My dream is to change things, I have a huge desire to be helpful, I want to make a difference and touch people with my message before they NEED traditional support or help.
I never imagined removing alcohol would have such a significant impact on my life and the lives of those around me. I was a regular mum who drank too much, a typical binge drinker.
I worked hard and played hard.
I didn't think I could quit and I didn't know if I wanted to.
I am Claire, I am a soberholic and this is my story.
I was always classed as the party girl, the first to arrive at a party, the last to leave, the first one on the dance floor, the loudest and the drunkest.
The advertising and Social Media memes had me convinced the mummy juice and the fizz was my friend. I was the girl you bought Prosecco and Gin gifts for. I was always full of tales from my latest drunken escapade.
I was drinking over 100 units per week. Usually at home in my Prosecco Princess Pyjamas, surrounded by the birthday cards and fridge magnets that told me I deserved it.
I was having fun, but secretly worried I was slipping out of control.
You see, I was depressed, anxious and miserable unless I was drinking. Alcohol had sucked all the life out of me; I had no energy to do much, so I would just drink instead.
It was an easy option, the glue holding my life together - or so I believed I was like most drinkers, I didn't identify myself as having a problem and I certainly would not have asked for help.
I was just having a laugh.
The alcohol industry has catered explicitly to women like me with pink Prosecco and flavoured Gin. Can you imagine the meeting in the boardroom with the bigwigs at the brewery? They would have studied the stats and scratched their heads to
think, "how can we target that large group of strong, independent, women, the highfliers, and the Mums with disposable cash?"
They planned to get the dosh out of our designer handbags. They knew Babycham and Cherry B wasn't doing the trick anymore, they had to think smarter.
Social media ensured the cash cow kept producing for them; our news feeds are filled with check-ins and pretty cocktails. The bottomless prosecco brunches are booked months in advance. Quirky-angled photos of enormous glasses of Chardonnay and women declaring they 'deserve' it after a long day. It all became so normal for me.
The latest tipple with its pretty packaging Chambord, Rhubarb flavoured Vodka, little baby Prosecco bottles & those super handy tins of G & T. With all the beautiful packaging and bottles that look good enough to line the perfume counters, it is easy to get sucked into the glamour of it all. For years shows like Sex in the City, Bridget Jones, Ab Fab, and the Ladette culture had shown me a life I had aspired to live.
It was easy and acceptable to give in most nights to the temptation of that fuzzy light-headedness that usually turned into grumpy irritable feeling as I dragged myself to bed a few hours later.
This isn't about going over my past and reliving moments of regret or shame. We have all been there. This is a more positive way to repackage things. Some might argue I wasn't even bad enough to quit. I was highly functioning, with a busy family. I was also running a successful business. To the outside world, I had it all together.
But something wasn't right; the drink had started to affect my mental health.