Get A Christmas Action Plan Together!


I know it’s only November but I’ve already had several emails from people worrying about those dreaded festivities lying just around the corner. Time does have a terrible habit of running away with itself so I know it’ll feel like Christmas is upon us in just a matter of minutes.


In anticipation of the worrying I know lots of people will be doing in the coming weeks, here’s my guide to making the festive season a lovely experience that will definitely NOT derail your alcohol-free intentions…

  1. If you convince yourself that alcohol doth make Christmas special and magical, I guarantee you’ll spend the whole of the holidays feeling like you’re missing out. Booze is not a good thing when you can’t moderate the amount you drink. It makes you argue with people, fall asleep on the settee drooling, make an arse of yourself at the work Xmas do, have the hangover from hell on Christmas morning (making present opening and cooking dinner truly horrendous experiences that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy), and adds countless calories to your already wildly-exaggerated daily intake. So remember – you’re not missing out on anything by not drinking!
  2. Get organised with the whole festive shebang – and make the organising a thing to enjoy! I’m never one to pass up any opportunity to write lists and plan stuff so perhaps I’m slightly biased with this one, but hear me out. If you aren’t organised, things become super stressful, right? And when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to want a drink. So it makes sense to start shopping early, work out your budget, write Christmas card and pressie lists, and put together a theme for your decorations and tree. The earlier you start with this, the better you will feel. Plus, it has the added bonus of keeping you busy when otherwise you might be thinking about booze.
  3. Buy a nice outfit. Have your hair done. Get a new lipstick. Focus a bit of energy and thought into looking and feeling glamorous during the Crimbo period. You’ll feel amazing, get loads of compliments (thus boosting your self-esteem and confidence), and it’ll help get you into the celebration mood.
  4. Spend a couple of hours before the holidays start making and testing out some mocktails. Make sure you have all the ingredients in ready for Christmas, and enjoy drinking your special creation on the day. Nothing will make you feel flatter than drinking water with your Crimbo dinner.
  5. Be creative. When I drank, I never really did much creative but when I stopped, I found that I LOVED making things. Whether it’s baking or conjuring up some homemade Christmas decorations with the kids, being creative is a brilliant way of staying mindful and not letting your brain run away with anxieties and worrying about booze and how you’ll manage to stay sober.
  6. Look after yourself REALLY well. Get as much sleep as you can, eat as healthily as you can, get lots of exercise, meditate, and spend time alone rejuvenating and winding down. This could be in the bath with candles and some luxury smellies, going for a run or listening to music, wrapping up and going on a gorgeous country walk, or whatever else takes your fancy. Just make sure you take care of YOU this Christmas. Because when YOU are in tiptop condition, everything else becomes so much easier to manage. I’m also a fan of buying yourself a few presents alongside those you’re choosing for loved ones…
  7. Last one – remember what Christmas is. And what it is not. It’s a holiday, lovely downtime for spending quality time with family and friends (this is my definition because I’m not religious, but if you are a Christian then it’s all about celebrating that – either way, it ain’t about booze). In the run up to Christmas, focus your thinking, whenever you get a quiet moment, on what Christmas means to you – really zoom in on what you want it to be, for you and those around you. Give it a new meaning, whatever works best for you.

When you apply all of the above, it should be entirely possible to start making new, much happier festive memories! Wishing you a very happy time this Christmas. Lucy xx


Sometimes It’s The Little Things…

After an extraordinarily stressful couple of days, I just went for a run. I passed a bench, erected by someone in remembrance of a loved one. The wording on the bench said the person’s name, and the years of their life (just 54 years) and then, “Stop. Feel the sun”.

I stopped, I felt what it is to be alive. I stared at the inscription. I breathed. I ran.

About a mile further on in the woods, I took a break from running to wait for my dog who had paused to sniff around in the bushes. After a while, she looked up and noticed how far ahead I was, and set off at a fair old pace to catch me up. The air was cold, my breath hung in it briefly when I exhaled. I bent over, putting my hands on my knees and waiting for my dog to catch me up, her tail wagging, tongue hanging out of her mouth.

And it was the most alive I’ve felt in a long time.

Sometimes it’s the little things…


Under The Pressure

Yesterday morning I was driving my three-year-old to nursery, taking a road that winds up through farmers’ fields. For a mile or two we were flanked by sheep-filled greenery, our presence being the only visible sign of human life. The wind rocked the trees violently, birds hung strewn in the air, caught on the stiff breezes that elevated them far above us. My eyes kept returning to the sheep. One knelt forwards on its front legs, positioning itself strategically in order to be able to eat more comfortably. A magpie perched on its back. Dotted about, absorbed in their single pursuit of consuming the grass, the sheep were completely oblivious to us, unaware of a world beyond their immediate one.


And so I began to think about the vast gulf between the sheep’s existence and our own, one that is infinitely more confusing, busy and chaotic. Much of the pressure we feel encumbered by is self-created, and I’ve been on a small mission over the last couple of years to disencumber myself as much as possible. Someone said to me recently that if you strip away all the bullshit, basically what we are about is waking up each day and feeding ourselves (and any dependents) three times, before going back to bed. A very simplistic description of the human experience but really, one that is true. All the additional layers that we weave in are not essential to our survival, but rather are there because we have achieved the basics and so have free time and energy to devote to complicating things (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).

Some of these complications, the additional extras, are nice. Holidays, for example, or meeting up with friends, indulging in a hobby or wandering around an art gallery. But lots of the tasks and activities that we set ourselves each day just cause us huge amounts of unnecessary stress, resulting in us bombing around like headless chickens in a desperate attempt to tick off everything we set out to do when we woke up.

The reason I’m writing this in a blog about my sober life is because when you add in all the needless, supplementary elements to modern life, you inevitably put yourself under stress. And when you do that, you tend to seek out relief. For many people, that relief comes in the shape of a bottle. A major part of my success in staying sober for (almost) five years is that I work hard at maintaining as stress-free a life as I possibly can. Sometimes life should just be about waking up, feeding yourself three times and then going back to bed.

It feels good to strip back the layers of complication and make things easy on yourself. Whether that’s making a change to your job, slowing down in your efforts to achieve perfection in everything, or not saying yes to every social invitation that comes your way, there are amendments we can all make to simplify our existence. Maybe not quite to the baseline of sheep, but a step back from the mayhem of the typical twenty-first century human experience can only be a good thing.

Eat And Be Merry!

There’s plenty of evidence which suggests that what we eat has a significant impact on our mental health, so if you’re seeking ways to improve your state of mind as part of the battle against the booze, you could start by taking a look inside your fridge and kitchen cupboards.

The vast quantity of studies which have already been conducted in this area indicate that food is highly influential in the development, management and prevention of a wide range of mental health issues, from depression to Alzheimer’s disease. The evidence is building all the time, and suggests that by making changes to what we eat we can really help ourselves stay on track mentally.


Over the next week and as part of our Four Weeks of Well Being, we will be posting lots of articles about ‘Mood Food’ on Soberistas (Facebook, Twitter and WordPress) which will provide you with plenty of information about how you can manage your mental health more effectively simply by following a particular dietary path.

For a comprehensive list of ingredients for improving mental health, see the link below. Bon appetit!

Mindfulness Meditation

Negative emotions are a fact of life – for many, the easy and obvious response to feeling down is to reach for a drink. However, excessive alcohol exacerbates depression and anxiety, and results in an inability to effectively manage the issues we face in everyday life.


Mindfulness Meditation is an EXCELLENT method for dealing with stressful situations. It can help by equipping individuals with a significant degree of self-awareness, increasing their sensitivity with regards to surroundings, and allowing them to train their minds to achieve a state of tranquillity, no matter what difficult situations are faced.


Those who practise Mindfulness Meditation are able to focus on the present, without being dragged down by the past or wasting time worrying about uncertain futures.

When I meditate, I sit cross-legged in an upright position and train my scatter-brained mind on a dot which I visualise in my mind’s eye. Over the course of a few minutes I concentrate on decreasing the size of the dot, until it has vanished completely – then I try and hold that empty state of mind for as long as possible.

Image courtesy of © Bparish | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

I usually spend about 15 – 20 minutes on Mindfulness Meditation. When I’ve finished, I feel relaxed and calm.

You can meditate alone or in a group, sitting or lying down, in the morning, afternoon or evening. It’s a case of fitting it in to your lifestyle in a way that will allow you to practice regularly. It’s free, and it REALLY works. For me, it has been one of the most useful tools in beating the booze.

We’re Going To The Zoo

Yesterday I visited London Zoo with my two daughters, fiancé and his sister. We sauntered about in the sunshine, taking in the tigers, lions, penguins, monkeys and other animals before catching the tube back to my almost-sister-in-law’s house amongst tired marathon runners wrapped in aluminium foil.

I was reminded that having a day out is a fantastic way to remove yourself from the stresses that we all feel subjected to in our daily lives to some degree, the perfect way to avoid over-thinking a problem or flinging yourself between a multitude of household chores, weighted down with an inability to relax.

As a drinker, I could not relax unless I had a glass of wine in my hand (and the knowledge that a fairly substantial supply was present somewhere in my near vicinity). I would hurtle between jobs at a hundred miles an hour before finally, at a designated and preconceived time (usually 7 pm), plonking down on the settee with a large glass of vino that said obnoxiously to anyone else present, “Ok, this is my time – you can ask but my responses will be limited from this point onwards.”

As a non-drinker I have discovered other ways of relaxing which are far more effective than alcohol ever was. Nowadays when I switch off, I am still present and able to respond to people if they really need me, and most definitely remain in control of my faculties; this self-awareness means that I always listen to my body and act accordingly – drinking excessively always perked me up and ostensibly eradicated all notions of tiredness, making me believe that I was full of beans and that it would be a great idea to stay up until 3am on a school night watching mindless drivel on the TV or listening to my back catalogue of ‘songs from the good old days.’ In reality I was exhausted and the alcohol only served to make me more so.

Having a day out at the zoo not only helped me to unwind during the time I spent there, it has had a lasting effect on my state of mind as I am reminded of the importance of spending quality time with my family, having some fun and living in the present whenever possible.

We spent a while at the giraffe enclosure, observing those beautiful creatures eating the carrots offered to them by some other visitors to the zoo. Their lofty amble across the paddock as they wandered towards the food held out on offer to them was a lesson in insouciant deportment – it was difficult to imagine them ever feeling stressed out over anything.


Conversely, human beings can be terrific stress bombs overwrought with anxieties and fears, largely over things that most likely will never happen and even if they do, will not be as terrible as previously imagined. It is a worthwhile day out that reminds us of the fact that yesterday has gone and tomorrow is not certain, and that therefore the only time we really have is today.

I like to think that giraffes work on this basis.

Out with the negative;in with the happy!

As a child I perpetually lived in the moment. I was lucky enough to have a very happy childhood, one that was full of Enid Blyton-esque adventures in sunny fields with friends, roller-skating up and down the cul-de-sac that I grew up on, baking cakes and biscuits, reading and writing voraciously and never seemingly worrying about anything, past or present. I just was.

During the years that I spent drinking heavily (aged 15 – 35) my state of being was at a polar opposite of those younger halcyon years. Anxiety levels were astronomical, with worries over relationships, divorce settlements, my daughter’s wellbeing, how much I was drinking, paying the bills, whether I was causing my body untold harm through all those cigarettes and bottles of wine…my mind seemed to be set to a constant whirring mode, churning and cogitating and over-thinking all these troubles that in the end, were what they were; none of the excess pondering made the slightest indent on any of it. The outcomes were the same regardless.

Nowadays I experience ‘normal’ worries. A small amount of worrying does us good and if we existed in a blissful childhood state, skipping about without a care in the world, we would find our little lives running to a standstill fairly quickly. Normal worrying helps us keep a reign on our budget, encourage our children to work a little harder on their homework when they begin to spend too much time on Facebook, put a bit more effort into our relationships if we feel they are not as tight as they perhaps might be.

A huge difference that I have noticed in the last few weeks since I began to practice the art of meditation is that I seem to be able to better control those uncontrollable fits of anxiety, the ones that render you feeling sick and with palpitations; a bit like the way I felt yesterday morning on my way to the ITV studio to appear on Daybreak. I caught myself becoming overwhelmed with fear in the back of the car as we travelled past the London Eye looming out of the early dawn with its blue-lit cars suspended over the Thames, my stomach churning and my mind rattling along at a hundred miles an hour. Then I made a decision to not feel that way.

Hang on a minute! It’s my mind, I call the shots.

I took some deep breaths, focussed my mind and cleared my thoughts. I began to consider that this experience was something to be savoured – it’s not every day that you get to go on live TV and sit next to Dr. Hilary! I recalled how this would have been dealt with by me as a child – I would have seen the whole journey through eyes wild with excitement, from arriving in London late at night, staying in a nice hotel, being picked up by a car with tinted windows and taken to ITV’s studios…I would have loved every minute 30 years ago. Instead, I had been allowing my out-of-control worrying to ruin the whole event.

Practising meditation has allowed me to be much more aware of negative thinking patterns and has also taught me that I don’t have to accept them – I can decide whether I perceive something in a positive way or a negative way. Yesterday I chose to see things positively, and I found myself enjoying the whole experience; by simply altering the way I decide to process external situations, I have also made myself a little bit braver and next time (if there is a next time) I will approach things in a far more relaxed fashion, right from the off.

Only you can determine whether you tackle things positively or negatively – taking the former option makes life a million times easier and more enjoyable!

Dragon’s Den’s Rachel Elnaugh Guest Blog – ‘Goodbye Poison’

Rachel Elnaugh, ex-Dragon’s Den dragon, recently gave up drinking when she discovered the wonderful Jason Vale’s book, ‘How to Kick the Drink…Easily!’ which I blogged about in the summer. Rachel’s account of her problematic relationship with booze and how she finally kicked it, will, I’m sure, strike a chord with many. It certainly did for Anita and I, which is why we were so eager to get Rachel’s post on our site as a guest blog. Thank you Rachel for allowing us to publish your post on the Soberistas blog, and good work for seeing the light and ditching the booze!

Rachel Elnaugh, from BBC’s ‘Dragon’s Den’

This is a post dedicated to all those people who are getting uncomfortable with the amount of alcohol that they are currently consuming.

After all, what harm can a glass or two of wine do?

Well, maybe getting on for a whole bottle after a particularly stressful day…

Or even the occasional skinful getting carried away at a party, or over a boozy dinner with boozy friends?

I’ve been a drinker for as long as I can remember.

My parents always enjoyed a bottle of Blue Nun with Sunday lunch and I used to see them sit hand in hand sipping ice cold lager when it first came into fashion in the 1970′s.  Was it any surprise that I saw drinking as perfectly normal, very grown up and somehow rather romantic?

I’ve always been a hedonist who tends to do things to excess.  This was fantastic as a career girl working in the City during the ’80′s – a champagne fuelled era of decadence where you’d often go to lunch and end up still in the wine bar in the evening.  So long as your charge out rate was at 100+% (mine was frequently 110%+) the bosses turned a blind eye.  We worked hard, we played hard, we all made lots of money.

This hedonistic streak was also a big reason for the success of my first business Red Letter Days (all about escapism essentially) – but it also lead me to go over the top where drinking was concerned.

Things changed when I was 30 and had my first baby.

Looking back it was clear I had post-natal depression, and as a single mum I really didn’t know how to cope stuck at home with a baby that needed constant attention.  I didn’t know what to do when he cried.  Apart from transporting him to the childminder each morning on my way into work and collecting him on my way home I rarely left the house with him, because I didn’t know how I would cope if something went wrong.

So at that point drinking became something of a ‘private party for one’.  Pure escapism from the terror of not knowing how to be a mother.

When life is wonderful and full of friends and parties, alcohol just fuels the celebration.  But once you are addicted it’s very easy to turn to booze as a coping mechanism to get you through life’s problems.

Fast forward to New Year’s Day 2002 – by which point I’d been using alcohol as a coping tool for over a decade.  My business was booming, I had a hard working high stress life, and I also had the money to pay for a variety of childminders and helpers and private schools for the children.  A good friend had committed suicide as a result of alcohol on Valentine’s Day 2001 – leaving me a suicide note saying he was about to go on the ‘Ultimate Experience’ – a trip across the River Styx accompanied by Charon the Ferryman. I had been drinking to excess throughout the Christmas/New Year period and, thanks to a good friend whose father had also died from being an alcoholic, and who also took me to various Christian events, I finally went along to my very first AA meeting.

I was surprised at just how many ‘normal’ people there were there!

I managed to stay off the booze until that May, when I got the call that I had been shortlisted for the 2001 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award.  They wanted me to attend a photoshoot with the other finalists – Barbara Cassani of GO! Airlines, Jo Malone, Chey Garland and Sly Bailey, then CEO of Trinity Mirror Group.  Of course the event was awash with free champagne, and in the elation of the moment I made the dreaded mistake of thinking ‘One glass won’t hurt!’.  BAMMM!!!!

And, of course, the problem now was that this glass of sparkly-chilled-designer-poison was now inextricably linked with success and fame.

Much of 2002 was spent on one champagne high or another, during which time I met my current husband, who also likes to drink, but in a very different way to me.  Things turned once again, though, in 2003 when it became clear that things were going badly wrong with Red Letter Days.  I’d stepped back from the company in a non-exec role and now had to step back in to unravel the mess.  Once again, alcohol was the coping mechanism, this time to the stress of massive cashflow issues, re-financing after re-financing and generally being on output 24/7 to save my business.  It didn’t help that a close adviser who accompanied me to many of these meetings loved wine as much as I did!

I was under massive stress, mentally, emotionally and physically – and although I thought I was relieving much of this by using alcohol as a crutch to get me through, I now realise I was simply adding more stress to the situation by feeding my body with poison.

Things came to a head one night at my brother’s house where we had all been drinking quite heavily and his wife made some sly comments which I overheard and reacted badly to.  Realising I was under massive stress and things were getting out of control, I asked my husband to drive me to a private clinic I had read about in ‘You’ Magazine a few weeks earlier.  They put me in a room with a methodone addict, and next day I was in such an emotional state they gave me (as well as most of the other people there) Valium to calm us down.  So there we all sat around the room like a group of sedated zombies.  It was a massive wake-up call (I don’t do ‘drugs’) and that afternoon (when the Valium had worn off) I asked my husband to come and get me the hell out of there!

I never did manage to save the Red Letter Days business, but in the meantime had now managed to become a TV star via my appearance as a Dragon in the first two series of Dragons’ Den.  Another champagne fuelled existence, going off in Peter Jones’ chauffeur-driven Bentley after filming for drinks in Duncan’s private club followed by dinner at The Ivy.

Booze was now tied up with power, sex, money, fame, and all the rest that goes with it.

I was managing to keep it under control now, but alcohol was still a big factor in my ability to enjoy life.

People have often asked me ‘How do you cope with five children?’  The real answer (as almost every mother will know) up until now has been: ‘With the help of a large glass of white wine.’

The next meltdown occurred in July 2011.  I was due to do the Landmark Advanced Forum and (as part of my resistance to going I now realise) decided to go on a bender the night before.  In no fit state to do the course, and nursing the hangover from hell, I opted out of the course at lunchtime and went back to the hotel to sleep it off.

I remember lying in bed praying to God to send me help.

I woke up at 5.40pm with an urge to get myself to an AA meeting.  I Googled it and found out there was one starting at 6pm just 100 yards away !!!  ’No!’ my ego-self declared ‘I look a mess and what if someone there recognises me off the telly?!?’

‘Get yourself up and go there’ replied my Inner Self, calmly.

The room was packed, and to my surprise half of the people there were young women.  Lots of men in suits who’d just come from work and just a few properly  ’alcoholic’ looking people.  Sitting next to me was an old man with a walking stick.  At the end of the session, ego-self was preparing to slip out of the room unnoticed when this man turned to me and with piercing blue eyes said ‘What can I do to help you?’.  I promptly burst into tears and two women came towards me and took me to get a cup of tea and a biscuit. (These two women became my AA ‘sponsors’ to help keep me off drink.)  I turned round and the man had disappeared.  Strange that, earlier, when they were passing round the collection jar for donations during the session, that no one had passed the jar to the old man…  I often wonder if he was the angel God had sent in response to my prayer?

That period of abstention lasted until September when I read ‘Pure’ by Barefoot Doctor which essentially said spirituality had nothing to do with how much drugs you consume.  BAMMM!!!  A real ‘Fuck It’ moment giving me permission to drink again…

In many ways I was lucky.  I have quite a weak constitution which means that I’ve never been able to drink spirits, plus low blood pressure – which always ensured I fell asleep on booze before I could drink way too much of it.  Not so my best friend Debbie, who was my champagne drinking partner during the ’80′s.  She descended into vodka addiction and died of liver failure a couple of years back.

Nonetheless, even though I was only drinking wine – and I had developed some really effective ‘coping strategies’ to manage my drinking – I was increasingly realising that it was becoming an expensive habit that I really needed to do something about.  I think it is really important to point out that at this stage, far from ‘battling addiction’ I felt that 99% of the time I was supremely ‘in control’.  I only drank wine and by now was something of a ‘connoisseur’ – no Chilean Columbard shite for me!  I only drank well made Sancerre, Languedoc and Gavi with perhaps the occasional glass of Fleurie or Chateauneuf du Pape with beef or lamb.  A bottle of anything disgusting got poured away.  On a typical day I didn’t have my first glass until early evening; even later if I had a professional speaking engagement.  And I had developed the supreme art of alcoholic self-control:  After-Dinner Speaking – not drinking for 5 hours straight through a champagne reception, five course meal with unlimited wine until going on stage, sometimes as late as 11pm.  Yes, I was supremely in control!  One thing though:  by now I could not imagine having fun without also having a drink.

Then, last weekend – during a booze fuelled dinner party at which at no point did I want to switch to a coffee or cup of tea, or even drink a glass of water – my friend Marie Claire Carlyle suggested I read ‘Kick the Drink… Easily’ by Jason Vale.  Although known for his ‘super juicing’ recipes, this was actually the first book Jason ever wrote, about his own alcohol addiction and how he stopped.

Amazon kindly delivered the book on Tuesday.

Jason instructs you not to attempt stopping drinking until you have finished reading it – and last night I finished, with a decision to also finish with alcohol.  The book has altered my thinking about drinking forever.

Jason Vale asserts that there is no such thing as an ‘alcoholic’ (a term designed to shame most of us either into denial or supreme control around their drinking habit).  There are just alcohol addicts – and everyone who drinks alcohol is in effect an addict to some degree or other.  The very fact you have to control your drinking means that, in reality, alcohol has control over you.

He also explains in very clear and inequivocable terms that alcohol is nothing more and nothing less than a cleverly marketed, highly addictive poison.

The problem is, given that 80% of the adult population drinks, in our society alcohol is the only drug that people think it is odd for you not to take.

He also points out that even though our Government is constantly clamping down on drug dealers, heroin, crack cocaine etc. it is in itself the country’s biggest drug dealer – making £8.7billion a year from alcohol.  Alcohol claims 9,000 lives a year in this country which is 9 times more deaths than from all the other hard drugs combined.

This is one powerfully written book, destroying every single myth and excuse around alcohol one by one, and in three days reversing the lifetime of brainwashing I had had around alcohol.  In three days I realised that, like everyone else, I had fallen for a con – and that it had taken me 47 years to realise it.  Drinking alcohol is drinking poison.

As a result of reading the book, last night I took the decision that I would never again allow myself to drink alcohol.  There is no recovery period, no lifetime of going to AA meetings, no willpower, no determination needed.  Just a crystal clear decision not to take poison, in any shape or form.

Given the extent of alcohol related problems in this country, the Government really should bring Jason Vale in to remedy the situation.

An ALCOHOL IS POISON label on every bottle and can of booze would be a good start.

As Jason points out, there is no such thing as a ‘safe number of units’ – in the same way that there is no such thing as a ‘safe amount of heroin’.  

Alcohol is addictive – which means the only ‘safe’ number of units is no units.

Oh how I wish I had read this book several decades ago…  As well as given a copy to my dead friends Brian and Deborah before it was too late for them.

You can get a copy at  (this is a pure link, not an affiliate one that will earn me money).  I’m giving it to you to pass on the key out of the self-made prison that is alcohol addiction.

Meantime, I am looking forward to my first weekend of freedom from the poison that is alcohol.

No it is not ‘too early’ for me to be making this declaration.  There is no drying out period, no 21 days to change a habit required.  Just a simple flick of a switch which has destroyed the illusion that it is somehow ‘safe’ or ‘normal’ or ‘enjoyable’ to drink a highly addictive poison.

I hope this post helps you.


POST SCRIPT  It is now Monday morning and the decision to stop drinking was taken last Thursday.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday used to be the most tempting days of the week, but this time I filled them with healthy eating and drinking plus getting busy clearing the house and garden.  This morning I feel more energised, awake and alive than I have done for years.  Far from feeling ‘in withdrawal’ or denying myself pleasure I’m celebrating finally being out of prison.  The great thing has been the reaction to this post both via the comments below and via Twitter throughout the weekend.  It seems so many people are in exactly the same position that I was – a nagging sense that something was very wrong.  I’m really glad that by ‘coming out’ and sharing my story I have helped be the catalyst for others to wake up and break free from the spell that we as a society are under around alcohol, believing that this highly addictive poison is normal, acceptable and a key element in our ability to have fun.