Tuesday, 24 April 2018

What Will You Do Next?


Last week was Eminem's ten year Soberversary.

(When my children were small they were convinced that his name was M&M and that he had a sideline in chocolate manufacturing).

I found an article from the New York Times that was written shortly after Eminem left rehab. He'd just released his first new album in five years - Relapse - inspired by his addiction and recovery.

In creating this album, Eminem said "I'm kind of just coming clean and exhaling."

Like so many people who've written to me, Eminem found that "the deeper I got into my addiction, the tighter the lid got on my creativity... but when I got sober the wheels started turning again."

"When I got sober the lid just came off. In seven months I accomplished more than I could accomplish in three or four years of doing drugs."

(To read the full article visit the SoberMummy Facebook page. 'Like' page to stay updated).

It's amazing what people start doing with their lives once they quit drinking.

The combination of more money, more energy, more creativity and more time creates a rocket fuel.

For many, though, it doesn't happen as quickly as it did for Eminem.

For me, the first year was all about healing and introspection. I did pick up writing (this blog), for the first time in decades, but, like Eminem, that was very much about 'coming clean and exhaling.' It was therapy.

It's often the second and third year after beating addiction that people's lives really turn around.

Many of my readers have started new businesses, climbed mountains, run marathons, become jewellery designers, yoga teachers, writers or artists. One lady has started doing an open-mic poetry reading session, another is doing stand-up comedy.

It feels a bit like that lid has been pressed down so hard, that when it's released it explodes with the power of a jack-in-the-box.

So, what are you going to do now you're sober? Please tell us in the comments!

I am, this evening in fact, as the picture above suggests, going back to school. I'm starting a three month novel-writing course.

It's something I've wanted to do for YEARS, but never would have managed in the drinking days. For a start, I'd have told myself that I wasn't good enough. Secondly, its in the evenings! 7-9pm! It would have interfered far too much with my drinking time.

I'm a bit nervous. I'm wondering what the other fourteen students will be like. There's bound to be at least one that winds everyone up. Argh! What if it's me?!?

In other news, Mr SM is having a mid-life crisis.

He hasn't bought a Harley Davidson yet, but - after our brief flirtation with summer last week, he's bought a GIANT gas barbecue for the garden. Everyday new accessories arrive for this beast. A smoker. A rotisserie. A metal suitcase filled with barbecue tongs.

On top of that, he's started cycling to and from work. More accessories. He's started mumbling about lycra. OMG, I'm going to have a MAMIL* for a husband.

(*Middle-Aged Man In Lycra).

And, finally, a BIG, BIG thanks to all of you who've left reviews of The Sober Diaries on Amazon. I looked at my UK page yesterday (okay, I confess: I look at it every day), and there were TWO-HUNDRED reviews. You are amazing, and I am overwhelmed.

To see the reviews, or to buy a copy of The Sober Diaries in hardback, Kindle or audio, click here for UK, here for USA and here for Australia.

To watch my TEDx talk: Making Sober Less Shameful, click here.

Love to you all!

SM x


56 comments:

  1. SM you'll be fabulous. You have an obvious gift with words and I know this is just the start for you. I'll be able to say 'I knew her before she was famous' :)

    I'm limited with what I can do as I'm a full time carer for my wife who has MS. But I have time to write music, and I'm planning to release an EP this year. I already have a couple of songs on iTunes ( spotify etc. ) under the artist name w3stie if you want to check it out :)

    Love as always

    Rob

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    1. RELEASING AN EP?!? That's an INCREDIBLE achievement! Big love to you, Rob (and your wife!) xxx

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  2. It is so true that your life opens once you stop drinking alcohol. In particular I have found that having 'extra' money helps enormously (as in I'm not spending almost £10 a day on booze). I don't fret about money (as much). If I want a new pair of shoes, I can buy them. I've been able to afford to buy a new fairly expensive bed so I'm sleeping much better. I've joined the gym so I'm beginning to get fitter.

    What will I do next? Who knows ... I have so many things that I want to do - that I CAN do because I'm not as fissed as a part every night.

    PS Clare - enjoy your course, you'll be top of the class! I'm looking forward to future novels! xx

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    1. YAY! I'm considering investing in a new bed too. Our current one is nearly twenty years old and sagging (a bit like me) xxx

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  3. Stopping drinking gave me the confidence to do lots of things I’ve always wanted, main two are tough mudder and my blog and insta page!!! Planning on doing a fitness course next year, the sky’s the limit!!!! Good luck tonight you will smash it! Big hugs xxxxx

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    1. You were one of the people I was thinking of when I wrote this piece, lovely Angie! xxx

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    2. Ahhhh wow!!! That’s made me emotional!!! Thankyou for everything, you were my inspiration!!! xxxxxxxx

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  4. Well it was my 2 year soberversary yesterday. My life has changed for the better terrifically in that time. I regularly used to spend a Sunday evening drinking and looking at lovely houses in the country that I would move to "one day" well that day came and I have been living in my dream house for the last 8 months. I know it wouldn't have happened if I had carried on drinking. I've returned to my love of gardening which I hadn't done for years and lots of other things that give me so much pleasure, but I hadn't done them because I was too busy drinking or having a low grade hangover every day. The change is amazing!

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    1. That's SO AMAZING Sharon! Huge congratulations to you! Thank you for letting us all know. You are awesome xxx

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    2. 2 years that’s fab!! Congrats xxxxxx

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    3. Thank you. I know I can't believe it - feel like pinching myself every day. Lots of people ask me if I will ever drink again - I always say no as it won't bring anything to the party - quite honestly don't see the point!

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  5. I'm writing a memoir! That's after years of working in the editing field, but just getting by because of the wine habit. I never had the stamina to do anything once I left work. Now I've taken time off (years, actually!) and I get up at 5 am to write and meditate. I am not the same person I was, nor am I the woman my husband married. He too bought a giant gas grill. No sign of lycra yet, but I'll keep my eyes peeled.

    Thank you for the inspiration, and I LOVED your book!

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    1. Hurrah! I get up at 5am to write too! I’ll think of you! Can’t wait to read your book! 😘

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  6. Sure you will love the course and come home buzzing with inspiration and enthusiasm ... I suspect you will be the star of the group in many ways ...
    My first year was more working myself back to a happy place (which had been drowned) I am now 8 months into my second year and those synapses are popping!!! I am putting some photographs into a shop for sale! Who would have thought ( always thought not good enough and then time wasted down the bottle to spend improving and doing the necessary ). My main huge plus is the time I spend with my two granddaughters who see me as I am and love me unconditionally and I have that joy to love them back unreservedly with not a single sneaky thought about wine! Amazing and Wonderful!!

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    1. Jacs, you’re sounding so positive and happy. Really thrilled for you ❤️❤️❤️

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  7. I am just loving this journey, reading your book and following your blog just makes it even more achievable and enjoyable. I started drinking at around 10 years old when my parents moved into a pub. Life went pretty bad after that and I carried on until I finally crawled out from my pit of dispair and stopped drinking aged 48. That was 8 months ago and I have never looked back��

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    1. Whoop whoop! Huge congrats to you! 🙌🏻🎉👊🏻

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  8. Thank goodness for #WorldWithoutWine

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  9. Laughing....the Barbeque is just the start. Next he'll need a "smoker - BBQ" and an outside kitchen. Then comes the boat, and the fishing and the game hunting and the need to revert to "hunter - gatherer"....I'll be encouraging the lycra, it's less messy. Great post, SM and I'm first in line for your novel xx

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    1. Ha ha! And I’m first in line for yours! Xxx

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  10. You know what I’m afraid of? What if I give up the alcohol and I’m still dull, talentless and even worse, less interesting? What if I still have a life where I’ve achieved nothing and I can’t even have a drink to take the edge off the pain of that? Well done to everyone who has achieved so much with their sober lives but just can’t see it being me.

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    1. I couldn't see it being me either. I worried about my health (mental and otherwise). Booze no longer made me happy, content or nice! Looked for help and found Sober Mummy and fab book. Never looked back and more interested in myself and others than in wine! It feels like nothing short of a miracle.

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    2. When you quit alcohol you may still feel dull, talentless and less interesting, but you soon learn that you don't need to have a drink to take the edge off the pain.

      You may still achieve nothing being sober, but you won't know unless you try. xx

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    3. Thank you both for posting -I am that dull Anonymous poster. I already replied but in the wrong place. I appreciate you taking the time to post. I guess I still have to be convinced life AF is better - and you’re right Mrs W - I won’t know until I try. In truth, it wouldn’t actually be hard for it to be better because it wasn’t particularly great with the alcohol - however sometimes it felt like the drink was the only thing that made life bearable.

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    4. Drinking, i would have those moments that felt 'inspired'....witty, creative. How worried I was that those spurts of wonder wouldn't occur. Balderdash. I can be creative without the booze, funny without the booze....and definitely BETTER without the booze. You know what life is like WITH alcohol. What have you to lose by trying it without? I hope you'll decide to give it a try....there is lots of support for you here....

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    5. I used to feel useless and worthless too. And it took a while before I achieved anything other than not drinking (which is enough!) But it WILL happen! 😘

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  11. I began horseback riding again, and I adopted a senior horse! I am having the time of my life with him. And it bears repeating -- you can weather the tough stuff in life so much better when you stop drinking. I didn't believe this at all, and I scoffed at anyone who voiced this sentiment. Then I quit drinking, and I still have plenty of difficult and thorny problems to deal with, but I feel so much better-equipped to handle them.

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  12. Thanks for replying. I have only just started the book. Also reading the Naked Mind by Annie Grace. This morning I begin day 4 but it doesn’t really count for me till I can get through a weekend and unfortunately I have a very big social event on Friday night connected to my work that will be a nightmare without being able to have a drink. I’m going to try though. I think I’m still at the stage where I’d love to have control over alcohol rather than give it up completely but the books are making me think that giving it up is actually easier.

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    1. It really IS easier - eventually. It’s only the first few weeks that are tough x

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  13. I've just passed my 100 days and read that headline and thought "well that ain't happening" - then read on, and once again you are spot on. I too feel I'm healing. I'm relaxing, nurturing and avoiding stressful situations wherever possible. I'm also reconnecting with people who I should never have let go, (but socialising interfered with drinking time.) Im glad, and grateful for your comment that it takes a bit longer, (years 2 and 3) as I still have moments of great disappointment at not experiencing fabulous changes yet. Still, my boss said I look as if I've lost weight, so there's a positive! Cheers Clare.

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    1. If you think about how long you’ve been drinking, I guess it’s not surprising that it takes a while for your body and mind to adjust to not drinking - but it does happen! Huge congrats on 100 days! 🙌🏻🎉👊🏻

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  14. Good luck with the novel writing course! I can relate to this so much. During my many attempts at sobriety I always come alive and have so many creative thoughts of what I'd like to do, but sadly I return to drinking and all those ideas and thoughts go away and I'm back to doing the basics. I hope this is the time that will stick, so I can see what life would be like on the other side.

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    1. Wow, EH! Have been reading your comments here for so long......good wishes to you!

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    2. OMG EH are you really? Are you ok about that? Sending you love. Mail me if you want to offload! 😘😘😘

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  16. Claire, I loved your book & will pre-order your first novel right now if you’d like. �� I’m almost 6 months alcohol-free & your book was a great help in that department. I’m feeling healthier & happier but no creative juices flowing yet. It’s encouraging to hear it doesn’t necessarily happen right away. I was wondering if it was just me because I’ve heard much about the boundless energy that comes with sobriety. So far it has eluded me. Sounds like I need to be patient with myself.

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    1. I can¡t report any boundless energy — except for the relief that comes from not being miserably hung over, day after day. And accepting it like a given...the awful feeling, thirst, hunger, waiting for 5p so I could pour another. To have THAT over with.......is easily as good as newfound energy.

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    2. ‘Boundless’ may be overstating it! But just remind yourself what those groggy, hungover mornings were like when you achieved nothing! 😘😘😘

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  17. Hi. I haven’t hit sober yet. I still feel I’ll never do it. My son just had his third open heart surgery (5) and is now going on the heart transplant list. I NEED to get off the booze to survive it all.
    Am reading your book a second time today x

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    1. Oh I’m so so sorry Claire. My thoughts are with you and your son. I promise you that you will be stronger and more able to cope without the booze, although it does feel like a quick fix at the time. Sending you love and strength 😘

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  18. I’m a newbie, managed 7 days AF two weeks ago but the fell on and off off the wagon since then so day 1 again for me today. I do wonder if I’m turning to drink as I feel a bit of a failure in some aspects of my life, mainly work. I achieved a 2:1 degree in maths (many moons ago) but then have jumped from mediocre job to job with wages to match. I’m lucky to have a loving husband and two children 14 and 9 (who are my greatest achievements) but I feel a failure as I am not some high flying earner and am now coming up to 45. I feel this feeling is the cause of my unhappiness and why I reach for the wine. Until I can feel better about myself and what I have achieved I do not think I will see the wine witch gone.

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    1. I felt JUST like that before I quit. My life was stuck in a total rut. The problem is that until you quit it’s difficult to turn your life around! 😘

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  19. I always find so many positive and helpful comments here and the feeling that I am not alone and that other people understand me and are going through the same things is reassuring.
    My over-riding feeling at the moment is exhaustion. I have NO energy whatsoever and look forward to a 'lie down' within an hour or two of waking up. My alcohol pattern has been: 65 days sober/ 1 day relapse (which I was gutted about)/ 8 days sober/ 1 day relapse/ 7 days sober and counting...
    I feel all-consumed and knackered. Any ideas? x

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    1. You're doing the hard bit over and over :( Read SM's posts here

      http://mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/the-obstacle-course.html

      http://mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/losses-and-gains.html

      http://mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot.com.au/p/advice-for-days-30-100.html

      And think of this, you've done 80 days with only a couple of relapses. That takes strength. Just keep on, it gets better.


      Love

      Rob

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    2. Great advice from Rob here! Perfectly normal to feel completely exhausted - see it as your body healing. You’re doing brilliantly, just keep on going! 😘

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  20. My early days of abstinence were just like that - total fatigue. It does pass. Wishing you luck on maintaining longer, and longer, dry stretches.

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  21. Hi all. Well I’m fairly new to this. I stopped drinking last year, honestly didn’t miss it, like now I never thought about alcohol when I was sober. until about four months in and my mental health went to pot. One day I just needed a glass of vino, I’ve not ever named what happened internally, still can’t really, I just withered and struggled internally and needed a drink. the first drink stank , didn’t taste nice yet I persevered and that was just the usual slippery slope. I’ve just this week hit 30 days again, and again I don’t miss it, I barely register the days alcohol free passing nor the weekends ( it’s Weekend was often my inner voice’s mantra). I’ve read your Book Claire, it’s fabulous. I’m presently trying the thinking about it attitude rather than blythely allowing ever day to just vanish into the next. Not thinking about it worked fine, until it didn’t. Any advice, tips etc welcome. I’m finding it easy presently because I just don’t miss it. The last time I drank any alcohol I had a weird almost psychotic break leaving me with a bottle of pills next to the bed ( I don’t feel like that, totally out of the blue) woke up the next day incredibly upset. I’m determined I’m never drinking again but that devil is sly isn’t he? I’ve looked at other places/ blogs but talking about moderation isn’t where I want to go and I think I’d get sucked into that again. Settled here to try it out for a while. Ps how do I get a name?

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    1. Sorry, I forgot to say (I’m not very good at this comment thing) I’ve never had any symptoms, cravings etc well except at month 4 and that was an almost out of body experience rather than a craving . I have to seriously think for it even to register that I don’t miss alcohol. Is that good or am I missing an important part somewhere?

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  22. I'm only about 7 months in here and committed to a full year and then I will decide what is next... the further I get the more I think I don't want to drink again..why would I want to start that up again?..it's exhausting..so this first year I'm just taking better care of myself...trying not to put too much pressure on myself to do anything new because lets face it..not drinking is pretty new!! And it takes some getting used to in social situations... I have the not drinking at home thing down pat which is great. Social activities are getting easier but I still feel self conscious..All in all sober life is way better!

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  23. I am SO RELIEVED to read this post and the following comments! I'm at about 70 days now and, while I see many improvements, the energy and drive to do more just hasn't hit yet. I'm heartened to know this is normal. The benefits I've already realized are:

    - Although I don't feel more energetic, I notice I've become more productive in the evenings and weekends.

    - In the first week(!), my resting heart rate dropped about eight beats per minute!

    - In the first month, I lost ten pounds. This is even while allowing myself to consume whatever sugary goody I feel like. (Amazing what happens when you consume 1,900 less calories per week!)

    - After about one month, I started having "good hair days" every day, instead of on rare occasions. It's softer and just looks nicer and more relaxed.

    - I thought I'd had IBS for the last few years, but, well, now it turns out I don't. (I'll leave it at that!)

    Claire, your blog and book, plus Jason Vale's book, finally flipped the switch in my head. I don't desire to drink ever again. What a terrible poison. Now I will just stay the course while the healing continues!

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