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

The five years since I quit have really changed my perspective

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Five years sober, I have no regrets about my decision. For a problem drinker like me, living sober is much more pleasant than being a regular binge-drinker plus drinking alone a lot.

But there are a few things I would do differently if I had a time machine. If you are embarking on sobriety, then here are some tips about how I would approach it, if I had to do it again.

1. Be more honest with your inner circle about why you are doing it

I was so embarrassed about my inability to keep drinking that I struggled to be honest about why I was quitting. And this is to my closest friends…

On dark days it’s easy to think healing is impossible — here’s a reminder it’s not

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Alcohol is a depressant that people use to cheer themselves up. Socially sanctioned and easily available, yet worldwide, 2.8 million people die alcohol-related deaths every year.

Some demand to be allowed to overindulge. Some drink themselves to death. Some would rather die than live without it.

The contradictions inherent in discussions of alcohol speak to the power it holds over us, culturally.

The good days in recovery are a breeze. But how do you deal with the terrible days? …

“It felt like everyone had been given an instruction manual except me”

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“I used to look at the kids playing and think, How do they know what to do?”

“Drinking made me feel normal.”

“It felt like everyone had been given an instruction manual except me.”

These are all sentences that I have heard in AA meetings. When I first heard people saying this sort of thing I nodded fervently.

Yes! That’s me! I relate! HELLO! I RELATE! Thank god!

Five years after I got sober, I discovered I am Autistic. Since then I’m learning a lot about what that means. I’ve learned that Autism often runs in families, and have realized…

Or how a game of Scrabble taught me to stop lying to myself

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I quit drinking for good after a terrible game of Scrabble. Embarrassing, but true. I kept this story to myself because it was pathetic. What kind of person joins a 12 step fellowship after a game of Scrabble goes wrong?

Later I realized that encoded in this brief story was everything that had been making life so difficult for me back then. And that included my unwillingness to talk about it.

Getting sober has taught me to be truthful. With myself and with others. I don’t always find it easy. The truth isn’t always convenient. …

Last week I invited Doran Lamb to join the editorial team at Beautiful Hangover as she has been contributing such strong content for a while now. Thanks for joining us, Doran! So please keep sending us your best work. We love to share your stories.

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This week Gillian May wrote a powerful piece 9 Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms You’d Never Think of, and Doran Lamb wrote about the common mistake she sees people making with their sobriety and warns against it. And I wrote about my ongoing dilemma with drinking 0.0 beers as a sober person. Am I risking my sobriety

Interview with John Pendal, Autistic life coach

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Since I found out I am Autistic, I have been looking for where to meet other Autistic people. I crave the understanding of other neurodivergent people, as it is so wonderful and relaxing not to have to explain or perform so much. This is how I met John through a Zoom meet-up held by Thriving Autistic, a coaching and therapy organization made up of Autistic people for Autistic people.

Me: Hi John! Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed. Please could you introduce yourself?

John: Hi, my name is John. I live by the sea in the south…

What works for one recovering alcoholic won’t necessarily work for all

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“You’ve had two tonight,” my partner says as I drink the last of my alcohol-free beer.

“So? There’s no alcohol in them.”

“But you started off just having one occasionally and now you’re having two every night.”

“Yeah but… there’s no alcohol in them!”

My partner and I are both sober for over five years. It is one of the key things we have in common — a complicated history with alcohol and a passion for sobriety.

He still attends regular AA meetings whereas I have found other ways of maintaining my sobriety. We both seem to be doing well…

Um, Autistic people look like people, pal.

If you hear yourself saying this proceed with caution.

Since my slightly s h o c k i n g (to me, at least) Autism diagnosis in December I’ve disclosed my diagnosis to quite a few people. I told my partner and all my closest friends straight away.

I told my very likely neurodivergent mum pretty quickly too. It took a couple of weeks to get used to the diagnosis before I told my almost certainly Autistic dad.

The people I told immediately responded the way I expected/hoped. Telling them felt good. Like I was letting them in on who I really am, and they felt honored to be…

This is really good to read, thanks for sharing. I have invested a fair bit in myself too, I realise (MA in Creative Writing, tutored residential courses, even writing mindset coaching! and probably more I can't remember rn.) And thinking about it, they have definitely paid off. Which means I am allowed to keep doing this! I've wanted to pay for a couple of courses recently, but feared it might not be worth it, reading this has reminded me how important continuing to invest in your development is.

Thanks for sharing this!


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We are getting more and more high-quality submissions, and it’s really exciting. So thanks for reading, and thanks to those of you who write great stuff for us too : )

Thanks to Doran Lamb, Megan Holstein, Jade Porter, Javier Ortega-Araiza, Amanda O’Bryan, David Sales, Liam Sturt, James Fox Jeffries for helping broaden the perspective of BH. (Links are missing when I couldn’t easily find the writer handle, apologies!)

I published possibly my most personal story ever at Fearless She Wrote this week — is it unfeminist to teach your daughter not to drink? — and have been feeling a…

Chelsey Flood

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