From Holly Whitaker’s Instagram – wise words.

Today I’m not going to drink.


Dishcloths and cheetahs

Hah! Forcing out a little blog post on my 3rd soberversary clearly sparked off the need I seemed to have lost there for a while to process everything here on this blog. Or maybe there is suddenly more to process again.

I can say one thing for sure. I have not been here in a while. Not ‘here’ as in on this blog, but ‘here’ as in feeling so awful I want to crawl out of my own skin. Genuinely – this state is so familiar, I know it so well, yet it’s been so long it’s almost a shock to the system to feel so shit I have actually lost my appetite. The last time I felt like this was around the time when I left my ex-husband. The constant churning heart, the heavy stone of dread and fear in my chest. If I were to create a visual of what I’m feeling it’d be a wrung-out dishcloth.

Seeing as this is a public sphere, I can’t really go into much detail. My LinkedIn page points to this blog and I don’t hide it generally either so there are people I know IRL who may pop in here on occasion. Therefore I have to be a little mindful of what exactly I spill on these pages. It rattles me a little as I much prefer to just pour it out, but I guess I can honestly outline what ails without implicating anyone or anything.

Let’s see…

So. Shitstorm of a week. Truly. Whilst I’m still not entirely clear on how much these emotions are anchored in the here and now vs the result of old wounds, what I can say is this: I’m fucking TRIGGERED. You know, this comes up quite a lot in the counselling training. Triggers. When people talk about feeling triggered, I normally just kind of understand what this means but rarely do I feel it myself. There isn’t all that much that gets me this off balance. Roll on this Shitstorm Week however and I am once again that little girl who got bullied to shreds, who tried so hard to be invisible and who couldn’t speak her truth. Hello, my old friend.

There appears to be a witch hunt going on. Someone said or did something and the lynch mob is after blood. Burn the witch! Burn the witch! All that’s missing are a few pitchforks and a bonfire, honestly. Me? Fucking terrified of saying what I actually think, given I am not in the slightest bit – not one iota – upset with whatever this Mysterious Someone said or did. What I am upset about is the essence of what they said or did. It would appear this Mysterious Someone has made a valid point. The situation is a little bit like if you had a cheating spouse. You know something is off, you can sense it. So you go and check their phone. There it is. They’ve fucked up. Or fucked someone they shouldn’t have. Hey! Spousy Dear! What’s going on here? And then the argument instead turns to how you invaded their privacy. What I’m actually interested in – and upset about – is the state of the marriage. Surely that’s the actual issue? No? That’s where we appear to be. The Mysterious Someone may not have gone about things in the best way but they appear to be pointing at something much more important. But no. Burn the witch! Burn the witch!

I don’t like to stick my neck out at the best of times. Hell, I feel uncomfortable when surrounded by people who adore me – because as much as I love humanity and connection, I find humans quite exhausting – so I don’t feel thrilled at the prospect of speaking my mind on THIS. At all.

Perhaps this can be a practice run?

Hey you! What’s up with this? Here are some questions. Clarify please. I’m not at all opposed to cutting a few corners given the circumstances but be upfront about it please. Ta. As for the rest of ya – let’s get these things solved first, shall we, and then if you really do need to draw blood… ..have some of mine because I happen to agree with the Mysterious Someone. Something’s clearly amiss and whilst it may very well be understandable, let’s be open and honest about it. I’m sure most people will be flexible but no one likes to be lied to or deceived.

I got a letter from our broadband provider this week. They are hiking up the cost but I still have the same service and the same TV channels. They inform me of this and give me the reasons why. Great – thank you. And then it’s up to me, because lo and behold I’m an adult, to say OK fine or no way I ain’t having that and I’m off! Easy, no?

We’re in a pandemic. And we have Brexit too to contend with. I understand that ordering things that I regularly order from Sweden will now take longer and also cost a little more. No problem.

What I don’t like is being told I’m buying five apples at the same price as before if I’m actually just being given four. Don’t pass off four apples as five, for fuck’s sake. Tell me there are four. Then I can decide for myself whether I want to pay what I did before despite having one apple less now.

Let’s solve the problem. What IS the problem? And then once we have clarified (and hopefully solved) it, then by all means have a good ol’ debate around who dunnit. Until such time – fuck off.

No, I won’t say that. Certainly not using that kind of language. I suspect I will sit there quietly hoping no one will notice I’m even there. Do what I absolutely have to and pray for it to be over. It’s pushing too many buttons and brushing against too many wounds.

It’s a really, really shit week and OH EHM GEE do I have stuff to work through. I have certainly learnt what it feels like to be triggered, to be sent right back to a very, very painful place and feel all the emotions in the here and now. Holy cannoli. But this is how I live now. To quite the wonderful Glennon Doyle: “I’m a goddamn cheetah” and “I can do hard things”. When my emotions come a’knockin’ I will do what I’ve done for the last three years: open the door.

This too shall pass. Here I grow again.

Today I’m not going to drink.

23rd January 2021 – 3 Years Sober

I have completely lost the spark when it comes to blogging. I’m not sure why this is – in the beginning I seemed to have so much to say and reflect on that I sometimes often wrote posts every day. Now, less so. I thought about what I might want to say when I hit this milestone – THREE YEARS OF SOBRIETY! – and it seems like the sort of time when I should at least list all the good things that recovery has given me. And yet, the 23rd came and went and I didn’t get hit with any inspiration to fire off a blog post.

Three days later, here I am. Do I have anything to say about it?


Has sobriety changed my life? Yes. Completely. Fundamentally. Overwhelmingly. Magically. Thoroughly. Massively. Totally. Absolutely.

Do I miss what came before? No. Never.

Waking up sober hasn’t lost its sparkle. Nor has being able to stand in the shower every morning. Nor has functioning fully with the lights on AND someone home lost its shine. All those things, and many more, still seem miraculous to me. I haven’t lost sight of what I could have lost had I not got sober and never have I failed to recognise how the life I have now is all because I ditched alcohol.

So do I have any words of wisdom? Don’t know. Probably no new ones. I can only reiterate what I’ve felt since really early on in recovery: sobriety has given me my life back and I wouldn’t change back for anything in the world. It’s so worth it, there is nothing about the drinking that I miss and I am so grateful that I finally listened to that voice within that I now know was there all along – not this.

23rd January 2018 was the day I made the decision. That was the day I knew in my heart I wanted a different life to the one I had been leading. My last drink was actually 21st January 2018. But I celebrate the decision. That’s the day that is important to me and what I celebrate.

If you are where I found myself back then, all I can say is that for me it has been so, so worth it. Sobriety has given me the life I wanted, the life I dreamed of and a life I cherish. The kind of pinch-my-arm life I get to have now. At first it was strange and uncomfortable but the rewards came thick and fast. There is nothing I regret about ditching booze except sometimes wishing I’d never been fooled by addiction. Then again, it was part of my story and it’s made me who I am. And would I think of standing up in the shower as a miracle had I not experienced all that? Who knows.

Here we are now. Three years down the line. Life is good. It’s sometimes hard and it’s sometimes uncomfortable. Sometimes I feel sick with anxiety and sometimes I doubt myself. But never have I wished I’d not got sober.

Today I’m not going to drink.