right. It’s difficult when you’re older to meet new people, we aren’t forced into situations like sitting with people we don’t know at school, and this lack of enforcement can make it easier to avoid. We can isolate ourselves without meaning to, and that makes socialising harder. I’ve always felt like I didn’t quite measure up, that I wasn’t really good enough, and I hated feeling that way. It was hard to meet friends or join groups, because I expected that I wouldn’t fit it, so I didn’t really give anyone a chance.
A few weeks ago I heard that another Bee Sober Ambassador was coming on holiday to my neck of the woods, and she messaged me inviting me to meet up. So I did. I’m trying to push myself out of my comfort zone, and although it made me nervous, I went. As I worried, I tried to work out exactly what it was that was worrying me and I realised, I actually had very little to worry about. I didn’t have to explain I was sober, because we both are. I didn’t have to worry about where we were going to go for food or drinks because she was in the same boat as me. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I was safe and I had very little to actually worry about.
Do you know what? We had a lovely time. It could have stressed me out, parking was hideous, and I couldn’t fit my car in any of the tiny spaces, so I was late, but she understood. We met at the beach, and then we just played in the waves. Talking to someone who I understood and who understood me was fantastic. We might not share the same experiences, but we got each other. Later, after the beach we went for a coffee and the conversation flowed. I didn’t have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t and neither did she. It was a relief.
So, like when I joined my cold water swimming group, expecting them not to like me, and found that they did, I’m going to keep trying. It’s taken me a long time to discover who I am without the alcohol, but now I know, I’m enjoying getting to know other people too. It won’t always be easy, there will be bumps in the road, but that doesn’t mean I’ll fall. And if I do, I know I have people around me now to catch me.
Take care of yourselves,
I was invited to be a guest at a book club recently to talk about my book, My Not So Secret Recovery. Writing a book was something I enjoyed doing, although I am probably my own biggest critic! I find writing therapeutic and it helps me work things out, unpicking my thoughts and feelings; but actually having my book published was something else. It was nerve wracking and I did wonder what I was doing, but I suppose it grew and got a little bit of a life of it’s own. It was strange to feel so conflicted about putting something out there, nervous of what people might think, and yet proud to be able to help and inspire by sharing my story in the way others had inspired me.
A little while before my book club, a friend of mine sent me the link to a Brene Brown video of a Ted Talk on You Tube. She spoke about vulnerability and shame and the research she had done into both subjects. I’ve read several of her brilliant books, but I hadn’t seen her speak before. It was both relatable and inspiring, and she went on to discuss the fact that anyone who is creative and puts themselves out into the public arena should expect to receive criticism. I was surprised, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but then she said something that really hit a chord with me. What Brene went on to say was that we shouldn’t pay any heed to anyone who isn’t also putting themselves out there and therefore up for criticism. She’s right. It’s so easy to be critical, but unless you’re also opening yourself up to be in a position where other people can comment on you and your opinions, then maybe you should keep those opinions to yourself. It’s hard to be vocal, especially about things we feel strongly about, but you know, that shouldn’t stop us from doing it. Sometimes we need to be brave, and even if we get criticism, we might also be helping someone. Unfortunately the critical voices are often the loudest and the ones we remember most. She put it in a more eloquent way, but the gist of it is there. Listening to her words was reassuring, and I suddenly realised that a lot of people may not like what I write, but quite possibly those people are the ones that won’t benefit from it and who aren’t really the intended audience for my writing. I’m not saying it’s nice to get criticism, but I think it’s important to remember that not everyone will get us as individuals and that doesn’t mean that what we are doing is wrong.
With Brene’s words in my mind I joined the book club and gave them the honest and authentic version of myself. Now, I’m not really one to plan things nowadays. I think it comes from knowing I might feel anxious, and instead I bury my head in the sand, and choose to wing it. I know this isn’t always the best option, because instead of being prepared, I can land myself in some sticky situations, but it also means that what I am saying is honest and true. It’s not rehearsed, it’s literally an honest response to whatever I’m being asked, and knowing that I’m being authentic makes me feel good.
I really recommend watching the video, so here’s the link
Just remember, as long as the things you do come from a good place, then you aren’t doing anything wrong.
Thanks as always for reading,
I’ve been asked a few times recently to give advice to someone wanting to stop drinking, when they have a partner who intends to carry on. It’s not an easy thing to answer, because the dynamics of any relationship are different, but I’ve been thinking a lot about it, so here goes.
Having everyone agree with our decisions and fully support our choices would be amazing, but realistically, that just isn’t going to happen. Life isn’t like that, and I know for sure that while sometimes it would be nice to have everyone agree with me and go along with all my ideas, it wouldn’t feel nice to think I was just being humoured. If we aren’t real and genuine with each other, especially those we love, then there seems little point in going to the trouble of facing up to and overcoming our difficulties. I’ve been learning to free the real and authentic version of myself, and in doing that, I know I need to accept the authentic version of everybody else too. I’m not saying we have to like everyone else’s choices, but to accept them is different, and it can give us a little bit of peace when we realise that, and stop overthinking things that are out of our control.
Everyone’s situation is different, some couples give up drinking together, but while some find that supportive, others find it can cause conflict. There is no right or wrong. Some people are single and don’t have partners to help or hinder them. Whatever our circumstances, we need to remember that we make choices for ourselves, and so should everyone else. We can’t let other people’s decisions affect us. We can’t let it be an excuse or a reason not to try something new. Other people are not the key to our success. Changing ourselves is the key, and we can’t rely on other people to do that.
We as people are all different and so we can use the fact that we choose not to drink as something else unique about us. Sobriety doesn’t have to be a negative thing! We also don’t have to be replicas of each other, not everyone will have had the same experiences as us, and so they won’t necessarily choose the same path. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong for either party. If we can be accepting of others food choices, for example, maybe two people eating together, one a vegetarian and one not, then surely we should try to be able to do the same with or without alcohol. We need to be mindful, things won’t always be easy, especially for those who stop drinking, to be around alcohol without feeling some emotional attachment, but that can be overcome with effort, as we rewire our brains and the way we think. Don’t push yourselves too far too soon. We need to remember that it is our choice not to drink, and remind ourselves that the person that choice benefits directly is us. Of course our behaviour will also affect other people, but we have to remember, if we want it to stick, that we’re doing it primarily for ourselves. We can’t let the choices of others hold us back, because that is what it will do, and we can’t use those choices as an excuse either. Believe me when I say, I looked for any reason I could to keep drinking and to feel like my drinking was normal, but the very fact I had to do that should have showed me that it wasn’t.
Be tolerant of each other, we can’t expect everyone to understand our choices, and unless you’ve had a problem with alcohol, it is doubtful that you’d understand the way some of us think. That’s okay, we’re not asking you to change, just to accept and not make jokes at our expense, and in return, although we might not understand why others still choose to drink, we’ll try to do the same.
Remember too that when we become sober and experience life free from the ties of hangovers and addiction, we shine a light on the worries others might have. We can’t push them into changing, everyone needs to go at their own pace, and find their own way. I know I would not have reacted well to anyone telling me to stop, or highlighting my drinking as a problem. It was a lesson I had to learn on my own.
Tread carefully, many people are fighting battles we know nothing about, but most of all look after yourself. Be kind to yourselves and to everyone else too.
I had such a lovely time today, meeting the lovely Belinda from @beesobersurrey and playing in the waves!
Here's what she had to say about it!
#Repost from @beesobersurrey
Bee Sober Surrey meets Bee Sober Cornwall
Thank you to my beautiful fellow Ambassador @soberme_claire for meeting me in Newquay at the end of my @welovelucid holiday for a sea swim and christening of my new body board
Was an absolute joy to meet IRL and share stories. This lady is 5 years sober, a working wife and mother to 4 children, a sober coach and ambassador for @beesober.cic and has her very own book ‘My Not So Secret Recovery’ (available to buy on Amazon with rave reviews). I’m just in awe of all she has achieved and with so much more planned ahead of her too. Girl you are rocking sobriety
Much love to you Claire my sober sister I’m already looking forward to seeing you again next year!
Since I’ve been sober I’ve rediscovered my love of reading and the bonus is I remember what I’ve read!! It seems @milliegooch from the fab @sobergirlsociety agrees!
Things have changed so much for me in the five years I’ve been sober. Not only in the way I look, (top right of the magazine article is back when I was drinking heavily), but mostly in the way I feel about myself. I’m more grateful for the little things now. Not just the things I have, but the things I can do. My body isn’t as skinny as it was when I was drinking, but it’s been through a lot any still keeps going, it’s healthy and let’s me have daily adventures.
I’m the same person but improved, Claire 2.0… authentic, brave, sensitive, open, honest. Not drunk.
Telling my story can be scary but I do it, because I want to help other people realise there is a way out. Just because things have always been a certain way, doesn’t mean they’ll always be that way. We can recover and live life alcohol free with no regrets. We can be new and improved versions of ourselves without losing anything, except the weight of the bottle holding us back.
If you’re struggling reach out. There are sober communities waiting to welcome you. And if you want to read the whole article, grab a copy of Prima Magazine now!
I needed this, this morning. Nothing like it to clear your mind.
Even this far into my sobriety I still enjoy a good bit of quit lit, at the moment I’m enjoying this wonderful book at the moment, We Are The Luckiest by @laura_mckowen - so honest, so open and so what we all need. Honesty breaks down the stigma and helps us ask for help when we need it, rather than burying our heads in the sand or in a bottle of wine. It helps save lives.
Take care and remember you’re not in this alone.
For a long time I felt like I had to explain the reasons behind my sobriety, maybe to excuse it? The thing is I don’t, none of us do. I made my choice for me, no one else. It’s not like I can’t drink, because I can. I just choose not to, and my mind and my body are grateful for that. I’m happier, calmer and freer than I ever was when I was drinking. So be proud of your choice, because it’s an amazing thing to go against the grain and be a little bit different from what society expects.
I saw this, this morning and it is so true. Thanks @paul_sober_harris - we need to break down the stigma. We need to talk about not drinking. Sober is a choice, and it makes us stronger, not boring!
Have a great day everyone!
Sunday night… I had to pick my son up from work at 7pm. When I was drinking this would have stressed me out to say the least. Especially on a Sunday!! He works near the beach, half an hour from our house, so instead of complaining, I looked for the positive in the situation, and threw our swimming things in the car. We had the beach to ourselves and it was raining, but the minute I was in the water, all the stress and tension of the say just slipped away, just like it always does. Cold water swimming is literally a cure all. So here’s a photo of my feet to prove I was there! As the water is colder too there are no jellies to contend with either so double win!!
I completely agree with this!!
Support has changed a lot since I got sober and knowing what worked and didn’t work for me has helped me develop what I offer my clients. If you think you’d benefit from coaching get in touch, I’d love to help! xx
I’ve heard it said so many times, that moderation is the key to being able to enjoy drinking responsibly. The thing is, that for many of us, the moment we have to consider moderating, we’re already in too far. ‘Normal’ drinkers don’t think about moderating, they don’t need to question how much or how often, it probably doesn’t even occur to them to think about when they might have another drink and they are even more than likely able to walk away and leave a glass without having the compulsion to finish it.
It didn’t start out like that for me of course, there was once a time when I could drink normally I’m sure, but it didn’t last. I think in my younger years I drank to fit in, to relax, to soothe my busy mind. With the reassurance that drinking in that way is normal in our society, I never questioned it, or worried too much about it, not until it crept up on me to a point that I realised that the idea of wine was always in the back of my mind. It doesn’t happen over night, but I know I struggled to do anything if it affected the amount I drank. Holidays meant packing the car up, in case there wasn’t a shop nearby, Sundays meant going to the supermarket early to avoid them closing, evenings out had to be over quickly, because quite frankly, I preferred to be home with a drink. I hate thinking back to those times because I realise just how much I missed out on. I glorified wine, like many of us do. I put wine on a pedestal, it was so powerful in my life and believed that the substance was what made something good, or it’s absence turning it bad. I failed to see the truth, that I was fast forwarding through my life, regardless of what I was doing, the culmination of the day had to be with alcohol.
To have a limit seemed ridiculous to me, I just couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t enjoy one or two glasses, and it actually irritated me when I realised other people could. I felt ashamed that I was unable to have ‘just the one’. For me, one was never enough, but it was always enough to get me thinking about where the next one was coming from and when. I had to control things, and to a certain extent I still do. Having come to rely on a substance meant that I wasn’t in control, and trying to moderate just highlighted that fact to me. It made me incredibly grumpy as the gap widened between me and the ‘normal’ drinkers. I felt like I’d let myself down and that just made everything worse. For someone who hides their problems with a drink, feeling bad about yourself only makes you want to drink more, just to be able to forget, but then, once you’ve had that drink, or several as it was for me, you end up feeling so much worse. Not only do you have whatever it was that originally made you feel bad, but you also have the fact you’ve had a drink. The spiral of regret starts there and it does nothing but make you feel even worse.
Moderating didn’t work for me. By the time I tried, I was too reliant, and like I said, it just made me realise how dependent I was, and how much I needed that drink. It probably reinforced the way I idolised alcohol, because I just wanted to grasp the feeling that I remembered wine giving me. Once I was in as far as I was though, that feeling was always out of my grasp. I wanted that wine, but when I got it, that feeling I was looking for wasn’t there, probably because I was so preoccupied with where the next drink would come from and if I was even able to have another one. If I slipped and had more than I should have done, then it all ended up going wrong, normally with me blacking out, unable to remember what I’d said or did, but always feeling so much worse than I did before I’d had the first drink.
Eventually it hit home that I couldn’t moderate. One was never enough so I had to admit that none was better for me. It was a challenge, and one that for a long time I didn’t want to undertake, but when I finally got there, I realised that it took the argument out of the equation, it stopped the little voice in my head and left me feeling a little bit less conflicted. I’m not saying it was easier, but knowing I wasn’t going to drink was far less exhausting than worrying about and planning for being able to drink. I didn’t have to question it, and I didn’t have to think about it, having a firm plan just helped, and I found myself a lot less grumpy.
Deciding not to drink can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. By making a decision and sticking to it, you know where you’re at, and so does everyone else too. It doesn’t have to be a battle, so take the choice out of it, and see where you go from there. I’ve found life after alcohol is pretty cool to be honest.
So this popped up on my news app today.
It’s an article about the possible food shortages happening in the UK because of a lack of delivery drivers. I get the need to be prepared but I think it’s laughable that the photo they used is of the alcohol aisle. I mean, what message are they trying to send? That we might struggle without food, but we can’t cope without alcohol? It’s ridiculous that by choosing this photo, they are literally reinforcing the place alcohol seems to have in our society and I know for one, this is exactly the sort of reassurance I would have looked for to normalise my drinking. It makes me cross, why couldn’t we have a photo of the bread aisle instead?!
Five years ago I was at the beginning of my journey. It was one of the toughest times in my life, I’d tried to stop drinking several times before but it had never lasted. Normally a few days off would convince me that I didn’t really have a problem, or that I could moderate. Of course, having just that one never ended there, it was always a very slippery slope for me.
The last time was different. I knew I couldn’t moderate. I knew one would never be enough, and more to the point, five years on, I still know that now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t romanticise it, or miss it, it’s just that if I ever think about drinking, I know for sure that one would lead to more. At the end it wasn’t even the taste I wanted, it was that ‘feeling’. But that feeling got harder and harder to reach, not only because my tolerance was so high; I was drinking between two and three bottles of white wine every night without fail, by myself; but because most nights ended up with me blacking out.
Blackouts are scary. You’re there but not there, able to function and hold a conversation, but your brain is physically unable to store the memories of the things you’re experiencing. It chips away at your self confidence, as you try to remember what you said or did or didn’t do the night before. Even the most simple things disappear, like the end of a book or a film, or a conversation and it can be hard for other people to understand, as they know they’re talking to you and you’re answering. It’s just your brain isn’t quite there with you in the way it should be. I found mornings became a bit of a mission as I tried to piece things together from the night before, without of course giving myself away. It was exhausting.
For me the 8th September is a special day. It marks the anniversary of the day I finally kicked alcohol to the curb. I’m not saying it was easy, because believe me it wasn’t, not even when I was 100% committed to doing it. Just trust me when I say the difficulty was worth it. I don’t think I really had a choice in the end, I knew things were going to end badly if I carried on drinking, I wasn’t able to limit myself and in actual fact, trying to do that just made me feel worse, because I was always trying to work out how and when and how much I could drink. It widened the gap between me and ‘normal’ drinkers and made me realise how much I relied on wine. It’s even more poignant at the moment because I’m coaching a group through their first 60 days of sobriety. Seeing them back at the beginning makes me realise not only what I’ve achieved, but how far I’ve come. It brings back the feelings I had, and it makes me grateful for everything I have. Seeing others at the start of their journey makes me a little emotional too if I’m honest. I just want to fix things for them, but I know from experience that while we all need support, in reality the only person who could fix things for me was myself.
I honestly never thought I’d be able to say I’m five years sober. I never thought I’d want to stay sober, but I do, and I’m not only looking forward to the next five years, but the rest of my sober life. I’m in charge of myself again. I don’t rely on something else to help me achieve a feeling, I rely on myself. When I feel stressed I go for a run or a swim. When I’m worried I talk about it, when I need to escape I pick up a book, and when I’m happy I laugh. It sounds so simple, but for so many years I didn’t do that, instead I opened a bottle, until I forgot why I was even opening it, and that my friends is something I really regret. I can’t change that, but I can keep moving forward, and if I can help others on my way, then that makes everything feel better too.
Thanks as always for listening.
I’m in Prima Magazine today, talking about overcoming my addiction.
I feel really strongly that we need to break down the stigma and speak out about these sorts of things. It’s the only way we are really going to be able to help ourselves and other people break free from the cycle.
There isn’t a typical addict or addiction, it can happen to anyone. But the thing is, we can overcome it, and living alcohol free can be bloody brilliant!
I’d love to know what you think!
I used to think I’d miss alcohol. That’s actually a lie… I used to think I couldn’t live without alcohol.
We are conditioned from childhood to use alcohol in almost all situations and to go against that is like swimming against the tide. It can be scary.
I’ve started living again since I stopped drinking. I go where I want, when I want to. I don’t have to worry about whether I can because I’ve had a drink or staying at home so I can drink. I’ve got no limits and no restrictions. I feel very free.
We went out yesterday, it was quite a party atmosphere watching the #tourofbritain come through, and in the park lots of families were stretched out enjoying themselves and the sun with a pint. I didn’t feel the slightest bit envious, and I know for a fact that the people drinking didn’t have a better time than me because they were drinking. It’s an eye opener sometimes, to realise that we aren’t missing out by not drinking, it’s just a myth and to be honest, I prefer my well being to a hangover.
In short, sobriety gives me freedom.
So me and my lovely daughter finally got round to getting these done. My elephant signifies strength and is a reminder for me, one that I will never forget as I’m celebrating 5 years sober next week. I super love him!!
Did I mention that today I am 5 YEARS SOBER?? No? Well, let me tell you again, today is my soberversary, and I am so proud to say that I have been sober for five whole years! I never in a million years thought I’d be able to say that, but I can, and guess what? It’s bloody amazing!!
And just in case you are wondering, yes, today is better to celebrate than my actual birthday!! xx
When you’re new to sobriety, breaking into a world that is different from what you know, it can feel scary. You may not know who to talk to, or even how to talk about the way you are feeling and what is going on for you. You might feel afraid of putting yourself out there, nervous of the reaction you might get.
I remember having a friend over for a cup of tea one Saturday afternoon. It was quite rare for me to do something like that, but I was at a point where I knew things had to change, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The thing that sticks in my mind most of all is not the fact we had a lovely afternoon, but rather the fact that I actually felt jealous of her for not needing to drink, and envious of the fact she could drink tea in the evening. Obviously, I didn’t know how she felt, it was just my observation, but I did know that I wanted to feel like that too. I wanted to feel normal for want of a better word, I just had no idea of how to get there. I didn’t know how to change, and I felt stuck.
I remember buying myself nice water bottles, thinking that if I had something pretty, I wouldn’t miss the alcohol so much in the evening, but it never worked. I found it incredibly hard to adjust the way I thought about alcohol, and although I knew it was making me ill, and affecting my mental health, I didn’t know how to kick it for good. Living without wine was a terrifying thought. In the day I’d carry my water bottle everywhere with me, thinking that if I could keep on top of my thirst then I wouldn’t think about drinking. It didn’t fix it, but it did help. In the evenings, I had a teapot, and we made making tea a bit of a ritual. Again, it didn’t fix me, but it helped.
I think the hardest thing was being alone in my thinking. I wasn’t on my own physically, because I’ve got an amazing husband and family who have stood by me through everything. The difficulty is, it’s hard for even the most well meaning of people to understand when they haven’t been there. It’s all the little things that are impossible to explain, because you don’t really even know yourself. I didn’t have a sober community at the beginning, and I wish I had, but in honesty, there weren’t many face to face groups that I felt comfortable going to, and the online community wasn’t so accessible.
Things change though, and I slowly I began to find a community of people like me. I was stunned to realise that I wasn’t the only one, that there are actually so many people in a similar situation to me. It was incredibly reassuring because I wasn’t on my own with my thoughts anymore. Sharing my story, and hearing the stories of others took away the power and the shame that I had been feeling. I can’t erase the past, but I’ve seen other people move past it, and in turn, I’ve learned to move on. I suddenly felt like I was part of something, and having the companionship, understanding and support of other people, regardless of where we all were in our journeys really helped. I don’t think it matters if you’re on day one or one thousand, we all need support, and finding my tribe has been amazing.
If you’re in recovery, don’t muddle through on your own. Reach out, make friends, get support and when you’re feeling better, give support to those who need it too. It’s empowering to be part of a movement, and one where you get to take back control of your life is pretty rewarding, so come and join us. We’d love to meet you!
Take care of yourselves,
My sober Saturday has consisted of a long walk across the moor to a secret swimming spot we like. It’s been too long since I last swam as I’ve had to wait after getting my tattoo. I couldn’t wait any longer and I was so glad I went, the cold water is so relaxing and there’s nothing like it to sooth my mind. Feeling properly chilled out now!