Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Best Sober Blogs

Is it just me, or has it all gone spookily quiet in the sober blogging world?

I have about thirty blogs on my reading list and, at the moment, only about five of them are still posting regularly. I keep checking my inbox, and there's just tumbleweed.

Where have they all gone? I miss my friends. Have they fallen off the wagon? Are they just bored with blogging? Are they okay?

If you're out there Annie, BeSoberBea, Exploringsomethingelse, Hurrahfortea, Redrecovers, Timeandthebottle, Thirstystill - to name just a few - then please let us know how you're doing.

If you need help, and you're searching for the best sober blogs around, then two fabulous old hands are the Wine Bitch (Sober, Sassy Life) and Mrs D (her blog is here), who has just published her second book Mrs D is Going Within.

If you want to follow someone earlier on in the journey then my favourite bloggers who are still posting regularly (within the last two or three weeks) are:

Giving Up Drugs and Alcohol, Hurrah for Coffee, Done With My Wine Habit, Groundhog Girl and So This is Sober. You can also read my story from the beginning, starting here.

(I've added all the links, so all you have to do is click on any of those names and you'll be transported, just like Dr Who in the Tardis, straight to their worlds).

If you've discovered a brilliant, new and active blog then please post us the link, and if you've started your own then don't be shy - tell us about it and give us your address so we can pop by.

So please use the comments section below to SHARE, RECOMMEND and LINK.

In these days of encroaching summer, with all its buckets of Pimms and Rose, we sober people have to stick together.

Love to you all,

SM x






Monday, 22 May 2017

Manchester Terrorist Attack

I woke up this morning to the terrible news of a terrorist attack in Manchester last night.

What makes this event particularly horrific is not just the fact that at least twenty-two were killed and sixty or so injured by flying pieces of metal, but that the bomb was triggered (by a suspected suicide bomber) outside an Ariana Grande concert, and timed to explode just as the crowds were leaving the venue.

If you don't have young daughters, you may not know Ariana Grande. My girls have grown up with her, as the ditsy, pretty, wholesome 'Cat' in Sam and Cat and Victorious.

The people going to see an Ariana Grande concert would be teenaged girls at their first ever concert, mums taking their ten-year-old to see her idol as a special birthday treat, families enjoying an event that they know will be appropriate for all ages.

Pictures of the scene just before the explosions show a mass of pink helium balloons and groups of young girls, smiling, singing, grinning and taking selfies.

I listened to interviews this morning with men who'd gone to collect their daughters last night and been greeted by unimaginable scenes of chaos, panic and horror.

How can anyone justify any of this in the name of any religion or cause?

In other news, (as if any other news really matters) a new study into the, now irrefutable, link between alcohol and breast cancer was announced. Even half a glass of wine a day significantly increases your risk.

I know this, obviously, and the timing is pertinent, as today I have a check up and ultrasound scan (eighteen months after my original cancer diagnosis) at the breast clinic. Oh joy.

Both the events of last night, and my personal trial this morning, remind me how our futures are so uncertain. In just a matter of moments - an explosion or a black mass on an ultrasound scan - our whole lives can change.

Which is why we have to remember, every day, to be phenomenally grateful for what we have - for our families, our friends and our health.

Love to you all, and particularly to those of you in Manchester. I hope you, and those you care for, are well and safe.

SM x

Friday, 19 May 2017

Martha's Story

The hardest thing about giving up booze is thinking that you are all alone, that you're a tiny sober canoe being tossed around in a sea of drinkers.

It's easy to believe that everyone else seems to manage alcohol perfectly well, and that you're the only person who seems to have struck up an intimate relationship with the wine witch.

Well, let me reassure you, you are not alone and there are hundreds of thousands of women (and men!) out there struggling in exactly the same way. I know because lots of them e-mail me.

Here's an example from Martha, who kindly agreed to let me share her story, because it's stories like hers, and mine, and yours, that really can change the world.

Dear sober mummy,

For ages I've been reading your blog. I guess I came across it only a few weeks after you started it, and even though you don't know it, I've laughed and I cried with you.

I am a 45 year old woman from Belgium and I've been struggling with alcohol for at least 15 years.


I never used to drink much. When I first went out, age 16, my girlfriends and I always drank Coke. It was not until I was 19 that I started drinking wine on a more regular basis, but never at home, only when I went out.

After the relationship with my boyfriend ended and I started living on my own again at age 28, I started to drink at night. Every night. I often told myself in the morning that I wouldn't drink that night, but I always did.

Sometimes I would have to work till 11 pm and on purpose I would not buy wine, so I wouldn't be tempted to drink it when I got home. But most of the time I would then steal a bottle of wine from work and drink it when I got home anyway.

When I met my husband I knew he was a heavy drinker, and although I knew my drinking wasn't normal, I didn't drink more then he did so I figured it was okay.


Nobody ever commented on my drinking. I did stupid things when drunk but nobody ever tried to talk to me about it. Most of my family and closest friends drink at least the same amount as I do, some even more.

Anyway, to cut a looooong story short, I am done with alcohol. I have been for a long time and have made attempts to cut down or stop. Once I've quit for 7 weeks, I felt wonderful. But started again.


Last year, for a whole year I didn't drink in the house. Okay, we went out more then we did before, because I did want to drink of course, but not drinking in the house made a big difference. But after our summer holiday I haven't been able to pick it up and started drinking every night again.

But not anymore. I've quit. I didn't tell anyone, but I am telling you. I am telling people I quit for now because I want to get of my medication for stomach pains (I am sure you don't need to wonder why I have stomach issues).

Why I am writing you is to tell you about this app that I use: Sober Grid. It's an online community where people support each other. You can chat with people if you want. It helps me! And maybe it will help other who don't want to be too vocal about their problems.


It's like I don't want to disappoint the people I've met there by starting drinking again. It's like Facebook for the addicts.

That, and reading blogs like yours really help me to realize I am not dumb, I am not boring, but I am making a smart choice, for me.

Thanks for listening and wishing you all the best.


Martha's story sounded so familiar to me, and I bet it does to you, too.

So, you are not alone, and if you check out Martha's recommendation - Sober Grid - you'll find even more friends.

(You can mail me your story on sobermummy@gmail.com)

Love to you all,

SM x

Monday, 15 May 2017

Alcohol and Mental Health

Mental health is The Topic in the media right now, thanks to the young royals - William, Kate and Harry, who have launched the Heads Together campaign to combine the weight of  mental health charities and bring mental health issues out of the shadows.

Hurrah for that, and about time too.

Something that still isn't talked about, however, is the undeniable link between alcohol (ab)use and mental health.

Which is why I'm hugely grateful to one of my readers, K, for sending me an article in The Guardian titled: I know how alcohol can ruin your mental health. So why is it so rarely discussed? by a chap called Matthew Todd.

(For the full article, click here).

Todd's story is very much like mine and, I'm sure, yours. He says, for example: I never drank in the morning or in parks, just in a British way, bingeing along with, well, everybody else. I didn’t question it because no one else seemed concerned.

However, Todd found that he was becoming increasingly anxious and self-destructive. Then he uses these words, which describe my situation, back in the day, better than I could myself:

(I was) swinging between thinking I was the most important and the most worthless person on the planet.

The more I drank to medicate my low self-esteem, the worse my anxiety got and the more I drank to dull it. Years passed and I couldn’t see I was stuck right in the classic “cycle of addiction”.

Does that ring bells with you too?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Matthew's main discovery once he quit totally echoed my experience too. he says:

Since finally giving up alcohol, I’ve learned many things. First, that addiction is everywhere. That it is not about the drinking (or whatever the substance is), but the feelings underneath.

And ain't that the truth?

Matthew's article ends with the words: The British drink too much. Alcohol must be next on the mental health agenda. Hear, hear, and so say all of us.

So thank you K, and thank you Matthew.

Another e-mail I received this week was much less helpful.

Dear Sir,

An inauspicious start, and displaying total lack of research, given that my pseudonym is SoberMummy.

But it gets worse...

Our company is interested in the wine you produced.

If you have intention to cooperate, please contact us ASAP to have a better discussion of our cooperation.

Funnily enough, for many years one of my secret ambitions was to buy a vineyard. Needless to say, I spent too much time (and money) drinking to actually get around to doing so.

Just as well, hey?

Love to you all,

SoberMummy (also known as Sir) x

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Me and Brad Pitt

It turns out that Brad Pitt and I are so similar that we could almost be identical twins separated at birth.

There are, obviously, a few differences: gender, for a start. He also did rather better than I in the good looks lottery, plus he has a lot more cash, and more children than I do. BUT apart from that, we are spookily alike.

If you haven't already, do read this interview (click here) with Brad Pitt in GQ magazine, entitled 'Brad Pitt Talks Divorce, Quitting Drinking and Becoming a Better Man'. Huge thanks to Lindsay for posting the link.

Brad talks in some detail about his relationship with alcohol, which he quit six months ago. And, yet again, I'm reminded of exactly how similar we all are, regardless of gender, money and fame.

It turns out that Brad, like me, loved his wine. He didn't even need to go to the off licence and worry about being judged by the cashiers, he had his own vineyard! He says:

I enjoy wine very, very much, but I just ran it to the ground. I had to step away for a minute. And truthfully I could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good.

Brad, like all of us, is an all-or-nothing person. All the best people are, in my book. He's not one of life's natural moderators. He says:

...the terrible thing is I tend to run things into the ground. That's why I've got to make something so calamitous. I've got to run it off a cliff.

I do it with everything, yeah. I exhaust it, and then I walk away. I've always looked at things in seasons, compartmentalized them, I guess, seasons or semesters or tenures or…Yeah, it's that stupid. “This is my Sid and Nancy season.”

That's how I see my relationship with alcohol, too. I don't regret the drinking years, but I used up my lifetime's allowance in less that a lifetime. Been there, done that, time to move on.

It took me some time, after I finally quit, to work out what it was really all about. But Brad has it all figured out after only six months. I guess he really is a super hero, plus he must have access to some really good therapists. He says:

I can't remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn't boozing or had a spliff, or something. Something. And you realize that a lot of it is, um—cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I'm running from feelings.

I'm really, really happy to be done with all of that. I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know—things I wasn't dealing with.

I was boozing too much. It's just become a problem. And I'm really happy it's been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I've got my feelings in my fingertips again.

I think that's part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve.

So, there you have it. Brad Pitt is one of us, and he is welcome on this site any time.

And, in other news this week, I read, with some interest, a study which proves that eating bogies is good for us. Hurrah! That's one less thing to nag the children about.

Love to you all, and especially to Brad.

SM x


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Are You Scared?

One of the most difficult aspects of getting sober is learning to deal with fear.

Fear can prevent us from even getting off the starting blocks. I get lots of e-mails from people saying something along the lines of "I really want to quit drinking. I know I have to quit drinking. But I'm scared. Scared of failing, scared that I'll be miserable for ever, scared of living life without my favourite prop..."

That first hurdle is so daunting that, for many people, they can only scale it once they've reached 'rock bottom' (which is a place none of us want to get to).

Once we've overcome that initial fear we then have to learn how to cope with on-going fears and anxieties without our favourite method of numbing the edges, and that's really hard. We're totally out of practice at doing fear (or any emotion, actually), in the raw.

If any of this is ringing any bells with you, then check out this great YouTube clip of Will Smith talking about overcoming fear (click here).

Will concludes with the words on the other side of your maximum fear are all the best things in life.

And you know what? He's right!

Think back to some of your best days. Your finest moments. Maybe your wedding day? The day your first child was born? The time you won that huge contract, launched a new business or landed a book deal. The day you climbed a mountain, jumped out of a plane or ran a marathon.

What preceded those days? Fear, right? Or, at least, anxiety.

If you'd sidestepped that fear, you never would have experienced the brilliance of the other side.

Well, that's all very well, but even when you focus on the end goal, even when you know this is something you have to get through, it still doesn't mean it's easy, does it?

So, try this advice from the latest book by the brilliant Amy Cuddy:

Amy says that the secret to not only dealing with anxiety, but making it work in your favour is to reframe it in your mind as excitement.

In a recent study by Alison Brooks, when people were given a challenge of singing, speaking or doing a maths challenge in public, those who took a moment to reframe their anxiety as excitement outperformed all the others.

And, funnily enough, fear and excitement feel very similar, don't you think? There's that butterfly in the stomach sensation or, in my case, the nest of squirming vipers.

I've been trying this out. Every time I feel scared, I make myself think This is so exciting. There is something amazing on the other side of this hurdle. It's going to be fabulous.

It really works.

So, if you're still at that I know I need to quit but I'm really scared stage, then try thinking this instead: I'm so excited about starting on this challenge, because life on the other side of it is going to be INCREDIBLE!

And it will be....

Love SM x