Okay – this isn’t easy for me to admit, so I’m going to come straight out with it: I’ve stopped drinking.
That’s not really a confession, is it? Right. I’ll try that again.
Confession—I was having serious trouble controlling my drinking and knew I had to stop. I’d completely lost my ability to moderate.
Phew. That was hard.
Realising that I had to stop didn’t arise from any specific crisis or melt-down, I’m relieved to say. I hadn’t had a huge row with my other half, or disgraced myself at work. I hadn’t failed to do something I was supposed to do because I was too hungover to move, and nor had I said something horrid to my son in an emotional wine-fuelled temper. I was still able to put hand on heart and say that I wasn’t working (editing or ghostwriting) under the influence.
However, I was beginning to panic. Although I wasn’t drinking every day, I was certainly drinking up to five days a week, and I found that once I’d started, I literally couldn’t stop. If I didn’t have that first G&T of the evening, I’d be fine. But once I’d had that first, then I had to get drunk.
I’d tried moderating before, but that just slowed down the addiction. I went alcohol-free for a time, hoping it would reset my body’s relationship with alcohol, but—guess what—my heavy patterns not only returned, but got worse.
In short, I was still at the point where I’d have felt like a fraud if I’d walked into an AA meeting (though I’m sure I’d be made welcome), but I absolutely knew I had to get some help because my situation was only going to head downhill.
On recommendation from a friend, I looked up ‘The Sober Diaries’ (by Clare Pooley) and read it from cover to cover in three days. I didn’t drink while I was reading, and I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since. I’ve also found a wonderful Facebook group: ‘Club Soda Together’. I have absolutely no doubt that I’d have caved in and headed for the off-licence at least three times in the first week if I hadn’t been busy replying to posts and commenting for a couple of hours on end.
Long may it continue. As far as my family and long-term friends are concerned, I’m doing Sober October (for now). I’m sure they will be supportive when I do get around to admitting that I’d stopped drinking out of fear rather than out of the passion for better health, but I’m not quite ready for that in-depth conversation yet. I just want to focus on the monumental lifestyle change ahead of me.
I did have one major achievement this year; being part of the editorial team to critique, select, polish and assemble stories for my online writer’s group “Storytime”, which is the writing workshop of the Erotica Readers and Writers’ Association. It’s been nine months in the making, but I’m delighted to announce the release of “Twisted Sheets: Tales of Sizzling Menage.” for the fab promo price of a mere 99p, or $1.30. That is less than the cost of the orange juice that goes into a mocktail. Bargain.
It’s already in the top 5 rankings for its category on Amazon. Wippeee! Here’s the link! It should open in the Amazon Store in the country where you live. Ideally.
I was really proud to be part of bringing this anthology together. Many a SOBER hour was invested in helping the authors to get their stories into the best possible shape, and it was a great project to be involved in.
And Fresh Starts…
One thing that has happened since I’ve stopped drinking is that my imagination seems to be coming back to life. I’ve been telling myself to get ON WITH MY BLOODY NOVEL for about six months now, and finally some productive note-making is taking place.
I wrote ‘Single Syllable Steve’ back in 2015 as a short story (pre Kindle Unlimited, when standalone, longish short stories were more fashionable) and I’m embarrassed not to have followed it up yet with the longer sequel suggested in the reviews.
My plan now is to create together a series: “A Brotherhood of Bouncers”, following the adventures of Steve (a uniquely vast but deaf bouncer) and all the other lads who he connects with by setting up the WhatsApp social group ‘West-End Ladz’ for doormen and floormen. The first full novel is Steve’s, then that of his best mate Colin, and so on and so forth. I do like creating a universe, and I’m a sucker for cross-over characters and details 😊
Please wish me well for a more prolific future.