Six Months Sober Podcast with Janey Lee Grace
Six Months Sober Podcast with Janey Lee Grace

This week I reached another milestone in my sober journey – six months. Some said ‘boy, that’s flown’, but I beg to differ; it hasn’t flown.

There have been highs and lows, but one thing I am very sure of, is that going sober has been the best decision I’ve made in a very long time.

When Janey Lee Grace asked me to write a piece for The Sober Club blog, I was delighted. Does this count as my first published work other than my own blogs?

Later in the week she got back in touch and invited me to be interviewed for a podcast. A podcast? That would be a first! I’ve done the odd Facebook Live in my time (and in fact have one tonight over on The Bridge Cottage Way Facebook page at 8pm), but this would be the first interview style podcast I had done. In for a penny, in for a pound, I thought.

I was asked about my relationship with alcohol (it’s been a long one) and how this affected me. Janey then moved on to ask about the moment I decided to give up the booze and how this has been for me, ending with how I’ve changed as a result. Rather than me telling you all about it now, I’ll leave you to listen. Here it is:

Click here: Spotlight on Sue Reed, Six Months Sober

Janey has asked if you leave a review on the podcast, that would be awesome.

Rhubarb Cordial
Rhubarb Cordial

I’ve been making rhubarb cordial this afternoon to take to the Bridge Cottage Way virtual garden party. It’s delicious. Would you like the recipe?

Here it is:

Rhubarb Cordial

300g golden caster sugar

zest & juice 1 lemon

zest & juice 1 orange

slice root ginger

400g chopped rhubarb

500ml water

Put all the ingredients in a large pan and cook until the rhubarb is mushy.

Place a piece of cheesecloth or muslin in a sieve and pour rhubarb mixture through, having placed the sieve over a large jug or clean bowl. (keep what’s left in the sieve to have with yoghurt for your breakfast)

Pour into clean, sterilised bottles, and store in the fridge.

Serve in a ratio of 1 part rhubarb cordial to 4 parts fizzy water.

Will keep for up to a month, but it may well not last that long.

Cheers!

Lessons in Lockdown
Lessons in Lockdown

I’m one of life’s busy people. There are never enough hours in the day, days in the week to do what I plan to do. I am never bored. That way of living has tripped me up during lockdown this past week.

It’s all very well, writing, gardening, baking, reading, cleaning, posting on social media, blogging etc but I go at everything hammer and tong and don’t leave any time for me, to look within, and be still.

Easter blossom
Easter blossom

I came a cropper this weekend, and everything got the better of me. It all started when I stuck some blossom twigs in a jar to make an Easter decoration on Good Friday. I miss the family, my three grown up children and my granddaughter so badly it hurts. It’s an ache that I feel deep in the centre of by being, in my womb. It was the same when my eldest son left home and went to University. I was a wreck, and would sleep in his bed, hugging his dressing gown, hoping to smell something of him. I wanted my family home for Easter Sunday, as I suspect so many did.

My family
My family

I needed something physical to do and decided to deal with this deep level of emotion by tackling a part of the garden that has become overgrown. It is a lovely spot, at the end of the greenhouse, that catches the afternoon sun, and a perfect place to sit and read.

I worked for six hours solid, digging, and pushing barrow loads of weeds over to the other side of our plot. I cried as I worked, howled for my missing children, and refused to speak to my husband who was trying to comfort me. The end result was great, and I was very proud of my work. I’ve sown borage, nasturtium and calendula seeds to make a blue and orange garden. It will be wonderful in the summer.

I also came a cropper in my sober journey, and whilst I didn’t cave in, I came very close to it. I am over five months sober, and thought as I was shopping on Saturday, I’d buy my husband a bottle of red wine to go with our planned Easter meal. He’s not given up alcohol but has had nothing to drink since lockdown began. I’ve not been tempted to drink for months, but from nowhere, the wine witch came sailing in on her broom stick.

“It would be fine to just drink in moderation,” she said. Just a glass with Sunday dinner, what harm can come of that. The force of the pull was enormous. I know myself well. I do not do anything in moderation and knew it would be a slippery slope.

I reached out to my friends in The Sober Club, and I was very grateful to Janey Lee Grace who talked me down. Janey pointed out that I was one of life’s busy people, and whilst I had many worthwhile pursuits, I was not going within. I was not allowing myself time for myself, to calm the chatter, to silence my overactive mind. She suggested I look at EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and pointed me to some tutorials.

On Monday I really crashed, with a pulled muscle in my groin, an aching back and shoulders and the most incredible tiredness. I had to stop!

This morning I’ve downloaded Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s meditation app with a free 21 day course, with a few to committing to daily meditation. I also joined Beccy Owen and lots of others for a fabulous Zoom choir, with Beccy Owen’s Pop Up Choirs. It was glorious, and a lovely sense of community. I was an emotional wreck however, as we sang “I Shall be Released” and Bob Marley’s ‘Everything’s Little Thing’s Gonna be Alright”.

We can only hope and pray it will be.  

Stay Safe and Stay at Home.

Past posts you might find interesting:

Looking at Leeks, the Bridge Cottage Way.

Four Recipes for Wild Garlic and Nettles: Food for Free during Coronavirus and Beyond.

Dig For Victory

Wrestling Rhubarb

Don’t forget, you can follow me on social media, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In no particular order of importance, each with its own list of merits, I have four reasons to celebrate.

Firstly, I give you my milestone of one hundred days sober. Well, its actually 112 as I type this, but I celebrated my centenary on 12th February, two days after my birthday. How did I celebrate? It wasn’t by pouring a large gin or by cracking open the fizz – I bought myself a new jumper from the lovely folk at Celtic & Co. (The one I’m wearing in the picture with Daisy, below.)

Playing farms with Daisy in new new jumper.
Playing farms with Daisy in new new jumper.

               When I started my sober journey, I hoped that life would get better, but I had no idea just how good it would be, one hundred days along the road. My confidence and ability to cope with life’s ups and downs has grown, my anxiety over social situations is so much less, and I have so much more energy. My skin feels great, the dark circles that I had under my eyes (signs that my liver was screaming at me) are so much better, and I feel as if I have had a facelift. My hairdresser even remarked that my hair felt different. No more waking up with a sense of dread and wondering who I’d offended the night before! My app tells me I’ve saved over £600 too – maybe not saved, but ‘diverted’ to more healthy purchases. If you are sober curious and would like to talk in confidence, then feel free to leave to drop me a line.

One Hundred Days Sober
One Hundred Days Sober

               I wasn’t the only one to have a birthday recently. Daisy, my granddaughter was 2! It’s amazing how time has flown in the last two years, and I am so grateful my daughter lives close by so we can share looking after Daisy while she and Daisy’s daddy are at work. ‘Nanny, sing to me’, she says and we sing songs that my grandmother sang to me, we play making dens, we paint, we bake cookies and after all that, she’s a dab hand at making Nanny a cup of tea in her kitchen. I consider myself very blessed. We bought her a Playmobil toy farm (second-hand) for her birthday, and as we were leaving, she said ‘Dandad, thank you for my farm’.

Making nanny a cup of tea
Making nanny a cup of tea

               After almost thirty years of having one of my ‘children’ in the house, my youngest moved out. He’s done so well, and thanks to house prices being relatively cheap here in the north-east, has managed to save enough for the deposit on his first house. I am immensely proud of him. He’s moved to Greenside, which is a lovely village, on the outskirts of Gateshead, but surrounded by countryside and woods. An avid cyclist, he is now able to cycle to work and get out and about on his bike. I sobbed, and as I stood in his empty bedroom, said goodbye to that chapter of my life. Being a mum to my three continues but will never be quite the same again.

New Beginnings
New Beginnings

Tim and I went out the night John moved out, to Northern Stage, and saw The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff by The Young’uns. It was a fabulous production and told of the tale of a young man’s fight against fascism through song. It felt like I was on a date, and as we came home, it reminded me of the time we were newly-wed, before we had kids, although Tim declined to carry me over the threshold when we got back. We set about making John’s old bedroom into a fitness room, and with the help of my new book, ‘Feel Better in 5’ by Dr Rangan Chatterjee’, I have rolled out my yoga mat, and am doing five minutes of yoga in the morning, as well as some of the other ‘health snacks’ the good doctor recommends.

Feel Better in 5 by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Last, but not least, the marks came in for my first submissions for the MA in Creative Writing I’m doing at Newcastle University. I got 64% and 67%, both Merits. There was some great feedback, and I have taken all the comments on board. I was happy to read that my writing was considered ‘interesting, humorous and evocative’. There is considerable room for improvement but considering I haven’t written anything for assessment since I bashed out essays for my teacher training qualification back in 1984 on a typewriter, I was pleased to get the two merits.

First submissions, both merits
First submissions, both merits

I’m now four weeks into the next module on the Creative Writing MA, ‘Writing for Children and Young Adults’ with a fantastic tutor, Anne, Coburn. I’m discovering a whole new area of fiction, and last night saw me reading well into the night as I wanted to finish the gripping story by Liani Taylor, ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’. But I’ll write more about my reading and writing plans for this module next time…..

Liani Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Liani Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Thanks for reading! It’s been good to catch up.

You can follow on my social media channels too. Just search for Sue Reed Writes.