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

After I got sober, I became painfully aware of my people-pleasing habit. Now I’m working to destroy it.

Polite Robot smiles small and listens intently. It asks questions and doesn’t talk too much. It walks with dainty steps and tries to be quiet.

Polite Robot makes sure everyone else is okay.

It doesn’t mind where it goes, what it eats, or what it does. Its favorite catchphrase is, “I don’t mind!”

Polite Robot lives to serve.

I have grown to be very suspicious of Polite Robot.

In this post, I invite you to do the same.

The first time I understood Polite Robot well enough to name it, I was with a newly sober friend, and she was…


I was five years sober this week! And so I wrote a story about the biggest surprises that I discovered since. One of which was that I am flipping autistic. Who knew?! Enter my new Substack newsletter. Please subscribe if you like my writing, and are interested in my journey into accepting and understanding my autism diagnosis. My first letter is all about the phenomenon of the Polite Robot. Do you have Polite Robot mode?

I was also on James Morris’s Alcohol ‘Problem’ Podcast talking about how I got into trouble with drinking and how I then got sober. …


Solving my drinking problem was only the beginning

This time five years ago, I was recovering from a hangover/shame festival, felt completely overwhelmed and mad, and was absolutely sick of my life. I was 33, but somehow I didn’t seem capable of learning from my mistakes, and it was infuriating.

Five years on, I have solved most of the problems that I was experiencing then, but that doesn’t mean my life is a trouble-free zone. I am healthier, more content, more creative, and more aware than I was while drinking heavily. But the process of getting sober threw a few unexpected turns in my path too.

In five…


If working from home is leveling the playing field for neurodivergent students, why should they have to switch back?

University is a big step up for most young people, but for some, it’s a huge hill. Climbing it, they lose their breath and have to rest. Their walking boots give them blisters and they need to set up camp for the night to start again tomorrow.

An ever-increasing body of research shows how universities perpetuate white and class privilege. Women were allowed to study at University College London for the first time in 1868, which reveals who higher education was originally created for. …


How using a feelings wheel is helping me to feel more connected, loving and alive.

When I was drinking in my 20s I used to joke I was dead inside.

I thought this was funny, but I didn’t really believe it was true. I said it because I never cried. Not about real-life things anyway. Not even when my beloved grandfather died. It didn’t especially worry me. Who wanted to be a girl who cried all the time? I was a different sort of woman. I had a warped sense of humor and found comedy in all kinds of tragic situations.

Drinking gave me a reprieve from this darkness and stuckness. It made me feel relaxed and happy. …


And some solutions for how to navigate it.

Now I’m almost five years off the sauce, the idea of sobriety being boring is laughable. Life has improved ten times over since I quit drinking, and it feels a lot less boring since I stopped spending whole weekends at the pub. I have more time to focus on my relationships and hobbies and projects, and no longer feel restless, irritable or discontent so much of the time.

But I still remember the agonizing boredom of early sobriety. When I suddenly had so much more time than I was used to, and no idea what to do with it. …


Kimberly Carter tells us how writing helped her to find her way to sobriety, and I talk about what new HBO show The Flight Attendant gets right about problem drinkers (as well as what it gets wrong).

Please read, comment and clap if you like what we’re doing here. And feel free to submit your stories too. We love to read them.

Chelsey (and Gillian and maria) x


Drinkers create drama, which is why TV is full of them.

Drinkers create drama, which is why they are so prevalent on TV, but not all characters with an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) are created equal. Cassie the titular problem drinker in The Flight Attendant is glamorous, beautiful and stylish. She is also mean, inconsiderate and chronically self-involved. Like far too many people on earth, and perhaps in your immediate vicinity, alcohol is ruining her life, and she has absolutely no idea.

As a five-year sober ex-problem drinker myself, I am happy to see there are many things The Flight Attendant gets right about alcohol-use disorder. But there are a couple…


People who know how to offer support in times of grief are invaluable.

It can be difficult to know what to say when somebody is grieving. Fear of saying the wrong thing can lead us to avoid the bereaved person altogether.

If we were given clear guidelines about what to say after somebody dies, we would all feel more comfortable. Whether we have lost somebody dear to us or are wishing to offer our support.

With this in mind, I am sharing some of the things people said that comforted me after my father died suddenly.

1. “It sounds like you were both trying your best, and that’s all you can really do.”

After somebody dies it is natural to experience guilt. You wish you’d visited them more or pushed…


This month, we have had some fantastic submissions at Beautiful Hangover. We published Doran Lamb’s excellent piece about the rarely mentioned benefits of sobriety. This really resonated with me and many more readers too. Have a read if you haven’t already.

Beautiful Hangover editors maria (she/her) and Gillian May also wrote new pieces 11 ways to support your loved one in alcohol recovery and how positive vibes only will keep you stuck in addiction, respectively.

And I wrote a new story about how drinking too much is a logical response to being alive in the ’20s. Though, not generally, the best response. Also 3 truths I couldn’t believe until I quit drinking.

Thanks for reading, and please keep submitting your best work, clapping and commenting if you enjoy what we do here.

Chelsey x

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