As we travel on the highway to Sobriety, we will stop in various places for a cup of tea, maybe a scone and to take in the view. Now all our highways and views are different. My road of choice is a winding costal lane with a view of the sea. You might prefer a trip down Rodeo Drive in an open topped little number, taking in the designer stores on the way. It’s your journey to Sobriety, so you choose.
Whatever our avenue of choice is though, we would all like it to be sunny, with a clear view of the road ahead, without angry motorists causing us anxiety and self-doubt and probably with some music to complete the anticipation and excitement at reaching our final destination.
Being a true Brit, who loves a staycation (a holiday in my home Isles), I know the weather can be very changeable and my journeys have often started out wet, windy and cold. I don’t mind. I know that the wind and the rain make my favourite destinations the beautiful landscapes they are. Without the variations in weather, the south of England would quickly become dusty and barren, no green grass, no meadow flowers, no sense of cleansing that comes after a storm. Even in a city, the streets are refreshed after a deluge. Storms always pass, to be replaced by another weather, one worth waiting for.
Bottom line, I don’t let the anticipation of stormy weather put me off my sober journey. Do you?
Back to the challenge at hand, the booze. When did your drinking become a problem and how? It’s just a bloody drink, a pick me up, a relaxant, a confidence boost, a de-stresser after a tough day, a light hearted, almost guaranteed, social glue. It’s the lubricant to a great night out (or in), it’s sexy and fun. Everyone knows that, haven’t we all seen the adverts?………
The adverts. Sitting in the cinema last week, there was an ad for a bottled beer. Gorgeous young people, skinny and sun kissed, laughing in a group, carefree, happy and swigging beer. The week before, in the same cinema (I do love a movie), there was an ad for a spirit. Same concept, just slightly older group, maybe late 20’s in a slightly more sophisticated setting. This time a glamorous party, the guests still gorgeous and skinny, only in this instance, a little more expensively dressed and coiffured.
The message was clear. Alcohol is what made both situations fabulous. It was the jewelled nectar that gave cohesion to both groups, that enabled men to approach women, boys approach girls and vice versus. All were at ease and slightly disinhibited, well they would be wouldn’t they, as we all know, alcohol is a powerful drug.
I think I missed that part of the message in the ad though. I didn’t see anywhere, even in the small print that alcohol is a narcotic, even though when you think about it, anything that changes your behaviour, must mean it alters your brain chemistry and is therefore a drug. Agreed? Or maybe not, but that’s for a later blog.
Then we have the mighty influence of television, where in the UK at least there are no alcohol adverts, but everyone seems to drink and on every occassion (so probably more powerful than any advertising).
There’s the pub scenes, the wine bar scenes, the restaurant scenes, the office scenes, the home scenes, the picnic scenes, the good times, the bad times and the list goes on. From the aristocracy to the down-&-out, they all drink.
Another bottom line – on television alcohol is everywhere.
I have also noticed since I stopped drinking that those on TV shows who don’t drink are either pregnant, ill or in recovery, and even they sometimes stray back into booze land.
Alcohol advertising isn’t new, I have happy childhood memories of laughing at the ads for Dubonnet (Luton Airport luv) and singing along to the “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere….” joyful, catchy Martini song.
One of the biggest issues I have with the way alcohol is promoted is, that the adverts (now I admit mainly in cinemas), were then, and still are now, cleverly aimed at our far too impressionable young people who are gearing up for adulthood and all the ‘pleasures’ that come with it.
Pleasures that most have already witnessed in the home. Even those who come from ‘dry’ homes see it in other households, and those often seem, on the surface, to be more fun.
There is now the almost compulsory wine/beer after work to relax Mum and Dad, or children’s birthday parties where the parents and guests knock back a few, maybe a glass at dinner, or the tipsy BBQ – all good, all fun, what’s not to love?
Is it really any surprise then that so many are lured into believing the powerful social conditioning around alcohol? The conditioning that sees alcohol as harmless and an almost intrinsic part of a happy existance. A conditioning that stays with most of us for life.
My son has grown up with an alcoholic parent and although he rarely drinks, he doesn’t view alcohol as the mind-altering drug that it clearly is. And quite honestly if he doesn’t, its hard to expect anyone else too.
And so, when we are old enough (and for most of us, in our own minds at least, that time is our early teens), we start to drink. I remember my first drink, it was Southern Comfort and it was disgusting. I drank half a glass of it neat and almost passed out with the shock of the foul smelling, over sweet, revolting tasting liquid. For all of two minutes, until it hit my blood stream and I was on the floor blind drunk and laughing my head off. Classy bird.
For a very long time I viewed that unedifying episode as fun. I had grown into a giant of confidence and wit that evening, at least that is how I saw it. The reality being it was humiliating and embarrassing to both myself and the others who witnessed it – except they too were drunk, thank God. Then, because of that distorted view I had of the experience, of alcohol, and not withstanding how wretchedly ill I was for two days, I did it again and again. The only learning I took from that evening was the quantity I could consume that would avoid my headlong rush from from sober to blind drunk.
If you ever needed proof of the power of social conditioning around alcohol, let me tell you about some friends of mine who have had serious cancer scares. Really, really serious. They stop smoking, change their diets, investigate all manner of alternative therapies, consult homeopaths, meditate, educate themselves about stress reduction and the power of a positive mindset. They do everything in their power to give themselves the best possible chance of recovery, and still they drink. They don’t want to be boring. They need to relax. They deserve a glass of two with all that’s going on in their lives. I hear all these reasons to drink, often given defensively.
These lovely, kind wonderful people, suffering from an appalling disease are beyond desperate to beat it and to stay with their loved ones. All of them, without exception, are completely aware, because their Oncologists have told them, that there is a direct, scientifically proven and widely acknowledged link between certain cancers (breast cancer in particular) and alcohol yet still most of them continue to drink – maybe not during treatment, but all of them once it has finished – and all because they ‘believe’ (social conditioning) the respite/pick me up effects that alcohol offers them. I don’t actually know what more to say ………
But there is so much more I do need to say. Social conditioning explains, to a very large degree, why we fall into the alcohol trap, why we start to drink, but it doesn’t explain why we stay there. It doesn’t explain why some can drink for a while, heavily even, and then stop without a backward glance.
I know the truth about the alcohol prison and social conditioning isn’t it. The real monster lives, protected and fed by us, in our unconscious mind, in our feelings. That is the monster that really needs to be understood.
Next week I will poke that monster with a sharp stick, and in doing so, poke you. I did say I was going to keep it real.
Check out my Working With Me & Practical Techniques for Recovery pages to see how I help my clients
Love & respect. x
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PS, Your Takeaway this week is –
Don’t let the fear of bad weather stop your Sober journey. Wrap up warm, check your windscreen wipers, drive carefully and START!
Too many of feel that we are not good enough, not worthy, not deserving. feelings that deprive us of the life of peace and joy we all deserve, and using food and alcohol in an attempt to comfort those losses.
We eat and drink in ways we are ashamed of, that make us feel we have to lie and hide what we do. That cause us sleepless nights of worry. And yet we still continue to repeat the same cycles in our attempts to self-comfort those painful feelings of ‘not enough’ away.
And because it is only ever comfort we are looking for, when we try to change the way we eat and drink, it can be very hard. Especially when we don’t believe we can be, or deserve to be different, thoughts that further deprive us of the comfort we long for.
We are all, always doing our very best to be our best.
We are never trying to harm ourselves or our families, our children, husbands, partners, and yet stopping doing the things we know harms us all most, feels as though it is beyond our power.
It is not.
Imagine a different way of living for you, one you truly do deserve.
- Imagine no longer feeling not good enough, but more than enough?
- Imagine knowing and accepting who you are.
- Imagine letting go of all your old Anger, Hurt, Sadness, Pain, Guilt & Fear in one relaxed, empowering session.
- Imagine how much easier it would be to make better choices and decisions in the moment and future, relieved of old distresses
TimeLine Therapy is a wonderfully, unobtrusive process that gifts you the ability to easily let go of all your past pain, allowing you to move forward with confidence in yourself and your ability to be who you truly deserve to be.
I am a Master Practitioner of TimeLine Therapy, and every client, without exception, has said they feel ’emotionally lighter’, ‘calmer, stronger and more empowered’ before they even leave the room.
We all need to emotionally let go of a past that no longer serves us to be our best, and it something that is entirely within us all.
“I feel so positive with a sense of lightness, I am walking with a spring in my step. There has been a definite shift in my thinking. I have noticed how much kinder I am being to myself – my internal voice is not giving me a hard time. I am feeling so much more at peace with myself. This is quite an amazing feeling. Thank you for helping me to feel like this! J Dickie
I had a TimeLine Therapy session with Sonia which I found to be incredibly profound form of treatment and very successful in treating me with my issue. The experience was enhanced as Sonia has a very warm and lovely manner, which enabled me to get the most out of the sessions in a safe environment. I would highly recommend an Emotional Cleanse session with Sonia to anyone. M Greene
Sonia made me feel relaxed, calm and very safe to explore my emotions. She took me through the process, carefully explaining each step of the way and was so lovely and kind that I felt able to say just what I needed to without feeling self-conscious – quite an achievement believe me. I can highly recommend this treatment as an emotional spring clean to help you to look to the future with a renewed enthusiasm.” J Ellis
“Incredible experience! I feel less anxious and stressed and feel back in control of my life. Sonia you are amazing” N Thompson
I DEFINITELY feel so much better, my old heavy emotional baggage has gone. I feel so much lighter and more capable. I am making better choices in life and that is wonderful. K Morris
TimeLine Therapy is a wonderful addition to my Recovery Coaching process or as a powerful, one off intervention, and can be conducted either face to face, or in the comfort of your own home via Zoom
- A life enhancing 2 hour TimeLine Therapy Session is £600
Click here, if you would like to book a free Recovery Coaching Assessment Call to see how I can best support your journey.
Or to learn more about, my ground breaking Recovery Coaching,
Or myself Sonia Grimes, and my journey, through my book, This Isn’t Me.
Love & respect
Finding my way back to me……………
For a very long time I was lost, completely lost and then I wasn’t. This is how I found my way home. This is my journey back to me.
There is someone waiting for all who are still suffering in their painful habit. Someone waiting at home with open arms and heart. I promise you x
Four years ago, sometime in May, I stood in my kitchen, staring at the last few inches in the half bottle of vodka that I must have missed the night before when I was drunk. I had walked, in a daze from my bedroom, half of me dreading my reaction to the booze in front of me, the other half experiencing an emotion I couldn’t identify then and still can’t now.
Would I do my usual, pick it up and swig the remains straight from the bottle? I could justify it, I had passed my self-imposed, but flexible, “I never drink in the morning” rule and even better, I didn’t have to do anything that evening, other than a quick visit to the shops to top up my not-so-secret vodka stash, that would necessity hiding my drinking those dregs.
This time though, as I picked the bottle up and examined its contents, the first of many incredible kaleidoscopic shifts occurred within me and the landscape of my life, my future changed forever. Just minutes before I had been in total despair as I wrote a letter of love to my son. A letter attempting to explain the un-explainable – that I was going to leave him, to die because I couldn’t stop pouring booze down my throat, and that although he was and always would be the love of my life, I had no choice but to put alcohol before him because I was an addict, and that quitting was, as he had already seen far too many times, completely beyond me.
As I wrote sobbing in defeat, knowing absolutely the mountain of unnecessary suffering my leaving would cause him, a door in my cognition had opened almost imperceptibly, and it was this opening that had got me up from my desk and down into the kitchen to the vodka bottle. There that door had burst wide open, straight off of its hinges, and I had understood, finally after more than 27 years of feeling hopeless, powerless and out of control around alcohol, that I had chosen drink, it hadn’t chosen me. I was responsible for all the chaos and destruction my choice to drink had caused, and that I alone, not alcohol, was to blame. Then, incredibly, with that one simple insight, and acceptance of responsibility over my choices past, present and future, I was free.
I let the drunk, broken self I had become, stumble through that door and into a place I had dreamed of for so many years of my life, a place that I never thought I could reach, that had no space for someone like me. A place that I had on rare occasions been allowed to catch a glimpse of, but always and forever denied entry too. And as I faltered forward uncertainly into this new place, I was met by a kind, compassionate woman, warm and loving who opened her arms to welcome me, without judgement or condemnation.
A woman who had waited patiently for me all those years, knowing that I was lost, so very far from home, desperately sad and feeling utterly alone. Her beautiful smile told me that she had always known that I would come back, that I would make it through the darkness and storms of my addiction, believing in me and loving me as she had through everything I had done.
I fell into this good, kind woman’s arms and she held me close and forgave me. Then as I clung to her and she comforted me, I dissolved first into the essence of the lonely little girl who had grieved for her mother for so many years before she had died, before maturing into the desolate 27 year old who no longer had the chance to make peace with her mother, to tell her she loved her. And from there shifting in form into the mother I myself became, isolated, frightened and suffering from severe post-natal depression, before finally settling into the woman who had longed so much to be the mother her child deserved, the mother I sensed I could be, but could never quite become.
This lovely woman, generous of heart and spirit, held me tight as she kissed away that little girl’s loss, and together we let her go. Then, following her departure, the spirit of every other painful person, every incarnation of the drunk I had become followed, acknowledged, forgiven and in peace.
I gave in that day in my kitchen and allowed myself to be claimed by someone who loved and cared for me above anyone or anything else. I did this because I had recognized as soon as I saw her. I knew she would never let me down if I just trusted and put my faith in my survival in her.
After all my pain was gone, after the drunk me had been absolved and understood, what was left was just the two of us, a mirror image of each other, no longer separated by the hurt, damage and chaos my drinking had caused.
I had come home, I had found a way back to the person I was before I was a drunk, and I knew instinctively, as we clung together, both in relief and release, that this good, kind and loving woman was me.
Love & respect to all those who are lost right now x
Welcome to the launch of my blog, Insights from a (Formerly) Drunk Mother. This is an unexpectedly proud day for me, not only am I living my dream of being the sober happy mother and woman I never thought I could be, but I am also in the privileged position of being able to offer help and support to my fellow travelers seeking the inner peace that comes with freedom from our unhappy emotional habits. And trust me on this, whether your poison is food or booze, all soul destroying unhappy habits are firmly rooted in the same place, the personal emotions & conditioning that are so safely and securely stored in our immensely powerful unconscious mind.
In my weekly blog posts I am going to share with you all the wisdom I have gained on my continuing sober journey. I write wisdom not knowledge as knowledge is not enough, it is what we take from that knowledge, how we interpret it, and how that interpretation resonates within us that enables profound change.
If you have read my book, This Isn’t Me , you will know that for me, realizing that I had a choice to drink or not to drink rocked my world completely. It smashed all my pre-conceived, and, almost literally, fatally flawed thinking around my alcoholism, addiction across the board and chances of recovery.
In an instant my world changed, I suddenly had the insight I didn’t even know I needed. I ‘got it’, I ‘got me’ and by ‘getting me’, I had a clear way forward that nothing and no-one else’s view of alcoholism and my freedom from it could deflect me from. I know me better than any book, group, lecture or tried and tested formula for recovery, and thank’s very much for the input, I’ll go with me.
However, what worked for me won’t necessarily work for someone else. Others have read and understood my insight, but in their view of the world, with their conditioning around alcohol, their personal history, thier booze history and thier experience of attempts to quit, my recovery can sound amazing. People tell me that I am amazing but that what I have achieved is completely beyond them.
My moment of insight was amazing, but I am not. I simply understood something that hit one of my deepest held core values, (the responsibility of choice), and in doing so, I put myself, without even trying, firmly back in control and on an unwavering path to sobriety. God, I love that word! x
So, the blog posts that are to follow are my best attempt to unweave the unhelpful, faulty information we are drip fed from a far too young age as to alcohol, its place in society, what it gives to us, how ‘harmless’ it is – which it can seem to be until you want to stop, and usually, in that very moment, you realize you can’t………….. As well as to challenge the accepted wide spread views on recovery (of which we have no chance because we are addicts), well hell no, I am living proof that is bull**** .
My aim is to give you the best opportunity to at least shift the unseen alcohol blinkers you may be wearing, that will help you find your insight too.
I am going to be honest and straightforward, and all I ask of you is that you turn up, tune in and read with an open mind. If I sound crazy, laugh at me, but then please read again. I want nothing from you, yet have everything to give.
If you don’t like or understand anything, email me. I will always answer.
The road to recovery has been sold to you as an uphill, rocky terrain. A journey on which you must always have a white nuckle grip on the steering wheel of you, sweating with anticipation of the alcohol quivalent of a speed bump or pot hole, always driving at the edge of a precipice, with no rest stops and nowhere to park. It doesn’t have to be.
Instead, I invite you to buckle up, roll down your windows and enjoy the journey. Feel the breeze blow through your open mind as it loosens your thinking, learning to smell the freshness that comes with an alcohol free body. Steering your life your way, in the direction you want to go to, responsible, accountable and in control.
There is a beautiful life out there waiting for all my fellow travellers, we have just lost our way for a while.
Bring your sandwiches, a bottle of water (out pops the nutritionist in me), and enjoy the way your life naturally changes as we trundle down the not-so-confusing-after-all road to sobriety.
PS. I have even lovingly lit the way with candles.
Until next week. Love & respect. x
If you would like to keep up to date with my blogs, news & offers, click on the link for my Breakthrough Mentor Newsletter.