HOLA SOBER AUGUST

BODY IMAGE IN SOBRIETY

NUTRITION AND MENOPAUSE

12 YEARS NOT A SLAVE

COLETTE LOUISE

MY LOVE LETTER TO LOVE

THE STORY OF ONE

THE GIFT OF STORIES

TAKES ME SWIMMNG

TAROT QUEEN

Table of Contents

26 04 Susan's Welcome Note You are very welcome to the Hola Sober universe, come on inside. 08 12 15 The Gift of Stories 22 Nutrition + Menopause Sophie Pelham_Burn Hola Sober Picks Candles + Lipstick + Jewellery + Markets + Argon Oil + Jade + Nail Polish The Story of One By Linda Redmond My Love letter to Love By Tammi Scott Lea Watson Susan Christina 18 By Alexandra Hartley-Leonard

32 34 37 40

Lucy Rocca Susan Christina

12 Years Not a Slave

Susan Christina

Gayle at Sober Bliss

Susan Christina

Potter into Sobriety Christine Sojo

46 My journey as an emotional witch `Martha Duke 50 Sobriety + Body Image `Maria Sweby 64 Susan Christina

A chat with Chris Marshall - SANS BAR

i

YOU ARE VERY WELCOME

Dearest Hola Sober Queens,

You are very welcome to the thriving community of Hola Sober readers who embrace life in all its glory living life on the other side of the glass. Last month's issue certainly set the sober world on fire with readers from all corners of the globe contacting me with ideas and submissions. The wealth of ideas and passion shown by sober women globally is a clear demonstration of how very much alcohol steals from us daily. Putting down the glass and finding sobriety has enriched lives beyond measure and the talent, creativity, intellect and energy arriving in my inbox is the greatest indictment of how our quality of life has had the most serious of upgrades. As the world opens up to travel and we begin to board planes crisscrossing the globe we all know what it is like to stand in the economy check-in and hope for an upgrade to Premium-First-Class for a long haul. For me putting down my wine glass resulted in the most powerful upgrade to all things in my life. My health and wellness have improved tenfold, my mood, my spirit and my relationships are upbeat, flourishing and loving. The upgrade, we wish for it on an 8-hour flight but often fight it as an option for daily living... Upgrade, premium-first-class living can be yours filled with one sober promise and one strong and powerful statement to the universe - not today lady, not today. If you have concerns about your relationship with alcohol you are in the right place as the magazine will give you a brief glimpse of life on the other side of the wine glass, a place and space that is a joy to behold. I hope August is filled with sober gold moments in which you get the chance to stand back and enjoy your progress, feel the strength of waking up hangover-over- free capable of dealing with all life throws at you.

Not today lady, not today. Lots of love Susan x @hola_sober on Instagram

the team

Editor + lots of stuff + Publisher: Susan

Columnists: Gee, Colette Louise, Sophie Pelham-Burn, Alexandra Hartley-Leonard, Linda Redmond, Maria Sweby

Submissions + Proof Reader: Linda Redmond + Susan

Contributors: Tammi Scott, Chris Marshall, Robyn Flemming, Christine Soja, Claire Mullins, Martha Duke, Lisa Wilde, Michelle Robbings, Olga Markoff, Lisa Wilde, Kari Averill, Hola Sober Sisters Photos from around the world.

Hola Sober Daily Cheerleaders: Deb + Judith + Irish family.

Hola Sober tea + carrot cake + zoom backup squad: Jordi, Max, Noah + Samuel whom I love to the moon and back!

August Pick from Susan

The ul t imate sober t reat for me thi s month i s f rom Ladenac Mi lano founded by Pat r ick Douenat and Stefano Chi r ico . My new candle f rom the ' Boi s du Russ ie ' col lect ion by Pat r ick Douenat was inspi red by the famous eggs of the Russ ian Tsars . I got the whi te egg ceramic des ign wi th gold st r ipes ( 18K gold ) and a rhinestone f ini sh at the top . The candles are made wi th 100 % natural wax and wicks of pure cot ton , wi th a s low burn , radiat ing a br ight , warm glow . I t retai l s in Europe at 75 , 00 € but to me , i t i s a funct ional beaut i ful piece of ceramic that I now have on my dresser in the l i v ing room br inging joy into the room . For me , hav ing found my f reedom f rom the wine glass , I f ind mysel f wi th ext ra money each month and use i t to t reat mysel f and in thi s purchase , the whole fami l y have benef i t ted . Go for i t ladies , i t i s a joyful piece ! ! L o t s o f l o v e Su s a n

www . ladenac . com @ ladenacmi lano

August Pick from Colette

I t ’ s the season for farmers markets ! Local f resh vegetables and let ' s be honest , nothing tastes bet ter than homemade baking and preserves that you f ind at every farmer ' s market ! Fi l led wi th wonder ful ar t i san ar ts and craf ts and for me thi s month I took a stal l doing tarot card readings at a local market and i t was a blast ! I was a stal l - older at the Giml i Farmers Hal l market , which for more than 80 years Farmers Communi ty Hal l was the hear t of many local fami l ies ’ special events in the Inter lake Region of Mani toba . Since i ts re - opening in 2014 , Farmers Hal l cont inues to evol ve wi th many new upgrades , developments and enhancements . What i s unchanging i s i ts rust ic count ry charm , warm and inv i t ing atmosphere and of course , the prai r ie v i stas and spectacular sunsets . Wherever you are in the uni verse I would urge each of you to go f ind your own local farmers market as there i s nothing bet ter than a hangover - f ree Saturday morning spent brows ing the t reasures of your local area . L o t s o f l o v e Co l e t t e

August Pick fromMichelle

I have jumped on the bandwagon and bought a Jade Rol ler . I keep i t in the f r idge overnight and have to say i t feel s very nice on my face . I bought i t mainl y to t ry and get r id of my puf fy under eyes that don ' t seem to ease of f throughout the day anymore ! Simpl y put , a jade rol ler i s a beauty tool made of jade that i s used for face massage . I bel ieve many of the benef i ts come f rom the fact that i t ' s cold to the touch and put t ing a cold sensat ion and pressure to an area where i t rest r icts blood f low pushes f luid , known as l ymph , to the l ymph nodes , which process i t and f i l ter out tox ins f rom our body . I s i t helping my puf f iness ? Yes , i t i s and I have to say stor ing i t in the f r idge means i t i s cold and a great wake - up in the morning or at night and do bel ieve the puf f iness has reduced . For me , i t i s a s imple easy product that i s in - expens i ve that i s prov ing a wonder ful par t of my morning rout ine ! L o t s o f l o v e Mi c h e l l e

August Pick from Gee

As the UK opened up post lock - down I longed for a manicure and to have someone el se wash my hai r and do a blow - dry . I t ' s the s imple things ! I have spent years get t ing my nai l s painted and wi th a busy job , a fami l y to run and a dog to walk I found I didn ' t have the t ime to spend in a salon get t ing my nai l s done ! Thi s colour Chanel ’ s Le Verni s pol i sh in Crui se , a highl y pigmented orange i s br ight and summery , sophi st icated and chic . I t i s l ike summer t ime in a bot t le for me . There are mul t iple shades on the high st reet f rom per iwinkle blue to deep emerald green that add some drama to your day but for me , thi s shade goes wi th my ent i re summer wardrobe and adds a pop of colour to a profess ional work wardrobe . Fingers and toes thi s month for me have been pol i shed wi th thi s l i t t le gem and br ings a smi le . Treat yoursel f ladies , i t ' s a wonder ful sel f - care gi f t for August and ear l y Autumn ! L o t s o f l o v e Ge e x x

August Pick from Alexandra

My pick of the month i s SoulKu . I don ’ t know how I or iginal l y found them ( let ’ s face i t - probabl y Instagram ? ) but SoulKu necklaces have become one of my favour i te ways to t reat mysel f in sobr iety . In fact - thei r Green Aventur ine “ Heal ing ” necklace was the very f i rst sobr iety mi lestone gi f t I gave to mysel f af ter 30 days , and i f you know me , you KNOW how much I endorse * gi f ts * as a way to love oursel ves on thi s journey . Thi s i s a women - owned company dedicated to empower ing women . The very f i rst l ine of thei r mi ss ion statement i s : We want to empower women – women l ike you who want to connect wi th themsel ves and the other women in thei r l i ves on a deeper level . - Wel l I am HERE for that . I am always wear ing one of these necklaces . I bel ieve in v i sual and wearable reminders of st rength and intent ion and no mat ter what you are needing r ight now , I feel cer tain that you can f ind something to suppor t that here . Not to ment ion , the s i te i s gorgeous and i t ’ s just fun to look through . And we DESERVE FUN ! Fi rst - t ime customers always get 20 % of f your f i rst order and they run promot ions al l the t ime for return customers ( I would know ! ) Enjoy . You are wor th i t .

Lo t s o f l o v e Al e x x

August Pick from Linda

My pick of the month i s My product of the month i s Moroccan Argan Oi l . Thi s versat i le oi l i s der i ved f rom the kernel s of the f rui t of the Argan t ree which i s nat i ve to Morocco and can be used in cooking , cosmet ics and medicines . I t ’ s packed wi th omega fat ty acids , ant iox idants and v i tamin E . As someone wi th psor ias i s , I need to keep my skin hydrated and thi s oi l has ant i - inf lammatory benef i ts as wel l as reducing redness . A few drops on damp skin af ter a shower goes a long way and keeps the moi sture locked in and your skin feel s super sof t . A few drops on your face af ter you moi stur i se wi l l do the same , and though you can do thi s morning and evening , I usual l y just appl y i t at night t ime . For dry and damaged hai r you can appl y a couple of drops to your hands , rub together and di st r ibute i t through your hai r , remember a l i t t le goes a long way , so don ’ t overdo i t or you ’ l l end up wi th a greasy look and you don ’ t want that ! You can purchase argan oi l shampoos and condi t ioners and many other body creams , washes etc . but a bot t le of good qual i ty Moroccan Argan Oi l wi l l do i t al l . On a t r ip to Mar rakesh wi th my daughter a few years ago we both purchased a bot t le of thi s oi l f ragranced wi th amber and my onl y regret i s that I didn ’ t buy a case ful l y , the smel l was heavenl y . I ’ m st i l l searching for a replacement ! ( I would know ! ) Enjoy . You are wor th i t .

Lo t s o f l o v e L i n dax

TEAM PICK

TEAM PICK

TEAM PICK

HOLA SOBER HUSH MEDITATIONS By Susan Christ ina

Our sober support meetings are closed keeping the groups small and allow relationships be fostered in a sacred space of trust. The host picks a song at the end to dance out and the zoom-room becomes a feast of women dancing in joy and freedom feeling empowered and positive going into their day or week. I started it believing ending a meeting on dance is a fun, liberating thing to do as women together and our SPOTIFY Playlist includes songs we dance to, songs that inspire us, songs that motivate us and bring us joy. The Hola Sober Sisters kindly submitted their favourite songs and we have a wonderfully eclectic mix of tastes and songs for you to enjoy! Please click and enjoy! CLICK https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4jSjY1gUq0 TS17yfqzhZ2m SPOTIFY PLAY LIST

“The playlist has made me smile all morning and my foot is tapping to it's heart content.” Ellie You're a BADASS and we have the perfect BADASS meditation to remind you of that!! Listen each morning before you head out into your day and be BADASS In your sobriety.

I have never been the kind of woman who feels comfortable meditating, it feels odd to slow down. A gift of sobriety is that I am no longer running from myself down the neck of a wine bottle and have no issue sitting a while and centring myself. The world may love Deepak Chopra who is a wonder and a giant but for me, the voice that reaches me is closer to home and our very own Alexandra Hartley-Leonard. She has kindly recorded a Gratitude + Hard Times + You're a BADASS meditation and TODAY we launch our new AUTHENTIC YOU meditation (15 minutes of sober gold) These can be listened to from our website via SOUNDCLOUD or for download. CLICK https://holasober.com/meditations

Thank you for your daily emails, I look forward to them. I noticed something yesterday I wanted to share. I realised that I am no longer spending the majority of my days hating myself, worrying about alcohol and thinking about alcohol it’s very freeing. I am also being honest with people this time, I tell people that some people can drink and know when to stop, I don’t have a stop button so choose not to start. People in the past who would have tried to make me drink seem to accept that. Not sure why I wanted to tell you that :) Day 40 for me, I hope there are many more. Have a lovely day.

Hola sober sister Bm

AUGUST LIPSTICK CRUSH

I have a thing about lipstick and often it is the only make-up I use on a hot summer's day. As a child, my mother wearing it meant we were leaving the house and my grandmother never left the house without a Max Factor lipstick in coral pink or postbox red. Over the past thirty years of wearing lipstick, I have tried every brand on the market to find one that SURVIVES multiple cups of coffee or tea. From Chanel to Bobby Brown, from Charlotte Tilbury to Body Shop you name it I have bought it. In my experience the only one that works for me and stays in place under assault from way too much coffee or tea is MAYBELLINE SUPER STAY. F or me, it is a non-negotiable in my handbag daily and costs peanuts!! Linda swears by No. 7 STAY PERFECT which she finds has long-lasting time on the lips. By night she favours Brick Red as her go-to shade. For daytime use, she loves the subtle pink of Pink Blush offering an understated daytime look. For an added splash of va-va-voom, she uses a clear gloss for high shine given her that highly polished finish! Alex does not wear lipstick but is a fan of EOS lip balm which are not too thick on her lips and the flavour is light and the perfect choice for day or night!

Let us know what your go-to lipstick brand is! Love Susan + Linda + Alex

MY LOVE LETTER TO LOVE BY TAMMI SCOTT

A dozen or so years ago, a trusted male friend in sobriety gently said to me, "Tammi, you run from love". Bless him, he was absolutely right and the truth of it struck me at centre mass. With over 10 years of sobriety at the time, that was the beginning of learning to at least try to stand still in the face of it. Here is my love letter to love

BY T AMM I SCOT T

Dear Love, I wonder if I'll ever stop running and hiding from you? I've learned it's possible to do both, to stand still in the face of love's offering. I can deflect with humour and self-deprecation. I can play dumb or obtuse and pretend you are not being offered. I can ignore or overlook you. I can even head you off at the pass to repel or sabotage you. Bob & weave, stick & jab, or just turn and push you away. It's not your fault I do this. I had mixed messages about you from a very early age. Love and pain. Love and neglect. Love and indifference. Love and shame. It fractured me and sent me in many different directions looking for safety, acceptance and belonging from mostly the wrong people, mostly wrong places, and mostly wrong things So many things. I looked to marriage and motherhood, to books and movies, to the right clothes and hair, to the flashy friends and acquaintances, to the right dance clubs and other men when my marriage failed. Deep down inside I think I gave up on you because none of the love, connection and belonging I looked for in real life ever resembled the romance or true connection in novels or the love stories in movies.

I mean sure, I had the solid gold love of my grandmother, Mimi, while growing up. She's a big part of how I survived my childhood. But my Mimi couldn't be my soulmate. No matter how many times she insisted she was my "boyfriend" as a little girl because she didn't want me chasing boys. So I gave up on you. Then a shockingly weird thing happened one day nearly 25 years ago. I walked into a 12 step recovery meeting for the first time as a condition of outpatient treatment I was directed to after seeking help with a psychiatrist for depression. It seems I was utterly clueless {in denial may be a better phrase} about the role of drugs and alcohol in my life since the age of 11. It was in the meeting where I admitted I was an alcoholic and an addict. I was as low as I'd ever been in my life, deeply dysfunctional and desperately unhappy. I was looking for help with my newly realized substance abuse and found you, i found love. A love I never knew existed because I'd never read about it, seen it nor felt it, so I didn't know to dream for it.

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CON T D . BY T AMM I SCOT T

You showed up as unconditionally accepting communal love. You saw me in my brokenness, my desperation, my deep sense of unworthiness and insecurity. And still, you embraced me within a circle of recovering women! I was hugged. I was held. I was seen, I was acknowledged and gently pulled into belonging. It was profoundly moving, absolutely wondrous, and utterly terrifying. I knew you, Love, were real but how could I trust you based on my personal experiences growing up? Everything I knew of you was performative and transactional. Yet for Alcoholics Anonymous all I had to do was show up, like myself. Something I distrusted and tested for years, even as I kept "coming back" as they told me to. Fortunately, the indefatigable patience and love of community helped me find you within me. You helped me replace my pain, shame, unworthiness and loneliness with safety, acceptance and belonging. First to the community and then to myself. So maybe the question now is, when will I allow you to deepen, allow my connection to others to deepen, allow emotional intimacy to deepen? I mean that's better than if, isn't it?

Tammi Scott currently works as a mild-mannered insurance adjuster by day who is planning early retirement to build a life that honours her soul path of openhearted growth, healing and healthy, meaningful connection. This includes her work on the leadership team of a sober support community called The Luckiest Club where she facilitates two meetings a week and helps provide online community support. She is a writer and a certified yoga teacher who focuses on Karmic yoga which concerns itself with duty, right action and social justice. She is an empty- nester who lives in a rural mountain town in Southern California. She got clean and sober in 1996. You can follow or reach the fabulous Tammi here: Email: talychde@gmail.com Her blog: Build Your Own Brave Instagram: Tammi Scott (@queeniet_) • Instagram photos and videos Facebook business page: Ever Inward | Facebook

AUGUS T 202 1 • HOL A SOB E R |

L I NDA RE DMOND L I NDA RE DMO

N E THE STORY OF

| AUGUS T 202 1 • HOL A SOB E R

There is a place in hell reserved just for me and I don’t have to leave my mortal body to go there; I simply have to pick up a drink and I’ll be there in no time. This I sadly know all too well as I have been down that hole not once, but twice. The first time was not my fault, I became addicted to an addictive substance that is alcohol, my return journey to hell was all down to me…. Some weeks ago, I hosted my very first Hola Sober support group which is a closed meeting . It is both a gift and a privilege to take a seat in this sacred space and the desire to give the best meeting possible was uppermost in my mind. I was nervous and excited and had a list of ‘what if's to share with Susan and Alex. Just be yourself and maybe share some of your journey was their advice and as I trust them with my life I did just that. The part of my journey that I chose to share was the piece that causes me the most horrendous guilt and shame, and we call it RELAPSE code word for hell. After sixteen whole years of being on the right side of the glass, I fell and when I fell, I fell hard. Back in 1999, my sobriety was the greatest gift and my proudest achievement and I was hugely grateful. I had finally thrown off the shackles of addiction to the alcohol that had both ruled and ruined my day to day life. Now I could finally be the wife, mother, sister and friend that I was always meant to be. Real, authentic and present. After the first year of adjustment, attending meetings, aftercare, making my daily morning promise and grateful evening thanks, I finally found my feet in the sober world. I no more wished to return to drinking alcohol than I would to have my teeth pulled out with pliers and no anaesthetic! Life was good, better than good, I saw everything with new bright eyes. My children were the focus of my world and sobriety became my natural way of being. NE THE STORY OF

L I NDA RE DMOND

The years passed and it gradually became something that I barely gave a thought to. I’d got this. It had long since stopped being a priority, and as time went on it went further and further down the list of things to take care of and nourish. Eventually, it wasn’t even on the list. And although I couldn’t see it at the time, it was a very grave error on my part to neglect the golden ticket that was sobriety. I stopped going to sobriety meetings. AA was not the right fit and in Ireland of old, there were no other options available . I no longer made my daily promise or evening thanks. I wasn’t passing this gift on to others in the grip of addiction, as is the way in sobriety - you pass it on. The truth was I’d forgotten sobriety even was a gift! Life throws curve balls at us all, nobody escapes that reality. I lost loved ones, encountered trauma, grief, and pain in varying degrees and throw in menopause, some empty nest syndrome and you have some serious issues to deal with. But throughout all of this, I never considered picking up a drink, not once. I was a hormonal mess, depressed, but drinking wasn’t a thought I’d ever entertained until I did. Enter stage left that bitch Moderation Mary, a clever cunning witch, with her subtle whispers spinning in my head. How nice it could be, how inclusive it could feel to have just a couple of glasses of wine. After all, I’d handled every curve ball sober and a few glasses would take me out of the margins back in the fold of socialising. I wouldn’t feel so alone. I’d be fine and I would be the exception to the rule. These thoughts became bigger and bigger. The blunt reality is connection was what I was longing for, not alcohol. My mind was a raging turmoil and I had no sober space to help me unravel it and so I caved and I went there . I turned my proudest achievement into my greatest regret. And we all know how the reality plays out - in no time at all alcohol had me bound and shackled again.

| AUGUS T 202 1 • HOL A SOB E R |

NE In my delusional mind, I had reasoned if it didn’t work out, I’d just stop and the addiction brain told me, it would be easy and I could just flip a switch. How wine witch must have laughed and laughed because if she gets hold of you again, she’s holding tighter than ever before. Think trying to squeeze a genie back in a bottle and there I was, powerless yet again sitting in hell. This time it was all my own making. And I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to get out again. I was furious with myself, full of guilt and shame and regret that I’d ever gone there again. But I kept trying. I would have months of not drinking but I’d fall again and I knew I wasn’t sober (after all I knew how that freedom felt). It took me nearly four years to finally find the key . And the key was and always will be a connection. I found online modern recovery through The Luckiest Club sobriety support group and it was there I first met Susan Christina, a fellow Irish woman and the founder and fearless leader of what I call the Platinum sober space that is Hola Sober. Here with Susan, Alex, Gee, Colette, MMK and all of my other strong, powerful and brave sober sisters I have my friends, finally come home. And here I’ll stay for I have found my tribe and my greatest wish and now gift was to hold out my hand and help other sober sisters along and as a host, Susan has given me the platform to do just that. I have turned my greatest regret into a tool that I can and will use again and again as a truth that is foreboding and real and if it stops just one woman from making the same mistake, I rest easy on my sober pillow. A funny thing happened after I shared this part of my journey in a sober meeting, the shame died, right there and then . And so, I can finally be at peace, I was one of the lucky ones, not everyone makes it back to this sacred space of second chances. The gift of sobriety is one to be cherished and nurtured above all else always and for me, connection always will be the oxygen it needs to not just survive but to thrive. THE STORY OF

L I NDA RE DMOND

"Relapse is not part of recovery BECAUSE the next drink might kill you

AND

I knew I had another drink in me but I did not know whether I had another recovery in me."

Linda Redmond

Lots of love Linda xxx

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AL EXANDRA HART L EY - L EONARD

T H E G I F T O F S T O R I E S

BY AL EXANDRA HART L EY - L EONARD

| AUGUS T 202 1 • HOL A SOB E R |

AL EXANDRA HART L EY - L EONARD

Sobriety meetings are a sacred space . It ’ s hard to describe what I love most . I have only ever attended them online . I have heard some people say they prefer attending them in person , but time and time again I am in awe of just how lucky I feel to have had my particular journey . The community found me when our communities were all sent inside , allowing some of the most amazing people I ’ ve ever met from all over the world (!), people I would never have met otherwise , come right into my life ... and it was there that I realized the indescribable value of connecting with other people that have “ your thing ”. As Laura McKowen perfectly describes “One stranger who understands your experience exactly will do for you what hundreds of close friends and family who don't understand cannot. It is the necessary palliative for the pain or stretching into change. It is the cool glass of water in hell.” Hearing Linda describe her relapse , I was brought back to those visceral feelings of early days - the ones that both now feel dreamlike but also never ever leave my mind . On the occasion that I have been asked to share , I have gone back to really sit with that time . Otherwise , I don ’ t spend a lot of time there , after all , didn ’ t I work hard to leave that mental space ? When I experience someone else ’ s story the way I felt while listening to Linda , I am reminded again of the undeniable, important role that community plays in this experience. I want to describe for you , the feeling you get in meetings where it’s almost like you actually enter the person’s story and feel their experience. I heard early on that if you go to enough meetings , eventually , you will hear your story . I took this to mean “ even though so far this has been your unique and lonely journey , you will find that you are not alone at all . Here you will eventually hear that someone else has been through exactly what you have been through , even more than you can imagine ”.

But that is not exactly what I mean when I say that I could feel Linda ’ s story because it came to me not as the experience in me seeing the similar experience in her - but more as the future possible version of me , reaching through time to softly tap me on the head and let me know exactly what it could feel like . Exactly what it would feel like . A visceral warning light . An opportunity to know the feeling before I make the choice so that I could save myself from the pain of it. She spoke with such raw honesty , and indeed there were many parts that I related to from her early days as a teenager and the feeling that she had when she discovered what alcohol could do for her . The things it does for many of us - releases us from insecurities , makes us feel “ cooler ”, brings out a more extroverted side of us that seems to be more fun , more pleasing to other people , at the end of the day - the social and emotional lubricant it promises so many . Different from me though , Linda realized earlier on in her life that she needed and wanted to walk away from it , and she successfully did ... as I have now . Her reasons were similar to mine - to be a better mother , to be more present , to be free of the endless nagging feeling of “ when would the next drink come ?” She did it . She was free . And she knew it . She was proud . She appreciated it . I feel these things now . I now feel that gratitude , that freedom , that ability to be more present with my young boys , the pride in having done it . I would be lying if I said I ’ ve never wondered if I would find a time when drinking could enter my life again , and even now - worried about what situation or thinking might “ get me ”, but for the most part , as I said - I try not to spend a lot of time there .

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AL EXANDRA HART L EY - L EONARD

T H E G I F T O F S T O R I E S

And then someone picks up a piece of your shame and hurt and regret, and says “Thank you. This is a gift I will take with me forever” . And just like that - part of your pain has transformed into good , and you are able to be released from it a little bit , or even completely . I don ’ t know what my future holds . None of us do . I feel so secure in my sobriety right now because it feels good . It ’ s frankly still new , the joy from the freedom of it is still close to me , so frankly - it ’ s easy . In meetings , I often talk about how difficult it is to walk away from alcohol because I know that it is - I walked that path and it was maybe the hardest thing I ever did . But now ? For me? Sobriety isn’t hard. Life is hard sometimes, and dealing with it sober is new , so * that * is hard because I am learning in hard moments how to use new tools to “ stay ” instead of numbing it out , but sobriety ? No . That isn ’ t hard . It ’ s joyful . Do you know the phrase “ youth is wasted on the young ”? Getting sober feels like getting to be young again .... but with all the wisdom you have picked up along the way , so you actually get to appreciate it this time . What I learned from Linda ’ s share was not only to hold onto this precious new life , but also to keep it close , and to do that by always coming back to my community . Another wonderful woman in one of our meetings once said “ I keep my sobriety close , like a jewel I wear around my neck next to my heart .” I think of that image often . I said to Linda the day she shared her story with us , I * know * that if I ever start letting in those other voices again , the ones that tell me I ’ ve learned my lesson , that things can be different now - I know that the little voice inside of me will be that much louder , that it will be the both of our voices saying together “ Don ’ t . Don ’ t do it .” Her story will live with me always as a reminder of the pain I do not have to face, and for that gift- I am forever grateful.

And yet ...

Here was my friend , describing to me her life experience that I so relate to , and then ... the experience of one of my greatest fears . Listening to her at the moment she described her relapse , I felt very present and very transported into her story . I could feel the pain she experienced in losing this thing that only someone on the other side of the fight can understand how treasured it is . She spoke of a tiny voice in the back of her mind , that was there when she had her first drink . A voice she knew said - “ Don ' t . Don ’ t do it .” It gives me chills to think about . I know that voice . I know how tiny it can be . I also know the source it comes from . It ’ s the strongest place inside you , the place that I only used to connect to in the dark when I was desperate . The voice that I heard say to me “ It ’ s ok . We are going to be ok ” back on the night of July 21 , 2019 , when I made the exact opposite choice that Linda made in this fateful moment she was sharing with us . It rocked me to hear her speak of the spiral down into hell that she experienced not long after that drink . As uncomfortable as it was for me to hear it, both for my own selfish fears and to hear this person that I care for so much describe suffering in that way, it felt like at that moment she was offering me a real gift. Reading her piece back again now , I am so glad to know that she was able to drop the shame afterwards . I think that is part of what we do in these meetings - we can bring the part of ourselves that we think are the absolute worst things we have done , or thought , or obsessed over . We have the space to talk about the parts that we have held down with shame , or fear , or regret . We put these things on a collective table in front of those that understand these pieces personally .

| AUGUS T 202 1 • HOL A SOB E R |

HOL A SO B ER MEETING PLEDGE

Today we dare not forget that we are the heirs of that f irst revolut ion; let the word go forth that the torch has been passed to a new generat ion of women. Let al l who hear us speak know we wi l l bear any burden journey to support our Hola Sober sisters on this journey . To al l sisters on high, know we are here f ight ing a new f ight as a new set of revolut ionaries who wi l l oppose al l who stand in our path, to assure the survival and the success of our sobriety , at our very core this much we pledge .

Written by Susan C hristina This pledge is read at the end of each Hola Sober Support meeting and is our call to action for all women in the sober space.

| AUGUS T 202 1 • HOL A SOB E R |

A CHAT WITH LEA WATSON Lea Watson i s the Founder of Glow Sober in the UK and as we had both been interviewed on INSTAGRAM by Sandra Losty of Recovery Hour I reland we got together for a chat as she i s a sober queen that I have only recent ly found on my journey and you can never have enough queens in your l i fe !

WRITTEN BY SUSAN CHRISTINA

There are a hundred

reasons

why

women

put

down

thei r

wine

glass

and

there

are

a

thousand

reasons

to

do

so

quiet l y , radar wi thout ever drawing at tent ion to yoursel f . And then there are women who are so pass ionate and so dr i ven that they shine in a busy sober space br inging wi th them a joy and an energy that seems to come f rom on high and the lovel y Lea i s one of those special women in the space whose dr i ve i s palatable . under the

Reviews, resources and support for those giving up drinking or just sober curious. Dip in and out. Find a new drink, some quit lit reads, a podcast or just some information about getting and staying sober. Meet ing Lea on zoom was easy and fun as she has a natural energy and i s pass ionate about the growing Glow Sober communi ty seeking out her rev iews , suppor t and the new corporate t raining programs she has created . The real i ty i s her social media channel pages to rev iew alcohol - f ree dr inks and l i terature , have now evol ved into working wi th organi sat ions to suppor t thei r employees by raising awareness of the impact of alcohol . Lea tel l s me that " rev iewing and promot ing alcohol - f ree dr inks wi l l always be fundamental to Glowsober and the resource on both Instagram and Facebook wi l l always remain f ree and access ible to al l . " For me , i t was wonder ful to chat wi th someone who understands the need to have a choice and the avai labi l i ty of alcohol - f ree al ternat i ves for many of us that enjoy an AF dr ink at the weekend . Both Lea and I agreed on the joy of hav ing a dr ink in our hand that was AF , a thi rst quencher and we would wake up tomor row br ight - eyed and bushy - tai led ! We both love our podcasts and books and fel t that they were an integral par t of our recovery and so GLOW SOBER of fer ing an honest , no holes barred INDEPENDENT AUDIT of what ' s out there means i t can be trusted and her opinion is not being swung by advert isers . And i t is FREE and to me thi s i s everything as I am of the opinion that sober suppor t for women in 2021 should be f reel y avai lable when and where poss ible . And Lea ' s pass ion and dr i ve and determinat ion to be par t of the ongoing conversat ion about alcohol in society , our abuse thereof of and the need to address i t . then we get to the why of

Lea tel l s me " My son jack was ki l led in a road t raf f ic col l i s ion when he got into a car wi th hi s f r iend who was drunk . He crashed and Jack was lef t wi th catast rophic and fatal injur ies and sadl y , we lost him . I now work wi th a char i ty cal led Safe Dr ive Stay Al ive and talk to teenagers of dr i v ing age about the dangers of dr i v ing whi le under the inf luence of drugs or alcohol . " i t i s one of those moments when chat t ing to someone on zoom that you want to break down in tears as the pain i s so very raw and yet Lea has done the imposs ible and turned i t into pos i t i ve act ion . Not onl y has she put down her own glass and addressed her relat ionship wi th alcohol but i s now act i vel y encouraging others to join her on the journey . Lea i s wel l educated and smar t wi th an MA in L i felong Learning and a background in bus iness t raining and development now of fer ing special l y des igned t raining courses for the corporate sector to help increase alcohol awareness across the UK or global l y cour tesy of ZOOM . For a rev iew of alcohol dr inks , podcasts and books please tune into her s i te as her pass ion i s real , her pain i s dai l y and yet she has taken on the greatest bat t le of her l i fe wi th alcohol at a t ime when her l i fe was in tat ters f rom gr ief . What a champion ! What an inspi rat ion to us al l because ladies i f Lea can put down her glass in the midst of such t ragedy , r ide out that gr ief r iddled wave sober and in her senses , so can we . She does so wi th grace , authent ici ty and i s helping others and deserves al l the suppor t in the wor ld .

18

HOLA SOBER AUGUST 202 1

"All I can do is be a better version of myself now and I hope to make him proud. @ GlowSober is for Jack and I hope in the future it will start to do some good." `Lea WHY I DO IT? Well because I needed a focus when I finally gave up drinking. Every time I went out the only alcohol alternative seemed to be Beck’s Blue. Nothing wrong with that but there are just so many more drinks out there. I needed inspiration and what I found was a whole sober underworld out there that until you are in it, you have no idea it exists…. come and take a look." "I test, read, listen and do all on your behalf. Obviously, everybody has very different tastes, so I try to keep them as objective as possible. But there are some things I absolutely love and others not so much. What I can tell you though, is all of them are completely independent and I have tried everything I review."

Okay, I know I have a bit of an obsession with Ginger Ale/Beer. There is a difference you know. Ginger Beer is brewed and fermented giving a much stronger taste while Ginger Ale is a carbonated drink flavoured with ginger and they are very different drinks. I love this ginger ale. It’s so light and for those of you who think you don’t like the beer, then try the ale. This is so refreshing and perfect for a lunchtime drink. Although carbonated, not overly, so no feeling of bloating or gasiness (not sure that’s an actual word) Karma do a whole range of drinks in very well designed bottles and cans. I paired mine with a tomato Panzanella salad at a local restaurant (always support local business where you can). Because it’s such a light touch of ginger and not overly sweet, I would say it’s a great drink to go with any lunch. If you are going sober for October don’t automatically try and find an alcohol free alternative to your normal tipple. Get yourself out there and dip into the wonderful world of well- made drinks by the many wonderful smaller businesses out there. Best of luck in your sober travels. GLOW SOBER REVIEW OF KARMA GINGER ALE

HTTPS :// GLOWSOBER . CO . UK /

NSTAGRAM . COM / GLOWSOBER /

C A F F E I N E H I D E O U T A T M Y H O U S E

Li fe begins after a drink of coffee

Can nutrition help during menopause? by Sophie Pelham-Burn NMEDSCI, ANUTR

by Sophie Pelham-Burn NMEDSCI, ANUTR

The definition of menopause is when a woman ’ s periods have stopped for a period of over 12 months , due to falling levels of oestrogen and progesterone produced by the ovaries . The transition between regular periods and menopause is often referred to as perimenopause . During perimenopause , oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate in what can feel like fairly unpredictable ways . Since we have estrogen and progesterone receptors in pretty much every tissue and system in the body , it ’ s no surprise that when levels of these hormones fluctuate they can cause so many different symptoms . Having lower levels of these hormones post - menopause also has some downsides , such as lower bone mineral density increases the risk of fractures , higher risk of heart disease and also higher risk of breast cancer . Having lower levels of these hormones post - menopause also has some downsides , such as lower bone mineral density increases the risk of fractures , higher risk of heart disease and also higher risk of breast cancer .

So is there anything we can do with diet to help reduce the symptoms of perimenopause and reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes after menopause ? Thankfully , the answer is yes , and if you ’ re reading this magazine , you ’ ve probably already done the biggest thing to help both scenarios ; quit the booze ! Independent other factor , alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in a dose - dependent manner of any ( that is to say , the more you drink the higher your risk ), and also decreases bone mineral density . The research around heart disease and alcohol in women is slightly less clear but still points towards being detrimental especially when you factor in all of the other aspects of life that alcohol has an effect on ( reduced diet quality , reduced participation in sports etc .). During perimenopause alcohol also makes night sweats and hot flashes worse increases insomnia and worsens symptoms of anxiety and depression . With all that in mind , alcohol is definitely the main culprit to cut out , but what else ?

The only other one that seems to have a consistent effect is caffeine worsening hot flashes so if that ’ s something you struggle with try going for fruity / herbal teas and decaf versions to see if that helps . Otherwise , when it comes to diet it ’ s much more about what to include rather than exclude rather than exclude ➢ Protein Making sure you have an adequate protein intake at regular intervals throughout the day can help slow down the rate of muscle loss seen during and after menopause . That in turn can help manage how quickly the metabolism slows and help with weight management . Protein is also super important but often overlooked , in keeping bones strong too . Aim for about 1 . 2 - 1 . 4 g per kg body weight per day , split into 3 or 4 meals / snacks at breakfast , lunch , afternoon snack and dinner ( depending on what time you eat dinner , you may not want the afternoon snack ). .

by Sophie Pelham-Burn NMEDSCI, ANUTR Can nutrition help during menopause?

➢ Phytoestrogens Soy isoflavones and lignans are both phytoestrogens . A few studies created some controversy about whether or not they are good to include , but some recent meta - analyses have shown they are likely to provide a benefit in preventing hot flushes . Including small portions regularly throughout the day rather than one big portion per day seems to have the best effect , but it may take 2 - 3 months before the benefit is seen . Try increasing your intake of calcium - fortified soy yoghurts and milk , tofu , tempeh , edamame and miso to get more soy isoflavones into your diet . Lignans are found in flaxseeds , whole grains , legumes and some vegetables . Most soy products can also count towards your protein intake and there is some emerging evidence that including soy in the diet can improve heart health as well . Estrogen has a fairly complicated relationship with nitric oxide , which has a role in relaxing blood vessels . It seems the phytoestrogens in soy can mimic the effect of estrogen to dilate blood vessels , which can help reduce blood pressure .

➢ Calcium and vitamin D Both calcium and vitamin D are super important in keeping your bones as strong as possible for as long as possible . Calcium can be obtained through dairy products or fortified substitutes , tinned fish with the bones in such as sardines or mackerel , dried apricots and figs , and leafy green vegetables ( go for a nice big portion sizes with the leafy green veg ). You should aim for 3 portions of calcium - rich foods per day . Vitamin D is mostly synthesised in the skin from sunlight , but that only happens when the sun is at the right zenith angle during the summer months . As we get older our ability to make vitamin D drops dramatically so supplementation is usually recommended , especially in the winter months . Your GP should be able to check your levels with a simple blood test and advise you accordingly . Vitamin K is also really important in bone health and is mostly found in leafy green veg , so go big on all the different types of green leafy veg !

➢ Omega 3 Omega 3 ’ s are a group of fats whose role in brain / nerve and heart health is very well established . The longer - chain ones ( DHA and EPA ) can be made in the body from the short version , ALA although humans can only convert about 10 % of the ALA we consume to the longer versions so it ’ s best to try to obtain DHA and EPA from the diet . One portion of oily fish per week and one portion of white fish is usually enough to cover your needs . If you really don ’ t like fish or you struggle to hit this target it would be a good idea to have a supplement . Vegans can supplement with an algae version to ensure they are getting enough . ➢ Exercise Ok so it ’ s not nutrition , but exercise has been demonstrated to help with almost all menopause symptoms in some way or another . In particular , lifting weights is great for overall health and wellbeing and of course maintaining muscle mass and bone density . The technique is absolutely key when you start lifting weights , so after getting cleared by your doctor for this type of exercise , get down to the gym and hire a PT for a few sessions to get you going .

#1

Dear Gee ,

My husband i s dr iving me crazy because he cont inues to dr ink and i s doing so in the house af ter work, at weekends . I t never seems to s top . He does not have a dr inking problem and has a few cans every night but I HATE the smel l of beer around me and I used to dr ink beer when I came in from work . . .How do I tel l him to not dr ink around me as i t makes me anxious?

Hi love ly,

Okay, so f i rs t ly i f your husband i s dr inking a few cans every ni ght af ter work , he does have a probl em. Regular dr inking to that degree would , by def ini t ion, take him into the addi cted category. The NHS al cohol suppor t servi ce advi ses not to dr ink more than 14 uni t s a week on a regular bas i s , thi s i s equi tabl e to 6 pint s of average s t rength beer or seven g lasses of wine . The advi ce i s i f you dr ink on a regular bas i s , spread your dr inking over three or more days . Your husband may think he doesn’ t have a probl em, however , we know al cohol addi ct ion i s on a cont inuum and he def ini te ly meet s the threshold of addi ct ive behaviour . I would cons ider how you have that conversat ion wi th him about hi s behaviour . I f he i s not l ike ly to engage in the conversat ion, he may be in denial and not ready to l i s ten. I t ’ s not easy l iving wi th someone who has an addi ct ion, espec ial ly when you have addressed yours . The dec i s ion then i s what can you do to keep yourse l f safe and happy. There i s he lp out there for him i f he i s wi l l ing to engage . Good luck x

#2

Dear Gee , I am two years on the s traight and narrow and al l i s good BUT every s ingle t ime I hear a s tory of relapse af ter ten years or twenty years I get terr i f ied again. I did Annie Grace and i t worked for me but can ' t unders tand why I keep reading on Ins tagram of people fal l ing of f the wagon. I s there a way to protect me and my sobr iety from thi s? Two years sober , congratulat ions . I would say you have al l the tool s you need to keep yourse l f sober . Reading about other peopl e ’ s re lapse can be ins i ght ful but i t can al so be unhe lpful , espec ial ly i f i t makes you anxious . Remember you are you, you have cont rol of your own des t iny. The tool s you need to keep yourse l f sober wi l l mos t l ike ly be embedded in two years wor th of your dai ly behaviours . The powerful tool you have i s cont rol and autonomy. I f you fee l tempted who and what i s around you? (Contd . on next page )

DON ' T WASTE A MOMENT OF THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE

( contd) Who or what wi l l he lp you out ? What tool s do you use now? I would say in these moment s , di g deep , have conf idence that you have the tool s in your pocket and use them dai ly. Speak to your sober s i s ters , cal l on your group and have fai th that you have al ready overcome the poss ibl e causes of re lapse many t imes in the las t two years and i t didn’ t happen! You ’ ve got thi s x

#3

Dear Gee,

I lost my Dad in the last year and although I have kept sober (at times it was touch and go) I continue to feel that drinking is an option at some point in the future or when the day gets too much. We are coming to his first anniversary and it is only now I am feeling his loss and know if he had known how much I drank when he was alive he would have been very disappointed. I have disappointed my husband and my kids for twelve years drinking to excess and with this big grief moment coming up, I am terrified I will just cave.. Please help..... Dear lovely lady, I am so sorry for your loss and I feel for you. Grief is so difficult and you are so right it could be a trigger when you are looking for comfort. The answer is NOT down the neck of a bottle. Do something positive with those emotions, you can make yourself and your family proud. You’re doing it now, reaching out to people who can be by your side. My personal thought is nothing is harder than burying someone you love. A year on, you are remembering that pain and hurt. The reality is this is just another day, you have not had your dad for the last 365 days, and you have been sober, this is to be celebrated! Use this time to remember him with clarity of thought and honour his memory with sober strength. Remember how far you have come and how proud he will be that you are now sober. Drinking is NOT an option, NOT EVER. It will not help you, it won’t make you feel better, it won’t even drown your sorrow. It will make you more depressed, more disappointed and you’ll be back at square one. You’ve come too far to have this as a consideration. So, honour his memory. Protect yourself, reach out to your group of sober sisters, they are experts in grief and loss. Accept the feelings of grief and pain, it is real, seek counselling it can help, do whatever you need to do to get you through the day. Remember you have 365 days under your belt, tried and tested and you are here, sober! Your sadness is real and normal. Seek comfort in positive behaviours. Load your fridge with Nosecco and chocolate, have your friends on speed dial. You are not alone and you have people around you who can help. . Lot s of luck xxx

DON ' T WASTE A MOMENT OF THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE

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