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Taking the lessons I've learned from The Booster Duckpond (January - March 2021) as well as from The Deep Duckpond, I'm launching a new limited offer from mid-May to the end of June.
Especially for those people who have struggled to gain much momentum in their sober journeys, this limited offer combines daily prompts in a restricted, safe, supportive Facebook group, weekly group coaching (focussed on the sober lessons from the week gone, and preparing for the week to come) in addition to weekly 1:1 coaching sessions with me.
It will work best if you already have a specific goal in mind, in which going (and remaining) AF for the six weeks will be a help, rather than your main focus. As an ICF trained and certified life and business coach who also has experience coaching people through the early days of sobriety (as well as focussing on the challenges which can arise in mid-long term sobriety), I'll be able to accompany you on your project, ensuring the faesability of each step along the way.
My own personal and political aversion to diet culture means that I won't work with people on a project consisting solely of weight loss, but a project of self-confidence, of getting faster, fitter, more emotionally in tune, more at ease with communication, assertive, resilient ... those things, I can absolutely accompany you on. Professional or personal (the two are often heavily linked), we can make it work.
Think of what goal you would like to achieve between now and the end of June 2021. Can it fit in the SMART framework? Are you excited by it? Will it keep you busy - hands and mind? Will it be positively impacted by the extra time, energy and motivation you are likely to experience while on an alcohol-free adventure?
Combining 1:1 weekly coaching sessions to check in and make progress on your project, with the weekly coordinated group support zooms (two sessions will be offered per week to account for different time zones and needs), alongside daily prompts and group support ... this is an opportunity to really build momentum on your sober journey, and to meet your own personal goals in addition.
Places are limited to 12 for the session running May 15th - June 27th.
Pricing is at £495 for the six weeks of support and momentum building.
Sliding scale fee also available.
Get in touch today! Email email@example.com or send me a message on Facebook.
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Can we talk cravings and triggers for a second?
I really want to normalise the idea that it’s ok to experience a craving, or to be triggered, even in mid-long-term sobriety. I see so many people, in the big groups and also in the duckpond, talking about cravings / triggers as if it was a failure on their part. They don’t get to pass into Easy Sobriety, so they may as well just get drunk and then maybe start again in the future when they’re “ready”. And sure, ok, fine if that’s what you want to do. But also … we could just accept that in a world where a huge number of adults (and not-so adults) consume alcohol, ‘responsibly’ and excessively; in a world where the marketing magicians tell us, overtly and covertly, that we need booze to get over a hard day, to really make a special moment that much specialler, to unwind, to reward ourselves, to function in society as a human being; in a world where a Pride parade is more likely to be sponsored by Big Alcohol than it is to provide and promote access to therapy … it’s fucking NORMAL for us to experience a craving or be triggered. And it’s OK. It’s ok.
The way I understand it, a craving is the thought of “oh wouldn’t a nice glass of [insert alcohol here] be nice / improve / heighten this situation right now?” … experiencing a craving doesn’t mean you’ve failed at sobriety. It just means your neural pathways are still associating a certain moment / position / thought pattern / activity / environment with alcohol … and it will take time for you to build up new associations for them. Hell, we’re (the lucky ones) starting to come out of a pandemic which has taken its toll on absolutely everyone. A huge toll, and one we may well be dealing with for the rest of our lives. It also means that for over a year now, things have been different. So if you’re attending your first sober parties, restaurants, get-togethers, apéros, ritual slaughtering of The Man, and your mind goes to the idea that booze would be a pleasant addition? It’s OK. It’s alright. You don’t have to give into it. You don’t have to run home (although you can). You don’t have to call yourself a “Dry Drunk” and give yourself 500 lashings from the good book or any other book. You are allowed to just notice the craving, see it for what it is, and let it pass. I promise, the craving will pass. The more practice you get at just letting it pop in, rumble around in your head, and then pop off again … the faster the whole process will get. I promise.
For me, a trigger is different to a craving in the intensity (less of a “oh wouldn’t it be nice if …” more “I’m going to die if I don’t …”) – a trigger (in my understanding) is more the thinking that a situation / place / person / thought / action / event is so intolerable that if I don’t change something about my way of experiencing it (through drugs / booze / cigarettes / food / hiding under the table rocking back and forth and screaming for Jesus / sex / all of the above), I will die, or feel like it. REST ASSURED, beauties who are in the earlier days, THESE BECOME LESS LONG AND INTENSE AND FREQUENT OVER TIME. But they can still occur, months and years down the line, and it’s OK for them to occur. Because sometimes life throws us a curveball or twelve, and it’s NORMAL for us to think back to old coping mechanisms. Of course the immediate thought is of a bottle of wine/whiskey/vodka “to cope”. But this is where our sober navigational tools and techniques come in. Playing it forward. Connecting with community *who gets it*. Running, dancing, hiding, screaming, deep breathing, baking, crying, writing, wanking, swimming, yoging, making whale sounds, throwing things, singing, curling, covering ourselves in peanut butter and throwing ourselves to the dogs… We do what it takes. We recognise what is happening (“I am feeling triggered to drink alcohol because ***”), we get through it, and we land on the other side. Perhaps bruised, probably breathless, but we get there. And every time we do, every time we ride that wave, we fight that battle, we get stronger.
It’s OK for us to experience cravings and triggers. I’m just over 18 months no booze, and this last week or two I’ve been experiencing some wicked cravings and triggers. But in doing the work, I know why. I’m making advances in therapy, and my dad’s been really ill, and the nicer weather is coming, and the world is starting to open back up, and I’m in desperate need of some Vitamin Sea and haven’t been able to get to open water for over six months, and there’s all sorts of amazing and overwhelming opportunities and projects starting to take shape with my business, and I’m making huge steps in bringing Legal Me in line with Real Me … when I take a little step back from the cravings and triggers (which being 18+ months AF allows me to do more easily) … I can see everything that’s going on. Of course my lovely little brain is sending “comfort and reassurance please! Make this better / easier / more blurry!” requests. Of course it is! So I listen to it – the needs behind the requests.
Please, don’t beat yourself up for having a craving or being triggered. They are not a sign of failure, they are not a sign that this choice will forever be a hard one, that you will always be battling. They are a normal part of the process. I would like to say that one day you’ll just never experience them again, but I don’t know if that’s true for you, or for me. I do know that they rarely last for longer than 20 minutes at a time, and in doing the maths, even on a bad day when I might experience 3 full-on triggers/cravings (I haven’t had more than 3 in a day in … a really long time), that’s still only one hour out of 24. A year and a half ago, I was probably spending 2-5 hours pissed or on my way to it, an hour or so thinking about it, and who knows how many hours hungover (acutely and low-grade background hungover). On a very regular basis. I’m not great at maths, but I think the current version wins.
So many of us have a tendency to be harsh with ourselves, even when we’re lovely and loving with others. So my invitation is this: go gently. Take a deep breath. Step back. Recognise what’s going on, give yourself a loving touch (wherever is appropriate, I was thinking of your arm, but wherever you need it) and reassure yourself like you would a puppy or a small human, that it’s going to be OK. Because it is.
I love you.
(As always: The Deep Duckpond is open to women and queer folk looking for an inclusive radically loving safe sober support space, and can be found on Facebook Groups or through clicking here.
The Duckpond, my writing, and my free work with people is all made possible through your support via my Patreon - I am eternally grateful for your support, at whatever level you are able to help me support others).
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I am changing. I am stepping more and more into myself and the life – the one life I get – I want and need and deserve to lead.
My transness and sobriety are interlinked. There would not be one without the other – or it would be a hundred times harder for me to see and imagine one without the other.
Could I have carried on boozing to ignore, boozing to forget, boozing to numb myself into a false sense of comfort? Yep. But it would have been to delay the inevitable even further. The more I look back at various points in my life, the signs were there, the messages were there, the feelings were there, the “if only” was there, from such a young age. I didn’t have the words originally, and didn’t know that I had the right, for a very long time. Didn’t know if I was trans *enough*, didn’t know if it was bad *enough* for me to potentially blow everything up in my life, didn’t know if I could cope with disappointing or being disappointed. And for every moment of uncertainty, every second of “oh this doesn’t feel comfortable, nope I can’t go any further”, I would turn to the booze. Because it’s easy, it’s there, it’s socially acceptable, it takes the edge off, it blurs the lines, it helps make us small and squishy enough to fit in the boxes that our family or society or profession or culture need us to fit in *for their comfort*.
A couple of years ago, in a NLP exercise during my training to become a coach, I was asked what the one thing was that I wanted to be, that I never could be. The answer was instant, and scared me with its insistence: “a cis woman”. Nearly 18 months ago, I decided to step away from alcohol for a month, to boost my energy and motivation in the early days of my business. I didn’t know it would also give the microphone to that voice inside, the one whispering: “you’ve known. You’ve always known. Now it’s time to act.” That set off the chain of events that has led me here today – choosing to see myself every day, choosing to *be* myself every day. It comes at a price – socially, physically, emotionally, financially.
To honour my choice to stay sober every day, I need to continue to build a life that I don’t have to hide or run away from. I will.
Look at me
Look at me
I am changing
Trying every way I can
I am changing
I'll be better than I am.
To find a way
But I need
I need your help.
I am changing
Seeing everything so clear.
I am changing.
I'm gonna start right now right here.
I'm hoping to work it out.
And I know that I can
But I need you
I need a hand.
All of my life I've been a fool
Who said I could do it all alone.
How many friends have I already lost?
And how many dark nights have I known?
Walking down that long road. There was nothing u could buy.
All those years of darkness
Could make a person blind.
But now I can see that
I am changing
Trying every way I can
I am changing
I'll be better than I am
But I need a friend
To help me start
All over again.
That would be just fine
I know it's gonna work out this time
Cause this time I am,
This time I am
I get my life together now.
I am changing
Yes I know how
I'm gonna start again.
I'm gonna leave my past behind
I'll change my life.
I make it up
And nothing is gonna stop me now.
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You don’t need to start on a Monday.
You don’t need to start on the first of the month.
You don’t need to start tomorrow.
You don’t need to start in the morning.
If you want to have started? Start now.
I overthought, overprepared, and outgamed myself every time. “I’ll start next Monday,” or “I’ll start next month,” or “I’ll start on January 1st.” – it barely lasted more than a few hours, if it ever really started. And then there was clearly no point in restarting on a Tuesday, or a Thursday, or a Friday afternoon, or so close to the end of the month or year. Until one Sunday evening in October 2019. Having one of my rare “I’m not an alcoholic because I don’t *have* to drink every night” evenings off the sauce. And I finally gave into the really effective adverts from One Year No Beer, and signed up for their 28 day challenge. They asked me when my Day 1 would be and I said “today”. Completely unprepared. That afternoon I hadn’t been thinking about it. That morning, I’m sure I woke up hungover, but no more than usual. There was no “rock bottom” – just a feeling that something wasn’t quite right and was holding me back. If I’d put “Day 1” as the Monday, the next day, the logical first day of a new start … who knows what would have happened. I may have felt more pressure to drink booze that Sunday night, and felt more keenly the pressures of a Perfect First Day. As it was … I schemed my way into it, and was on Day 2 before I knew it! 533 days later … I’m glad for that last-minute decision to slip in under the radar.
When I decided to quit smoking, it was late on a Saturday night, November 30th 2019. I was smoking even more than usual since I gave the booze up. I wanted to quit but didn’t know how or when, and didn’t wantto be a cliché doing it on January 1st. So I chose the next 1st, which ended up being the next day. I had no nicotine replacements, I’d been smoking a LOT for a LONG TIME, and ignoring much of the advice from my wonderful friends in my sober community, I threw out all my tobacco and broke my vape that night. The next day, with tobacconists and pharmacies shut, I had no choice but to just “get through it”, and the following day, Monday was already Day2 … I felt I was through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms, and able to get on with it. I haven’t looked back since. Both times I acted on the spur of the moment and committed to doing something I’d been wanting to do for a long time but never knew how, or never managed to follow through on big grand declarations. Both times it has worked.
If you want to have started something new … don’t wait for tomorrow or next week or when you think you’ll feel ready … today’s the day.
You were looking for a sign? This is it.
Go fly. Imperfectly.
Find out what you need, and get it along the way.
And know that I’m here – working 1:1 and with my wonderful sober support group for women and queer folk. You are welcome with me.
There are many other wonderful communities out there. You are not alone.
Reach out. Touch us (wear a mask and wash your hands).
Dare to start.