#club365 Week – Jo – ‘Coins in a Jar’

#club365 Week – Jo – ‘Coins in a Jar’

On 27 July 2018, I celebrated my first Soberversary; one whole year of being completely alcohol free.

It’s been a year of ups and downs but most importantly, a year of huge self -awareness. Choosing to live a sober life is so many things all at once. I feel strong, but also have incredible moments of weakness and self doubt.

People often ask why I decided to stop.

Well, to get to the nitty gritty, it took a healthcare professional to tell me what I already knew and had repeatedly tried to justify for at least the last 20 years.

Luckily, hearing her words ‘you need to stop drinking and what you are doing is not normal’, was enough to spring me into action.

I started drinking young, at around age 15 and always, ALWAYS, knew that my relationship with alcohol was far from normal. It just got worse and worse until a year ago, after really listening to this doctor’s words, I decided enough was enough.

I decided to try on my own and knew I needed something to make me accountable so started my blog called ‘Coins in a Jar’. I also actually put a coin in a jar every day so that I had something concrete to monitor my progress and I slowly watched the jar fill up.I did lots of research by joining groups, speaking to people, watching videos, reading books and getting my hands on just about any alcohol related content I could find. Reading and relating other people’s triumphs and struggles really helped me hugely.

The hardest part of the year was my mind.

I don’t think I ever physically needed a drink at all. It was the ridiculous tricks that our mind plays that make us think we are missing out. Like any unhealthy relationship that has ended, we always think of the good times. Not the sick times, the regrets, the mess ups, the wasted time.

A year on, I sometimes look at people drinking and think they are lucky. Lucky that they can relax for an hour or two and have that numbness wash over them but then my logical mind kicks in and screams ‘They’re not lucky! You’re the lucky one!’

I also find associations hard which is totally normal. A holiday, a sunset, a get together with friends, good times, bad times, hell! When exactly didn’t we drink alcohol?!😊

I find it quite easy to be around people drinking and when I am offered a drink, I don’t make any excuses. I’m a straight talker and I am honest when explaining how alcohol was simply f…ing up my life. When I verbalise this, I’m usually met with big eyes and a ‘well done’, immediately followed by their own beliefs, justifications or excuses such as ‘they only drink on weekends’.

Honesty is just the only way for me. I believe strongly in openness about mental issues including addiction. My mother was a huge sufferer of addiction, depression, anxiety, you name it. So for us and anyone else suffering with mental issues, I will never play it down. It’s just as important as any other disease that we can see.

If I were to describe my life one year on in one word, it would definitely be ‘quieter’.

Life is also much clearer. I’ve learnt to sit with discomfort and emotions instead of drowning them which takes a lot of practice! I am much fonder of chocolate these days. I’m not a huge stickler for plans as I once was; they don’t really bother me. My best friend is a planner. She will talk about Christmas plans or holidays next year and I laugh and tell her I just can’t think that far ahead.

I used to be a big planner. Had to be busy, see people, have people over. I realise now it was all mainly an excuse to drink. Now I’m in bed at 8 most nights and I love it.

So how did I celebrate my soberversary?

Well, I went out with some friends and had a giant mocktail but more importantly, I had a tattoo done on my arm! Words that I love and I can look at every day. Words that inspire me and remind me to keep going when I do have a down day.

Sobriety is the greatest personal achievement of my life. It’s not just about having the strength to not drink again; it’s made me believe in myself and my abilities. Cliché I know, but I can really now do anything.

I don’t have any intention to drink again, but I guess one can never say never. I don’t want to drink again and I’m almost on the verge of not having to need to drink ever again. Alcohol has become something I just don’t do. Like some people don’t eat sugar, I don’t drink alcohol. I have absolutely no problem being around it.

In fact, I feel a sense of satisfaction when I’m around pissed people.

I smile and think to myself. Thank God it’s not me.

MY 3 TOP TIPS TO HELP YOU LIVE A SOBER LIFE

1. Find something that makes you accountable. This could be joining a support group either online or in person, writing, finding someone with the same sobriety date and spurring each other along.

2. Always remember what you are gaining and not leaving behind.

3. Be kind to yourself and TREAT YOURSEF OFTEN!

Written by Jo, edited by Sober Fish 2018

To follow Jo’s blog, please go to

FB – https://m.facebook.com/coinsinajar/

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE AUDIBLE TRIAL

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audible-Free-Trial-Digital-Membership/dp/B00OPA2XFG?tag=soberfish22-21

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE SOBER DIARIES’ BY CLAIRE POOLEY

https://amzn.to/2AKV3XD

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘ALCOHOL EXPLAINED’ BY WILLIAM PORTER

https://amzn.to/2vE3v4X

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘YOU LEFT EARLY’ BY LOUISA YOUNG

https://amzn.to/2OMeySl

CLICK HERE TO HUY ‘SOBER STICK FIGURE’ BY AMBER TOZER

https://amzn.to/2M1tQEh

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘RECOVERY’ BY RUSSELL BRAND

https://amzn.to/2M4jyDz

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE UNEXPECTED JOY OF BEING SOBER’ BY CATHERINE GRAY

https://amzn.to/2LRuuoN

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘DRY’ BY AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS

https://amzn.to/2vH0bpV

Share
The Great Alcohol Free Drink Debate

The Great Alcohol Free Drink Debate

Here I am, fresh from the Club Soda Mindful Drinking Festival held in London yesterday & thought I’d share my views on a few of the hundreds of awesome products that were available to try!

Alcohol free (AF) drinks are always controversial. Some swear by them, some get triggered by them, some couldn’t care less about them & some buy them by the truckload.

Here’s my advice.

If they stop you from drinking alcohol, drink them. If they trigger you, don’t drink them. It really is as simple as that.

You have to do what’s right for you. Everyone is different. Personally, my first love is sparkling water but in the early days, I drank AF wines, Elderflower cordial by the pint & gave AF ‘gin’ a go. I’ve tried AF beer & enjoyed it, but it’s not my ‘go to’ tipple.

Compared to last year, it really was quite incredible to see how many new drinks are on the market, especially the AF ‘gin’ alternatives. It was really interesting speaking to the founders of these new drinks & hearing how they manufacture & market their products.

Here’s some of my favourites .. why not give them a try?

TEETOTAL CUBA LIBRE ALCOHOL FREE RUM & COKE

OMG, THIS is a game changer!

It was so good to see the lovely Gill again yesterday! We first met at the House Of Commons where she gave me a couple of bottles of her TeeTotal G&T (also amazing) & I promised her I would write about her product. Well, I was naughty & I didn’t, so now she’s really given me something to write about!

If I didn’t know Gill & she’d given me this drink in the dark, I would’ve sworn it was the real thing. It is great chilled, the packaging is awesome and you can buy in multipacks either for yourself or as a gift! Highly recommend!

To buy, go to the link below quoting SOBERFISH for a 5% discount

https://wisebartender.co.uk/teetotal-cuba-libre-rum–coke-0-abv-683-p.asp

Here’s a snap of lovely Gill & I having the best time! Can’t wait to see you soon!

BORRAGO

This is a relatively new product to the market & is one of the ‘gin’ alternatives. It was great to meet the team behind it & they even gave me a complimentary drink which was so very kind of them!

It tastes lovely & when made up in a glass with ice & a garnish, feels very grown up and special.

Again, you can buy this by clicking the link below and quoting SOBERFISH for a 5% discount-

https://wisebartender.co.uk/borrago-47-paloma-blend-0-abv–a-free-gift-592-p.asp

PIMENTO

Whilst water may be my first love, this has always been a close second. I LOVE this drink! It’s ginger beer with a difference as has a chilli kick to it. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!

It was also lovely to see Mr Pimento yesterday. Always a pleasure 😜

To buy, click this link below

https://amzn.to/2LtTy4Z

OLD MOUT CIDER BERRIES & CHERRIES

Cider. Hmmmm. My memories of cider are not great. If I’m honest, just the word ‘cider’ reminds me of hanging over a toilet bowl so I didn’t hold out much hope.

BUT

This is actually quite delicious. I like the packaging & I like berries & cherries & I liked that it didn’t really taste of cider as I remember it! I think it’s a great choice if you’re looking for something fruity & grown up & it’s not a bad price too.

Click the link below to buy & don’t forget to quote SOBERFISH for a 5% discount

https://wisebartender.co.uk/old-mout-cider-berries–cherries–0-abv-1147-p.asp

NIXANDKIX

Nixandkix were definitely one of my favourites last year so was great to see them again! These drinks are so refreshing with lots of gorgeous flavours including a new blood orange version!

Why not visit their site to see the full range?

https://nixandkix.com

Here’s me & Emma having the best time whilst drinking Nixandkix in 2017 😂 missed you SSS X

Written by Happy Sober Fish 2018

#day610

Share
#day600

#day600

600 days ago, I woke up with my final hangover. I was away with friends for a weekend full of boozing & little did I know, I was done.

As I came around that morning after a fractious sleep, I was dehydrated (as usual), felt sick, had a headache and had scratched my eczema so much, there were bloodstains on the bedding. I remember gulping down water from a pint glass on the bedside table but instead of being replenished, I just felt worse. My hair stank of cigarettes, my skin was beyond dry and my mood was low. How much longer was I going to inflict this harm upon myself?

On top of the hangover symptoms, I was coming down with flu. I was in a bad way. After breakfast, my friends decided to climb a steep hill nearby to shake off their hangovers before the drive home but I couldn’t think of anything worse and chose to go home instead. The real (secret) reason that I declined the hill walk was because I was massively overweight as well as totally unfit and hungover and doubted I could actually make it up (or down) the hill without having some kind of episode.

The following day started with a trip to the doctors about my eczema. It was out of control. I was a sorry itchy mess. The doctor was visibly shocked when I showed her my sore bleeding skin but at no point did she question how I’d got into such a state. Instead, I was given a stronger ointment and told to monitor it. Thankfully it began to subside that very afternoon.

At that point, it wasn’t my intention to never drink again as my ‘experiment’ wasn’t due to start until the New Year but as the hangover faded and the flu took centre stage, there was no other option than to succumb.

600 days ago, my new life began and what a 600 days it had been.

600 less hangovers

600 nights of proper sleep

600 mornings without hangxiety

600 less bacon rolls

600 days free from cigarettes

600 days of happiness

600 less fat cokes

600 reasons never to drink again

600 days of gratitude

600 days of freedom

Written by Sober Fish 2018

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE AUDIBLE TRIAL

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audible-Free-Trial-Digital-Membership/dp/B00OPA2XFG?tag=soberfish22-21

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘YOU LEFT EARLY’ BY LOUISA YOUNG

https://amzn.to/2zN7dPb

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘RECOVERY’ BY RUSSELL BRAND

https://amzn.to/2uOhogu

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE SOBER DIARIES’ BY CLAIRE POOLEY

https://amzn.to/2muad9O

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE UNEXPECTED JOY OF BEING SOBER’ BY CATHERINE GRAY

https://amzn.to/2LrpP8J

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘DRY’ BY AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS

https://amzn.to/2mryaOP

Share
Super Sparkly Sober Saturday

Super Sparkly Sober Saturday

Pre Soberdom, weekends were for one thing only and that was getting hammered. On Friday nights, the habit was real. There I was, like a bee to a honey pot, hurtling down the wine aisle to check out the offers. In summer, it was white or rose; in winter, heavy red. Two bottles (one was never enough) were slung unceremoniously in my basket followed by brief stop down the ready meal aisle and not forgetting a nice fresh pack of 20 from the cigarette kiosk. Boom, I was ready to launch.

Home. Bags dropped to the floor. Wine poured before anything else and slugged down in three. One fag out the window. Breathe (smoke). Another fag out the window. Glug. And breathe (smoke) once more. Happy weekend.

When I look back at this little ritual, I can still remember the panic. The excitement. The race. All to get home to slurp and smoke.

I attribute it to habit and relief and stress. In my former job, the weeks were long perpetuated by excruciating hangovers, shouty angry customers and a Hitler style management regime. It was a celebration to leave the workhouse each week and get home to safety. It was what I’d always done, rewarded myself for surviving another week on the planet. After all, I deserved it right?

Now, it seems such an alien concept to reward myself with poisons and toxins. In fact, it’s just plain bloody bizarre! Oh I know, I’ve had a hard week at work and I’m really tired, emotional and stressed so I’ll just fill my body up with stuff that generally makes me even more tired, emotional and stressed, resulting in a shit night’s sleep followed by vomming all day on my day off! Yeah, what an incredibly genius idea!

When you stop drinking alcohol, weekends morph from ‘over in the blink of an eye’ to ‘every minute becomes an hour’. It’s almost off putting at the start. One Saturday, I remember waking up, writing, eating, walking, cleaning and it was still 9am. I was thinking ‘how on Earth do I fill my day?’ and rather than being pleased, the prospect of so much sober time, was daunting. There was too much time to think about drinking.

Now, there is never enough time. There is always something to do. I write, I cook, I blog, I walk, I edit. I breathe fresh, clean air. I did none of those things before. Hangovers literally stole my joy. They stole my creativity. They stole my weekends.

If you want to be successful in sobriety, you will have to change your weekend routine and planning is key. Do activities that don’t involve drinking; get outside, go for a long walk, go to the cinema, drive somewhere you’ve never been before.

You have to train your brain to expect different things from a weekend. Your brain will expect to get bladdered if that’s what you’ve always done. You have to show it who’s boss and get it to look forward to something else! Chocolate, exercise, reading, sex. Do whatever it takes!

I’m not sure I’ll ever get over how fantastic Sober Saturday’s are. They are truly one of the best parts of sobriety. To feel alive and full of possibility is a very beautiful thing. Time is precious; don’t waste it.

#day595

Written by Sober Fish 2018

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE AUDIBLE TRIAL

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audible-Free-Trial-Digital-Membership/dp/B00OPA2XFG?tag=soberfish22-21

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘YOU LEFT EARLY’ BY LOUISA YOUNG

https://amzn.to/2uxbD6R

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘RECOVERY’ BY RUSSELL BRAND

https://amzn.to/2JjdSQt

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE SOBER DIARIES’ BY CLAIRE POOLEY

https://amzn.to/2LgdqnW

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE UNEXPECTED JOY OF BEING SOBER’ BY CATHERINE GRAY

https://amzn.to/2uxP1Dr

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘DRY’ BY AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS

https://amzn.to/2ultRZB

Share
The Massive Mood – 6 months & beyond

The Massive Mood – 6 months & beyond

Achieving 6 months of sobriety is a weird old time. On the one hand, it’s an ENORMOUS accomplishment; on the other, it’s a no-mans-land of ‘what the actual fuck am I doing?’

I remember 6 months well. One minute, I was ecstatic, jumping for joy and celebratory, and the next, I was miserable, moody and morose. There was no middle ground.

At 6 months, my beautiful temple rewarded me with the biggest mood of my sobriety. Ironically, it happened whilst watching Glastonbury festival on TV. Now this is strange because a. I’ve never been to Glastonbury, b. I’ve never wanted to go to Glastonbury and c. I’ve never watched Glastonbury on TV. In fact, I’d never even given two shiny shites about Glastonbury before. But suddenly, I wanted to go to Glastonbury and get off my miserable face.

I remember sitting on my sofa, Elderflower cordial in one hand and a wodge of Curly Wurlies in the other, balling. If I’d been a child, I would’ve been stamping my feet and wailing ‘but I WANNA’. I was jealous & envious and the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) was of epic proportions.

Thoughts were whirring through my brain; ‘is THIS it?’, ‘will I ever drink again?’, ‘is my life resigned to staying in on a Friday night, cartoon crying and binge eating Curly Wurlies ALONE?’, ‘was everyone else is the world having fun apart from ME?’, ‘was this IT?’.

The more the thoughts whirred, the more I cried. I was actually making noises like a 2 year old. I was proper wailing like a 42 year old banshee.

And then I stopped. To breathe mainly. But I stopped. I was exhausted by emotion. And actually it felt quite good to have got it all out. Then, Rational Dawn then came out to play.

Did I really want to go to Glastonbury? No. Did I want to camp? No. Did I want to ever see a festival toilet pit again? No. Did I want to go to a festival sober? No. Did I really give a shit about Glastonbury? No.

What I’ve realised about Sober Massive Moods is that often it’s the old (inner) me having a paddy. The old (inner) me is sad that a choice has been taken away and challenging me to do something about it. Sure, the option to festival sober is there. The reality is I’d bloody hate it.

The Massive Mood made me question what was REALLY going on. Actually, it had fuck all to do with festival antics and more to do with me accepting my relationship with alcohol was finally over.

6 months is a long time and 6 months is not. It’s a limbo between your old life and your new. Your body is free from toxins and you have recalibrated. It’s common to think ‘perhaps I could just have the one’.

Personally, I didn’t think this because moderation is not, and has never been, an option. My belief is that if I could moderate, I would’ve moderated and not got myself into the pickle that led me to 6 months of sobriety. Similarly, if Curly Wurlies were supposed to be eaten one at a time, why sell 5 for a £1? Just my opinion.

Despite the doom & gloom of The Massive Mood, some lovely stuff happened at 6 months. I changed the blog name from ‘Sober for 2017’ to ‘The Sober Fish Story’, cementing my intention of sobriety for life. I started walking everyday, discovered Audio books and booked my ticket to Thailand which was one of the highlights of my sober journey so far.

Life, sober or hanging, will always have it’s ups and downs. It’s how you deal with it that matters. If you need to cry, cry. Why are we so conditioned not to cry for Pete’s sake??! If you need to binge eat Curly Wurlies, bloody binge eat Curly Wurlies. Do WHATEVER it takes because I promise you this, if you get through 6 months sober, you’re on the verge of being invincible.

Never, ever, give up ❤️

Written by Sober Fish 2018

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE AUDIBLE TRIAL

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audible-Free-Trial-Digital-Membership/dp/B00OPA2XFG?tag=soberfish22-21

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘YOU LEFT EARLY’ BY LOUISA YOUNG

https://amzn.to/2MWohnk

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘RECOVERY’ BY RUSSELL BRAND

https://amzn.to/2m4JT5X

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE SOBER DIARIES’ BY CLAIRE POOLEY

https://amzn.to/2u2O8TL

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE UNEXPECTED JOY OF BEING SOBER’ BY CATHERINE GRAY

https://amzn.to/2MY36l9

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘DRY’ BY AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS

https://amzn.to/2u1PoXb

Share
Mum’s week .. ‘I vow to never drink again’

Mum’s week .. ‘I vow to never drink again’

On 28 October 2016, I became sober.

My decision was finalised after a hideous hen weekend away. My own hen weekend.

I vowed never to drink again.

We went camping on Shell Island. I got so drunk that I fell into the fire pit, smashed up all the tables and completely terrified all the kids, including mine.

I woke up in a shocking state with an awful feeling of dread. I had no memory of what had happened and when I was told of my actions, I felt so ashamed.

At that point, I swore to my partner I would never drink again but he didn’t believe me. After all, he’d heard it all before.

But I knew that this time, my relationship with red wine was well and truly over.

Red wine and I had been friends since I was 15. I’d come from a broken home and had found comfort in both wine and drugs. The pattern of getting off of my face was a weekly thing. Aged 18, I had a well paid job which meant I could party hard on my days off. If I think back to some of the situations I got myself into, it makes me shudder and again, feel very ashamed.

My job eventually led me to work abroad. I worked in nine different countries but every time, I either got sacked or walked out of the job because I was too hungover or coming down from drugs to do my job properly.

In 2000 I moved to a small town, looking for a new start after yet another failed relationship. Every relationship I had failed because I was always so smashed! It was here that I met my husband. Both of us were into drink and drugs and it continued for quite a few years.

In 2005 I snorted my last drug ever. I literally couldn’t take any more come downs however I made sure my friend red wine stayed faithfully by my side.

Aged 36 in 2008, I was totally shocked to learn that I was having a baby. I had never been pregnant before and had always believed I couldn’t have children as I’d damaged my body too much.

I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol for a whole year.

In 2009, my beautiful boy was born but as soon as I got home from hospital, I went to straight the shop for red wine.

And so the cycle started all over again.

Every night I drank wine. It helped me to relax and unwind after a long hard day.

In 2015, I started suffering with a bad neck. I couldn’t sleep at night and even wine or gin didn’t help the pain. I then lost the feeling in my hand and had horrific pains shooting up my arm. It took me 3 weeks to get to the doctors as I was scared I’d had a stroke and that they’d take my boy away from me.

But I had a touch of luck as the doctor put me on really strong painkillers.  Mix these with a bottle of wine and I was flying.  Happy days!

In January 2016, I decided to do sober January despite my neck getting worse and struggling to cope. I managed to stay sober for the whole month but come 1 February, I was straight out to the shop to buy more alcohol.

In March 2016, I was diagnosed with a slipped disc in my neck. The only option was to have surgery but I refused, knowing if I had the surgery, they would stop my painkillers and I wasn’t having any of that.

Lent came, and I gave up again but as soon as it was over, I went straight back to the shop for more.

In June 2016, my now ex husband decided to get married, giving me yet another excuse to get smashed.

When I finally stopped in October 2016, I’m still not sure where my strength came from but I was utterly determined. This time, I was doing it.

I had a sober wedding day 2 weeks after I made my pledge to stop. I got through Xmas and New Year and not a drop passed my lips.

In April 2017, I couldn’t carry on with the pain in my neck as the painkillers weren’t touching it and it was affecting my whole.  I’d taken up running and lots of exercise but I couldn’t carry on.

I had elected surgery in June 2017. Very scary operation as it’s so close to your spine. But I survived and not once did I reach for alcohol to help me out.

I finally stopped taking medication in September 2017.

My journey isn’t over. Every day I think about drinking and I think this will happen for the rest of my life.

But I’ve come too far to give in now. This is my life.

Written by Monique, edited by Sober Fish 2018

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE AUDIBLE TRIAL

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audible-Free-Trial-Digital-Membership/dp/B00OPA2XFG?tag=soberfish22-21

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘YOU LEFT EARLY’ BY LOUISA YOUNG

https://amzn.to/2J2qV96

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘RECOVERY’ BY RUSSELL BRAND

https://amzn.to/2uaPL0T

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE SOBER DIARIES’ BY CLAIRE POOLEY

https://amzn.to/2lTG03s

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE UNEXPECTED JOY OF BEING SOBER’ BY CATHERINE GRAY

https://amzn.to/2lTG6bk

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘DRY’ BY AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS

https://amzn.to/2lYZ7JC

Share
Page 5 of 9« First...34567...Last »
Share