Friday, 9 March 2018

Making it Happen

I've had a number of e-mails recently from people who gave up drinking at the beginning of January, are now at around day 60 and are suddenly finding it really hard.

If this is you, then you are not alone.

The early part of sobriety is often referred to as 'the pink cloud.' Although you might be scared, you're excited too. It's all a bit of an adventure. And in January, it feels like everyone is on the same sober bus as you.

But, by day 60, all the novelty has worn off, the pink cloud has disappeared, all your Dry January friends are back on the booze and making up for lost time, and you haven't yet got to the point where being sober begins to get really easy and all the benefits start to kick in.

At this point, it's difficult to remember why you're doing all this anyway. You've started to forget why the drinking days were so bad. You're beginning to think that it's really not worth all this angst. You're bored with it all.

So, if that's you, or even if it's not you, then here is a great trick for staying positive, motivated and making it happen:


Mr SM thinks all this stuff is a bit 'woo woo', but I'm telling you, it works.

Find a simple cork board and drawing pins, or just a piece of card and some glue, and cut out pictures from magazines or from the internet that show the future as you want it to be.

How do you want to feel? How do you want to look? What do you want to achieve? What do you want to buy with all the booze money you're saving?

Put the board somewhere where you'll see it every day.

Now, if you've read The Secret, or anything about the power of attraction (also referred to as the power of intention), you might believe that visualising the future as you want it to be actually makes it happen. 

Even if you don't believe in that sort of stuff, just having that board there as a reminder of why you are doing all of this is a really, really helpful tool. It keeps you positive and motivated when times get hard.

In case you're rolling your eyes at this point, thinking that this is all total mumbo-jumbo, I'll tell you a few stories about people you may have heard of who really believe in it....

Back in 2008, Oprah Winfrey revealed that she uses a vision board to 'visualise her goals and harness the power of intention.'

A New York radio station asked Oprah what was on her board.

Oprah said that she'd been at a rally, chatting with Michelle Obama (as you do), and Michelle said to her 'I want you to leave here and envision Barack Obama taking the oath of office.' So Oprah created her first vision board, putting a picture of Obama on it, and a picture of the dress she wanted to wear to the inauguration.

And you know what happened next....

In The Secret, John Assaraf talks about how, back in 1995, he made a vision board which he put up in his office and would look at every day.

John then moved three times, ending up in California.

John opened the packing box containing his old vision boards that had been packed away for five years.

On one board was a picture of a house that he had cut out from Dream Homes magazine. It was the very house he was sitting in. Not just a house similar to the one he'd bought, the same actual house. 

Jim Carrey has talked a lot about the power of intention. Jim says he wrote himself a cheque, when he was trying to break into Hollywood, and he put it in his wallet. A couple of years later, he was signed for his first major movie, and the date and the amount on the cheque he received matched the one he'd written himself exactly.

When I started reading about the power of vision boards, about three years ago, I made my own. It sits by my bed, and my children call it 'Mummy's wish board.'

(When I'm not looking they stick things of their own on there, which is why there's currently a yellow Ferrari in the top right hand corner).

And you know what? At least half the things on my vision board have happened already. (I'm still waiting for the trip to New York and the invitation to meet Oprah).

One of the main images on my board was me at my book launch (well before I'd actually started writing the book), surrounded by my proud looking family and friends. I had to pinch myself hard two months ago, when I realised that I was actually there. In my happy place.

(If you'd like to see the pictures of the book launch, check out my Instagram page).

So make a board, and make your dreams come true!

If you need more motivation to keep on going, then read my book: The Sober Diaries. You can read the first few chapters for free by clicking here and choosing the 'look inside' feature. If you live in the USA, then click here.)

Love to you all,

SM x

P.S. Positive Possum is from the Instagram page of @harri_rose_


  1. Fab post as ever - I’m a bit late with my congrats but happy birthday and happy 3rd soberversary. I hope all of your vision board wishes come true lovely lady. I’m part way though my 3rd year sober - thanks to you and this blog. Newbies keep going - ive been where you are and it will get better and then you will join us in the wonderful sober land of bunnies. Xxx

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  2. This is exactly what I needed – I am 65 days sober, and the first month literally felt like such a relief and I felt so incredible that I thought it would continue to be a sinch. Now I have days where I'm definitely experiencing some PAWS effects, where the Bastard (what I call that nasty little inner voice) is asking me if I really think I had a problem and can't I just give moderation a try (I'm slapping him down, but sometimes my whack is weaker than others), where I have to really focus on one day at a time, because when I think about not drinking forever I freak out inside. I also haven't had 'The Conversation' with my partner and that is ahead of me and will be hard. Drinking has always been such a big part of our fun together, but my mother is a recovering alcoholic (who just celebrated her 24th sober birthday) and his mother is a very active alcoholic… By the way, this is also my first foray into commenting anywhere. I know I need to get out there and get some support going, but have been afraid to and have been watching from the sidelines. I don't live in the UK either, but live in a country in which booze is as ingrained in the culture, if not more… Thank you for your posts though Clare, standing in Gatwick at the end of Dry January on my way home from a friend's funeral and flicking through your book was a Big Moment for me, when it all dawned on me…

    1. Hi LadyJ, and hugest congrats on 65 days! Keep on going - it WILL get easier! It really helps to join an online community like Club Soda (on Facebook) or I hope your partner will see how positively quitting has impacted on your life and be supportive (maybe even follow you....) Huge hugs xxx

  3. I'm going to give the vision board a try! Something new for me this month to do as I'm at the point where I can trip up, which I did last year at this amount of days in (68). I'm on Day 67. I think I'll put the numbers 100, 1000 and 12,775 on it, should be interesting to get to 12,775! You've were my first inspirational guide into this journey of giving up alcohol for good. I've stumbled many times since April 2015 to quit, but I've gotten better and better with less and less drinking as the time has gone by...this time it's just has to stick. xo, ll

    1. I know it will Lia! You rock 👊🏻🙌🏻😘

    2. Just have to let you know, I'm cutting out this section, with you writing, "You rock" and those cute emojis and sticking it on my vision board!

      Another day towards 12,775!

  4. Thank you so much for this Clare. I really look forward to your posts and reading everyone's thoughts and feelings. I am at day 68 and am finding it very hard. These last 3 weeks or so I have found myself questioning if I really want to do this. I find myself people watching more when I'm in restaurants. Watching them happily chat away with a glass of wine in their hand. I miss that. But I also know that I can't go back to that place. To name a few, the hangovers, tiredness and washed out look that I used to wear every day. And I also know that one day I will feel completely free. Just like I did when I ditched cigarettes a few years back. Im going to do the board. I will do whatever it takes. I'm also reading Jason Vale's book at the moment and that is helping a lot. To everyone out there going through the same as me right now, one step at a time. All in it together we can do it. A huge thank you to you Clare. You really are a rock. Jacqueline xx

    1. It IS just like the cigarettes, Jacqueline! If you can do that, you can do this! Now I look at drinkers like I do smokers - I think “if you want to do that, fair enough, but not for me!” ❤️

    2. Thanks so much Clare. I know what you mean and at the time I thought it impossible to live life without cigarettes and I was a heavy smoker too. But after 6 months that all changed and I soon forgot about them. On the note of alcohol I can't stop eating chocolate and cakes and all sorts. Since I binned the drink I have put on nearly a stone!!! When I limit myself I find I'm really miserable but know I can't keep stuffing myself. Im not even hungry and what's worse is I've never really liked chocolate or cakes! I just wish it would ease up and balance out! Any advice would be fab and would love to hear from anyone else who is also suffering from the persistent need of a sugar fix! Jacqueline x

    3. Please hang on in there Jacqueline, it WILL be worth it. I managed 70 days sober and thought I had it sorted. I opened a nice bottle of wine thinking I would treat myself to one glass.... Of course as anyone in recovery knows that just doesn't happen. The dreadful hangover in the morning reminded me why I quit in the first place so please don't go there and be strong! It will be worth it. I am now on day 2 and feel disappointed with myself for blowing it but know I just can't go back to the way I was so here I go again.
      I wouldn't worry too much about the sugar fix, please don't be too hard on yourself as staying sober is the ultimate goal. But maybe find some fun exercise or set yourself a limit to how much sugar you will allow yourself? I set myself a certain weight of Haribo per day as a treat!
      Thanks for the fab book Clare. Sarah xx

    4. Thank you so much Sarah for your lovely reply. I am still hanging in there and although I'm finding it tough right now, am nearly three months in and will keep going no matter what. Please don't beat yourself up - I have been very close at times and like you said, all it reminded you of was why you ditched it on the first place so that's a good thing right? Knowing that the reality is not how we imagine it to be in our minds when we are craving it. Thinking it will be all wonderful and that we are missing out. You know you can do it. I'm backing you all the way. Jacqueline xx

    5. Hi Jacqueline, how are you doing? I really hope you are still hanging on in there. I've had a horrible blip but am now on day 10 and feeling good. Eating lots of things I shouldn't but if it's keeping me AF I don't care at the moment. I hope you are ok and thanks for your support. Sarah xxx

  5. On my vision board, is us having a coffee somewhere in London xxx

  6. Perfect timing as ever thank you Sober Mummy! Today is day 63 for me and I read this in a 5 minute break from my drinking husband and friends; this is our second night in a row socialising with drink and tonight it's in my house. Struggling a bit but hoped to find some help and here you are �� starting a vision board first thing tomorrow!

  7. Love the possum pic!

    Fab post, and although I didn’t have an actual vision board I did have certain goals in my head, one of which was to become the fittest I could be and make that my aim when I stopped drinking. So that I wasn’t just giving up drinking, I was giving up drinking AND taking up getting fitter and healthier, that was a huge focus. Nearly 16months for me, I’ve just done a Saturday morning run, that would never have been possible with a hangover!!

    My 2 daughters also made me a picture every hundred day milestone upto my first year, which was lovely and they are still stuck on the inside of my wardrobe door, that was huge motivation- I couldn’t let them down now could I!!! 💗💗

    Have a fab weekend everyone and stay strong you can do this! Xxxx

  8. I have to admit I am feeling pretty lacklustre at the moment. On day 104. The buzz of reaching 100 days has worn off (VERY quickly!). I had a weird day of cravings yesterday which totally took me by surprise. Whilst I don't actually want a drink, I found myself salivating at an ad for a bottle of Malbec yesterday :/

  9. Fabulous post Sober Mummy and yes the power of vision boards - and yes that "oh f--- it" moment - keep going people xxx

  10. Have to say....I loved my peek at your Instagram world! That IS about the scruffiest pup I have ever seen - and completely adorable! (My own also sleeps in that upside down fashion...) And was that a real scrabble message? Shows what a great job you are doing. That child.....can spell; is imaginative; feels secure. Thank you for sharing.

    I have never given serious thought to the vision board thing, but I'm liking the idea. Just sitting and giving thought to where one would like to be (in all endeavors) sounds like a much better idea than just bumbling along, letting life happen - something I am much too prone to. Thanks, as always! - northwoman

  11. Clare, this post, and your suggestion for a vision board is just what I needed this morning. Day 74 and last night, Friday, after a very challenging week, was really tough. I was also home alone, sitting on top of a wine cellar and next to a fridge full of beer. I ate way too much ice cream ��, but I made it. Will get going on my vision board today. Thanks for your support, Clare......invaluable!!!❤

  12. Hi Clare,I have just finished your book and wish to say thankyou so very much as you have unknowingly sponsored me for four days as I have stopped drinking again (I have been trying to "stay stopped" for the last 20 years).I have learnt so much stuff I never knew about such as "paws" and "the wall" it truly has helped me gain a new perspective and the field of bunnies analogy was brilliant.I am going to take notes,thanks for sharing x

  13. Brilliant post, just finished writing up my thoughts now I've hit two months and am feeling quite demoralised, and clicked through to this. Just what I need. My mantra is #whatwouldclarepooleydo? So tomorrow, before I go for a run, I am going to start my vision board. Many thanks. Xx

  14. Hi everyone,
    Clare wow great timing as usual.
    I'm on week 9 so yes the ease of the early weeks has faded ? Suddenly became a little difficult at the weekend. Out of nowhere it felt.
    I was away with family on a lovely day out. On the way back I suddenly had a learning for wine when I got back...
    I didn't and I won't but it does make you realise when you think the wine witch is dead she's merely laying low.
    This last week I've felt a bit bleugh about it all. Maybe it's the wall you speak of...
    Anyway to combat this I've joined instagram to watch you and some other great sober warriors and the great inspiration on there has helped !!
    Onwards and upwards everyone.

    Love Sarah xxx

  15. I haven't yet got a vision board up but after reading your book I did a mind map of all the things I wanted to be/do in the next five years and then did little drawings next to each one. It has been incredibly helpful over the past few days (I'm only 10 days sober) and I'm doing a lot more reading about visualisation etc - thanks to you! Bec.

  16. I've just ordered a cork board 😊 I will be AF for one month this coming Sunday - I'm still waiting for the pink cloud! I'm loving your book, it's really helping x

  17. Dear Sober Mum, I just finished your book. I found it quite inspirational with a proper "chin-up" attitude, without being too Pollyannaish. I'm a 63 year old woman with an approximately 48 year old drinking career. This career began slowly but was cultivated carefully until by the age of 45 when it blossomed into a full blown man-eating disease or woman eating in my case. Sneaky devil! I knew it was a problem then but fear held me back from changing.I am now 15 months sober very grateful for the reprieve(so grateful!) However, I find that my regrets are numerous,not the least of which is, Why the hell didn't I sober up sooner.Lots of collateral damage along my path. Anyway,thanks for writing about your experience.

    1. I'm with you there PotsyP, also 63 and nine months alcohol free. So wish I had done this years ago. If we can't be a good example at least we can be a terrible warning.

  18. Hello SoberMummy. I have just finished listening to your book on audible and I absolutely loved it and had to look up your blog (and start my own!) Thank you for being such an inspiration to so many people.

    This is exactly me, I gave up alcohol for Dry January and just... kept going! I read your book and The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober and was inspired to stay on the wagon indefinitely! So far I'm sleeping better and feel like I have more energy, haven't lost any weight though... how annoying.

    I loved the film 'The Secret' and I like to think of pinterest as a sort of Vision Board, although probably not as powerful as making a physical one and seeing it all the time. Maybe I'll start one!

  19. I have read your book and that by Allan Carr. Both were inspirational. But.....having cut back I have now gone upto a bottle of wine every night. I feel so bad on every level. Every morning I say this has to stop. Every morning I say not tonight, but the minute I get in I start again. I am not a stupid person and rate myself as reasonably intelligent. Why do I do this, why can't I stop? I,m desparate.

    1. Dear Clare, My heart sang the same song for months and years before I could manage to string more than a week of sober days together. We go to bed with resolve to, " put down the bottle ",awaken each morning with even more fortitude due to a hangover and by four o'clock (sometimes earlier) the wine sings it's Siren Song and we're back to our old habit
      Alcoholic insanity, Once that first glass was ingested I had no defense against the second, third, fourth etc. I . I had to feel that horrible sensation of defeat, time after time! until I found a group of people just like me who I could relate to and who had experienced the same problem.Addiction! The burden is then shared and far easier to bear and therefore far easier to defeat.
      Autonomy is so worshipped in today's world but we were NEVER meant to do this alone.

  20. Thank you for this. I really needed to read this right now.

  21. I’ve always been a boozer, life and soul. Wine for fun, wine for sad times, when it came to wine for breakfast I knew I was out of control, not fun anymore. Life knocks me over often and I pick my self up and dust myself off. This time I fell and couldn’t pick myself up. So here I am in rehab, 7 days sober, 7 more days to go to be discharged.
    I am not scared I will relapse, I am scared I won’t be me anymore.

    1. Hope you are doing ok now Willfixthis? Life without alcohol can seem dull and scary but it WILL be worth it I promise you �� Hang on in there. PLEASE.