Sunday, 22 January 2017

The First Minute

One of my fabulous readers, J, sent me (on an extraordinary article which I have to share with you all.

It's written by Kelly Coffey, a personal trainer who used to weigh over 300 pounds (21 stone!) and it's the story of a talk she gave to a group of seventeen year old girls which had them all in tears. Ten years on, she still gets e-mails from some of them telling her she changed their lives.

Kelly's speech was about the importance of looking after your body in college, and she was just wrapping up when some smartarse asked her a question.

She was asked what the point was of looking after yourself when we're all going to die anyway.

It sounds like a stupid question, doesn't it? But don't many of us feel like that after decades of drinking too much? I certainly did.

I had a feeling of we're all doomed anyway, so I might as well enjoy myself while I still can. And I carried on... not enjoying myself, but getting progressively more miserable.

Well Kelly's answer to this girl's question totally summarised the difference between my life now, sober, and my life when I was drinking a bottle of wine a day. She says it's all about the first minute.

Kelly said "Even if you sleep late, eventually every day begins, and in the first minute of each day you have to face yourself. Day after day, until you die, you will wake up and remember what you’ve done.

Memories of what you did the night before will bubble to the surface. Those memories will come with feelings. If you binged on ice cream or box wine or cocaine, that will be one of your first thoughts, and it will come with a weight of shame, maybe even self-hate.

Those feelings may be subtle when you’re young and you think you have all the time in the world to turn things around. But unless you practice treating yourself well, soon you’ll be in your 50s and you’ll wake up and the pain of that first minute will be so intense that the day ahead will feel like a prison sentence.

I’ve spent years harming myself and years healing myself. I’ve had thousands of first minutes that were torture and thousands that were good, and I can tell you that nothing has more of an impact on how we feel about just being alive."

And that is so true.

Towards the end of my drinking years, my first minutes were characterised, at best, by a feeling of ennui. What's it all for anyway? At worst my first minutes were filled with shame, dread and fear.

Now, almost every first minute (everyone has some bad days) is filled with hope, expectation and exhilaration. I start the day like my terrier, bounding out of bed, wagging my tail, desperate to get on with the excitements of a new day.

I'm not kidding or exaggerating.

And that, more than anything else, is what has changed my life.

For the Kelly's full article, which is well worth the read, click here.

Love SM x


  1. Hi SM. I hope all is good with you and your family.

    What a truly inspiring person Kelly Coffey is. I can't think of a better, or more eloquent way to put a point across than hers.
    I am rapidly approaching my first sober anniversary, and even now (though rarely these days) sometimes tend to think in the negative about what I am doing and why, but I find that fast-forwarding the tape to two weeks down the line, when I would be back to drinking every night and wanting to quit again soon reminds me of why I started my sober life in the first place.
    Even so, I find Kelly's words are something that I believe will be with me from this day forward, something that I will ensure that I remember should one of those rare moments of doubt come to mind at any point in the future.
    Best wishes.
    Steve. X.

  2. What a great article thank you for sharing. It really is starting your day every day under the weight of guilt and shame that makes life unbearable. These days I feel ‘light’ or just normal which is so incredibly amazing

  3. Hi SM
    That is such a great article. I wake every morning with one eye closed thinking, am I hungover? But not for the last 3 weeks! Everyday morning is so awesome. I will think of that now if I am tempted to drink, that first morning sets the tone for you day.

    1. sorry that first minute sets the tone for your day.

  4. Living alone, being older (well, fewer days ahead than behind me, no question)....When I was consuming, I had gotten to the point of thinking: what's the difference? Or, who the hell cares?? So what!!

    But how good it is to wake up and not have the first thought be....did I drink too much last night? How do I feel? Or...almost always: aaaaugh! I can't do this again; I have to call it quits.

    And, thank goodness, eventually, I did.....

  5. I still keep my beak under my blanket in the morning ... The difference is I am thinking of what I can do today rather than what I did!!! Thank you for sharing this article SM, it has already added to my positive thought train in the morning :-)

  6. Can't say I'm quite as lively in the mornings as you, SM, but I do really love those first moments when waking up sober with no regrets. This really helps me get through the evening.

  7. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Its a struggle here lately and I really appreciate great posts like this that give me hope.

    1. Hi Mrs S, I've just been over to your blog and am sending you huge hugs and much love ❤

  8. I wake up and say thank you thank you thank you.
    It is something I heard from Wayne dyer.
    I'm not a morning person, and it often isn't the first thought I have, but it is one of the first intentions I make.

    It's powerful.

  9. This ~ 'Kelly said "Even if you sleep late, eventually every day begins, and in the first minute of each day you have to face yourself. Day after day, until you die, you will wake up and remember what you’ve done.'

    And even though I'm not leaping out of bed with exuberance for the day my first thought is often ~ Thank god I don't drink anymore....

  10. Thanks so much for this! It's so true! When drinking my first thoughts and feelings were of guilt, being ashamed, feeling out of control and making promises to myself that I would break in a matter of hours. And, even though I managed to shove all that away in order to carry on with my day, I know they registered somewhere in my psyche-connecting with all of the previous like minded thoughts. That had to effect everything I did that day.
    And now! Wow! I wake up grateful without any kind of guilt or shame-and a sense of freedom that is a total blessing.

  11. Another great post SM...towards the end thoughts were ,,just got to get through to 3pm.....aargh......not any more...would bounce out of bed but just had bunion surgery, which I cannot imagine going through if I had still been drinking......just saw an advert for Kleenex,,,,girl was lying in a wood full of Bunnies....made me think of you...much to be grateful to you for...🤗 I will be quoting you for many years to come..

  12. Beautiful, SM!
    Although I am struggling with sleep, and don't wake up all chipper, I say, "I can do this."

  13. Your blog and everyone's stories have got me to day 4 with no wine and I just wanted to thank you all for your honest stories. Reading them gives me the push I need. I had suspected a problem some time ago...drinking alone, hiding bottles, kidding myself I could stop...and kept finding my way back to your blog.
    My Google history is "does wine make you fat", "drinking alone", "losing the wine belly" etc. I also slipped into late night chats with friends on facebook and was horrified that I had no recollection! I would read the messages in disbelief!
    I want my figure back, my bright eyes and sleep!!
    Thank you all x

    1. Welcome Alison, and huge congrats on four days! Keep on at it and please stay in touch! Xxx