Author, educator, truth-seeker. Writing my way to freedom or thereabouts. Talk to me @cjflood_author. She/her/they.

#4. Most of your dreams are delusional.

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There’s no way I would have managed to quit drinking if I’d known what it entailed in the short term. But if I’d known how it would look long term, I would have been inspired to keep going. Staying sober day after day requires faith, that in spite of the struggle, it’s going to be worth it.

We don’t all have the same burdens, psychological profiles and traumatic histories, but I can’t help but believe dealing with alcohol addiction (and the trauma underneath) is only going to lighten your load.

The only way you’ll truly know if your life would be better sober is if you try it. But you have to give it at least a couple of years — okay, maybe four — before you can tell how it will feel. Trust me, it takes months to get clarity. Years before you remember how to enjoy the peace of a life without extremes. …

And some thoughts on why it might not really matter.

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Four years into my sober life I’m still ambivalent about identifying as an ‘alcoholic’. I’m more comfortable saying I am almost alcoholic. Or an apprentice alcoholic. Or a potential alcoholic.

But what’s the difference? How do you tell if you really are An Alcoholic? Does it even matter?

High-functioning alcoholic?

In Sarah Allen Benton’s book, Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic (HFA) Benton explores this sort of drinker in great detail. An HFA drinks alcoholically and succeeds at life. They manage to hide their drink problem, but often at great cost.

HFA’s don’t lose their jobs, don’t go to prison, and don’t have public drunken meltdowns (until they do, at least). …

How are we using these slippery terms and who are they really benefitting?

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Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump from using the platform citing the risk of violent incitement. This move came partly as a result of Wednesday’s shameful horror show in Washington, in which white supremacists and conspiracy theorists stormed the capitol, resulting in the deaths of five people.

Earlier in the week, Rowan Atkinson trended on Twitter for likening so-called cancel culture to a medieval mob in an interview with the Telegraph.

A “medieval mob looking for someone to burn” he claimed. And reading it I found myself confused about where that left me. …

Sometimes the teachable moment isn’t what you think it is.

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Yesterday, Twitter discourse blew up after podcaster and musician John Roderick (JR) shared a polarising story about a ‘teachable moment’ with his nine-year-old daughter. He has since deleted his Twitter account; here are the first couple of tweets in a series of around ten:

Normal drinkers have no reason to celebrate a month sober.

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I once heard a comedian sing a song about Dry January. The joke was that the only person who didn’t know they had a problem was the person swearing off alcohol for a month. I blushed when I heard it. I’d recently done a month without booze and was amazed (and very vocal) about my achievement.

The uncomfortable truth is that if not drinking for a month is a success worth talking about, then you probably have a bit of a drinking problem. The real question, then, is what might this Dry January lead to?

“Dry January is the UK’s one-month booze-free challenge that helps millions reset their relationship with alcohol every year.” …

#1 Get super-drunk on New Year’s Eve.

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It’s New Year’s Day and anything is possible! Traditionally, on the first day of the new year, I would be painfully hungover, but in a few months I’ll be five years sober. Quitting alcohol is one of the most positive decisions I’ve made, and it all started with me attempting a Dry January.

Five years ago, I was desperate to complete a sober month in order to attempt to balance the last weeks of over-indulging. I was sick of feeling sick, disgusted by my beer belly, self-conscious about the puffiness of my face, and so I swore to put the plug in the jug. …

#1 Commit to a strategy that has worked for many before you.

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I love this time of year because change seems so possible. Better habits in 2021 seem inevitable. How could you not get your life under control when there is a fresh new year stretching out before you?

But we all know that it’s easier said than done when it comes to changing our ways.

For years, I made resolutions to ‘drink less’ and totally failed to manage it. This year, I will celebrate my fifth new year’s eve sober. So what changed? How did I finally manage to kick my most destructive habit?

Here are five things I did differently that helped my sobriety stick. …

These 4 distinctive personality traits could be a sign of neurodivergency.

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Last month, I was diagnosed with Autism at the tender age of 37. I sought a diagnosis because I was finding life difficult after years of self-development work and hours of therapy.

For a long time, I have been tempted to tick YES when certain applications asked if I considered myself disabled. I knew that there was something different about me in a way that hadn’t yet been identified.

You’re just being hard on yourself, friends and family told me.

The only thing wrong with you is that you think there’s something wrong with you.

Maybe, I thought. But I couldn’t let go of the idea, that there really was something wrong. …

If you’re lucky, you get another shot at it next year.

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Ah, Christmas. What an exercise in human imagination!

Our different ideas about what Christmas means and how we should spend mean the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ can be pretty stressful.

Not drinking has improved things, for sure, but the holiday is not without its issues. Between you and me I still have to work to enjoy the festivities.

But there are some definite improvements just as a result of being sober and here they are.

1. Not waking with a hangover

In the past, my primary festive tradition was to go to a the Stag and Hounds on Christmas Eve to see who I might bump into. …

On my fourth sober Christmas, I’m here to offer tips.

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If you’ve developed a heavy booze habit, there’s a chance that Christmas at your house isn’t all peace and light. Maybe there are a few challenging personalities. Perhaps some toxic family dynamics. And yet, here you are, all crammed into a little house together.

How will you survive, without your frothy numbing agent?

1. Consider what you actually want to do for Christmas

You’re an adult, and you get to make your own choices. So what do you want to do? What would your ideal — in the narrow realm of pandemic-possibility — Christmas be? How can you keep your loved ones happy and safe without torturing yourself?

If your family is triggering or disrespectful of your choices, then consider not visiting them. Call them to chat instead of dragging yourself over to see them. The pandemic makes this an easier get out than ever. And if you’re newly sober, then you have the right to take your health and comfort seriously too. …

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