New Year’s Eve – When You’re Alcohol-Free

It’s New Year’s Eve, a night which celebrates the beginning of a virgin twelve months in which we hope to achieve our goals and live out a few of the dreams which fell by the wayside some time during the present year. It is also a night which, for a significant majority of the adult population of the western world, is all about ALCOHOL. So what do you do if you don’t drink? Can New Year’s Eve be an enjoyable occasion when you are stone cold sober and surrounded by drunken revellers?

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Here are a few pointers for enjoying the last ‘event’ night of the festive season, alcohol-free;

  1. Think VERY hard about who you wish to spend this evening with. When you aren’t numbed by the anaesthetizing qualities of booze, you will notice the less appealing aspects of those whose company you are keeping a whole lot more than if you were out of your tree. It would also be a good idea to avoid those friends whose idea of a good night is to drink until they pass out. Choose the invitations you accept wisely.
  2. Make an effort with your appearance. When alcohol ceases to be the main focus of a night out, it’s helpful to zone in on other ‘features’ of your evening to ensure you don’t miss out on the excitement of a big night. Going all out on a fantastic outfit, new hairdo and luxurious pre-party facial will all contribute to your inner feeling of wonderfulness – helped along by your glowing, alcohol-free complexion of course!
  3. Take a few moments before you leave for your party destination to remind yourself why you are CHOOSING not to drink tonight. What happened last time you drank? Did you embarrass yourself, have a drunken row or act in a way which filled you with regret and self-loathing the next morning? Chances are if you decide to drink tonight, you won’t be able to moderate – just as you have never been able to in the past. You chose an AF life because it works for you, so hang on to that thought and feel GOOD about being a Soberista.
  4. Plan an activity that brings you happiness and contentment for the morning of January 1st 2014. While you don’t want to be wishing your New Year’s Eve party night away, it’s good to have a treat planned for the next day, and one that you know will be all the more enjoyable hangover-free. There’s a certain amount of smugness to be had from running in the countryside on the first day of a new year (or doing whatever it is that you enjoy), secure in the knowledge that most people will be lying in bed feeling like shit.
  5. Be mindful of what New Year’s Eve is all about, and don’t get caught up with the notion that alcohol is at the core of all the celebrations. Contemplate the year you have just lived and congratulate yourself on all you have achieved – then look ahead and consider how the next twelve months could be even better. Be grateful for everything you have and spend time with the people you really love, enjoying good food and quality time together.
  6. If all of the above fails to help you see in the New Year with a bang, then go home, put your favourite pyjamas on and log on to Soberistas.com for some support – there’s nothing like a good moan to people who understand to make you feel a whole lot better!
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Soberistas Advent – Competition Time!

As a thank you for all your fantastic contributions, helpful advice and general wonderfulness on Soberistas.com, we are today launching a competition that could see you enjoying a free Virgin Spa Day at one of a number of locations across the UK, worth £99!

All you need to do in order to be in with a chance to win this fabulously indulgent treat is to complete the following sentence in no more than 100 words;

“2014 will be my best year yet because…”

Our favourite answers will be featured on Soberistas.com on January 2nd 2014, the date of our exciting re-launch.

Magic water, magic nature, beautiful blue effect

This competition is only open to UK-based Soberistas. The competition closes at midnight on December 27th 2013. The winner will be informed on January 2nd 2014. To enter, please send your answers to competition@soberistas.com and mark the subject box ‘SPA’. Please state if you wish to remain anonymous should we wish to publish your answer on Soberistas.com.

For further details of this prize please follow the link below.

http://www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk/spa-day-collection?path=options-vouchers

GOOD LUCK!

Lucy x

PS. Apologies to our Australian, American and other non-UK members. We are only able to offer this prize to UK-based Soberistas but we hope to run similar competitions in the future with prizes for members located elsewhere.

Soberistas Advent Reveal…Book Club

On January 2nd 2014 we will be introducing the Soberistas Book Club. I’ve posted this blog to tell you all about it and how it will work – I hope you decide to sign up as I think the Book Club will be something enjoyable to do with all those spare, booze-free hours! Plus, if you get in quick, there’s the chance of winning one of 2 free copies of our first Book of the Month. To find out more, read on…

How does the Soberistas Book Club work?

Sign up (for free) to Soberistas.com if you haven’t already done so. You’ll need your username and password to be able to post your comments/reviews on the Book Club page.

Each month we will select a Book of the Month – you enter the competition (details will be given on the Book Club page of Soberistas.com when it launches on January 2nd and are also detailed below) to win a copy, if you wish, or buy/borrow the book (we will never choose a book which costs more than a tenner, and remember, that’s only slightly more than your average bottle of wine! We’ll also only pick books that are readily available).

Read it, and then post your thoughts on the new Book Club page; get stuck into a debate, air your views, have a chat with others about how you enjoyed/hated the book. We ask, however, that you don’t spill the beans and reveal any juicy endings to other Book Clubbers who may be reading at a slower rate that you…

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The books we’ll choose will all fall under the categories of; a good read, hard to put down, page-turners, funny, contemporary, fiction and some non-fiction. We will happily take on board your suggestions so if you want to suggest a title for a future Book of the Month please do so by emailing enquiries@soberistas.com. Each month we will do our very best to secure at least a few free copies from the publisher of our Book of the Month.

What’s January’s Book of the Month?

January’s book is The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty and published by Penguin. Penguin have kindly offered to supply two Soberistas with a free copy of the book, so if you are interested in joining the Soberistas Book Club and would like to take part in our first month’s read, then please send your name and address to enquiries@soberistas.com and in the subject box of your email, write ‘Book Club Competition’. Alternatively, or if you are not successful in winning one of the two free copies, you can buy the book here;  http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Husbands-Secret-Liane-Moriarty/dp/1405911662.

We really hope you sign up to our Book Club – happy reading!

 

 

Soberistas.com Advent Reveal – Ask the Doctor

Today is the day of our second Soberistas advent reveal in the run-up to our re-launch on January 2nd 2014. We are introducing a new page on Soberistas.com called Ask the Doctor, and this will enable our members to send in any medical queries, specifically related to alcohol, to Dr. Julia Sinclair who has very kindly offered her expert services for this purpose.

Ask the Doctor works in a really simple way – you send your questions to askthedoctor@soberistas.com and Julia will answer as many of your queries as possible. The Q’s and A’s will then be published the following month on Julia’s page of Soberistas.com. If you wish to remain anonymous then please state this when you send in your question via email. You can read more about Dr. Julia in the following introductory article, and feel free to send in your questions from today (the cut off for this month is December 24th, so if you would like to see your questions answered in the January page of Ask the Doctor, make sure you send them in before Christmas Eve!).

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to Dr. Julia for giving up her time, for free, for this purpose – we are thrilled to have you on board Soberistas.com!

Lucy x

Dr. Sinclair

 

Dr Julia Sinclair

I am delighted to be starting the ‘Ask the Doctor’ page for Soberistas as part of the new website; to try and give some unbiased ‘evidence based’ advice about aspects of alcohol use, effects and treatments that Soberistas members  may want clarifying.

There is a lot of misinformation out there, and sadly many GPs and other doctors have had only minimal training about how to deal helpfully with alcohol problems. So they often miss it when patients come with related concerns (depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heartburn and the rest). This means they may give treatments for these symptoms (often for years) without ever addressing the underlying problem.

So who am I? I am a qualified doctor who specialised in psychiatry and then addiction. My main area of expertise is in alcohol problems particularly those complicated by anxiety and depression. I am based at the University of Southampton where I have a clinical and academic role involved in trying to ensure that we get adequate teaching and training on this subject for all doctors, as well as research into alcohol problems.

I run an NHS clinic at the General Hospital in Southampton (with my colleague Jules) which sees people with a full range of physical and mental health problems related to alcohol. We encourage people to feel that they can take control over their drinking and are often able to show them how quickly their health and wellbeing starts to improve when they have taken that first step. Sadly it is just one clinic and the estimates are that there will be about 4000 people dependent on alcohol in Southampton alone! We try to link people in with services locally, but these are under resourced, often not accessible to working people, and, as many on Soberistas have commented,  give people an identity as ‘alcoholics’ rather than ‘Soberistas’ and so they may not be keen to go.

I recommend to all my patients that they check out Soberistas, as a great place for support, encouragement and good practical advice. I have a huge respect for Lucy and all she is achieving and I am looking forward to contributing a small part to the sober revolution!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Julia

Who will you vote for Member of the Month?

The countdown starts here! In 25 days, Soberistas.com re-launches with loads of fabulous new features and a great, refreshed design.

When you answered our survey a few months ago, you provided us with masses of brilliant suggestions about how we could make Soberistas even better, and it is these that we have based the re-launched site on. Over the next three and a half weeks, we will tell you about some of the additional features which you will be able to enjoy from January 2nd onwards.

We wanted (and many of you suggested in the survey) to introduce a method of celebrating your achievements on Soberistas – either for reaching a particular sober milestone, fighting your way successfully through a particularly challenging period and remaining alcohol-free nonetheless, or for going the extra mile and reaching out to another member of the Soberistas community to support them through a rough patch.

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With this in mind, we will be introducing Member of the Month which will allow you to nominate a special Soberista for our monthly award – an engraved (the winner chooses the words to be engraved) disc bracelet which can be worn as a reminder of all that he or she has achieved.

The bracelet, by Merci Maman, comes in a variety of colours, and a male and female option. We will let you know in advance the email address to which you can send your nominations. The Member of the Month will be announced on Soberistas, Twitter and Facebook at the end of each calendar month, and the winner will then be able to select his/hers bracelet of choice which will be delivered, gift-wrapped, to their door!

We can’t wait to find out who our first Member of the Month will be – look out for the special email address, which will be revealed on Soberistas.com, Twitter and Facebook within the next couple of weeks, in order to start sending in your nominations!

Was That Me..?

Today’s post is a guest blog by Stacey Brunt, a Writer, Actor and Teacher based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Her written works include plays, poetry and fiction. She has also recently begun attending “Open Book” writers group at Brampton Manor, Chesterfield.

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Was that me?

Vessel in hand

Mascara striped face

Empties littered the floor

 

Was that me?

Crying for help

Screaming out loud

Needing; more and more

 

Was that me?

Lying through teeth

Stumble on road

Longing it to hit

 

Was that me?

Sweat stained sheets

Vomit marked mat

Wallowing, deep in pit

 

Was that me?

Alone and afraid

Crawling in skin

Wanting and needing an end

 

Was that me?

Crisp hospital bed

Wired, head spinning

Or was it make-pretend?

 

Was that me?

Was

That

Me?

 

Now,

THIS is me…

Head held high

Clear glass eyes

Not really how it was planned

 

But,

Step out in sun

Inhale, now exhale

Holding onto your hand…

 

For My Mam, Fran.

 

Soberistas Advent Calendar…

Last week Soberistas.com was one year old. As we neared the end of our first year in operation, we began the planning and implementation of numerous improvements to the site ready for the scheduled re-launch on January 2nd.

Soberistas will still function in the same way, but we will be adding lots of new features designed to help you on your alcohol-free journey, plus we will be unveiling our new-look logo and website design.

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Throughout December we will be giving you a few hints and clues to the new-look Soberistas.com here on WordPress, so look out for some sneak previews of what you can expect to see on January 2nd 2014!

We are so excited and can’t wait for you to see the new and improved Soberistas.com – watch this space…