If you are struggling to string some sober days or weeks or months together please read Laura Mcowen’s latest post. It gave me goosebumps and chills. She is so awesome!





All of the things!


Confession time…

The past month I have been sober from alcohol but I have been my no means been what the experts would call ‘emotionally sober’

I have been back on the fags (on and off), diving into vats of ice cream and refreshing Facebook like an obsessive-compulsive hermit on crack.

February started off pretty well. After I wrote my last post I was completely determined to tackle this year by the horns and do ALL OF THE THINGS!

My word for this year is creativity and I had such BIG plans. I still have some plans but I have decided to scale back, more about that in a minute.

A friend of mine told me about bullet journaling, if you’re not familiar with the phenomena it’s a customizable organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary.

This bullet journal malarkey is right up my street, I love lists and I love drawing and this year of course I am going to do ALL OF THE THINGS so I was sold.

Anything involving the purchase of new stationary causes the same dopamine release my brain as a gram of class A’s or booze. I have absolutely no control in a stationary shop …as I approach my heart pounds faster and when I see the new notebooks, glitter pens and washi tape I literally drool out of the side of my mouth.

I chose a beautiful pink Leuchtturm1917 notebook and stated setting up my pages. It was all very exciting and motivating as things are when you are the ‘new and improved’ version of yourself in the imagined future.

In the front of the journal I pasted in the 10 guideposts for wholehearted living by Brene (we love you Brene) and started decorating the journal with fervour. As I was washi taping and glitter penning I was imagining how organised I was going to be this year. My future self was going to use EVERY minute of EVERY day constructively. No more facebooking memes of cats dancing on rainbows. Ain’t no one got time for that.

This future self was a woman who meditated and did yoga every day, she drank lots of herbal tea and lemon and hot water in the morning to wake up her system. She ‘listened to her body’ and wouldn’t dream of eating anything with sugar in it god forbid! Sugar is poison!

She never went on facebook except to post something about her fabulous life every now and then.

She was on top of all of the kids things and anticipated their every need before they even knew they had them. She never forgot lunch boxes and also never shouted in anger. She was way too ‘evolved’ to ever lash out at her little darlings.

To give you an example of how unrealistic my expectations were , my morning routine for your perusal and amusement:

6:00 wake up

6:00-6-10 –sort breakfast for kids

6:10-6-30 – Meditate

6:30-6:35 get school uniforms ready

6:35 – 7:10 Make school lunches and breakfast for mr Hurrah and myself

7:10- 8:10 Yoga

8:10-8:30 Get myself and kids ready

8:30 take kids to school

9:00 Bullet journal the days tasks and goals

9:10 Start work.

The reality of course was more like this:

6:00 wake up

6:00-6:30 Drag myself out of bed (had less than 6 hours sleep) Drink two gargatuan cups of coffee in quick succession while arguing with my son about what to make for breakfast.

6:30-7:30 Dishes and clearing up while checking Facebook and Instagram in between making lunches and breakfast for mr Hurrah and myself

7:30-8:30 Trying to find clean and ironed uniforms for kids, dealing with lost homework and filling in last minute school forms. Asking children to put their uniforms on 6 million times. Dealing with several ‘friend related’ issues my daughter thinks is pertinent to share with me at this time critical point in the morning

8:30 -8:40 Trying to find hats scarves and gloves and water bottles that are strewn/hidden throughout the house

9:00 Massive cup of coffee and facebook.

9:30 Start work

After a week of trying to stick to this routine I lost motivation and drive. I just reverted back to my old shitty habits. I also just started numbing out all of my unpleasant emotions with sugar, social media, and solitaire. Oh yes I forgot to tell you about my solitaire addiction. It’s a real ‘thing’ I can play that game on my phone for hours in the evening and not look up from my phone once.

I’ve realised that I need to revise this morning routine and also revise my expectations I have of this perfect ‘future self’

It could be something like this:

Get more sleep – My son still wakes up at night and also wakes up really early so I have to go to bed earlier.

Yoga maybe 3 times a week

Try to meditate 10 minutes whenever I can

The irony of course is that I have so many of Brene’s quotes in the journal and I still fell into the old perfectionist trap.

There are so many improvements I can make to my life and myself and being sober wakes you up to the possibilities. But then the perfectionist thing is still a real problem for me and I need to learn to love myself and accept where I am.

My new motto for this year – Have fewer expectations and be realistic!


Burn the bridges


January is a bit of a shit month when you live in England. The softly twinkly Christmas lights and roaring fires have been replaced with cold dark days and broken resolutions.

We spent December in Africa with my family and we had an absolutely glorious time.

Flying with young children as opposed to toddlers/babies is just a dream. They had their own seats, they watched movies and loved the aeroplane food. Contrast this to a flight we were on a couple of years back where my son projectile vomited over me just as we took off. Yes I have another vomit story in my already full arsenal of vomit stories.

I could see he was going to throw up and I had no choice but to turn him towards me and ‘take one for the team’ as it were. I couldn’t very well let him vomit all over the passenger in front of us. Of course like a good perfectionist I took two changes of clothes for the kids but neglected to bring a change of clothes for myself so I spent the entire flight drenched in a sour vomit smell whilst trying to calm down a feverish/ vomity baby.

This time my son seemed to be totally obsessed with the safety instruction pamphlet. He re-read it several times and kept on practicing the brace position and checking for the oxygen masks. I’m not convinced that he completely understood what it all meant; I mean he wasn’t so much worried about a plane crash as much as he loves gadgets and things to play with.

When we arrived it felt like I never left and at the same time felt like I had been away forever. It’s seemed surreal, as South Africa is so remarkably different to England; it’s almost like another planet! I’d been away for two years which is simply too long for me.

My mum had a hard year and had several issues with her health so the reunion was bittersweet. The last trip to South Africa is when I realised that my body wasn’t cooperating anymore and I had terrible shakes every morning. This time I was sober so I feel so incredibly privileged to have been totally conscious and awake for each precious second I could spend with her.

My old friends from school came over one Sunday for a braai. A braai is not a just barbeque. A braai is an occasion, it’s a verb in its own right and it’s a way of life in South Africa. I was very anxious to see my friends, as these are the friends I used to drink with. My anxiety levels were through the roof and I didn’t really know what I was going to tell them.

They asked me why I got sober (again) as you may be aware I’ve done this many times before so should be a dab hand at it. I told them the story and they laughed. This is the kind of situation where only a very old friend can get away with laughing at your darkest story. After that was out of the way they said they always knew I had the alcoholic gene and we left it at that. I was happy to leave it there and didn’t feel the need to argue the ‘alcoholic gene’ point.

After the heavy stuff was out of the way we had so much fun! We reminisced, told stories, and laughed till we cried. I drank my non-alcoholic beer which really helped in that particular situation. I feel that there is a time and a place for the non-alcoholic beverage. At home I don’t need it but in the company of old drinking friends I did, it really helped me feel less conspicuous.

The rest of the holiday I spent my evenings knitting and drinking chai tea with my mum. Although I’m not attending AA meetings I have been working through the steps and the 9th step is making direct amend to the people you’ve harmed (except when to do so would injure them or others.) I made amend to my sister, brother and mum. I haven’t done it with my dad yet, I have some more issues to work through and don’t really know how to approach that.

It felt good to own my side of the story and to apologise for my destructive behaviour. I held myself very gently through this because the only way to get through step 9 is to feel compassion for the person you were and to realise that that person was doing the best they could at that time. I have to approach all of these things with self-love because without that I fall back into self-hatred self-harm and addiction. When I talk about self-love I don’t mean ‘permissive’ – I mean …gently hold yourself accountable, understand why you were they way you were then ‘do better’ in Maya Angelou’s words.

It was exceptionally difficult to leave my family in Africa and come back. It’s always a very emotional farewell, I can’t actually put the feeling of loss into words it’s just too great. It feels immense, like an enormous vice is clamping my heart tightly and I can’t breathe. I have been numbing out my depression with sugar, tv, social media and have had several dinking thoughts come up. I found myself thinking I could just slip back into drinking for a while and drown my depression and anxiety with a bottle of red.

Then I realised that I don’t have that option anymore because most people who know me know I’m in recovery. My family, my children and all of my closest friends all know the deal.

This is why we have to tell our nearest and dearest to be accountable otherwise its way too easy to just disappear into a bottle of whiskey.

We have to burn the bridge between active addiction and our new life so that when the bad days come we look for a way through the pain not around it.

Yes I am sad to be away from my family but I am so grateful and privileged to have been able to be fully present and sober to enjoy every precious moment with them.

Sobriety does deliver on all of the promises alcohol ever made to me but sometimes when life really sucks I still just want to check out. I still feel that thirst for oblivion sometimes.

Stay vigilant I tell myself…the pull towards oblivion can get really strong but for today I’m sober and a happy to be so.


Image: Calvin and Hobbes

My word for 2018 is Creativity. I’ve laid the groundwork for a couple of projects that are ready to be born. 

Last year’s word was Self-care. I learned to care for myself like I care for my children. I stopped smoking, I did yoga at least twice a week and Stopped drowning my sorrows in food, particularly sugar. I also made sure I got enough sleep most of the time. It was a massive learning curve and I fell many times but I’m finally learning to listen to my body. To give it the care and respect it deserves. I always rolled my eyes at the ‘your body is your temple’ thing, but we only get one ( in this lifetime at least.) we need to take good care of it. 

I intend to nurture my creativity this coming year in the same way I learned to nurture my body in 2017. My addiction stole so much from me, my productivity in my creative life was mainly limited to my sober periods. When I drank I fantasised about being creative and longed for it but getting drunk was all consuming. It sucked the life and love right out of me and consequently no energy, time or inspiration was left for the things or people I love. 

I am fucking happy and lucky to be sober and can’t wait for 2018. Bring it on. Xxxx❤️💗💛💖💚🧡

Snake oil


Dopamine is really interesting…its the promise of reward not the actual reward itself that keeps you drinking/drugging/spending/sexing…

A fellow blogger post this video over a year ago. I wanted to share this with you because we are approaching the festive season and everything around us is saying DRINK!

This little guy illustrates the drinking cycle perfectly. I feel so sad for him and I feel such empathy for everyone who is still stuck in this loop. Its just hell. The good news is that there is hope.

Please remember this video when you see the bottles and bottles of alcohol being shoved into your faces during the Christmas period. The stuff in the bottles is called ETHANOL not fucking wine!

Ethanol is used in toiletries, pharmaceuticals, and fuels, and it is used to sterilize hospital instruments.  It’s poison and its addictive. They can dress it up however they like its still the same rubbish.

The pomp and ceremony around the wine and champagne makes me laugh! Parading around the table with a £400 bottle of wine, pretending that its anything other that fermented fucking grapes that gets you drunk is just ludicrous.

At least I was never under the illusion that I drank for the taste, I knew I was drinking  for the effect.

DO NOT FALL FOR THE HYPE, SOBER PEEPS!!! Alcohol, like so many other ‘quick fixes’ is selling a lie. The dopamine lie to be more specific.

So when you are at the office party and a well meaning colleague tries to convince you how bloody marvellous her glass of Bolli tastes and “you simply MUST try one”… you just remember what’s in that glass…

Turn on your heels safe in the knowledge that you haven’t missed out on anything except a bullet.


Deck the Halls – Hurrah’s way…


I would like to start off by saying that I really like Christmas.  I do dispair at the amount of alcohol they are pouring over everything though. If you don’t watch your step they will pour mulled wine into your morning coffee at Costa and it’s not even December yet!

This season can be very ‘triggering’ for us sober folks…Let’s try and keep our sense of humour about the insanity shall we?

In an effort to make myself laugh I came up with my own festive ditty…

Deck the halls with bottles of Bolli,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis the season to get off your trolley,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Eat crap till you want to throw up
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Buy lots of crap that will end up on the dump
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the blazing mess before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Get shitfaced and join the chorus.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow us in merry hysterics,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
You may have to call the paramedics
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the old year passes.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Hail the new year, while we fall on our arses
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

I’ll be hangover free in the morn.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Ready to ride my unicorn…
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

The disappearing social calendar

(photo credit: Bad moms movie)

Since I got sober my social calendar has slowly started to clear, almost as if a little calendar fairy waved her wand and just made all the parties that used to fill up my time disappear. At first it hurt my feelings, I returned to the school playground in my mind where I was the only one not invited to the most popular girl’s birthday party. You can’t help but feeling left out and excluded.

After the initial sting of rejection faded I started questioning if I really wanted to go to any of those events and the truth is I didn’t… but you know…I would still have liked to have been asked.

The fact is that these parties were ALL about the booze and I really didn’t have anything in common with this group of friends apart from the mutual love of getting completely trolleyed off our faces.

The connection between us was paper-thin as is the connection between all drug addicts. You are BEST MATES while you are getting wasted but don’t expect loyalty or love. This is a bond born and fused in addiction and it is false.

It’s foolish to underestimate the power of the tribal mentality we have around booze and drinking to excess. We share stories of how pissed we got and then share stories of how terribly hung over we all feel the next day, a couple of us would proclaim we are never drinking again…until the next time. There is safety in numbers and there is a feeling of being normal when addicts hang out together. We cant be alcoholics, we all drink like fishes! Some are a tiiiiny bit worse than others and secretly everyone is comparing…

I’ve realised that you can party sober and you can have a marvellous time but for that to happen you need to 1) be with people you really like and have things in common with 2) be in a setting that you are comfortable with

I am also making peace with a quieter life, a steady content way of life that is filled with so much richness, love and deep fulfilment.

Drinking promised me all of the things that sobriety delivers. Sure there are fewer social things but that makes time for other pursuits that really interest me, pastimes that feed my soul. I’m making art again; I’m knitting, cooking and doing yoga.

It takes a while to find your sober feet, so to whoever is on this sober path, don’t despair if it feels like your social life is waning…sobriety is making time and space for you to find true joy and happiness.





Alcohol thoughts…

monstersImage credit: Calvin and Hobbes –  Monsters under the bed.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been having random thoughts about alcohol. The first one popped up during our weekly Sunday lunch. I went into the kitchen to get some water for the table and the thought popped up out of nowhere…RED WINE! It freaked me out so much I ran back to the table like something was chasing me. Mr Hurrah and the kids just did their usual ‘mommy is being weird’ faces to each other and we continued eating as if nothing happened.

The next random thought was after a long day, mr Hurrah was getting some soft drinks out of the fridge at the back and the thought popped up …BEER! I shook my head as if to shake the thought loose from my skull and went about the rest of the evening but there was a niggling worry at the back of mind the whole time. Why now…am I heading for trouble?

The following weekend, I was on facebook and saw my old ‘drinking mommy’ group on a night out. I found myself thinking wistfully about glamorous cocktails and of the wild abandon of a night out. I’m not friends with that group anymore partly because we had very little in common except the mutual love of gin and also because they stopped inviting me to things. Now before you say anything…I know, facebook sucks and I do have better things to do with my time but I use it for work and also to stay in touch as working from home can be terribly isolating.

Because alcohol thoughts happen so infrequently these days the regularity and intensity of them freaked me right out. My first instinct is to run or walk very fast like I used to when I was a little girl. I always thought monsters were chasing me on the way back from the bathroom in the middle of night. The second thing I want to do is hit the thought on the head with a crucifix screaming ‘DEVIL CHILD, DEVIL CHILD!’ in an effort to exorcise the demon. Remnant tendencies from all the time I spent in my Grandmother’s church no doubt.

As much as hate alcohol, somehow I don’t think fighting with the thought is the answer. I’ve done that before and when you engage in any way, you start negotiating with your addict voice. Mine is called Jack and he can sell atheism to a doorstep Jehovah. As soon as I give Jack any attention, even negative attention he will start convincing me why I miss it and how over dramatic I’ve been about the whole drinking thing. So I sit with the thoughts, without judgement and let them pass.

On reflection the thoughts weren’t so random after all. The first one was just an ‘association craving’. We used to always have red wine with Sunday lunch and my brain just pulled that memory out.

The beer thought was after a long day and I was tired. I used to think alcohol relaxed me so that was an ‘make me feel better – craving’

The cocktail craving is me needing to go out dancing. Mr Hurrah and I haven’t been out dancing since we went to see Guns and Roses and I feel it’s high time. I’ve booked a Halloween party, bought a blue wig and plan on wearing my fake fur leopard print coat and heels. Comfortable heels that I can dance in mind you, I may be wild and free but I’m practical too.

My addiction stole so much from me I’ll be damned if it steals my love of music and dancing just by association. Dancing sober was a massive step for me I never thought I could do it but once I  did I remembered  that dancing one of the greatest pleasures in life. I never needed alcohol to give me confidence, it was all an illusion!

We have to make sure we nurture all aspects of ourselves in sobriety is this is to be a lasting change. Sleep when you are tired and go out dancing till dawn if that is what floats your boat. We have so much to celebrate, being sober is bloody amazing and we should make time to still do the things we love. Sometimes cravings or thoughts about booze can tell us where we need to work harder on nurturing our whole selves.

Surrender – or why does it take what it takes?


I’ve been ruminating on why some of us relapse and others don’t.

What is it that makes us go back to drinking time and time again even after we swore that this time is the last time? Why do some of us go back to it even after we know we are addicted? Why does it take some of us a million day one’s before we really get it?

I open my eyes, I can’t swallow… my throat is raw. I’m still in last night’s clothes and my one boot is still on. I get a text message through… I’m trying to focus with my one eye but I’m still drunk. “Are you ok lovely?” “You had a couple of fall’s by the school gate”

I’m terrified. I can’t remember anything, last night’s events is a black hole…again. I hobble to the bathroom to assess the damage. There is blood in my hair and my head feels swollen on one side. I have deep bruises on my legs and arms. I try to swallow but I still can’t manage it. I start to cry, gin soaked tears are rolling down my cheeks and the sound I’m making doesn’t sound human. I fall to my knees and start to howl, I am shaking uncontrollably. I can’t fucking do this anymore! I can’t fucking do this anymore! There is nothing left of me. I don’t recognise myself in the mirror, the woman staring back at me has been in a fight, she has been in this fight for years. My face is sweaty red and swollen and my eyes are dead. The woman staring back at me wants to die. I want this fucking pain to end. The kids! …They’ll be better off without you; you’re a fucking disaster. What kind of mother are you? You are a waste of space, a disgusting fucking drunk!

That was the moment.

While I was looking at my reflection and those hateful words were shouting in a furious thunderous voice, somewhere else inside of me there was another voice whispering quietly “This isn’t you…you are SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS”

That was grace.

I’ve had many of those types of moments throughout my drinking career but this one was different. I was finished. I had been fighting with alcohol for decades and I was battle weary, tired to the bone. My soul was screaming out to me…SURRENDER. You don’t have to fight anymore. You don’t have to pretend anymore. Accept! Accept! Accept defeat! Accept that you cannot drink like a normal person.

My story is not a straightforward one, there wasn’t just one singular rock bottom resulting in a trip to recovery land with me riding off into the sunset on my sober horse. I got sober for the first time after I was arrested for public drunkenness, I was 19 . I was a student and I drank the same way my friends did but a bit more greedily. There was neediness to my drinking that my friends didn’t seem to have. I attended one AA meeting at the behest of my mother but there weren’t any young people in there, they were all at the NA meeting next door. The meeting was full of 50 years old men who all looked at me as if I were crazy. They kept on talking about being a ‘true alcoholic’ and they made me feel as if I was too young to be one and as if my antics were expected behaviour from a student. I didn’t go back.

I stayed sober for 5 years, white knuckling it as best as I could. I developed an eating disorder & the bulimia took the place of booze.

I met a man and moved to England where no one knew me and there I started drinking again. I had hoped that I ‘outgrew’ the binge drinking issues and that being older would magically help me to drink moderately. It went ok for a while but the drinking soon got out of hand again.

We started a family, I was sober for the pregnancies but as soon as the stress of motherhood hit, I used it to self medicate. The last 7 years I have been on lengthy sober stretches then relapses. 6 months sober 3 months drinking, 9 months sober…6 months drinking an on and on and on…. until last year when I had my moment of grace.

The reason some of us take longer to get there or go back out there is very simple. It’s a combination of lack of self-love and poor coping skills.

Who in their right mind would allow someone to beat them up over and over? Alcohol is like an abusive partner and the only reason we stay is because we think we are worth nothing. People who respect and honor themselves won’t allow someone to abuse them.

For this first time in my life I am really learning to love myself. Not just the ‘self love’ meme type of thing you see on Instagram (selfie time:)… I mean REALLY love myself. To be able to sit and look at myself with compassion and understanding is the only way I can stay sober.

The link between self-loathing and active addiction is obvious I suppose but I never understood it fully. Its only now with the clarity that sobriety brings that I can truly see that love is the only way.

To love and honor yourself every day. You are a divine being worthy of love. We are all divine beings worthy of love no matter how low this addiction takes us. The light inside of you cannot be touched by anything you ever did under the influence. That light…that is the real you and that is pure love!



‘I wrote myself back together’


One year ago I was newly sober and dealing with really intense withdrawals and anxiety. I was scared to death. I didn’t know what the fuck to do but I knew I couldn’t carry on drinking.

With quivering fingers I slowly typed in the word alcoholic into Google, happened on some articles and then by a massive stroke of luck stumbled upon Sober Mummy’s blog.

A whole new world opened up. I couldn’t believe there were other women like me having the same issues! These brave women (and men) were candid and open about recovery and were keeping track of their successes and failures.

I was in a total mess at that point. Alcohol had literally brought me to my knees and my self-esteem was in tatters on the floor. I didn’t know how to be sober in this world. I felt naked and exposed… reality was a cold and frightening place to be. My crutch, my medicine was gone and I was utterly bereft. I was petrified to look around my life to really see the devastation the addiction had caused. There is that saying in AA: “If you want to know why you drank, stop drinking and you’ll soon find out.

I decided there and then that this blogosphere was a good place for me to be. It creates accountability and also takes care of step 4 (fearless moral inventory) and step 5 “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

I found a world with honest brave people in recovery that are rocking life on life’s terms. The ultimate bas assery!

I want to borrow a quote by Roxanne Gay that describes my feelings around this far more eloquently that I ever could-

I wrote myself back together. I wrote myself toward a stronger version of myself . . . Through writing and feminism, I also found that if I was a little bit brave, another woman might hear me and see me and recognize that none of us are the nothing the world tries to tell us we are.
–  Roxanne Gay

I am so grateful to this community for being there for me in what could be easily said was the most difficult (and most wonderful) year of my life.

The more I wrote the lighter I felt. It was like unloading bags and bags of heavy rocks that I had been carrying around with me for years! I didn’t realise I was in such deep denial and more time I spend sober the more I realise in what a bad place I was.

I was telling the truth about my addiction for the first time. This was huge! Addiction cannot survive when you tell the truth. It needs secrecy and lies to thrive.

Every comment that said ‘me too!” confirmed to me that I wasn’t alone in this struggle. Every kind word and lovely suggestions meant and still means the world to me.

My perspective has shifted massively in one year. I am no longer apologetic or shy-ish about the fact that I am sober. I think it’s a fucking bad-ass choice and I am proud of it.

I am no longer counting days. I don’t want to do it and no one can make me. I will count 2016 as the year surrendered and got sober.

I am no longer scared of relapses, this is a fear based way of living and I have no interest in it. I am focussing on living in love and staying conscious. I am focussing on accepting the things I cannot change. I am focussing on spiritual growth and staying in my own business. I am learning that I am not in control of everything and that Donald trump and climate change is here to stay whether we like it or not.

Wherever you are on your journey, 2 years in, or battling to string a month together just know that by writing it down you are increasing your chances of beating this thing…addiction cannot survive when you are telling the truth, the truth will…as they say… set you free.