Hola Sober July

This month is brimming with motivation, inspiration, and wisdom for your sober journey.

JULY 2022







hola sober Susan Christina Susan Christina Gee E. Colette Louise Ann Dowsett Johnston Linda Redmond Travis Akers Maria McKenty Sophie Pelham-Burn Fiona Downey Lisa Wilde Beth MT Heidi A. Alex Hartley-Leonard Tammi Scott Lisa Wilde Jordi V. Max, Noah + Samuel Susan + Lisa Lisa Wilde Editor + Publisher Susan Christina Creamer Creative Director Layout + Design + Format Mental Health Columnist Tarot Columnist Columnist Columnist Columnist Columnist Columnist Columnist Columnist Columnist Columnist

Contributor Contributor Hola Sober Assistant Senior Tea Maker Senior Mood Boosters Proof Readers Contributing Writer Contributing Photographer Daily Cheerleaders

Hola Sober Sisters Globally Deb, Judith + Irish family

There is NO REVENUE generated by advertisers as they support the sober community in a variety of ways. All columnists VOLUNTEER their precious time and talent to ensure your inbox is filled with colour, motivation, inspiration, and education.



Susan ' s Welcome Note


Team Pick


Dear Gee


Kitchen Recipes



Tarot with Colette




Peggi Cooney takes us to an event she was the key note Speaker at and shares how much fun she had with sober women.



Ann Dowsett Johnston

Beth MT


Travis writes of breaking the chains of family cycles and how powerful it feels when you realise you are doing the work to make sure it does not go down another generation.

Heidi A.


Gayle MacDonald


Emma ' s Diary


Thoughts from Down Under



Turning Heads with Fiona Downey




Janey Lee Grace ( Extract with link )


Poetry Corner




The wonderful Janet Gourand celebrates her seventh year sober - versary sharing tips she has learned along the way.

Harriet Hunter shares with us some tips on how to change our perspective using her simple tool kit of ideas.

Art Soothes the Soul



editor's note

This weekend I have been so grateful for my alcohol- free lifestyle as I navigate an inbox of women feeling upset and powerless after the US Supreme Court Decision. I urge each and every woman reading this magazine to take whatever anger she may feel and channel it into ensuring sobriety is the number one intention daily, as all things spring from this. We can engage in protest for change ONCE we have our not today lady, not today pledge solidly in place. Hold onto HOPE, do not give in to DESPAIR, and here is how you stay in the fight ladies - you stay SOBER. That's where it all begins and ends - SOBRIETY . Stay close to your community and connections and move forward one pledge at a time. Our July issue is a feast of ideas, motivation, and inspiration. Read Sophie Pelham-Burn write about our bodies, Author Peggi Cooney writes about Sober Socialising and Janet Gourand of Tribe Sober writes her top tips after seven years of sobriety. Travis Akers shares a poignant piece on Breaking the Cycle in Familie s and Best Selling Author Ann Dowsett Johnston shares The Secret Pleasure of Not Drinking . Each and every photograph, article, and insight is shared with love from a fabulous band of women and one man with each word offered freely and joyously to sprinkle some sober magic dust in your inbox! From Team Madrid and all at Hola Sober, we would like to wish you a fabulous month ahead as we powerfully look skyward and say not today lady, not today.

Lots of love to you all, onwards + upwards.

Susan Christina Creamer

Susan Christina Creamer


Not today lady, not today.




Empowerment Program within a closed group with online kick - ass learning . Modules include science , myths , time management , and personal development . This program is designed to create sustained sobriety and a permanent upgrade to your life . It is suitable as a refresher for those in sobriety or a kick-start for those beginning their adventure . Don't bother signing up unless you are going to show up for yourself as we don't hustle at Hola Sober, we share our knowledge and support systems freely and it's up to YOU to commit and do the work. Our program includes a morning video, daily lesson, weekly closed support meeting, chat group, and our new Tribe Online Community Platform.

Our next Pledge 100 Sober Empowerment Program will kick off on September 1st, 2022.





This premium French brand delivers innovative, gourmet flavour solutions built on a bedrock of more than a century of traditional artisanal beverage know-how. Having remained a family-owned company since 1912, MONIN is now a trusted partner and a brand of choice for hospitality professionals in more than 150 countries. ive different flavors for use in cocktails

Elder Flower, Coconut, Strawberry, Mojito Mint, Passion fruit.



In the summer months, I love to enjoy a zero--proof drink after a long day at work, and for me, Gordon's Zero is a real treat. For their alcohol-free drink, Gordon's has kept the known and loved the juniper-led flavour and they use only the finest distilled botanicals. Both the aroma and taste give strong juniper-forward notes. This drink is definitely one to be drunk with a tonic though, as this really enhances the drinking experience. Take a large ice-filled glass and add 50ml of Gordon's Alcohol-Free. Gently pour in 150ml of tonic (I like Fever-Tree Refreshingly Light). Stir gently and garnish with a slice of lemon or lime



Seven years sober, Georgia Toews' debut book, Hey, Good Luck Out There , tells a story of alcohol addiction and recovery that draws on her own experience, while busting myths about what rehab is really like. "Subversive, captivating and vividly attuned to both the extraordinary and the mundane, Georgia Toews’ debut novel Hey, Good Luck Out There is a furious and hilarious journey through the relentless, soul-baring world of addiction and recovery. When she is discharged from rehab after thirty punishing days, returned to Toronto’s streets without resources, a job, or an apartment, and tasked with staying clean despite a seemingly bottomless urge to give up, the book asks: What next? What happens in the aftermath of your lowest low? Alone, and at war with an intrusive inner creature, at last she begins the process of making a home for herself in the world. Hey, Good Luck Out There introduces a dynamic new voice in fiction: Georgia Toews is at once unguardedly truthful, gritty, and darkly funny, with a sardonic, wholly original sense of the absurd.




Tart & quenching with a lovely rosé infusion, Schisandra Berry is a forest- grown adaptogen elixir. Known as the five-flavor berry, Schisandra grows like grapes on a vine and has a unique balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungency with notes of cranberry, wild rose, and citrus. In Eastern traditions, Schisandra berry is taken as a detox herb, beauty tonic & mood booster.


MARIA'S PICK I love wearing flip-flops in the summer, but I also need arch support for my feet. Vionic sandals/flip-flops offer the freedom of flip-flops, solid support, style, and durability. I have a dozen pairs and wear them every day!


I realise that this may seem an odd choice for me, but honestly, it’s a revelation! I have always struggled with hoovering my stairs due to pain and being unable to carry the hoover.. And let’s be honest there could be so much hair and crumbs on there that a small army of middle earth dwellers could move in and form a society on the stairs and the rest of my family wouldn’t notice, so I needed a solution that was easy and light. This is it. You simply sit on the stairs and run the remover over the stair you are working on. It is not only easy but soooo satisfying and really works. It’s amazing how much hair you can uncover even on freshly hoovered stairs. I promise I haven’t been replaced by a Stepford wife, this item is just really good.




My pick of the month has to be Avene SPF50+ Tinted fluid. I tried it for the first time on holiday and it not only gives high protection but also great coverage and yet feels very light, something that is very welcome in high temperatures! It was specially formulated using only mineral based filters to protect the delicate skin of the face and it’s also suitable for highly sensitive and intolerant skin types. I loved it and will continue using it as a foundation throughout the summer months. It’s very reasonably priced and gives a lovely glow to the face. I would highly recommend it if like me you like good coverage and strong protection all in one!.



MAAPILIM | FACIAL MUD MASK For a weekly deep cleansing and balancing facial treatment, try this handcrafted mud mask from the quality clean grooming brand Maapilim, known for its use of natural ingredients sourced from the lush Mediterranean region. This mineral-rich mask is made with Dead Sea mud, which deeply detoxes the skin and boosts circulation. It also features high-grade olive oil to hydrate and soften, while essential oils of cedarwood, jasmine, and bergamot deliver a refreshing scent. Relax and treat your skin with this all-natural, aromatic formula.



Tweezy Facial Hair Removal is a gentle, chemical-free and affordable solution to remove unwanted hair on the face, time and time again. Simple hold the rubber grip handles of your Tweezy Facial Hair Removal tool for men and women. Bend the metal spring into a ‘U’ shape before using it to gently remove unwanted facial hair, using a twisting action. The active spring motion removes excess facial hair from the root (like salon threading), without the time and cost associated with appointments. Tweezy is suitable for men and women of all skin types, it’s a quick and easy way to remove unwanted hair on areas such as the upper and lower lips, cheeks, jawline and neck, via a bend-and-twist action. Results can last up to six weeks, depending on your individual hair growth patterns. Tweezy Facial Hair Removal also helps slow down regrowth, due to its ability to remove hair from the follicle, making the latter weaker over time.



An ultra-calming blend of soothing seed oils to hydrate the skin and prevent redness with protective carrot seed oil and anti- inflammatory evening primrose seed oil. Apply a small amount of oil to the fingertips and massage into the skin in a circular motion. What are the key carrot seed oil benefits? Carrot Seed Oil has excellent emolliency, anti-inflammation, sebum regulation, and cell energizing properties.


GOW ROSEHIP HEALING Garden Of Wisdom Rosehip Oil is an organic, cold- pressed oil that contains a potent blend of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, making it an effective way to tackle acne scarring, restore skin elasticity and calm inflammation in rosacea-prone skin. Harvested from wild rose bushes in Chile, this organic cold-Pressed Rosehip Oil for face is the only vegetable oil to contain Tretinoin (Pro-Vitamin A) – a highly effective ingredient used to tackle acne and post-blemish scarring. Ultra-light and non-greasy, rosehip seed oil absorbs easily, helping to replenish lipids and restore your skin’s elasticity.



This box is perfect for creating that spa experience at home. With three divine bath and body products, you can run a hot tub, sprinkle the salts, light your candle and sit back and relax. The Coconut Body Milk is the perfect post- bath moisturiser, locking in hydration with a delicate tropical scent; the Lavandula Hand Cream is scented with Lavender essential oil and is a lovely product to use just before bed – simply apply and let the aromatherapeutic properties of the Lavender oil lull you to sleep. This bundle is ideal for treating someone (or yourself) to a few moments of self-care.



Tired of dull skin, pigmentation, and dark spots? Breathe new life into your skin and get a bright, spot-less complexion with the new Garnier Bright Complete Vitamin C Serum, Garnier’s most concentrated spot-reduction formula. This Vitamin C serum is an anti-oxidant rich face serum that brightens your skin from the first application and reduces dark spots and acne marks in just 3 days. Experience fast and visible results with the Garnier Bright Complete Serum.


It may be a cliche, but the mantra “buy less and buy better” is key when you consider that a staggering 100bn garments are being produced globally every year. Before making a purchase, sustainability consultancy Eco-Age’s chief brand officer Harriet Vocking advises that you ask yourself three all-important questions: “What are you buying and why? What do you really need? Will you wear it at least 30 times?”

Read in full here Vogue 2021


SUMMER BAG Small leather tote with round cut-out details and delicate thin shoulder straps. Handmade in Spain by uniquely talented artisans, celebrating excellence in craftsmanship from HEREU. (Photos Courtesy of Website)



Soko is a women-led, people-first ethical jewelry brand and tech- powered manufacturing platform built to connect artisans in Kenya with the global market. I love their look, feel, and ethos. Karamu Stacking Rings are an adorable addition to my summer

jewellery collection! Regular price$98.00 SHOP NOW ➤

Amalfi Petite Vegan Leather Watch Silver, White. Who doesn't love a white summer watch? It sings summer like no other piece of jewellery. Here is a beautiful retro watch from Spanish brand Hurtig Lane. This Vegan Watch is made with sustainable materials. The Amalfi Collection is elegant, sophisticated and most importantly cruelty-free. Beautiful dainty vegan leather or mesh straps, available in 8 different colours. Minimalist, and stylish you can pair your Amalfi model with any outfit!



All My Eco was born in Barcelona on 2019, where we realized that the vegan and eco-friendly sneakers that we wore were either quite ugly, not very sustainable, or were simply made unethically. downer. These All-season sneakers. are made using pineapple fiber , recycled plastic , cork, and vegan "leather" . Ethically manufactured in Spain . 5 trees are planted per pair. 1% of sales donated to charities.


HEREU Rooted in the Spanish Mediterranean landscape and its eclectic lifestyle, HEREU creates timeless pieces, locally crafted in the most conscious way by our partner artisans. HEREU - meaning ‘heir’ in Catalan - lays at the intersection of heritage and contemporary design, blending a modern twist on nostalgia of the past and functionality of the present. Founded in 2014 by Jose Bartolome and Albert Escribano. I love these Square toe flat leather slip on espadrille with elasticated front, crafted in unlined soft calf leather. Handmade in Alicante, Spain, by local artisans celebrating excellence in craftsmanship.


SUMMER DRESS the Sustainable

GREEN for Summer This green two-piece made with 98 percent organic cotton is perfect for those warmer spring days, and a must-have if you are planning a vacation soon. Based in Los Angeles, Reformation is a 100 percent carbon-neutral brand that tracks the environmental footprint for each piece of clothing, and also shares its yearly sustainability reports via newsletters. SHOP here BLUE for Summer This brand is committed to local production, and all of the garments are handmade in Kyiv, Ukraine. With the aim to leave no waste behind, Sleeper produces exactly as many clothes as it can sell, and will use every last piece of fabric, which also is why this dress comes with a matching blue ribbon for your hair. This linen number is sure to become your summer go-to dress. SHOP here VERSATILE CAFTAN The versatile caftan: a maxi dress perfect for mid- season with voluminous sleeves. Wear it fastened at the waist, loose for a relaxed fit or back-to-front. A garment that will empower you in the streets of the city, at any dinner or party. SHOP here






Colorful stacked bracelets. Mixed stacked stretch bracelets. Fun jewelry additions to mix and match. Bracelets are handmade and styles may differ from images.

. Wear it solo, as a choker, or stacked with other Swarovski Power Collection bracelets as part of your own arm party. This double-wrap bracelet can be adjusted to three different lengths to fit

different wrist sizes. SHOP HERE €34.50

SHOP HERE €92,95

turning heads Summer Hair

Fiona Downey shares how you can get the perfect locks this summer



As you change out your wardrobe and swap the lockdown heavy jumpers and jeans for lighter fabrics, summer dresses, and T-shirts…it's time to start thinking about your hair .. let me share some tips & advice on a new cut, food for your hair and some styling/hydrating tips that I hope will have you looking & feeling good from the inside & out as you take time to care for yourself this summer

Some ideas to ask your stylist for! Summertime doesn't necessarily require a drastic cut… However it is a good time to change things up a bit!!.. especially after being stuck in isolation for the past few months. Whether you just want to add some texture and layers to give your hair a more effortless, lightweight feel or feel like making a statement with your look…there's a summer hairstyle that's right for you! THE WAVY LOB The textured and dramatic front drop look is both edgy and chic. This is a great way to keep your hair off your back when it's hot out. If you tend to prefer longer hair, the lob is much less daunting than a bob. Plus, it's easy to grow out your hair again; unlike with a bob, there's no awkward in-between phase. Simply ask your stylist for a layered lob with some face-framing pieces. When it comes to styling, try curling your hair in alternating directions to give you a more tousled look and prevent the curls from merging together. BABY BANGS Very Hot this season.. baby bangs are a great summer hair trend to give you a edge this summer time. This look can look good with hair up or down.. change your look with out touching your length if you are letting it grow! This is also a good look if your hair is already on the straight side as it can be a bit of a nuisance to style, especially on a humid day. This high fashion look is a great way to bring attention to your eyebrows if you like so meny now take time to have their eyebrows looking the business!! LONG AND TEXTURED Not to be confused with beachy waves, this summer hairstyle is all about natural movement.. going with your natural kink & undone movement a change from the more

polished full-bodied curls. To achieve this look, ask your stylist for long layers that will wear well when you air dry your hair. Depending on your natural texture and desired length, your stylist should be able to customize the look to suit you. HEALTHY HAIR FOODS Blueberries are a natural source of Vitamin C and are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants can help protect the scalp, while vitamin C is important for protecting cells, maintaining healthy skin, and improving the production of collagen, which in turn strengthens hair capillaries that feed the hair shaft. Other foods high in Vitamin C are; guava, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, and sweet potatoes Shellfish are a good source of hair-friendly nutrients. For example, Shrimp is packed with protein, B vitamins, Zinc, Iron, and vitamin D. Salmon is packed with healthy fats and omega- 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids feed the oil glands around the hair follicle, ensuring that hair retains shine and lustre. Eating food sources high in omega-3 is important as your body cannot produce these healthy fats, which means it's only possible to get them from food or supplements. Other fish full of essential omega-3 include sardines & mackerel Spinach: High in folic acid, vitamin A and C, beta carotene, and iron, spinach is truly powerful food for hair growth. A normal level of iron encourages hair growth and prevents it from becoming brittle and weak. Spinach at 6mg of iron per serving, is an excellent way of boosting iron levels and encouraging hair growth. Other iron- rich veggies are; kale, broccoli, and lentils

PROTECT YOUR HAIR FROM SALTWATER DAMAGE When you're overexposed to seawater it can be hard on your hair. Our hair's water content is what makes it elastic and shiny. Salt water has a large salt content that leeches water out of your hair. Dehydrated hair can become dry, dull, lose colour, become prone to being tangled, and can sometimes cause split ends. The best way to protect your hair from the damage of salt water is to be proactive about it. Here are a few tips to help you stay hydrated and protect your colour *A PRE-SHAMPOO TREATMENT *A REGULAR (TIGHT) SWIM CAP *GOOD LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER *SHAMPOOING YOUR HAIR TWICE *AFTER A SWIM REPLACING YOUR REGULAR CONDITIONER WITH A MOISTURE MASK AFTER A SWIM CONVERT DULL- DEHYDRATED HAIR TO SHINY HAIR Stay Hydrated Drink 2L of water daily.. I find this difficult and adding some cordial really helps me!! Use Professional Shampoo & Conditioner Make sure it has top-quality ingredients.. preferably paraben & sulphate free . Ask your hairdresser for recommendations so you know your are investing in the right products for your own hair type. Wash Your Hair Some people think that this dries out your

Don't Skip Conditioner Conditioning closes off the follicle & lets light bounce off Turn Down Styling Products You can get the results you want without them on the highest heat Use an Intensive Hair Mask Use once a week to hydrate your hair with a protein/hydrating treatment. Use a Heat Protector When using heat styling tools and it helps to also protect your colour. Choose the Correct Products For Your Hair Stay away from products that are too heavy and weigh your down. If your hair is fine go for shampoo clear in colour as a shampoo too heavy/creamy will flatten it.. always go for “volume” shampoo or shampoo for oily hair to be safe. Don’t be afraid to talk with your hairstylist about your hair when you are in the chair … ask questions and pick his/her brain for ideas and knowledge.. it’s all part of the service and a good stylist with a love to talk about all things hair will help you manage your crowning glory in between your salon visits!! Now you have some tips let’s all hope for a nice Sunny Summer so that we can all continue to grow

and “let our hair down!! “ Lots of love Fiona x

hair but it actually hydrates it.. *Remember to double Cleanse!! Rinse Properly

Make sure there is no residue being left behind as it will leave your hair full & limp looking

"Alcohol can negatively affect our hair in multiple ways," Robert Dorin, MD, hair specialist and medical director of True & Dorin Medical Group in New York City, tells us. "Our hair requires constant nourishment, and healthy hair relies on how hydrated our bodies are. Consuming excessive alcohol can leave hair dry and brittle." This is probably pretty in-line with everything you've ever known about alcohol: it dehydrates you. It's why water can help with hangover symptoms. Not only should you be using masks to restore your dry hair, you should be using hair oils and other moisturizing products to keep it from drying out.


STORE CUPBOARD BEAUTY Many of the ingredients you need are in your kitchen cabinets.


A decadent, antioxidant-packed cocoa mask replenishes moisture and gives skin a restored, youthful appearance. "As skin ages, the moisture barrier begins to break down leading to dryness and the immunity layer of the skin weakens," says skincare expert Jasmina Aganovic. "Hydration is the most important skin saver at this stage!" Recipe: Combine 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 tablespoon honey, and one egg white. Apply to face and let dry before rinsing. The powerful ingredients make this a multi- tasking wonder cream: Sour cream is a form of lactic acid that hydrates as it gently exfoliates; honey is a humectant that also boosts hydration while the protein in the egg white tightens and firms skin.

HOME MADE COCOA + HONEY + SOUR CREAM MASK INGREDIENTS 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 egg white.

(From Good Housekeeping)


HOME FOOTSPA RECIPES #1 Epsom salt foot soak


To make this foot soak, add 1 cup of Epsom salts to a footbath containing warm water. Soak the feet for 20–30 minutes. Avoid using Epsom salts if there are


any open wounds on the skin. #2 Apple cider vinegar soak

Epsom Salts Apple Cider Vinegar Baking Soda Sea Salt

Some people drink apple cider vinegar to encourage detoxification. To make a detox bath using apple cider vinegar, add 1 cup of the vinegar to a tub of warm water and soak the feet for 20–30 minutes.

Vinegar may also deodorize the feet. #3 Baking soda and sea salt soak

Dissolve 1 cup of sea salt and 1 cup of baking soda in a warm footbath. Soak the feet in it for 30 minutes.

pause, reflect and behold the gifts of sobriety.


“ Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?” -- Annie Dillard in The Writing Life When I gave up drinking more than a decade ago, the first thing I noticed was my lover’s kiss at bedtime, under the full moon which used to stream into my bedroom: I was awake, alert, and present, ready for what came next. The second thing I noticed was I could read again, at bedtime: no more nodding off mid-sentence, forgetting what I had tried to absorb. I was alert and hungry. Since I was a young child, reading before bed has been a favourite pastime. I was back. This was a gift, and remains one of my favourite parts of being sober, a highlight of my 24 hours. In fact, my bedside table is groaning. Richard Wagamese’s Embers—a precious first gift from a lover—sits atop Katherine Schulz’s brilliant memoir Lost & Found—also from the same lover. There too lie works by Annie Dillard, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Joan Didion, plus the most recent addition: poetry by the Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska, whose “Life While You Wait” I am committing to memory. I love it so. Beckoning fingers, these books are for me, reminders of long, sweet summer nights spent lost in a book, seduced by word after word after word. All this pleasure began with a one-word sentence—the most complicated one to say: a simple “No.” I said no to alcohol. And with that declaration, made 4,976 days ago , I re- embraced so much that I love about a conscious life. And jettisoned so much that I hate about its alternative: the hangovers, the fuzzy thinking, the loss of control.

Two years after I said no to alcohol, more than 12 years ago, I lost my brilliant father— a pioneering geophysicist who had traveled the world—to Korsakoff’s, extreme alcoholism. He died with an A.A. card on the corner of his desk. I had lost my mother decades earlier to alcoholism as well, and with her drinking, a good chunk of my childhood. I lost my favourite cousin to an impaired driver. And I almost lost myself. Saying no has allowed me to say yes to so much. Yes to writing my book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. Yes to going back to school to becoming a psychotherapist. Yes to love. Saying no has meant: I am back. I am reading—not just the books on my nightstand, but the work of the talented members of my Writing Your Recovery courses. Life is full. The British essayist Joseph Addison says there are three grand essentials to happiness: having something to love, something to do, and something to hope for. As a writer and a reader, I have something I love, something to do and something to hope for. I wish the same for you.

To learn more about Writing Workshops with Ann Dowsett Johnston please click on her workshop information HERE



I recently installed bird feeders in my backyard at the request of my wife, who had completed her year-long project of constructing a garden for us to enjoy. One evening in early June, as the warm Florida sun began to set, my wife and I watched in silence on our patio as the birds swooped back and forth, taking turns at the feeders, gathering their final meal of the day. While captivated by the flights in and out, the sounds of nearby squirrels chattering, and the chirps of crickets and other summer bugs, the silence was shattered as my wife grabbed my hand and in an unexpected moment said, “You have broken all of the

cycles you wanted to break.”I was caught by surprise, and with confusion, I asked, “what do you mean?” She replied, “Your family’s alcoholism, physical and emotional abuse, and spending time with your children.” I was stunned and sat for a moment to digest the words that had just been spoken. And it dawned on me at that moment, that she was right. I had set out to break the repetitious cycles of toxic family history, and I was able to claim victory in that battle. My wife had coroneted the achievement of breaking these cycles, and a sense of validation and vindication began to settle in my soul.

There's a better life, there's a better life.” This is exactly where I was in life during my drinking. I continued to walk the same path (in a drunken state), making poor decisions, waking up with regrets, waking up with hangovers, not remembering the night before, not living in the moment, not being there for my family, all the while allowing the bottle to whisper in my ear, “I am what you need, I am your pain reliever.” The bottle was a liar. The bottle claimed it would fill the holes inside, but it just created more. But I was stuck in the cycle, I was enslaved to repeating the same mistakes of generations. And my master was alcohol. But there was good news. As the lyrics of “Chain Breaker” say, “there’s a better life,” I just had to discover it… by breaking the cycle. While most of us have broken the cycle of our drinking, there are perhaps other cycles we desire to break as well. Some of these cycles will be broken as a bi-product of not drinking – lying, toxic relationships, unhealthy lifestyle… but others, we have to take action - face head-on in our sober state and make intentional changes. Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, a pediatric psychologist and parent coach, suggests five beginning steps in breaking cycles in her article Repeating Cycles and How to Break Them: 1. Make a record of patterns of behaviors. You can do this through video/voice recording, journaling, or sharing your journey with others (i.e, podcasts, blogging, social media). 2. Determine your triggers. These are things that really grind your gears and things that you have an exaggerated emotional or mental reaction to beyond what should be expected. You can ask: “What is this the reaction I’m having to this event? Is it really about just this event or all the events that look like this one?”

I grew up with a physically and emotionally abusive father. We have long-since reconciled and made mutual amends; but the scars will always remain. My father also abused alcohol before I was born. I was never a witness to his reckless and unlawful behavior when he was drinking, but the stories I have been told from him, my mother, other family members, and family friends, lead me to believe he was not the type of person you would want to be with when he was drinking. He was arrested numerous times, was caught in several bar fights and brawls, and had a violent streak with a temper that continued to reside in his hands and fists long after he gave up the bottle and had become a father. I often found myself on the receiving end of his temper growing up and recall cowering under his painful hits, all while telling me, you made me do this, I didn’t want to, or I am doing this because I love you. Some love. I vowed that if I ever had children, I would never raise my hand against them. And to this day, I do not discipline with any type of physical pain or contact. A family history of abuse and alcoholism is a familiar story among the readers of these pages. For some, it’s a story all too real and triggering. For others, it’s a story heard often in rooms of recovery and support meetings. Family abuse and alcoholism quickly become a cycle, passed from generation to generation, each child conforming to what they believed was a normal upbringing, adopting their childhood and adolescent environment as their own approach to life and the families they would one day have of their own. And the cycle continues, on and on and on. Until it doesn’t. Until the day, it is finally broken. Broken with resolve. Broken with honesty. And broken with an unyielding determination to reset the course of history. There is a song named “Chain Breaker” by Christian recording artist Zach Williams. In the opening verse, Zach sings, “If you've been walking the same old road for miles and miles... If you've been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies… If you're trying to fill the same old holes inside…

3. Understand your responses to these triggers. What do you do when X happens? Why did you respond in that way? Is this an expected reaction? Would others respond in this same way given similar circumstances? Would you like to respond differently, more adaptively? It is important this is done in a non-judgmental manner that is free from shame. Remember, you are working toward understanding yourself and your patterns of behavior better. This process is not about cultivating shame or breeding guilt. 4. Develop a hypothesis. Brainstorm the underlying reason behind your behavior patterns, triggers, and responses. When did this start? When do you remember thinking this thought? What is your earliest memory tying you to this particular emotional, mental, or behavioral reaction? How did others treat you in those moments? What messages are you telling yourself about this person, situation, or event? (A mental health professional can also help you with this process.) 5. Is this belief or behavior serving you? Be honest and ask yourself whether holding on to this pattern of behavior and engaging in this cycle is serving you? Are you a better human being because of it or does it deplete and chip away at you? Following Dr. Lockhart’s steps will help establish some of the root causes and understand what contributes to the repetition of cycles. From there you can begin to address these triggers or behaviors and unlearn the things that are holding you back. A final tip for breaking cycles is to be patient. There will not be an overnight change and to believe so is a setup for failure. Although we are programmed for instant gratification, making significant life changes does not happen quickly, there is much work to break cycles, and it will require an extended time of reinforcement. Be easy and forgiving of yourself, as there will be times in the beginning of your efforts that you may slip into old behaviors and responses. But don’t lose hope. As long as you are aware and adjust, you will be able to completely break a cycle little by little. Whether it be alcohol, bad spending habits, overeating, or the many other things that can trap us into unhealthy cycles, remember and continue to tell yourself, “there’s a better life, there’s a better life.”

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30-DAY SELF-CARE Challenge






Go on a Leisurely Walk Alone

Create a Vision Board

Be Good to Someone You Love

Start a New Inspiring Book

Declutter 10 Items





DAY 10

Detox From Social Media

Do a Random Act of Kindness

Hydrate with 8 glasses of water

Commit to a Day of Eating Healthy

Get a Massage

DAY 11

DAY 12

DAY 13

DAY 14

DAY 15

Find a Quiet Spot and Read

Get an Extra Hour of Sleep

Create a Fitness Goal

Meditate for 10 Minutes

Try Something New

DAY 16

DAY 17

DAY 18

DAY 19

DAY 20

Create a Morning Routine

Do something spontaneous

Skip the Added Sugar

Write 3 Intentions for Yourself

Unplug for 12 hours

DAY 21

DAY 22

DAY 23

DAY 24

DAY 25

Create a Bedtime Routine

Start Your Day With Gratitude

Identify Three Stressors

Send a “Thank You” Note

Engage in Self- Reflection

DAY 26

DAY 27

DAY 28

DAY 29

DAY 30

Take a personal day

Give Yourself a Daily Facial

Watch sunset or sunrise

Call a friend

Make a Wish



I mean it’s not like you were an alcoholic, were you?

meetings where I have said that I was an alcoholic, and the sky didn’t fall in around me. And the people who attended the meeting were just normal human begins like you or me. That is because that is what we all are, normal people with a problem with alcohol. This has made me realise how important the work that we are all doing in the new recovery spaces (and the old) is. It is vital. It’s so easy for big alcohol to put the blame on us drinkers, we are the drinkers that have failed. We are the drinkers that didn’t ‘drink responsibly’. It’s so much easier than addressing the culture around us that encourages us to drink alcohol from our teenage years onwards. Only to act horrified and as if there is something is wrong with us when we become addicted to the addictive substance.

I mean it's not like you were an alcoholic, were you?

I recently reached my 1st year sober birthday. Obviously, I was delighted to achieve this, but I also felt that I was now comfortable even in my own skin enough, to share my sobriety with others who aren’t in the sober community. The reactions have been various, but after the initial reaction, I often hear, “I mean it’s not like you were an alcoholic, were you?” followed by a wide-eyed expression and bated breath. This has made me wonder what the word alcoholic conjures up in people’s minds and why are they so scared of it? I personally, don’t use the word because I prefer to say that I was addicted to an addictive substance. But I have attended AA


Especially if they know that their patterns are like mine. Quite frankly, it’s none of my business how much they drink, but I will be around should they ever wish to talk to me about it. Unfortunately, the stigma of alcohol addiction is still around. Therefore, I understand that for some the idea of sharing their story is a definite no. Be it down to career, family dynamics anything. That is down to the individual, but those people who can’t share, do see us who do. And I believe, the more of us that admit our alcohol history and show that we don’t have two heads and are normal people who have a ‘thing’, the more women we will help. I have never shared my worries over alcohol before. However, this week I did. I was met with love and support and a couple of members divulged that they too had stopped for the same reason. By being open and talking about it in an empowering fashion, the members felt comfortable enough to also share, I hope that others will also now feel like they can talk about it too. If we can just dispel that myth that it is something that we have done wrong, so many lives would be saved. People would not be afraid to even begin to talk about the issue, never mind ask for help. Of course, it may be that they aren’t really asking if I am an alcoholic at all. It could be that I have set the cogs in their brain whirring and they are starting to wonder about their own drinking.

What I find particularly scary is that when people ask me that question, they are obviously using the old standard that we all used to think of when imagining an alcoholic. You know, waking up and drinking alcohol from a brown paper bag rolling around the street drunk, losing everything etc. We know that this is sad reality still for many. However, it is not true for everyone with alcohol issues, and by perpetuating this myth we are stopping people from asking for, or even realising that they need help. And therefore, I have started sharing that I am now sober. I want people to see that someone like me, who was seen mostly as a bit of a party girl, someone who is a laugh to drink with. Had a problem and decided that it was time to stop. I have been a member of a parenting group online for years.

You can't stay committed to your own bullshit and to your growth. It's one or the other. -Scott Stabile -




READ THE ARTICLE IN FULL HERE "I’d read about all the benefits that can come when you reduce or give up drinking. Better sleep, regulated weight, better digestion, better sex, better cognitive function, and many people report their anxiety reduces or dissipates, I didn’t lose any weight for a few months and I felt ‘chaotic’, but eventually, all the benefits kicked in – and more. My eyesight improved (really!) and I got shiny locks, and sober hair (who knew!) And I feel younger. Want the best anti-aging secret ever? Ditch the booze! (You’re welcome!) You see, alcohol steals your joy, and being sober makes you brave." " SOBER QUEEN "I am a major fan of Janey and have been for some time. She is my lady of the month in July for no reason other than she is fabulous, sober and a powerful woman. (Photo from Internet Article with link below)


How women’s drinking has changed Women have been cajoled into keeping up with the lads, and it’s us baby boomers who are the worst, while many millennials are choosing not to drink at all, the biggest rise in drinking is in older women, and yet we are the ones the toxic liquid hits hardest. Alcohol is responsible for 200 different illnesses, including cancer, and it’s notably terrible for exacerbating menopausal symptoms....so many women are being offered medication, without being asked whether they are in fact self- medicating. I’ve lost count of clients who have told me they rocked up to a GP or a practitioner complaining of mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, wondering if they were menopausal, only to be sent away minutes later with a prescription for anti- depressants, sometimes HRT too, but they were never asked about their drinking. It’s a disaster waiting to happen, that so many women are being offered medication, without being asked whether they are in fact self-medicating. wasn’t sure how to stop drinking to be honest, it was such an ingrained habit, and I was worried about what others might say, whether I’d be ridiculed, “sober shamed”, rather than congratulated for the sober badass I really was! When you stop smoking everyone says “well done!” But if you stop drinking people tend to look concerned and ask if you “have a problem”. ‘ Alcohol is the only drug you have to justify not taking’ You see, alcohol is the only drug you have to justify not taking, and when I finally decided to quit just for Dry January 2018, I didn’t tell anyone close to me. I felt a sense of shame and guilt that I couldn’t explain. In reality, I found that if I stood my ground and said “Thanks I’d love a drink, I’ll have sparkling water”, people accepted that, if I hesitated and looked unsure, then they steamed in with “Can’t you just have one?” This time it was different, it was as if a light had come on, and I didn’t ever go back."

"You see I loved my nightly glass (or two or three) of wine, I was fully functioning, never had a DUI, never missed a day off work, I just drank most days…doesn’t everyone? I couldn’t just have one either, I wasn’t born with an ‘off switch. But to be clear, there was no rock bottom moment, I was what’s known as “high functioning” – “high bottomed” (sadly not true for a woman my age!). I would wake at 3 am almost without fail, heart racing, berating myself for yet again drinking too much, and on a Tuesday to boot! I would hear a voice telling me “This has to stop’ It’s not authentic with who you are. You are meant to care about your health and practice self-care, Stop poisoning your body with alcohol!’ Everyone is drinking! You can just have one! By 6 pm the next evening, a much chirpier voice arrived. The voice of the “wine witch”. You’ve had an exhausting day, time for a cheeky chilled Sauvignon…You might give up? Don’t be ridiculous! Sober – anagram of Bores! Everyone is drinking! You can just have one! When you look, alcohol is everywhere Alcohol is so ingrained in our culture. From baby showers, christenings, and playdates to parties, weddings, fresher’s week, and funerals – from celebrations to commiserations, it’s the “social glue” that sticks everything together. We have been brainwashed into thinking we are either ‘good drinkers’ or alcoholic losers. Clearly, there are rock bottom drunks who have a serious issue, and the rest of us – happy social drinkers – are occasionally lightweights who just can’t hold their beer. I learned over time that it’s a spectrum, there are many “grey area drinkers”. I’d suggest there are at least 50 shades of grey – but sadly not so sexy! …the biggest rise in drinking is in older women, and yet we are the ones the toxic liquid hits hardest.


Every year, as summer hits full swing and the prospect of beach-side holidays comes up, we start seeing all sorts of quick-fix diets to get you “bikini body ready ”, or to use a phrase that seems to be doing the rounds on social media at the moment, it’s time for “hot girl summer” detoxing. So this seems like an appropriate moment to do a bit of myth-busting. Firstly, to clear up any confusion, to get a bikini body ready you need to put on a bikini. That’s it. Job done. And for those wishing for a hot girl summer, just turn the aircon off for a bit. However, some people take it a bit less literally than me and start promoting all kinds of fads and quick fixes, so let’s dive in. MYTH-BUSTING #1 ACTIVATED CHARCOAL This is often touted as a detox supplement, supposedly drawing toxins out of your intestines so they can be flushed out of the body, and also as a weight loss supplement that apparently binds to fats and sugar to prevent you from absorbing them. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Only it doesn’t do any of those things. So where has this idea even come from? A derivative of activated charcoal is sometimes used in A&E departments to help rapidly absorb certain types of drugs in people who have overdosed. Under those circumstances, it could be described as a kind of detox. However, that’s not all charcoal absorbs.

. It also binds onto several important minerals and lots of other useful phytochemicals which prevent their absorption. It doesn’t bind to any fats or sugars though! In short, outside the very specialised context of A&E, it doesn’t prevent absorption of the not so helpful stuff, but it does prevent absorption of the good stuff. MYTH-BUSTING # 2 - Apple Cider Vinegar Primarily promoted as helping with weight and fat loss, apple cider vinegar has actually been studied quite extensively. It does seem to have a moderate effect on reducing appetite and reducing fat mass, however, the vast majority of the research has been done on rodents. If there is one thing I’m always going on about with nutrition, it’s the importance of context! You are not a mouse. Of the studies done in humans, most were of incredibly poor quality (the scientists had not adequately controlled for the influence of factors other than the vinegar on the outcomes they were measuring) so we can’t really draw any firm conclusions from them. The bottom line, if you like apple cider vinegar go on ahead and use it in salad dressings and cooking wherever you like, just don’t think you need to down a spoonful of it before every meal. There aren’t currently any proven benefits, but if taken without being mixed into foods/dressings it can erode tooth enamel and in extreme cases, there have been reports of damage to the oesophagus due to the acidity.

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