April 2011. I'm 35 years old. My one child is staying the night at her dad's and I am home alone, struggling with depression and feeling frustrated at just having completed a law degree and being unable to secure a training contract.
In my fridge is a litre of cider, which I don't like, so I walk to the shop and buy a bottle of white wine. This has disappeared within an hour so I walk back to the shop with the intention of buying one more, except I come home with two further bottles, the outcome of Tesco's BOGOF offer.
Approximately seven hours later, I awake in A&E covered in my own congealed vomit, lying on a bed beneath stark hospital lighting, the subject of the duty nurse's withering glare. My vital signs are read, I am told to go home.
I call a taxi, return to my apartment and go to bed, where I cry for days.
This night, now eleven years ago, is etched into my psyche as the point in my life where I categorically came to accept that I cannot drink alcohol safely. That when I drink, I risk serious physical and mental harm and premature death. It is also the fork in the road that pushed me into creating Soberistas.com
The website went live in November 2012, ten years ago this year, and the life of Soberistas and my own journey with sobriety are inextricably linked. As I grew in my confidence and sober joy, so did the Soberistas community, which, at the end of its first year, was over 20,000 strong.
I did not believe in white knuckling my way through life, "not allowed" to drink alcohol because I couldn't moderate, and instead I trained myself to love my alcohol-free life and to recognise the lies that ring fence alcohol in our society, affording it protection from scrutiny in a way that other drugs such as heroin and cocaine are not. Alcohol is trivialised, glamourised and normalised, and we are mere pawns in the game - until we, for whatever reason, experience a wake up call and see it for what it is.
When I drank alcohol, I imagined I would always be an enthusiastic drinker; alcohol was everywhere in my world, omnipresent and the highest priority. Sunday lunch was really just an excuse to begin pouring wine, guilt-free, at 12 o'clock. Holidays were when the usual constraints of life vanished in a flash and heavy drinking sessions (frequently leading to disaster and danger in my case) were absolutely de rigueur.
And now, alcohol occupies a fraction of my thoughts, a minuscule corner of my existence. It no longer dictates where I go, when, with whom and how I will behave. Its iron fist of control has melted away and I am back in the driving seat of my life.
My goal with Soberistas and in the sober coaching I do has always been to help other people see that the grip alcohol has over them is an illusion, and once they have broken free from its initial hold, they too will recognise it for what it is - an addictive substance that makes us feel nice for a while but gradually steals everything from us, making us believe that we cannot be happy and enjoy ourselves unless we have it in our system.
On November 26th this year, we are hosting a party in London to celebrate Soberistas' tenth birthday and we would love to see you there. Tickets are available now from Eventbrite.
For help with stopping drinking and learning to love the alcohol-free life, contact me now on email@example.com
My brand new sober school starts on September 9th this year and runs for five weeks. The A* Sober Programme includes daily email lessons and bi-weekly group Zooms, plus access to a private Facebook group where you can connect with the other participants. Sign up now to book your place.
And to every single person who has been a part of the Soberistas community, no matter how small, thank you. Thank you for helping to build such a wonderfully positive, supportive, non-judgmental and heartwarming space that has provided so many people with the gift of sobriety. Sending you all a big cyber hug :-) Lucy xx