Making Connections – Sober

One of the reasons why alcohol can appeal to us is because it’s a social lubricant. It has the power to transform a shy, awkward wallflower into a wild, life-and-soul-of-the-party type – although for lots of people it unfortunately then has a habit of pushing things too far in that direction, drawing them into doing things they later regret. I used alcohol for social confidence, and over the years it became that I required more and more of it to get the same, initial hit. And when I consumed increasing amounts, I acted in an increasingly out-of-character manner of which I was deeply embarrassed and often ashamed the next morning.

But, a sense of connection is what so many of us are craving when we reach for a glass of something alcoholic at a social event, and it’s this crutch that can be so difficult to let go of when we decide we really would like to become alcohol-free. Is it possible then to achieve this connection when we are teetotal?

My answer to this question would be yes. Yes, you can obtain a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity with others, when you are stone cold sober – and the trick to doing so lies in self-confidence, patience and a solid belief in the knowledge that if you can’t control your alcohol consumption, people will far prefer you as you are naturally to when you are completely out of your mind.

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It can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that alcohol makes us wittier, sexier, more attractive and interesting, but in reality this is a fallacy created in our own drunken minds. To the sober onlooker, people who are inebriated are quite boring, and they look a bit of a mess. These days, I enjoy far more the company of those who don’t drink to excess, and if I am forced to spend time with people who are heavily under the influence then I’m desperate to escape their company as soon as possible! The truth is that people who are not drunk are way more interesting, sensitive and funnier – although you do need to ensure that you’re spending time with people who you actually like (it’s fairly common when you quit the booze to realise that many of those you’ve always socialised with as a drinker are, in reality people whom you don’t care for all that much at all when sober).

With time, patience and no more drinking, a person’s self-confidence can be restored remarkably quickly following sustained and heavy alcohol misuse. And with that confidence, and a more positive reaction from friends and family, it is soon the case that one enters into a virtuous circle: a good response to the non-drinking version of you reinforces your suspicion that you’re better off not drinking, and the longer you continue to be alcohol-free, the more of a positive response you receive from the people in your life.

What it boils down to is this: connectedness is all very well and good, but if YOU are the sort of person who becomes drunk each and every time you consume alcohol, you are not connecting with anyone; rather you are distancing yourself more and more from the people you love and who love you. If you are someone without a reliable off-switch (like me) then it is absolutely true that you will be loved far more and by many more people as an alcohol-free person. Try it and see for yourself.

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My Name Is…And I’m An Alcoholic

There’s a documentary on Channel 5 tonight at 10pm called ‘My Name Is…And I’m An Alcoholic’. And I’m in it. Along with seven other people who all fell foul of the demon drink but managed to successfully pull their lives back from disaster.

This programme has had a strange effect on me. I’ve already seen the rough cut of it, and it’s profound, sad, moving. It had me in tears. It dragged me right back to a very dark place I inhabited a few years ago where I drank far too much and my perspective on the world was incredibly small, restricted to bottles of wine and trying to lose my mind. A place where I showed myself up on a regular basis, where I wasn’t a fantastic mum, somewhere where I strived to be a person I’m not.

It has been almost five years since I last drank alcohol, and I can barely equate who I am today with that depressed woman who spent half her life in a fog of booze.

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I forgave myself my alcohol-related wrongs a long time ago, because what’s the point in wasting the present wrapped up in feelings of regret over the past? But my involvement in ‘My Name Is…’ has brought me closer to my history than anything else has since I became a non-drinker.

In the making of this film, we were all interviewed in a room in London, and Mikey, the director, asked the questions: a very straightforward set-up, a set-up that brought out some honest and heart-wrenching stories. Talking to Mikey, I forgot that I was being recorded for much of it and I suspect the same is true of the other seven people in the film, as their accounts are brutally frank.

I’m glad I took part in this documentary. I think it’s vital to get our version of things out there, those of us who have struggled with addiction, and especially those of us who have managed to get sober – to offer hope and insight to other people who are fighting the fight, desperate to believe that life can get better but not quite seeing how it ever will.

There’s always been prejudice against people who are alcohol dependent. Those who can manage their intake and exercise ‘responsible drinking’ are at a loss when it comes to understanding anyone who can drink and drink and drink, with terrible repercussions, and who goes back to the bottle for more the next day. And the next. And the next. Knowing that their health is suffering and they are risking everything but still not being able to stop.

Alcohol addiction is a secret and sad state of affairs. When you are floundering in the thick of it, you become wonderful at disguising it. And afterwards, as you recover, you may well prefer to keep your struggles private, and who could blame you, when one considers the stigma that is rife in our society with regards to ‘problem drinkers’?

So, I am pleased I took part in this programme, even though it has upset my internal apple cart a little. I am full of admiration for the other seven who feature in it; they’re a brave bunch of fighters who have my utter and total respect.

Making It Through Christmas…Alive, Kicking & Sober!

I hated Christmas when I drank, largely because I shared custody of my eldest daughter with her dad, and so I would either wake up on Christmas Day without her, or she would have to leave for her dad’s at 3pm. I missed her terribly when she wasn’t there, and her absence had the additional negative effect of enabling me to drink – the sadness I felt as a result of our broken family justified (in my mind) my excessive alcohol consumption.

Then, when I quit drinking, I hated Christmas because I could see everyone around me getting drunk, and drinking, drinking, drinking, and I’d feel lonely and odd and full of longing to join in. But I knew I couldn’t.

But that was just my first sober Christmas, and since then everything has become, not only easier, but good, enjoyable. Finally, I like Christmas. My daughter is now almost seventeen so the pain of sharing custody has passed.  She’ll spend a bit of time with her dad on Christmas Day but it’s much easier to bear these days, and most of the day she will spend with me and the rest of her maternal family, so it doesn’t sting anywhere near as much as it once did. Plus now we have her little sister who is three and a half, her presence injecting that essential childhood excitement factor at Christmas.

Over the years, I became accustomed to despising Christmas. Everything about it made me feel uncomfortable and desperate to run away from it all: the cold, the grey skies, the aforementioned absences of my daughter, the highlighting of my divorced status when everyone else seemed to be playing happy families, and of course, the regrets and self-loathing over what would almost always transcend into a period of very heavy drinking and all the associated stupid, drunken behaviour.

As the years have passed by, though, and certainly since I became alcohol-free, I have garnered a few thoughts about staying happy at this time of year, and they have really helped me transform a very negative perception of Christmas to a positive one. I wanted to share them with you, in case you, like I once used to be, are filled with dread at what lies just around the corner…

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  • Focus on family and love. You might find it difficult to get on with certain members of the family who are descending upon you for the duration of the holidays, but try and concentrate on the ones who make you feel happy – the kids, your partner. Absorb their excitement and pleasure, and reconnect with your own inner child. If you don’t have children and are single, consider spending a few hours of Christmas Day volunteering at a homeless shelter. Giving yourself up to help others is a sure fire way to boost your mental state, and you won’t be bored, lonely and tempted to drink all day if you’re busy devoting yourself to a good cause.
  • Most of us will get at least a couple of days off work, so if all else fails, try and blot out the Christmas factor and just utilise the time to recharge your batteries and slob about in your pyjamas having a good old rest. With much of the outside world going into shutdown mode, this is an easy time of the year to do very little, and let’s face it; most of us don’t get that opportunity very often. Reframe Christmas as nothing more than a free holiday, and enjoy a well-deserved break.
  • Meditate on the positives in your life. I used to spiral into a major depression during the weeks leading up to Christmas, and would be drawn to all the bad stuff that was going on, which made it impossible to look outward and feel happy about anything. But if we scratch the surface, everyone can find at least one or two good things that are worth exercising gratitude for – the fact that you’re healthy, or that you have a roof over your head, or that you have lovely friends or family, or that you will be enjoying a nice meal or two over Christmas. Meditate every day for a few minutes and focus on whatever positive elements you can think of in your life. Remind yourself that actually, there is always something to feel grateful for.
  • Get in touch with fellow Soberistas. Use the Soberistas website to connect with others who might also be finding booze an issue at this time of year. A problem shared is a problem halved, and nobody will understand how you feel better than those in the same boat.
  • Consider letting a few close people in your life know that you have quit drinking and that you might be having a couple of wobbles over the Christmas period. If you think you could be tempted to drink then knowing that those around you are aware of how you’re feeling will act as a good preventative method in stopping you from doing so. You’re much less likely to give into temptation if you feel accountable to the people you’re spending the holidays with. And remember – those who mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind.
  • Go for a run or a brisk walk on Christmas Day morning. Exercise makes you feel better – it’s that simple. The endorphins, getting away from all the mayhem, the fresh air and daylight will all have a positive impact on your emotional state, so make the most of the fact that you aren’t lying around with a raging hangover, put your trainers on and get outside for some exercise.
  • Find a nice alcohol-free drink that you really enjoy that feels like a bit of a treat, and stock up before Christmas. You will probably feel left out if everyone else is necking the wine and you’re nursing a glass of orange juice or water. So either experiment beforehand with mocktail recipes or order in some alcohol-free drinks just for you – the Soberistas Discount Club page has a code for 10% off products from brand new alcohol-free drinks stockists, DryDrinker, so check out their range if you’re in need of inspiration.
  • Watch films, read books, listen to music. Ignite your soul with lots of cosy evenings in, catching up on some culture. It’ll keep you busy and give you a focus when the sun goes down, a time when you might otherwise start itching for a drink. Reading books is a no-go when you’re drinking, and any films you watch will be instantly forgotten if you’ve got a glass to hand throughout. I love watching films during Christmas in my pyjamas, alone or with the kids, just losing myself in another world for a couple of hours. And if you want some ideas for reading material, check out the Soberistas Book Club.

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I hope this helps, and have a happy, booze-free Christmas! Love from Lucy x

Pep Talk For The Weekend – Reasons To Stay Sober

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The weekend is upon us. It’s when most of the people we know will be drinking alcohol, and it’s when the temptation to join them can become so strong it’s almost impossible to resist. This blog has been written as a pep talk for anyone teetering on the brink of caving in – print it out and stick it on your kitchen cupboard so that you can see it next time you’re considering stepping back onto the slippery slope that is booze…

  • You have the ability to grab life by the balls and start becoming the person you want to be. You have the power to enact change, but only if you do things differently. Every little action or thought that has always led you to drinking in the past needs to be arrested, reconfigured, altered and amended. If meeting your other half in the pub after work means you won’t be able to say no to alcohol, do something else. Go for a bike ride, a swim or to the cinema. Shake things up a bit – change what you do.
  • You’ll never be as young as you are today. OK, so you might have looked in the mirror recently and been pissed off at the wrinkles and tired-looking face peering back at you, but remind yourself that time is only going in one direction. Don’t focus on how old you are; concentrate on how young you are! On how many good years you could still have in front of you, on all the stuff you could enjoy from now on, free from the self-esteem battering effects of booze. Think about how fantastic it would feel to look back on all those happy years that didn’t feature heavy drinking and regrets and terrible hangovers. You could still have that. It could start today.
  • Alcohol is not really all you may think it is. It might bring about an instant sensation of relaxation and make you imagine that you are suddenly more attractive, witty and interesting, but in reality, booze is a bit crap. It makes you fat, prematurely ages you, ruins your teeth and turns the whites of your eyes yellow. It turns you into a repetitive bore. It costs shed loads of money. It gives you a cracking headache and stops you getting off your arse and hitting the gym. It’s a killer on your liver. It encourages you to take stupid risks. It makes you fall over. It makes your breath smell. It prevents you from being particularly productive or achieving your goals. It causes mood swings. It makes you sick. In brief, alcohol is rubbish.
  • The world is changing. People everywhere are waking up to the fact that heavy drinking is (surprise, surprise) bad for you. 21% of UK adults don’t drink alcohol at all, according to the Office for National Statistics’ Adult Drinking Habits in Great Britain report released back in February 2015. Don’t feel as though you stick out like a sore thumb for being teetotal – wear your non-drinking status like the badge of honour it is. Be a part of the group that’s in the know. Embrace your sobriety, because it’s much cooler to be in control, and looking and feeling confident and strong than stumbling about, wrecking your health and wasting your life. Celebrate the fact that you have escaped the booze trap!

Remember that for most of us who have struggled with an alcohol dependency, one drink will always inevitably lead to a second. And a third. And a fourth. There is no ‘just one’ for me, and probably not for you either if you are reading this. This weekend, make yourself a promise that you will start the rest of your life right now – because (contrary to what the booze industry would have you believe) the real way to treat yourself is by sidestepping alcohol completely.

What’s So Great About Not Drinking?

What’s so great about alcohol-free living? Here’s our top 20, taken from Soberistas…

Waking up feeling refreshed

No more fear

Rising self-esteem

No more blackouts

Not worrying that every twinge is liver failure

Losing weight

Liking yourself more

Guilt-free recycling

Meeting other Soberistas

Remembering going to bed

Remembering what you read before going to bed

No more shame

Clear eyes & skin

Being ‘present’ in your own life

More patience

Waking up to a tidy kitchen

Better role model to your kids

More energy to work out

No more self-loathing

Feeling free

Time for Reflection

This week I’ve spent a lot of time doing radio interviews, as The Sober Revolution and Your 6 Week Plan have both hit the book shops. This little publicity trail has led to me repeating my story over and over again, about how I ran into trouble with the bottle, why I finally made the decision to quit, and why I felt as though this has had to be a choice for life. People are interested in, and keen to understand, why there are some of us who experience a difficult relationship with alcohol while they seem to be able to take it or leave it.

There are a number of different opinions out there with regards to this, ranging from the ‘alcoholism as a disease’ model, to Jason Vale’s interpretation which suggests that anyone who regularly drinks alcohol (even in fairly small amounts) is an alcohol addict (and not an alcoholic), albeit one who is in denial.

My perception of my personal struggles with alcohol has altered quite significantly over the last few years too. For a long time I would just as likely have claimed to be an alcoholic as I would have to be an alien. Then I hit some major problems as a result of alcohol; blackouts became increasingly common, I repeatedly made some stupid life choices (mainly to do with the opposite sex, always when I was drunk) which contributed towards my unhappiness, and I couldn’t seem to escape my small world in which I never seemed to get a break. I didn’t apportion any of these things to my drinking habit for a long time, however, and it wasn’t until I woke up in hospital after a binge that I had the clarity to see what a destructive element of my existence alcohol had become.

At that moment I found it necessary to label myself ‘an alcoholic.’ It was probably linked to the fact that my self-esteem was lower than it had ever been and I needed to punish myself for my last night of boozing. I suppose that labelling myself in that way also helped me to not drink in the early days – raising the seriousness of my ‘condition’ from ‘frequent and heavy drinker’ to ‘alcoholic’ made me all the more sure that I must never touch a drop again.

But then, over time, I felt my brain come back to life and my self-confidence began to grow. As I noticed all the good things that were happening to me, now that I’d put down the bottle, I began to wonder about the label ‘alcoholic’ because I realised that I actually had no desire to drink anymore. How I felt had become so far removed from the language of ‘relapse’, ‘disease’ and ‘one day at a time’ that I felt quite irritated by the idea of pigeon-holing myself as I had done a few months earlier.

What happened was that as my self-esteem grew, so did the notion of personal responsibility and wanting a happy and healthy life for myself. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to destroy all that I had in my life as a non-drinker by pouring that first glass of wine (which for me will always lead to the rest of the bottle and beyond). I equated wine with illness, misery and addiction, and none of those things featured in my life anymore.

Gradually, being alcohol-free morphed into being my choice, and so the idea that I was somehow diseased and would be threatened by temptation for the rest of my days was/is totally bizarre. I don’t wish to make it sound an easy thing to resolve an alcohol dependency – it wasn’t and it took a hell of a lot of soul-searching and emotional pain. But now that the hard bit is over, I feel as though I am reaping the rewards of making the choice to stop drinking – which, in my opinion, is a far healthier way of looking at things than sticking the label of ‘alcoholic’ on my head and worrying about booze for the rest of my days.

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!

SOBERISTAS31

Christmas is, for many, the most difficult time of the year for successfully banishing the Wine Witch. Good intentions can swiftly go out of the window as family members start pouring the Bucks Fizz on Christmas Morning before the breakfast dishes have even been cleared away.

At Soberistas, we want to provide you with an extra incentive to get you through the booze-soaked holidays, alcohol-free – and here it is.

By signing up to the Soberistas31 campaign, you’ll be committing to not drinking alcohol for the 31 days of December. At the end of the month, we’ll ask you to donate a percentage of what you would have spent on booze over the festive period to Rainbow Trust, a UK-based charity which does a huge amount of good.

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Rainbow Trust’s goal is simple: to help the parents and families of life-threatened or terminally ill children to cope with something so traumatic it is difficult to imagine. They do this by providing Family Support Workers who become a trusted part of the family.

The impact a Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker has on a family’s life is immeasurable. They are the difference between a mum, tired and exhausted with worry, crying herself to sleep alone and the friendly voice at the end of a phone line, understanding and reassuring. They are the difference between a three hour stressful journey with a sick child on public transport and a comfortable car journey with someone trusted to support you through the day.  They are the difference to a young sibling, angry and upset at their sister’s death; and a child, who understands why their sister was sick and knows that cancer isn’t going to get them too.

Soberistas31 gives you the opportunity to live alcohol-free for the 31 days of December whilst simultaneously raising money for this incredibly well-deserving charity. We have set up a ‘Just Giving’ page which can be accessed wherever you are in the world and which makes it incredibly simple to donate your chosen amount.

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We have created a special Soberistas31 forum category on www.soberistas.com which is specifically for all those taking part in the campaign to share their journeys – we know there may be tough times ahead, so we will be keeping a close eye on this page and providing advice to help wherever we can to get you through to January 2014. We have also created a hash tag for all our Soberistas Twitter followers (#soberistas31) so you can keep track of the progress of other partakers and receive motivational tips. Who knows – by successfully completing the Soberistas31 challenge, you might just find the impetus you’ve been searching for to make the switch to alcohol-free living for good.

And you’ll be helping desperate families to find some comfort during their darkest hour.

Tips for beating those pesky cravings!

It’s easy to know what is good for you, not so easy to act on that knowledge. When it’s YOUR head telling you to do something (‘Pour that wine, go on, you deserve it’ or ‘Just have a slice of cake – one tiny piece won’t hurt’), then ignoring it isn’t always what you WANT to do. Sometimes, at that moment in time, all you WANT to do is give into that voice, act on it, pour the wine or eat the cake. When a craving strikes, it feels like a bona fide part of YOU, shouting at you to do as you are told.

Learning how to recognise a craving as simply that, rather than a real need or want that is stemming from you (as opposed to your addiction), is the first step in powering through and sticking to your resolve. Here are a few tips to help you do exactly that;

  • A craving lasts 10 minutes – set a timer, grit your teeth and repeatedly tell yourself that this is a very short-lived ‘want’ and after a few minutes everything will return to normal. This isn’t going to last forever.
  • Each time you ignore a craving and refuse to give into it, your resolve strengthens. This means that next time it will be a little bit easier to rebuff that devil on your shoulder.
  • The initial week will be the hardest because the benefits are yet to be tangible – stay with it until you see the rewards of weight loss, brighter skin, more even mood or better quality sleep; witnessing the positive outcomes of sticking to your intentions will spur you on no end, and you’ll begin to see them after just a few days.
  • Learn to separate YOU from the voice of the craving – picture the owner of that persuasive voice as an evil witch, a little demon or a horrible monster who is intent on ruining your life. Imagine yourself sticking your fingers in your ears; block out the voice from your thoughts. Giving into it means letting that monster/witch/demon win, so toughen up and stick up for yourself by saying NO!
  • Keep a supply of healthy snacks close-by to make sure you don’t get hungry; whether you are aiming to banish the buns or beat the booze, this will help you. When you feel hungry you are much more likely to cave into temptation and reach for the chocolate or wine. Some good suggestions are dried fruit and nuts, toast with hummus or malt loaf.
  • DISTRACT yourself. Get busy with a task or activity, and you will keep your mind engaged in something other than thinking of whatever it is you are craving. Whether it is cleaning the bathroom, sorting out your tip of a wardrobe or rustling up some healthy soup, getting stuck into a distraction will make those ten minutes pass by all the quicker, and with much less agony.

Good luck, and stay happy and healthy this weekend! Lucy xx

Transformation

Earlier this morning, I received a follow-up phone call from someone who works at the alcohol advisory service I visited just after I quit drinking in April 2011. Hearing her voice ask me how I was evoked multiple emotions: a real mixture of sadness, delight and quite a bit of pride.

When I look back on the person I was in the late spring of 2011 I hardly recognise her as me. I recall the only occasion when I visited the alcohol advisory place, shuffling into the driveway with my head hung low, terrified that someone might recognise me. I remember the consultation with the support officer who met me with a friendly smile, sat me down on a chair opposite hers in a dark and dusty room and asked me to grade my feelings on a scale of one to ten for a variety of statements: I like myself. I have strong relationships with my family. I am happy. I sometimes think about suicide. (The suicide one was high, the self-esteem ones terribly low).

The walls were decorated with scruffy posters stuck on with Blu-tack and displaying phone numbers and other details of a variety of help centres for drug and alcohol problems. When she asked me what had led me to contacting them I burst into tears and couldn’t speak for several minutes.

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I never went back after that, despite agreeing to go along to one of the SMART recovery meetings offered at the centre on a regular basis. Whether my decision was based on stubbornness, a bit of denial or merely because I found it too upsetting being there, I couldn’t say – probably a mixture of all three. But I forged on with my decision to not drink alcohol regardless, and here I am now, a completely different person.

I told the person who called me today about the fact that I have set up Soberistas.com, and when she proceeded to quiz me on the scores I would award myself now for various aspects of my life and the state of my emotions, I gave her straight 10’s. It was a great feeling, like I had graduated from university with flying colours.

However, inside I am all too aware of how very differently things might have panned out for me, if it were not for a number of factors. So, to what do I owe my transformation from the alcohol-dependent person I was back in 2011, to the happy and full-of-life person I am today?

I’m very lucky to have a wonderful family and friends who have stuck by me despite everything. Knowing that such a safety net exists has always cushioned me in my darker moments, and perhaps without it, I may have crumbled and given into cravings. I am by nature an incredibly determined and obstinate person – I set out to beat alcohol and it would have taken a lot to sway me from this course once I had set the wheels in motion to fight it. The books I read offered me a completely new perspective on alcohol addiction, and they helped me to regain a sense of power in my situation.

Through visiting a cognitive behavioural therapist I learnt that I am not like a leaf blown around in the wind, ending up wherever fate may choose, but a woman with the intelligence, strength and ability to direct her own path in life.

But most of all, the thing that has helped me to reach where I am today, is Soberistas. Discovering that I’m not the only person (by a long chalk!) who has difficulty in moderating her alcohol consumption, and that some of the awful situations I regularly found myself in when I drank alcohol have happened to lots of other people too, and that the world holds an incredible number of people who are kind and tolerant and full of understanding, has made the last year an amazing journey for me. I really love the Soberistas community and I just wanted to share with you all that today’s phone call brought home for me;

When you quit drinking alcohol, you will change. Let go of the fear that you’ll struggle to be YOU once you have lost your prop – you won’t be the person you were as a drinker anymore, it’s true, but that’s a GOOD THING! Without alcohol messing up your emotions and relationships and perspective on life, you’ll be free to be the person you REALLY are, underneath all of the booze-induced rubbish. Imagine you are clearing a bramble bush to make way for beautiful flowers to push their way up, and allow the true YOU to emerge.

Good things happen to good people, just as soon as you give them a chance to.