Friday, 28 March 2014


and I nearly forgot!!
I have just realised, oh my gosh, it's the 28th March 2014, exactly one year since I last drank alcohol.
Imagine nearly forgetting after the countdown I've had over the last 2 months! In some ways I'm pleased about that, it shows alcohol is no longer at the forefront of my mind and while I enjoy my sober life very much, it does not define me. Rather it is one of hopefully many positive attributes I have.
The anti-climax feeling comes from relief that I managed to come this far and stay here and also that I will never have to endure the 48 hour hangover from hell that blighted my life this time last year.

So this weekend I will be baking a cake and eating it with my lovely new forks and remembering how bad I felt this time last year……..

March 2013. One Year Ago.

This is an excerpt from Sober is the New Black

In March three things happened that finally brought things to a head. Firstly, a night out for a celebratory dinner with a group of colleagues. I became overly drunk and made a complete fool of myself. I felt so stupid the next day and cringe even now to remember it such that I cannot bear to write it down. Secondly we had arranged to have some good friends around for dinner towards the end of the month, just before our two week break. It was a Friday public holiday and I was really looking forward to their company and the free flow of wine we always shared. I felt the holiday really began for me a day early, on Thursday night. When I finished work, I relaxed with some wine at home. I had more and more, much more than I intended. Too much in fact, even though it was the holidays. My hangover the next day was the worst imaginable and completely ruined my usual enjoyment of preparing for guests. I just wanted to curl up on the sofa, cancel them, and have everyone leave me alone. 
When they first arrived around mid afternoon I could not yet face a glass of wine.  Only after a couple of hours and a few salty snacks did I tentatively start on the wine, cautiously at first before quickly gaining momentum. And again, once started I could not stop. I was not enjoying it. I felt as if I was poisoning myself. This had happened more than once lately and I now bought more and more expensive wine, thinking I would enjoy it better, it being of a higher quality. Truth be told I was past any enjoyment. I was stuck in a drinking loop of self destructive necessity and I was powerless to extricate myself.

Subsequently I suffered a cumulative hangover that had built up over the preceding 48 hour period. I accepted then that I was failing at any form of moderation and that I needed to stop drinking completely. Things had changed from my vowing never to drink again to knowing that I could not and should not, ever drink. This time, failure was not an option. The consequences were too terrifying. Complete abstinence was the only way out of this situation. I’d tried and failed at everything else and was fed up with it. I was fed up opening wine almost against my will thinking, ‘Here we go again’. I was fed up being unable to do what I wanted. I was fed up making the same mistakes. How could it be so difficult not to do something? Why not just, not do it? 

And eventually I did. That day of socialising was, unbeknown to me at the time, the last time I would drink alcohol. I was reluctantly pushed into immediate sobriety by advocates of 'no time like the present' and 'really, will it be any easier in two weeks time?' My mindset gradually changed in the following year leaving me today, convinced it was the best thing I ever did.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Cake Forks

Cake Forks indeed. Don't they look pretty? So why is SITNB talking about cake forks? 

Today I am entering my 52nd week of sobriety and I had asked a few weeks ago if anyone had a good suggestion of what gift I could buy myself to mark the date and the achievement. Thanks to everyone who made took the time to comment and e-mail me with ideas, they were very much appreciated.

When I drank wine, I loved wine glasses. I loved looking at them, holding them, buying them and filling them (obviously!). I had my favourite ones and my special ones and they each added something to the occasion. Given that I replaced my wine habit with cake, that I bake at least one cake each weekend and currently eat it with a small moshi monster fork (which does not reflect the image I try to convey) I decided I would buy myself some lovely cake forks. What a great idea, or 'Lightbulb!' as I believe the cool phrase is now.

I will love these little forks and they will heighten my cake eating experience while reminding me of all the good reasons I now eat cake! 

How have you celebrated your alcohol free milestones? 

Saturday, 15 March 2014


Just to let you know that my first book Sober is the New Black will begin a countdown deal on Sunday 16th March at Price starts with 85% reduction.
Click here for the link:   Sober is the New Black

My second little book How to Party Sober click here: How to Party Sober: A guide to socialising without alcohol remains at $2.99.

Enjoy a Sober Sunday
Rachel x

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Then and Now: In Bed...

This is not an erotic blog post, by 'in bed' I'm referring to that time in the morning when you are lying in bed, thinking about getting up. Particularly on a Sunday when this period lasts longer than on weekdays. It received many views on Soberistas so I thought you might like it here.
Slowly come to and lie very still until I work out it is Sunday. 
Assess myself for degree of hangover. This is based on how much I drank last night, whether my head is pounding, how thirsty I am, how desperate the need for carbs is and whether I am feeling sick or that the room is spinning.
Next I would move my head tentatively, perhaps to look at the clock or to see if I had any water at the bedside and observe whether my brain moved with my skull or if it lagged a second or two behind, only to slam into it again when my skull stopped moving. Again reassess for nausea and room spin.
Then I would consider what I had planned for the day and if there was anything planned that I would no longer be fit for and decide whether I could cancel it or not. (Afternoon with friends, probably not. Taking kids to the swimming pool, probably cancelled.)
My thoughts would wander back to previous night to assess for damage. Had I picked an argument? Had I had loads more to drink than OH and risked disapproval? Had I emptied the kitchen of snacks? Had I texted any friends with 'great ideas' or bought anything on line on the spur of the moment?
Eventually I would sit up slowly and wait to see what happened. This was a defining moment in my ability to function or not. I would be torn between knowing how much better I would feel if I went for a shower straight away, yet would want to crawl downstairs for breakfast. The latter ran the risk of interacting with noisy children and fulfilling their demands and had to be balanced carefully. Eventually I would go  gingerly downstairs , crossing my fingers they were not going to fight with each other or have the television on too loudly and also that there was not too much in the way of clearing up wine glasses from the night before: I don't think I could bear the smell.
Now: I lie in bed, pleased to have woken up reasonably early to make the most of a day off work. (Always so much easier to get up on Sundays than on Mondays!). Listen for children playing downstairs, hearing the sounds of them breakfasting themselves (always a bit messy but well worth a little clearing up). 
Mentally I visit my lists. I love lists. Going through my To do, To buy, To do (medium term), and To do (work) lists I plan what I want and need to get done today: what I'll cook for dinner, whether I'll use up the over ripe bananas by making muffins too. And what else I will do if I have time: nip to the shops or take the pile in the garage to the dump, maybe wash car? (or persuade OH to do this).
After a quick shower I gather a load of washing from the basket and amble downstairs. I put on a wash and have a cup of tea while I decide what to have for breakfast.
Today, after 50 weekends of sobriety, I am above all thankful to be feeling well and not be hungover.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Then and Now: A surprise discovery

In recent years I have not been able to do self assembly. Only today, as I was happily working through the instruction booklets doing just this, did I consider the reasons for my inability to date.

Then: As a single girl living alone 15-20 years ago, I was incredibly self sufficient. (It was before wi-fi and home computers and all that stuff). I remember building my first nest of coffee tables and bedside unit from B&Q all by myself and never gave it a second thought.

Fast forward 10 years and I could no longer do these things. Ikea had become popular by this time and whenever we purchased anything (we, I was married by then) I would set about constructing it like this:

1. Open up all the packaging and tip everything, including the little screws onto the floor. I would be in a rush as would have dinner cooking or similar and had finite time.

2. Look at the picture of the finished product and assimilate in my mind how the strewn components ought to fit together.

3. Assemble them as I saw fit, stopping only when either
    a. I had completed it (and discarded the 'spare' screws, nuts and Allan keys). This occasionally happened. But more commonly
    b. The assembly ground to a halt as an early mistake came to take significance and prevent further construction. (A bit like in sudoku when you know you've gone wrong somewhere but you just keep doing the other bits of the puzzle until it catches up with you.) Anyway, I would usually find I had a piece orientated the wrong way and the groove was at the wrong side or I'd grabbed the wrong screw at some point and now did not have any long ones left.

4. So I would leave things partially complete, stomp off muttering about the stupid instructions made for idiots and begrudgingly ask OH to build it. He would annoy me by taking an age to do it and when he did get round to it, he meticulously counted and laid out the screws, got the tools out, and gave it his full attention.

I convinced myself I was just no good at these things and shrugged it off.  Why have a dog and bark yourself? No need for me to learn.

Now: Since stopping drinking I have noticed my concentration and patience is improved in other areas, being able to read a newspaper article to the end and interacting with the children.
This week I bought a cute little set of drawers to fit neatly inside my wardrobe. I was going to re-organise, chuck out, and streamline the pile of trainers, fleeces and sports bags at the bottom of my wardrobe. I was keen to get on with it and decided to do it this morning, when left home alone. It couldn't be that difficult surely?

I laid everything out and surprisingly, looked at the 'stupid' instructions complete with bendy arrows, close ups of corners (with screw and nut combo's) and spotted the important bits: the difference between the two ends, the side the groove was on etc.
I methodically followed the instructions in the correct order, giving it my full concentration. See the picture, drawer runners and everything!

Very quickly I had the whole thing assembled. All the drawers worked. It was not wobbly. There were no left over screws or similar. I had not been 'stressed' by doing it. I was feeling so proud of myself I thought I would get on with lifting it into the said wardrobe………only to find it was fractionally too big and the wardrobe door could not open and close. 

This is not an important part of the story. The point is that it was not my ineptitude nor the stupid instructions which prevented me doing self assembly, it was the fact I was permanently harassed, stressed, chronically hungover and unable to concentrate.

I am glad to no longer be any of those things (although I still have a pile in the wardrobe in need of attention!)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

HAMS: Radio Guest Slot aaaaahhhhh!

Last night I was a guest of Kenneth Anderson, Executive director of on his radio blog cast. HAMS is an organisation in the States focussing on Reducing the Harm that comes from alcohol and addiction. He is based in New York and I was a bit overwhelmed to be talking to him (the website talks of expert guests!) but he put me at ease and allowed all my thoughts and memories from the time I stopped drinking and my reasoning for it, to come pouring out.
He likes to discuss ways other than AA that can be used to manage alcohol habits and like Soberistas, acknowledges that complete sobriety is not for everyone and that there is a place (for some, but not me) to reduce or moderate their drinking.
You can listen to it here. Speak your thoughts freely!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Free Book to Download: HOW TO PARTY SOBER

Hi, only time for a quick post tonight, hope to do the real thing tomorrow but wanted to give followers of my blog advanced notice. I have published another book:  How to Party Sober : a step by step guide to socialising without alcohol. It will be free to download as an e-book from the Amazon Kindle Store during Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th March. i.e GET IT FREE TOMORROW!!

Enjoying any kind of social life when sober worries many many people and is the one aspect of giving up that prevents people trying to give up sooner. I was no different yet almost one year on I still do most of the same socialising I did beforehand. It was a bit of a learning curve to begin with but I gradually found how to make it work for me. Hopefully you will find something within it that may work for you.

If you enjoy the book I'd love it if you let me know (and I'd love it even more if you would take the time to write a review on Amazon for me!)

Follow @SoberRachel