Friday, 6 May 2016


I wouldn't be sober now if it weren't for the internet.

Maybe some people can do this completely on their own, but it can't be easy.

Johann Hari's Tedd talk on addiction (for more, see my post here) concludes with the words the opposite of addiction is connection. And connection is what AA have provided for alcoholics the world over, and what the sobersphere gives us today.

The reason I think connection is so crucial is that it is so very easy for us to give up on ourselves, to push the self destruct button in a moment of stress, fear, boredom or raging hormones. We're used to letting ourselves down, after all.

But, the more connections we have the more difficult it becomes to activate the ejector seat. Because we're letting down other people too. Our children. Our partners. Our AA sponsor. Our sobersphere buddies. And all of them have their hands out ready to catch us when we're falling.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I picture all of us round the world - so different in terms of culture, background and circumstance, but utterly united by common fears, experiences, hopes and dreams. It makes the world seem smaller, and our reach across it so much broader.

I remember feeling the same when I had my first baby. Buoyed up by all that serotonin and oxytocin, I felt 'at one' with all the other new mothers around the world.

Then the sleep deprivation kicked in, and I began to realise that mothers spend an awful lot of time criticising each other rather than supporting each other.

The sobersphere, however, is generally a really warm and accepting place. We look for similarities rather than differences, and we know (from bitter experience) that no-one is perfect.

We find the sober community when we're looking for help, then we hang around to give back. It's twenty first century karma.

Which is why I've found the news this week so shocking.

Fort McMurray in Canada has been burning for days. All 88,000 inhabitants have been evacuated. 1,600 of their homes, shops, schools and offices have been reduced to cinders.

In the old days I would have seen this news and felt a fleeting compassion for the people affected, then been jolly glad that I was okay, and carried on with my day.

But now I don't just see nameless strangers, I think of all those women like us. Women wrestling with all the day to day challenges of home, family and work, and dealing with issues like addiction, divorce, redundancy and so on. And now....facing this biblical style disaster.

And most of all I think of Anne and her family who live in Fort McMurray. Anne who has inspired all of us in the sobersphere by sharing her life, hopes and dreams (see her blog here) for the past two years. Anne who is safe, but must be dealing with the most unimaginable situation.

So, please send your love and strength to Anne. And Anne, if you find this post, point us in the direction of a funsdraising page so that your virtual community can do something to help rebuild your real one.

Love SM x


  1. SM I felt the same when i saw the news tonight and then straight after they covered the refugee camp that had been bombed and a poor man crying about the women and children. I had to leave the room as felt overwhelmed by both situations. In the old drinking days I would have been numb to it but not now.

  2. totally agree on internet connection (boom boom). we are so lucky to have found such an amazing support. ps - love sent to anne. xx

  3. So true! To know you are not alone and to be able to be totally honest and still remain anonymous is what has made being and staying af possible for me!

  4. How very sad....what Anne and her communty are facing....and people in so many different knds of peril, everywhere. Brings home how important simple gratitude is.

    But, oh how right you are SM, in the early part of your post. I am 100 percent positive I would not be feeling success in this journey IF I felt that I was on it alone. I'm sure I would have caved along the way were it not for the sense, right or wrong, that I'd be 'letting people down' well as: They are doing it. You can too!! A thank you to you...and everyone along the way.

  5. I didn't know about Anne. It gives a sense of perspective and makes my own problems seem minuscule in comparison. Time to reflect on others tonight me thinks.

    Heading over to Anne's blog to wish her and her family all the best in these dreadful times.


  6. Hi SM!
    I feel so bad about Anne, her family and her community.

    I was thinking too of how we can help. So I am hoping there is a fundraising page too.
    Big hugs to you!
    I am over 20 Months now!

  7. You and Anne were the first phenomenal women to help me when I was struggling back in January. So Anne and her family are heavy on my mind. And yes, I'm realizing how critical connection is to helping us in so many areas of our lives. I would absolutely not be at Day 26 without both of you and so many other new friends. Fascinating information about those rats. Here's the donation link. All donations being matched by Canadian government.

    1. Thanks so much for the link, Ripleybelle! Xxx

  8. The internet and sober blogs have been my lifesaver. I really don't think I could have done this if it wasn't for my blog and all of yours. Anne was one of the first people to reach out to me and offer support. My heart breaks for her and her family. I can't imagine what she must be going through. My thoughts and prayers are with her and I hope this nightmare is over soon. A x

  9. Hi there, I am a new follower and I am so glad I found your post. I'm about to start or try to start the sober journey. Hope I can be as successful as you and a lot of you on here.

    1. Welcome Break Free! And huge congratulations! Of course you can do it - and we're all with you xxx

    2. Break Free, this is the best decision you can make for yourself, and as SM said, there are loads of people cheering you on!

  10. Yes this blog has been a life saver to me as well as it's educated me about the dangers of addiction. However, I never thought I had a problem with alcohol until last night. I am the-glass-of-wine each evening/ or Becks Blue and never drink and drive. Last night it all changed. I went to a social at my old school and I got sloshed on 2 glasses of proseco and embarrassed myself beyond belief. I regailed the 6th form with stories of drinking sherry in tooth mugs etc to their obvious horror / disgust. (These girls are v timid ---not the St Trinian types of my day). THEN I drove home- I must have been over the limit- what an idiot. Of course I slept badly and now I am full of shame at my stupid behaviour. SO you don't have to be drinking bottles a night so that you pass out - you can make an arse of yourself with just a couple of glasses. The event reminded me what a loudmouth idiot I used to be. It was a horrible flash back.
    Thanks for the link to Anne's blog - it's brough home the reality of the wildfires. Keep up the good work. xxx

  11. I think that is why so many if us come back and read your blog day after day, we have felt a connection (even if we usually are quiet about it). Your ability to express what we are feeling and going through, in a compassionate and witty way, is amazing and so many of us from all over the world can connect. I read your blog pretty much everyday and worry and hope for the best when some of your "regulars" are gone for a while. Just as I am now, like the rest of this cyber community, sending best wishes to Anne, her family and her community. Thank you for making these connections. :)

  12. Thank you for your blog - it's always inspiring and funny. In terms of the Fort Mac fire, the Canadian Red Cross is the best way to donate and the Canadian government has pledged to match all donations.