118. Some inspiration from others.

How is this for inspiring..?  From Tired of Thinking about drinking website…thanks Belle.

Lara (day 100): ““I’ve done 100 days sober, eaten a LOT of chocolate and gained some weight and had horrendous 14 year old pubescent acne break outs and STILL I know my life is better. Much better. So much better I want another 80 days. It’s not always easy, no ma’am, but I am moving in the right direction. I am not sinking into my past every second, beating myself up. I’m not moping and crying and sulking over what happened before. I am feeling strong. Like I have a bullet proof vest on. Like I have a secret magic power and laser beams in my eyes. I am seeing things for what they really are. I am cleaning up messes and picking up slack. I am dusting out my own cobwebs and opening up spaces in my head that I never knew existed. I have hope, not just glimmers but big bright firework explosions of hope. I’d like to continue going in that direction. And I’d like to see what happens next, because I have a feeling it involves a very sparkly future with glitter lights included. I will not drink for 180 days, not even if my husband/partner/daughter drinks, not if I need surgery, nor if there is a zombie apocalypse, especially if there is a zombie apocalypse. Everyone knows you need good aim to take those suckers down. Not drinking. No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next. And because for the first time in a very very long time, I feel free.” [update: she’s on day 1624 today]

Imagine being on day 1624??! Golly.  I have done the 180 day pledge as above.  I am absolutely certain that I will not break it.  But never say never.  I am going away tomorrow.  I am off to my land of SA in Cape Town, the place where my family lives and where I have drunk many a happy bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  My saving grace is that my sister who lives there is also doing the Sober Experiment.  Phew.  My mother and her hub are NOT.  But I think that they are on board… they like a drink, so I will have to be a little creative.  I am picturing all the things I will be doing without alcohol… including another long haul flight… with my lovely OH.  I feel absolutely 100% okay about it all.  I aim to do lots of walking, running and maybe a bit of golf.  Getting up early to watch sunrise, swimming, playing with my nephews and generally enjoying my family.  I hope that you are all doing okay out there.

I will check in from over the seas


117. Come around really quickly.



Pink fluffy clouds.

I am still here, not posting so much, as I don’t want to bore the pants off you all!!!

Not drinking is mostly pink fluffy clouds, but not always and I find I need reminding of why I am even doing this.

If you are me or if you are new to trying… here are a few things that I have found out.

  1.  I could be on day one again despite having a blog and a sober coach and etc.  There is a voice that says that I am not that bad.  That I can just have one or two drinks and maybe even just drink when I am with my husband only.  And maybe my sister, and then it will say well maybe only this time with x, y or z.  I need to be on my guard and vigilant.  I need to stay with my supports.
  2. You need supports.  You need to read lots of quit lit.  Listen to lots of podcasts (www.tired thinkingaboutdrinking.com is my drug of choice).  You need to give yourself treats for not drinking.  You need great replacement drinks and ideas.
  3. You need to realise that you just do what works.  I have tried moderating,  It didn’t work.  I have tried drinking.  It wasn’t adding to my life.  I have tried not drinking and it is bloody amazing (most of the time).  That works.  So I need to STAY HERE.

Also realise that there are going to be days when it is not pink fluffy clouds.  It is just boring and you will want a little zesty edge-taker-off-er.  You will want to blunt the reality that is irritating, saddening, hurting, boring you.  But that those feelings will pass.

Even if you are not that bad, if you ever drink more than you want to, or regularly drink more than you want to, it is not going to go away on its own.  Very unlikely.  Just do an experiment.  And keep extending it.


Love you all (all?!?!?)



111. Been a while…

Our Mac went t*ts up sorry for the break…

Here I am at day 111.  I feel very calm and collected about it.  There are many things to catch up on.  Day 100 saw me with my two oldest friends in South Africa. I had taken a flight out from London to Johannesburg and the captain had come up to say that he would send me down a glass of Champagne as I was corralled in a mid row seat down in economy.  Believe me, from the perspective of a jump seat this was luxury and I was very happy.  I told the captain I did not drink, so not to worry I was absolutely fine…. The chief stewardess came down presently and knelt near my seat and we started chatting…long story short, she was had heard of Belle, and done, if I am not mistaken four days.  She was an angel in disguise for me.  She does not know it, but I felt so reassured and comforted that I was on the right path.  I usually knock myself out a little with as much wine or gin as I can lay my hands on in economy so that I can sleep.  I did not sleep a wink but because I was not hungover it did not matter.  I then had my friends reactions to contend with, which were fine.  They are both very normal drinkers.  The one drank approx half a glass of wine two of the four nights…. and the other drank a little more, but did not finish a bottle of wine that we bought of the four days and drank nearly all of a tiny half jack of Malawi gin.  So in my books, the sum total of nothing.  HAD I been on the sauce for that trip…. the scenario would have been very different.  I LOVE South African Sauvignon Blanc, particularly ”Life from Stone” from a certain vineyard in the Cape.  I would have had at least a bottle a night with my friend.  No question.  The excitement of being together and the excitement of SA wine and relative single freedom would have pushed my buttons to drink as a celebration and so on.  As it was I woke up before 5am every day, went for a run the one day, followed by ten lengths in the pool, and walks and seaswims the other days.  How about that.  I loved it.

I am now in part three of my nice ”year end” trips…. In New York, with my beautiful OH. I was lucky enough to have a very spoilt seat on the plane out.  The crew were pressing me to have champagne, and I did not.  I had a bitter lemon and a soda with the three course meal.  Warm cinnamon doughnuts with creme anglaise for dessert.  OK OK I am still treating with food!!!  Then I slept for five hours and woke up on landing.  Very good.

I was worried about coming to NY as whenever we have been here together I enjoy the ragingly strong bloody Mary’s that they pour here.  Full of spice and horseradish… Deeelish.  So I had some virgin Mary’s and sodas with lime and I am ABSOLUTELY FINE.  I have had a couple of little moments of ”oh a little disappointing” that I am not partaking.  Seeing the people with their sparkling glasses of Champagne on the plane did give me a little pang.  But it soon passed.

Whilst I have been having a break I read ” the unexpected joy of being sober” and I can highly recommend it.  Very helpful as to understanding why one struggles to moderate.  More about that later.

Last aside.  We went to London too on the this trip.  I am having a very spoily year end.  I was meeting up with my mom in law, who is a great partner in crime when it comes to drinking.  She was absolutely fine about my non drinking.  I had ginger beer ready in the apartment thanks to lovely OH.  And arrived to the clinking glass of ginger beer and ice.  Such a love.  She was very interested.  She read Belle the whole way to Edinburgh from London and wants to sign up.

So that is my catch up.  If you listen, or read, please send me and little message so I know who is out there still.  I hope that the lovely stewardess is somewhere reading, and I send my particular love to her.  She was a memorable part of my journey.


91. Revving up to the 100

Many things to say…

I apologise to my invisible audience – is anyone there? – for my silence.  I am on day 91 and have been busy and buzzy.

A few things as I rev up to my 100 days.

Like everyone who gives up the booze saying its forever is too hard.  For nearly all of us.  Some people know that they know that they know they will never drink again.  I am not one of them.  I waiver from day to day over what I will do in the future.

So why I am happy right now not to be drinking…..In no particular order….



Physical health.

Mental health.

On the first one…. I am using a quote from Club Soda together…


Day 80 (I think) and I bothered to cut up the cashmere cardi that my stepmum gave me (it didn’t fit and made me look like I’d rolled out of a 1998 Boden catalogue after an ill chosen breast enhancement – buttons all straining and more ruffles than Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen dressed as a QC) I went on a charity shop trawl, found more cashmere and merino in odd shapes and degrees of decrepidness and spent this evening with the sewing machine that I wrestled from the depths of the garage.
If I’d had my old usual nightly guzzle of 500cl of vino tinto, I’d probably have succumbed to the Internet whispering that it was payday soon and cashmere is important (I was drooling over a £125 M&S scarf…. £125!!) however, as I’m AF and annoyingly full of wonder and joy, I used the Internet to show me how to upcycle my very own beauty of a scarf, modelled here by my fabulous assistant/child. So, I saved myself from the £125 scarf as well as the £6 bottle of plonk tonight. This is great, this new life.

The above quote includes a beautiful picture of a teenage girl wearing a fab cashmere scarf made of all sorts of bits and pieces.  The quote speaks volumes.  On my part I am finished a blanket that I started four years ago for my daughters’ 14th birthday.  She is 18 in December and it will be wrapped and handed over.  Youpi!

I will continue tomorrow with one of the other three.


78. Subtle changes

Slow dawnings.

There is no question that staying on the path requires daily maintenance!  Daily reminding of why you are doing what you are doing.

For me it is so vital that I really listen to those further along than I am.  The small things they say have a big impact.  For instance… the further along from day one you get the more the perspective changes.  I really think I have had a click in my heart.  I hope it lasts.  I really really really do not want to drink.   I am not saying never again, but something in me has shifted.  I do not feel like the one who is losing out.  I feel like the lucky one.

There is not a single morning that I wake up and don’t go:  Phew!!  I am sober … goody… it is wonderful.  I cannot stress more, that if you are new reading this, that I was not an alcoholic.  I just occasionally drank more than I wanted to.  And sometimes tonnes more. But I would say,  more often than not it was just a little more than I wanted to… But the difference is extraordinary.  Knowing that I am in my safe space, my head is quiet, I feel that I have a certain integrity that I would not have if I was regularly transgressing my limits… Long may it last.

I read a post yesterday on the Club Soda page… Someone saying that they were fifty odd days in and were contemplating a few drinks at Christmas…. Classic.  And I judge not, because that has been me – though not after fifty days sober… Always trying to find ways of managing my intake.  Allowing little treats here and there.  I was DESPERATE to be able to successfully moderate.  I am yet to find one non-normal drinker who can.  By normal I mean someone who ONLY DRINKS AS MUCH AS THEY WOULD LIKE TO.  And is absolutely happy with their level of drinking.  I have quite a lot of normy drinking friends.  And also quite a lot of more boozy friends.

I would like to try a sober Christmas.  These very words seem BORING to the drinker.  And would have made me run a mile.  But they now sound full of promise, full of sanctuary, full of hope and wonder.  Yeeehi.  I think I have turned a corner.

How are you all out there? (All? – few ;-))


73. So, this is the thing.


a little summing up of the situation.

Some people like me, drink more than they want to.  They may not be an alcoholic – I am not.  But AT TIMES they over drink and they feel so so so shit the next day.  Or in the middle of the night.  In the shit days you tell yourself that you are going to make a plan, you are going to do this or that to drink less.  You are going to get your life together and make it work.  You are going to drink on weekends, or alternate with a glass of water and then a drink, or you are going to only drink vodka or only beer or only red wine and so on and so forth.  This may last for a while but sooner or later there comes the night when you wake up with the shit feeling and you roll over and look at yourself in the mirror and are not proud.

Then you summon up all your freaking courage and you shut the voice up which tells you to wait till after this event, that event, Christmas, birthdays and so on, and you just STOP.   IT IS BLISS.

But, as time goes by when you STOP drinking you forget those days.  You think that actually you are not that bad and that you should start again.  But you don’t.  Just for today.  Because it is nice here.  It is proper and sanctified and beautiful to be sober.

But I know my tricky brain.  it is always looking for a reason to justify starting to drink.  There are many good reasons it says… all that amazing wine out there, wasn’t made for no reason.  all those vineyards in the sun how can they be bad for you?  The only way to stay in this sober holy gorgeous place, for me, is to EVERY SINGLE DAY use my sober supports.

My sober supports are these.  A podcast, an email, a phone call, a treat,  exercise,  no overwhelm.  These are my things that I have to do every day to keep in this space.  If I stop.  My brain will tell me I am okay to drink.  I need to con my own brain.  I tell it that I will drink at 100 days.  Then I pledge to go 180 and at 178 days I pledge to go 270 days and so on.  I want to do a year.  I want to show that I can go round the sun living on this planet, at least once as an adult, and not drink a drop of booze and STILL HAVE A GOOD LIFE.

This is an experiment in sobriety.  So far being sober longer term is suiting me very well.

Any comments?


71. Seems long but is not really

Home alone!


Nice looking rosemary and grapefruit and soda mocktails no?  I am home alone properly for the first time ever.  Usually I would have a child home from school but today marks the first day when no one will come home.  And you know what?  It is not half as bad as I thought it would be.  I am feeling even and calm.  I have been doing some behind the scenes head work which would NOT have HAPPENED had I been using the boozing to numb my feelings.  I have had to face a few things head on and deal with them.  Nothing major, just my idiosyncrasies, and I have come to a place of stability.

I am going to be having many treats this rest of the year.  I am going away lots and I did have a moment or two this past week when I thought, fuck it.  I am going to be 100 days sober when I 1) go on holiday with my two old friends for the first time in 30 years – besties from school days.  Just the three of us going on holiday.  2) When I go to London with my family and see a show or so 3) Go to New York as a treat with my husband just after.  Then I go to SA to see my family for three weeks.  LOTS AND LOTS of drinking opportunities and I will have passed my 100 day challenge and pledge.  Eeeeek.  I know that this is how I am going to have to face these things….

  1. listen daily to Belle and her podcasts.  I have spent money on 100 podcasts and can listen to them more than once.  There is very little like listening to a podcast to put me back on the straight and narrow.
  2. Take it all one day at a time.  I will not drink just for today.  And I will say that every day.
  3. I am going to pledge to find the best mocktails wherever I go.  Like a treasure hunt for jewels that look lovely and will make me feel like I am treating myself.  I will post the pictures here on my quest.
  4. I know that if I don’t cave I will be so so so so (x100000) proud of myself.  I know that if I do cave I will not be pleased with myself.
  5. I am happy in this pleasant space of no booze that I am carving out for me.  I love it.  I feel like each day is a benediction.  So why would I leave it?
  6. Learn to realise that I will think… Oh come on, you’ve done so well, you deserve a little break, a little me time, it won’t get out of hand and so on and so forth.  But that is the wolfie within and it is a lie.

I do hope there are  still some of you reading this, and even if there is no one, then I am still going to blog away.  Next time I will talk about self care a little more.  I think this is a vital topic.

Love and hugs


64. Will you still need me….

Will you still feed me? When I’m 64 ….

Here is a story that kind of made my hair stand on end…. It’s from belle’s daily emails …. to her then to us…

L: “So ashamefully I had a relapse. I got to over 600 days sober, I stopped counting, then I thought I could have a couple of drinks. Then Saturday night went out, free bar, made a complete idiot of myself and can’t remember much more. Worst than that it was a work night out and I only went to get on with everyone as I’m on maternity leave and I look like a mad woman who can’t handle her drink – I have no off switch. Hopefully things will blow over but I feel like an idiot. I’m gutted I feel terrible, ashamed and embarrassed. I’ve been ignoring support and emails and sober tools. I want to be sober again so after the mother of Armageddon hangovers yesterday I have to say I’m on day 2 and today. Please reset my clock I feel like a complete loser, I’ve fallen out with my husband and feel like a fuck up and a failure.”

What the f**k?  I thought by 600 days… that is nearly two years… that one would be so under control.  But obviously not.  Dear God alive, I do not want to get to that point and go back to that old CRAP CRAP CRAP.  I know me and a free bar too!!!  I love(d) a free bar.   So gutting for her.  I feel her pain.  I am ten times less sober in time than she is ….. just goes to show that we are never invincible.

I am enjoying golden autumn days.  I have my darling family staying with me.  My sister is joining me in the journey and we are so happy both of us.  For our own different reasons, but also for our similar reasons.  If we had been shedded last night, hungover today and lacking in energy the whole holiday would have a different feel.  She says she would be low (to put it mildly) in patience with her two precious boys, I would be feeling sick and grotty and low in mood.  It would not be nearly as lovely with a hangover.  I love having them, and not drinking with one of my oldest drinking buddies has not been an ounce of an issue.  I know she would agree xxx

Love to you all



62. 1st of October

Sober joys

I have just encountered the beginning of the life change I referred to in the very first stages of this blog.  I knew that I was going to have my daughter leave home.  My son already left last year and yesterday it was time to leave my favourite daughter in the UK. We live in France and we have lived in the same town (village) her whole life.  No traffic lights, some of the same kids in her class since she was three years old.  Very safe and small.  It has been a treasure of a summer (for the most part) knowing that we were having some ”last moment” things and just enjoying having her here (and her brother of course).

If I had been drinking, even a little, this whole experience would be vastly different.  The subtle change is hard to describe.  When I drink I can absolutely have a few and then stop.  Sometimes.  But if there is any hint of emotional unease, needing of tension release etc.  then my drinking goes up and I go over a limit and then I have a SHIT SHIT day the next day.  Certainly being in the UK dropping her off would have fallen into this category.  Our ”last night” curry and drinks in a few bars in Durham would have led to me going (even slightly) overboard.  I know it.  Excuse to have nice nice wine.  Family drinking with me.  Fun fun fun.  And then the whole process would have been tainted with a fuzzy head.  A sense of profound loss, not proud of myself like I am as a ”clear” person, and so on and so forth.

On Friday night when we arrived in UK, I had a grrrr feeling of being left out.   All around us were people laughing and boozing and dressed up.  Then as the night wore on people our age and older – really dolled up – were lolling around pissed, not walking straight and generally looking shabby and mutton dressed up as lamb and grotty.  The next day – after a ginger ale and soda to drink on Friday night – my daughter and I got up really early and walked watching the pink sunrise.  We walked all around Durham, looking at the cathedral and the beautiful tiny city waking up.  Fresh.  No ”hat of heaviness” on my head.  Clear as a crystal.  Irreplaceable memories and times of togetherness.  Why would I give that up for a few spontaneous numbing boozy drinks the night before?  Never.

I am on day 62.  The grrr feelings are less and less.  I am so used to it now.  Thanks to the busy social life that goes on around me.  Everyone who I see knows and last night my friends gave me a lovely tonic with ice, lime and pomegranate seeds!  What a treat.  I watched them all supping Chardonnay and Malbec and all my favourite wines, without a hint of jealousy.  I was comfortable and calm and peaceful about my decision.  I joined in fully and had a lovely night!  The tiny spin offs are so important. I won’t go into detail right now, but there are lots and lots of them.

I would not be feeling this calm and non-anxious about empty nesting with the addition of hangover, fuzzy heads and the general way over drinking made me feel.  Slightly ashamed in a nebulous way.  Not comfortable in my own skin.  Not a person of full integrity and so on.  Instead I feel just smooth and calm.  It is priceless.  I love it.  Phew.

I am not losing major weight which is a little disappointing but not unexpected.  But my face is less puffy and much brighter.  A small side benefit.

Hope you are okay my very small crowd!!!

Love to you