I've always loved the lead up to September. It's a time of fresh starts. New, brightly polished school shoes. Well stocked pencil cases. Catching up with old friends, and making new ones. Clean slates. Days getting shorter; light getting longer.
Going sober can seem very lonely much of the time. It's easy to feel like the only black sheep in a flock of white. (Hang on. Surely we should be the white sheep in the flock of black?). Or the solitary lemming shouting "how about heading away from the cliff, folks?"
It's especially tough over the summer, I think. All those boozy barbecues, glasses of rosé at the water's edge, Pimms on manicured lawns. No-one wants to quit drinking over the summer. And many don't stay quit.
One of the things I love about blogging is that you get these fascinating statistics: how many readers you have each day, where they are, which posts they're reading, how they found you (no names or addresses - don't worry!). You have a sort of 'sober barometer' at your fingertips.
So, since I started this blog in March, the number of readers grew and grew every month....until July when whoosh! About half of them disappeared. Tumbleweed.
There I was, Norma-no-mates, banging on about the Wine Witch, weight loss (or not) and the benefits of vitamin B in fighting PAWS, and everyone had gone off down the pub.
But now, as September approaches, there are hundreds more people every day googling 'am I an alcoholic?' and finding their way here.
(Answer: forget about the terminology. Alcoholic is a horrible word, and not terribly helpful. If you've found this page, and you're still reading, then you're probably addicted to alcohol. No shame in that; it's a horribly addictive poison. It's messing up your life, and you'll be way better off without it).
See: Am I an Alcoholic? Am I an Alcoholic Part 2? and Am I an Alcoholic Part 3?
We're surfing the zeitgeist again, my friends. And it's so much easier feeling like you're swimming with the tide, not against it.
I guess this seasonal issue is preparation for the bigger challenge: Christmas. I shudder at the thought. But, at least it's followed by January. The month when millions hop on the sober bandwagon - even if only temporarily. Bleak, miserable January - Bring it on!
So, if you've just found me, then WELCOME!
Maybe you're reading this, glass of vino in hand, thinking you just can't imagine how life can be any fun at all without booze.
But you're feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. You're bloated, depressed, stuck in a rut. You haven't had a really good night's sleep in ages. You're convinced you're a terrible mother, friend, wife, lover.
You're starting to think that the liquid you'd believed was your friend - there whenever you've been celebrating, miserable, stressed, anxious, relaxing - is actually your worst enemy. You turned round for a second and it's bitten you on the arse.
Well, you're in the right place. Because we've all been there. (see Secret Drinker hits the High Bottom) And September is a great time to go sober.
Just make one small change (STEP AWAY FROM THE VINO, or whatever your favourite poison is) and watch every aspect of your life transform. Your self respect, your moods, your relationships, your weight (eventually!), even your hair. And we're with you.
Huge congrats to Edinburgh Housewife and Angie on 100 days sober. Whoop Whoop! You are awesome!
Love SM x