When your drinking in active addiction you develop addictive thinking and lie to yourself that alcohol makes you more sophisticated, more elegant and like so many of us she did not want to let go of this one thing in her life but equally so - she knew she had to. 48 hours later on a Sunday morning March 20th, 2011 she woke up with a horrible hangover having drank red wine rather than her usual white of choice and her journey began. She told a very close friend the very next day explaining how much she drank, how badly she wanted to stop and how it had been escalating out of control. In a word, Jean told the truth to someone who did not dismiss her truth and tell her, she was fine drinking at those volumes. It is also an example of yet again Jean needing someone else to validate what she knew to be true, what she knew was fact but as she figures she didn't matter she continued to seek out validation from those outside of herself. In one simple sentence, "You need to quit" her friend may have well help save Jean's life coupled with the force within from the epiphany nights earlier that was telling Jean to scoop up what was left within and quit drinking once and for all. She also freely admits she needed that friend that day to not dismiss her fears or her concerns about her drinking and the choice of who she told may well have been a HP-Universe-God moment as well... Jean decided not to share it with her husband who was none the wiser as to what she was drinking as she had become an expert over the years at hiding bottles, boxes and what liquid was in her coffee mug. She also feared if she went to a meeting she would be dismissed and told she had not drank enough to merit attending. So wracked with a million fears she headed into her Day one and was utterly unsure where it

would lead but all she knew was, her drinking had to be behind her. Jean is tech savey and knew about blogs and how the world of the internet worked and the same Motivational Speaker who had asked her to goal set nights earlier came to mind as she had talked of a blog she had created for her 90-year-old Mum. With only one friend in the picture who knew her truth she decided to write a blog and create an anonymous account on Twitter for the blog. Here again she found validation from readers and a support community that fed that insecurity within that she somehow didn't matter but the outside world very much did. Early words of encouragement from readers made her feel less alone and isolated and Unpickled has gone on to become one of the must-reads of early sobriety and into the book that sits on shelves all over the world. "I quickly learnt with my blog I was not the only one, and my plan to write a blog for a few months and turn it into an article of some sort didn't quite work out the way I had planned." Jean's need for external validation continued apace in the early days and looking back she sees she set out on her journey with what she now calls 'uninformed hope' and yet it is such a valuable piece as she learnt so very much in those early days. Her detox from alcohol reiterated to herself (ultimately the one that matters but she had not reached that point in the game yet) that she did indeed have an addictive issue and it was not just drinking as a sleep-aid, that ship had sailed a long time ago... She looks back at those early posts and a part of her cringes as she feels they sound arrogant and privileged and uninformed but she has decided to leave them sit where they are as she needs to own that part of her story too. It is where the addiction cycle takes us and you're in process at that time and we need to meet each other where we are. Jean's recovery took her down routes she never imagined as she set out not understanding the full magnitude of

her need for outside validation or dismissing herself right from the bat. She has had to heal a thousand paper cuts to get to here, a place that is safe and happy to be Jean. Her healing in recovery has navigated the old coping mechanisms, those learnt and inherited from her parents and she tells a story of the ship leaving port only a degree off course... "If a ship leaves port just one degree off course, it may hit the wrong continent, so in healing small things that had big impacts on my life it helped change how I feel to be me and therefore how it is for others all around me." She has learnt that if you are super co- dependent on achievement which the world loves and awards in many ways you are always chasing something. Jean says "I am a writer, not always scrambling, not hustling for our worthiness as Brene Brown so beautifully says. I am no longer that one- man band in frantic motion, keeping the world at arm's length. I have learnt how to live with who I am when that mask came off. I have said goodbye to that girl who lived at a hundred miles an hour begging for approval. By the time the Podcast opportunity came along for Jean she had learnt that the one who mattered was her own view and opinion of herself, not what the outside world thought.

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