Friday 28 September 2018
There were many things about my life that I thought would change when I stopped drinking, but becoming richer wasn't one of them.
Back in the drinking days, I was always broke. At the beginning of the month, my bank account might just sneak its head over the wall into the black, but within a week I'd be wallowing back in the depths of my overdraft facility.
I tried many ways of economising, but one thing that I didn't consider for a minute was the amount I was spending on booze.
I saw my wine expenditure as a necessary staple, like loo roll and washing powder. I didn't even consider buying cheaper alcohol, as I thought the fact that I bought relatively expensive wine made me a connoisseur rather than a lush.
It was only after I quit that I added up the amount I was spending on alcohol, and it was HUGE! I'm too ashamed to confess the numbers, but it was thousands of pounds a year, enough for a family holiday.
And it wasn't just the amount I was spending on the actual wine, it was the knock-on effects. I spent a fortune on taxis, as I was always drinking too much to drive. I spent loads of money buying things I didn't need on the internet late at night, a few glasses down. I bought many bunches of flowers, as an apology to various hostesses for my behaviour the night before.
It all adds up.
When I quit, slowly, slowly, the amount of time I spent overdrawn decreased, without any effort at all. By the end of Year One I was SOLVENT.
But that wasn't all.
The other thing you notice when you quit drinking is how much more energetic and creative you become, and how much time you have on your hands.
Many people have e-mailed me telling me that their careers took off as soon as they quit. They started bouncing into the office in the morning with all the enthusiasm of the youngest intern, firing on all cylinders throughout the day.
Being the sober person in an office gives you an edge. You don't spend hours shuffling paper back and forth while waiting for a hangover to recede, you can use office parties to network rather than snogging someone you'll regret and you are always on form.
It is no surprise that many of the most successful people in any field are non drinkers. Anna Winter and Tina Brown don't drink. Kim Kardashian doesn't drink. Many of the mosr successful Hollywood actors, pop stars and captains of industry are sober.
Also, many of us find that when we quit drinking we re-discover childhood passions, and sometimes those passions can lead to wonderful new careers.
In my case, going sober led to writing, starting right here with this blog, and (drum roll), I've just agreed deals for my first two novels with publishers in the UK, USA and all over Europe.
I've heard stories of people launching new businesses in a myriad of fields: teaching yoga, making jewellery, psychotherapy, recovery coaching, interior design. The list goes on and on.
So, if you're reading this while hungover and broke, then just consider the fact that those two things may be completely intertwined.
To find out more about the benefits of going sober, read The Sober Diaries here (UK), or here (USA).
There's daily information and inspiration on the SoberMummy Facebook Page ('like page' to stay updated).
Love and prosperity to you all!
Sunday 9 September 2018
I still vividly remember the days (years) when I would wake up at 4am on a Monday morning feeling toxic, filled with dread, or at least ennui, about the week ahead.
Today, I woke up at 4am because I am so excited about this week that I just couldn't stay asleep any longer.
(You may well, at this point, want to give me a virtual punch, in which case I completely understand and I am truly sorry).
Then, I walked out of my bedroom to discover that the dog had thrown up several times on the carpet overnight. What the universe gives with one hand, she takes away with the other.
The first exciting event is that my book is coming out in german. How wunderbar is that? Please tell any of your german friends! You can order a copy here.
You can also buy The Sober Diaries in dutch (here), french (here) and in english (here UK) and (here USA).
Another thrilling, but also terrifying, event this week is that my first novel is being sent out to publishers.
I've been writing and re-writing this book for about six months, and planning it in my head for many, many years, so this feels much like handing round your baby to a bunch of strangers, hoping that they'll look after her and not say yikes, what an ugly infant, take it away!
I dare not tell you much about the book for fear of jinxing it, but I will tell you that one of the main characters is, obviously, an addict. He is deeply flawed but utterly gorgeous, and I am secretly in love with him (don't tell Mr SM).
I'd be hugely grateful if you could send it good vibes! Thank you.
I'm still on a high, too, from the weekend. One of the joys of no longer being anonymous is that I can meet up with other sober revolutionaries in real life, which is what I did on Saturday night, in a really cool bar in Soho.
I met the amazing Jolene Park, who is visiting from the USA. If you haven't yet watched her TEDx talk on Grey Area Drinking, you must. It's here.
Lovely Mandy, from the brilliant LoveSober podcast came too, plus the hugely talented ladies who founded We Are in Good Company, the sober greeting cards business, who are single-handedly taking on all those booze joke cards.
I was there first, and asked for a lime and soda. Every time a new person joined me, also not ordering booze, the waiter looked increasingly confused.
We drank mocktails and hoovered bar snacks for FOUR HOURS, while we laughed till my jaw ached, and the bill came up to twenty pounds a head. Bargain for a Saturday night in the West End! That's what happens when you don't split the bill with the drinkers :-)
Saturday night was, for me, a great reminder that ex-drinkers really are the best people around.
Yesterday, I took Kit to a waterpark with a friend. I was hanging out with a cup of tea, when a lady I'd never met came up to me and said "excuse me, but are you Clare Pooley?" That has never happened to me before. She was reading my book, and recognised me from my TEDx talk.
Needless to say, my kids were thrilled because they now think that I'm going to be on Love Island and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Ha Ha. Must practise swanning around in a bikini and eating locusts.
There's loads more information and inspiration, as always, on the SoberMummy Facebook Page ('like' page to stay updated), including a brilliant article on booze and the menopause which is going up this evening.
Huge love to you all!
Saturday 1 September 2018
I get lots of messages from people who tell me that they really want to quit drinking, but they can't do it yet because they're going on holiday, have a birthday coming up, a special party to go to, or they're dealing with a stressful time at home or work.
For many years I did the same. I put off dealing with the inevitable because it was never the right time. Even if someone had erected a bright pink, neon sign outside my bedroom window reading IT'S THE RIGHT TIME, I would have ignored it.
There are always a host of brilliant (and many not so brilliant) excuses to carry on drinking, because there will always be (we hope) occasions to celebrate and, sadly, there will always be difficult things to cope with.
The truth it, the best time to quit drinking, once you know you have to, is always NOW. Because you may as well get on with it, deal with the tough few months, then start really living your life, free from all the angst, pre-occupation and general yuckiness that playing with an addictive drug inevitably brings.
However, there are some times that are, I believe, better than others.
January is one. Quitting anything in January is made easier by the fact that everyone seems to be quitting something, and we're all holed up inside, cold, broke and sad, wearing our hair shirts and feeling sorry for ourselves.
But, for that reason, January is all a bit miserable. And quitting drinking, whilst it's hard, should be a cause for celebration and for feeling good about yourself.
Which is why SEPTEMBER is my favourite time of year.
September, like January, is a time for fresh starts. It may not be the start of the calendar year, but it IS the start of the new school year, and - if you're a mum - that is way more significant than just changing a digit at the end of the date.
September is a time for brand new stationery, sharpened pencils, polished shoes and new friends. And it's a great time for new resolutions.
After the excesses of the summer holidays, everyone is 'back on it.' We're all starting diets, dusting off the gym membership and promising to get life back on track.
Also, if you quit drinking now, by the time Christmas comes around you'll have done the first 100 days, which are by far the hardest, and you'll be able to really enjoy the holiday season feeling good about yourself.
If you live in the UK, you can sign up for Sober October in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Then you can tell your friends you're doing it for charity (and avoid all the difficult questions for the time being), and make the most of Macmillan's great online support groups and tools.
So, if you're reading this and thinking I know I need to quit drinking but I'm not sure if it's the right time, then know this: it is. There will never be a better time than now.
If you'd like a great kick start to the new you, then I'm hosting a workshop in London in conjunction with World Without Wine on Saturday, October 6th and there are a few spaces still available. You can find more details here.
If you'd like to know what to expect in the first year of going sober, then read The Sober Diaries, and for daily information and inspiration, visit the SoberMummy Facebook Page ('like' the page if you want to stay updated).
By the way, my September resolution is dealing with my addiction to ice-cream. Over the summer I seem to have become a Magnum magnet, and a pesky gelato shop has opened up at the end of my street, taunting me with great mountains of creamy dulce de leche ice-cream. Argh.
Happy new school year to you all!