Thursday, 21 September 2017

Will I Lose all my Friends?

This is the question that haunted me when I first quit drinking. In fact, I posted with this same title back on day 13. (To read that post click here).

And the truth is that I didn't lose any friends, in that no-one called me up to say Good God, you are SO BORING that I never want to see you again. (I really had expected that to happen).

What has happened, though, is that there are some friends who contact me a lot less. Needless to say, generally the ones who can't contemplate the idea of a night out without getting totally hammered, and don't want a sober person there pouring rain on their parade.

I'm not angry about this. I get it. I would have done the same, back in the day. I would have justified this to myself as being 'because they're no fun any more', when actually I was just worried that it would shine a light on my own out of control drinking.

This slight negative is, however, totally drowned out by the positive, which is that I have made lots of new friends. 

I hadn't made many new friends for years. It felt like too much effort. I was also somewhat aware that my old muckers would be more forgiving of any wayward antics than brand new, shiny friends.

But now I have a much wider social circle, including several women who hardly ever (or never) drink, the ones I would have written off in the past as being 'not my type.'

Then yesterday the lovely people at Go Sober for October sent me these fascinating statistics from a survey by Macmillan Cancer Support.

7 MILLION BRITS DITCH THEIR FRIENDS FOR DRINKING TOO MUCH

Apparently, 13% of adults (6.7 million people) have stopped going for a drink with at least one friend because they believe they drink too much.

And a Go Sober survey found that one quarter of UK adults avoid drinking with certain friends because of the way they behave after a tipple. 54% say their friend gets too aggressive, and 47% say they get too loud.

This is all driving a trend towards 'soberlising' - socialising without the booze - which is particularly popular amongst the young.

So, don't fret about losing your friends when you STOP drinking, worry about losing them if you CARRY ON!

And if you need some fabulous help and encouragement, then join my friends over at Go Sober for October.

(You'll also be raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support who were a huge help to me through the whole breast cancer thingy).

In other news, are any of you called Nigel? Apparently NOT ONE baby was named Nigel last year in the UK. This makes me sad, as my first ever snog was a Nigel. On a school trip, aged eleven. Just saying.

Love to you all,

SM (Clare)

Monday, 18 September 2017

Shame

An amazing thing has happened since I officially came out of the closet last week. (See my post: SoberMummy's Coming Out).

As well as posting here, I also posted my book cover on my Facebook page.

Now, I didn't think I had any sober friends. I thought all my friends drank (almost) as much as I did. I thought that me going sober would horrify them. That's why I hid for more than two years behind a pseudonym.

But, within hours of posting, several of my friends - from university, from advertising and from the school gate had messaged me privately saying I've given up too. Years ago. Best thing I ever did. Can we get together?

Why, why, why don't we shout about going sober? So we can find each other and support each other. Why do we all struggle on feeling so alone, when we're not?

I think mothers are particularly wary of confessing to having a problem with alcohol. We worry about being seen as bad parents, as terrible examples for our children.

Even more so, mothers who are in the medical or teaching professions, and who counsel patients and students daily about the dangers of alcohol.

Well, if you are a doctor, or a nurse, or a teacher then hear this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I get e-mails from doctors, nurses and teachers every single week.

We only feel alone because of the stigma surrounding alcohol addiction.

This makes me mad. And sad.

So, since I'm already out of that closet, and since I've never been one to do things by halves (not bottles of wine, not life), I decided to do a TED talk! On 'making sober less shameful.'

How, I asked myself, does one go about doing a TED talk? Who is TED and what's his e-mail address?

Then, I went to my postbox, and blow me down with a feather, I discovered, amongst the bills and flyers and catalogues, the most extraordinary piece of serendipity: a letter from my old Cambridge college saying We are hosting a TEDx event and are looking for alumnae who are interested in speaking.

So I applied. I wrote 300 words on how and why I want to change the world. Then I had to upload a one minute video of me talking to camera.

I roped in Mr SM.

We recorded many different versions. Some were too long. Some too short. The dog barked during one. This light was wrong in another. It was a nightmare.

Then we recorded one that was just perfect. 

Let me see! I said to Mr SM. He passed me the phone. It WAS perfect. Except for one thing: IT WAS UPSIDE DOWN!

Well, said Mr SM,  at least it'll stand out.

After some more trial and error we did one up the right way, and it's gone off, to TED (wherever he is).

Fingers crossed.

Love SM (Clare)

TO PREORDER SOBERMUMMY'S BOOK CLICK HERE (UK) OR HERE (USA)

Saturday, 16 September 2017

They're Bombing my 'Hood

That headline is not some kind of fancy metaphor. They are, literally, bombing my 'hood.

Yesterday a bomb went off at my local tube station: Parson's Green, five minutes walk from my house.

This makes me really mad.

Like the bomb at the Ariana Grande concert, this one was timed to explode when the train would be filled with children, on their way to school in the morning.

Luckily, the device, a home-made nail bomb, much like the Ariana one, failed to go off properly. Several people were burned, but no-one died or suffered critical injuries.

But, can you imagine how terrifying the whole event must have been - the screaming, the stampede, the crush - for many of the children's friends, who only just started navigating their own way to school at the start of this term?

Londoners, however, are wonderful people (apart from the terrorists, obvs, who Mr Trump so lyrically described in a tweet yesterday as losers).

Everyone rallied around to help the injured and to reassure unaccompanied children. Our favourite local restaurant opened its doors to all the emergency services as a base for first aid.

Friends of mine, who live on the roads that were closed off, kept the police topped up with coffee and Krispy Kremes, and they, in turn, let the children try on their riot gear, which made them seem much less scary.

In a literal display of adding insult to injury, it transpired that the terrorists hadn't meant to bomb Parson's Green at all.

The timer went off early. The bomb was intended for a higher profile target like Paddington Station or Notting Hill. The media reported that 'outside of London, no-one has heard of Parson's Green.'

So the terrorists dissed us, then they bombed us.

I'm angry about all of this, but it doesn't make me scared. (Despite the threat level being raised to 'critical' and the constant buzz of police helicopters overhead).

Quite the reverse, in fact. It makes me realise, yet again, that life is short and unpredictable. We have to be brave enough to make the most of every opportunity.

On a happier note, thank you, thank you to all of you who pre-ordered my book on Amazon! And for all your wonderful comments on my 'coming out' post. (You made me cry. In a good way).

For a brief moment on Thursday I was #1 on the Amazon chart of 'recovery books', knocking Russell Brand's new book into second place.

(I had great fun imagining him, all snake-hipped and leather-trousered, pacing up and down his kitchen, holding his cute new baby, shouting Who is this SoberMummy person?!? But I doubt he even noticed).

If you'd like to help me change the world (or just want to annoy Russell Brand) by ordering a copy, click here. If you're in the US, you can also find me on Amazon.com.

Stay safe everyone, and love to you all,

Clare (SM)