Whenever I'm asked what the most difficult thing was about quitting alcohol, I always reply "other people."
I was horribly addicted to cigarettes too, many years ago, and when I finally managed to quit everyone was really supportive. I was constantly congratulated and told that I was brave and wise and amazing.
No-one asked me why I wanted to stop smoking, tried to convince me to 'just have one' or accused me of being boring.
Yet when I quit drinking it was very different. Instead of feeling virtuous, I felt ashamed. Instead of feeling supported, I felt shunned.
This makes me really mad.
So I did a TEDx talk.
I talked about why I found it easy to tell people I had breast cancer, yet impossible to confess to alcohol addiction.
I talked about shame and other people's reactions.
I talked about how alcohol is the only drug you have to justify NOT taking, despite the fact that the science shows it's the fourth most harmful drug after crack, heroin and crystal meth.
I talked about the link to cancer, especially breast cancer.
Then, crucially, I talked about three things that we can all do to help the superheroes who pluck up the courage to ditch the nation's favourite drug, by addressing the stigma around alcohol addiction.
Yesterday my talk went up on YouTube. There's a link at the top of this page. I'd love to know what you think. I'd love it even more if you could share, and help drive the Sober Revolution.
Full disclosure: I haven't dared watch it myself yet.
Love to you all,
To read the book about my first year sober, click here for UK, here for USA and here for Australia. You can read the first few chapters for free by choosing the 'look inside' feature.