Monday, 25 June 2018

Filling the Hole



When you quit drinking it usually leaves a big hole. It certainly did for me.

So much of my life revolved around drinking - at parties, in restaurants and bars, and at home alone - that when I stopped, there was a huge... gap.

I've discovered that it is crucial to fill that gap with something else, ideally something that allows you to switch off, to get out of your head, the way that alcohol used to do.

My readers have found all sorts of ways of doing this - running, yoga, drawing, knitting, gardening, jewellery making, and much, much more. The crucial thing is that, whatever activity you pick, it keeps you in the moment. 

If you're in the early days of quitting, and you're really not sure how to fill the hole, then here's my advice: think back to when you were a teenager. What made your heart beat faster? How did you spend your spare time? What did you want to be when you 'grew up?'

Many people tell me that when they quit drinking they re-discovered long forgotten passions. I read a story about a lady who loved to ice-skate as a young girl, but stopped when she became an adult. She took it up again in middle age, and it's now her greatest joy in life.

Another lady told me that she was passionate about horses and riding. When she quit drinking she got back on a horse for the first time in twenty years. She can't believe she left it so long.

It is never too late to rekindle that fire. And, if you find the right thing, you'll discover that it gives you a much greater high than alcohol ever did. And without the hangover. Perhaps you'll even turn it into your new career....

My 'thing' as a teenager was words. Writing, reading, anything and everything. So, when I quit drinking, that's what I went back to. I set up this blog and started writing every day, for the first time in nearly thirty years. This blog led to my book - The Sober Diaries.

Then, as you may remember from a previous post, I applied to do a three month novel-writing course.

I've spent the last three months lost in a fictional world in my own head. It's been the most intense and mind-blowing experience. At times I've felt like I was going a little crazy. And apologies for not posting on here very much through that period.

But it's not just the writing that I've loved - it's the course itself.

There are fifteen of us in our group, and our ages range from twenty-three to around sixty. We come from very different backgrounds, have different careers and interests and are writing totally different novels, but we all have a shared passion.

I spent decades choosing companions by their ability to match me drink for drink. It's wonderful to have a diverse group of friends with something completely different in common.

I've loved spending two evenings a week discussing great literature and our own (not so great) attempts, rather than just exchanging idle gossip down the pub.

So, why not spend some of the money you've saved on not drinking doing an evening course? It'll keep your hands and mind busy, introduce you to a new social circle and may become your new passion.

Learn to make pots! Discover how a car engine works! Find out how to do your own decorating or plumbing.  The world is your oyster.

Do tell us what you're planning to do in the comments below.

I'm still posting information and inspiration daily on the SoberMummy Facebook page here. If you 'like' the page then Facebook will keep you updated.

Lots of love to you all!

SM x


28 comments:

  1. I love that you are pursuing your writing, I am enjoying your Sober Diaries so much. Are you thinking of writing fiction? I think it would be great if you could write a fiction about a female drinker who finally finds her life again. I think we need a whole genre of books along this line, maybe you could start the train rolling ?? I for one think it would be brilliant and would sure be among the first to purchase it. It seems to me this is a growing trend ditching the wine witch and living a genuine life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea, aeval! This book has an addict in it, but he’s a bloke and cocaine is his thing! Maybe the next one will be about a Mum... xxx

      Delete
    2. That sounds a great idea. I'd definitely read those books 👍😀x

      Delete
  2. I have rekindled my love for reading and exercising (ran my first half marathon this weekend). Like you, I have read a million books about quitting drinking but no book spoke to me more than yours did. I read through the book and cried so many times because it was like you were writing my story about motherhood and how wine was my oasis of sanity until it became a real problem, and eventually I couldn't do anything without wine. I re read "The Sober Diaries" a second time but with a highlighter and highlighted pages upon pages. I'm only on month 5 of my journey so I'm loving seeing the perspective in months 6-12. The wine witch still comes to visit periodically and this book has changed the way I look at everything. I cannot thank you enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Ruth, you’ve made my day! So glad my book has helped you. Thanks for letting me know 😘😘😘

      Delete
  3. I couldn't wait to tell you! You are changing lives one by one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What good advise to look back at what our early interests and talents were before wine witch wanderings .... I was always keen on plants, nature and making things. My photography and my garden are blossoming and shooting off into alsorts of creative directions. The tipple hole has not only been filled but overflows. Anyone out there struggling with the early days of giving up ... Keep on keeping on ... You will be so glad you did ... Promise :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Clare, thanks so much for this post! I’m on day 11 and finding it tough, but pretty chuffed I managed to get through day 9 as it was my birthday!
    Reading this post has inspired me to keep going and has made me realise that all my life had become was sitting at home in my free time drinking! How sad at 28!
    So taking your advice above I am going horse riding tomorrow for the first time in years and I cannot wait! Why didn’t I do this before?! Drinking had made me lazy and too anxious to go out and do things.
    Your blog and book have been so inspiring and have shown me that after the first few weeks life really does get easier and better! I too am an all or nothing girl and after years of trying to moderate I’ve realised that I need to just stop!

    Thanks so much!
    Annie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Birthday Annie, and huge congratulations to you! You're doing brilliantly!

      Delete
  6. Once again your so right! When you stop drinking you do have so much more time to do what you love! For me as you know getting in shape and being the healthiest I can was my focus when I quit. I’m fitter now than I was at 21!! I love challenges, adventures, being outside and pushing myself to my limiit, and that is what the young me was like. Well done on your course, I’m planning on doing a fitness instructor course next year!!! To Anyone in the early stages, stick with it You can do it and although sometimes it’s really hard it’s just so so worth it!!! Xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  7. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you're going to a famous blogger if you aren't already ;) Cheers!
    https://www.socialfollowers.net/buy-instagram-followers

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi clair , I've read your book, it's was like reading about myself, im on days 12 now, should have been 22 days, but had a blip on the first attempt on day 11, im now full of cold or hay fever is this normal or just a coincidence, I usually drink between 5 to 8 cans of lager a night and more on a weekend, im determined to beat this, I've joined a gym and now today I start a runners beginners club

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Anonymous! It may just be a co-incidence, but it's possibly your body trying to get rid of all those toxins! You can do this! Keep on going, it's going to be amazing xxx

      Delete
  9. I hated alcohol and hated being around drunks until I worked and spent time within an affluent family that went to boarding school etc where drinking was the norm - I was bright, articulate and passionate but my employer (the Swiss trained chef who sent his kids 3 miles away to board at age 7) told me I was a waste of space) I then passed every mulestone and left them in the dirt - but I left a little of me back there - as when you dig a grave dig two, one for me and one for you, I’m joy free, I have moments of blinding clarity where I love my life and moments of utter despair, I am a single mum to 2 girls under 12 so nothing has been about me for a long time - thank you for giving me avoice! Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello unknown. I'm so sorry, you sound so sad. It's easy when you're focused on children to forget about looking after yourself too. A psychotherapist told me that if the oxygen masks come down in a plane, you are told to put your own mask on before fitting them on your children. Life is like that - unless you look after yourself, you can't look after them. It's not being selfish, it's being sensible! Big love to you! xxx

      Delete
  10. Hi, as (ex) wife of an alcohol addict, reading your book, currently halfway thru, it brings home exactly what I tried to tell my (ex) husband. I never told him to stop drinking, just asked him to not drink to excess every night! Eventually it became too much for me and we have parted ways, but once I have finished reading your book I am going to pass it onto him to hopefully help him to see there is a life to be lived without alcohol. Credit to you and all the other people on this sight, you found the point of return, before you lost it all. You are all inspirational who are making a difference to your own life and those of your loved ones around you xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Lonely again, I'm so sorry about your husband. I do hope that he finds the strength to quit and that, maybe you can start again. If not, I hope you find happiness elsewhere. You deserve it. Huge love to you xxx

      Delete
  11. Funnily enough I started Lyft driving as a coping mechanism - can't drink and drive, right? I also get to talk to a lot of people and make money :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Jacqueline, I can't post in our usual place, have posted and they have appeared then I've gone back in and they have gone!! Hopefully I will get an email from Sobermummy soon and I hope you are ok. Big hugs xxx ps thanks for everything Clare, I have made it to day 100 AF and I owe it all to you. Thank you xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's ok chick. I've found you on our usual. Have left you messages. J xxx

      Delete
  13. Day 4, scared, excited, nervous, optimistic all wrapped up in one. Clare, stumbling upon your book just might be the push I have needed to change my life. Thank you xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi not too sure where to post but I hope to complete day 1 x feeling scared !

    ReplyDelete
  15. How to stop drinking alcohol on your own is this possible? Can you really do it? Can you give up the glass and turn your back? Can you regain control of your life?
    https://www.ilovewine.com/

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Recently I have been going through a tricky time: 4 terminally ill parents/in laws, a functioning alcoholic ocd husband, 3 lovely,if at times maddening, teenagers, a job I loved made impossible due to a new boss. I thought I was coping well until I read your book...

    I had been escaping by drinking a bottle, the 2 bottles every Friday night, to unwind! Then Friday became Sunday as well and reading your book I could see where this was going. So I stopped. I knitted and read, made healthy food...

    Then having been approached for a new job and got it, I collapsed at work was sent to hospital in an ambulance having had a TIA and signed off for a few weeks. Being away from my job made me realise how it was my trigger for drinking as it has been made unreasonable. Also I felt terrible about it taking me away from my lovely aged P’s at the time they need me the most.

    My time off is almost up and the thought of going back to work my 3 months notice made me revert to bad habits last night. I can’t go back, just the thought of it is making me feel so stressed. I need to be spending these next couple of months with my family but I don’t know what to do. I’m writing this in the hope you or someone might have some good advice so that I can make sure that last night’s glass was the last one. In hope, thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have just completed my first week AF and just finished your book this very second. I havnt read a book in years nor have I read one so quickly! But you have shown me so many ways to make this journey possible. For 2 years I have been unable to function normally due to crippling anxiety. What an epiphany to realise that alcohol has been ruining my chances of recovery all along. Thank you for both making me laugh so much and learn so much. I can totally see myself reaching day 365 with such unjudgemental supports available to keep me on track. And I'm only on day 7! Only 358 days to go!

    ReplyDelete