Giving Back

Most of us 'over-enthusiastic drinkers' find that, once we're out the other side, we have a real need to help people still struggling.

It's one of the fabulous things about the sober blogosphere: you start blogging, and reading other people's blogs, to help yourself. Then you find that, over time, your blog starts to help other people following in your footsteps.

Giving back is also fundamental to AA. It's the twelfth of the twelve steps.

Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, believed that an alcoholic who no longer drinks has an exceptional faculty for 'reaching' and helping an uncontrolled drinker. Bill writes when the twelfth step is seen in its full implication, it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it.

Giving back is not entirely selfless, though, as Bill points out: practically every AA member declares that no satisfaction has been deeper and no joy greater than in a Twelfth Step job well done.

Well, I discovered that this need to give something back isn't just about quitting the booze. I think it's true of coming out of any major life change or trauma.

Recently I was at The Haven, a support centre for women coping with breast cancer. They'd offered me a free acupuncture session to help with the side effects of Tamoxifen.

(I have no idea how being turned into a human pin cushion for an hour works, but it really seems to. Extraordinary).

Anyhow, on my way out, I passed a lady coming in for her first consultation with the breast nurse.

She had a gorgeous, strong face. Younger than me. But she looked drained. As if someone had taken a giant vacuum cleaner and sucked all the joy and hope out of her life. Which I suspect they just had.

It reminded me vividly of how I'd felt turning up for my first consultation three months ago, and I desperately wanted to give her a hug and to say it's going to be okay.

I didn't. The poor woman was coping with enough, and didn't need to be suffocated by a mad stranger.

Anyhow, I know The Haven will look after her. They'll talk her through her diagnosis and treatment plan. They'll offer her counselling, nutritional advice, and complimentary complementary (see what I did there?) therapies like reiki, acupuncture, reflexology and massage.

They'll invite her to join their self help groups and yoga sessions, and they'll advise her on what government benefits she may be eligible for.

But, most importantly, they'll listen. They'll understand. And they'll make her feel less alone.

That's what they did for me.

And I really, really want to give back...

Which is where I need the help of you wonderful people.

I don't make a penny from this blog. And reading this blog costs you nothing.

If it has helped you, then please, please will you do something extraordinary for those people who are doing something extraordinary for women who are having an extraordinarily awful time?

It will be like a sort of global, interwebby, karmic circle, passing on the love.

I've set up a Just Giving page. It's on  If you could donate just a small fraction of what you would have spent on booze, then together we can make a huge difference.

(You can donate anonymously, or using whatever pseudonym you like).

Here's a link to the Haven website so you can read more about the amazing work they do.

Let's harness the power of the sobersphere and change some lives.....

Thank you. Thank you.

Love SM x


  1. I have just read your book and blog, wonderful writing and your honesty is so forthcoming. Thank you for giving back.

  2. Hi
    I've read and am re reading your book. I don't think a book has ever had this amazing effect on me before - I have just completed 9 days without wine! forget the 'negative know-all' and concentrate on people like me.

  3. Hi Claire, I just wanted say a huge thank you for your wonderful words and guidance. ��

  4. I do not have an alcohol issue however full of anxiety, my husband two days ago had read a blurb on your book and said I think you would like this book...........errr he was so right! what a read coul not put it down!!! you have done amazingly well, you are bright, intelligent and so worthy of this book. Well done you very proud of you. AMAZING!

  5. You may have saved my life, my marriage and my family. If that’s too much pressure for you, I’ll concede that your book has been a helpful catalyst for me to stop drinking. I’m on day 2. Thank you thank you thank you

  6. I have just stated reading your book. Absolutely inspirational. Thank you

  7. I've just finished your book whilst sat on the train.... in tears! In a good way though, so thank you. You know you've got to make changes when one GnT makes you feel like crap the next day, and you resent your partner being home and wanting to SHARE the wine!!! Your book has given me the courage, and I guess permission, to be a non drinker when simply cutting down won't do

  8. Dear Clare,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I read your (whole) book today and I think this is a very important story to tell everybody. I stopped drinking for about a year now. I am one of the lucky people by which this process went graduately (not cold turkey). But the longer I'm sober, the better, joyful, grateful and happier I feel. I experience the happy field which you described on day 209. I'm convinced that alcohol is a slow demolisher.

    I drank for about 30 years (I'm 47 now) and I always thought it was ok, fun, cool etc etc.. Till february 2017, when my stepsister died. I drank a lot in that period (about 7 bottles wine a week) After she died, I went to a acupuncturist and ask help for quiting drinking and smoking. I realised more and more how destructive my behavior was. Not everything at once, but from that point things began to change for me.

    The last time I drank it was New Years eve.

    Again, thank you for telling your story.
    The world needs you!

    Love, Hester
    The Netherlands

  9. Dear Clare,
    thank you so much, your words are so helpful. I recognized my problem with alcohol a year ago. I didn't drink so much, but I noticed, that I couldn't resest any offer to drink, even if I wanted to say NO. That was frightening! After I read several books an articels written by people who stopped drinking, I started into a sober live some weeks ago.
    With optimistic greetings from Germany,
    Love, Ines

  10. Dear Clare, I have just read your book and it was amazing, it was as if I had written the book myself. My name is also Claire. I’m, today, 88 days alcohol free. My family has got there daughter, sister, wife back to mention a few. I feel as if I’m finding out who I really am. Thanks once again for writing a book so honestly x