18 months and 31 years

So as of today I am exactly 31 years old and 18 months sober. Both of these facts seem quite surprising. Two thoughts spring to mind:

1. Where did the last year go? I’ve not spent any time comatose on the sofa or lost whole days watching TV. I’ve been fully present in my life and yet time has still run away with me! I think it’s because turning 30 seemed like such a big deal last year, I let my guard down after that and quick as flash, 31 comes rolling in. Or more precisely: 31 and no boyfriend. (Big sigh…)

2. How did a stay sober all this time? It’s not very British to heap praise on oneself – but flipping heck, I’m dead proud of myself. If you told me on day 1 that I’dΒ still be on the straight and narrow eighteen months on I’d never have believed it.

As many of you know, I stopped drinking on April 6th 2013 because I thought that would give me a good six months to prepare for the big three zero. I did not want to carry my destructive drinking with me into my thirties. At the time, I had no idea whether the significance of the date would really motivate me to stick with it. I’d made those kind of big promises to myself before.

In fact at the end of 2012 I vowed that I’d have a whole year off alcohol – not a drop would pass my lips until 2014. I even booked myself onto a fitness bootcamp so I’d get off to the best possible start. I spent New Year’s Day being made to run up hills by very attractive former marines. Everything was great – until I got home. Left to my own devices I slipped back to my old my ways just five days later.

Five days. I was so annoyed with myself about that. I think that’s why I drank so much between January 2013 and April 6th, when I finally stopped. I’d spent a lot of money on that bootcamp and I was pissed off that I’d thrown it all away. I’m definitely a perfectionist so if I screw up I’ll make sure I do it good and proper. For a couple of months I was hell bent on drinking whatever I wanted, regardless of the consequences.

I’m conscious that sometimes this blog makes it look like I just decided to stop drinking one day and everything was hunky dory after that. But it really wasn’t like that. There were many, many failed attempts before things clicked into place – I just didn’t write about them.

When I look back on all the other times I tried to quit, the thing that makes April 6th different to previous attempts is that a) I found help and b) I realised I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t intentional – I stumbled across Unpickled’s blog by accident. On a whim, I decided to start my own blog because I like writing. I thought it would keep myself accountable and, like writing a diary, it might help me make sense of my thoughts. Without realising it I was building a sober support network – and this opened the door to a world of help and understanding. If you’re reading this, then you’re part of my sober network. It may not be conventional; it doesn’t involve meetings, and you can be as active or inactive as you like – but hey, it worked for me. Thanks very much for being part of it.

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50 thoughts on “18 months and 31 years

  1. lucy2610 October 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday and 18 months sober birthday rolled into one!! I wish I’d figured it out at 30 or even 40 – but nope it took me another 15 years on you to pull the plug on it. You should be bloody proud Kate! πŸ™‚

    • soberjournalist October 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm Reply

      Aww thanks very much. Am glad I stopped when I did – I’m not sure what life would be like if I hadn’t!

  2. feelingmywaybackintolife October 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm Reply

    πŸ™‚ Congrats on the 18 months. Your blog was actually the first sober blog I ever read. It was amazing to find that there are so many people out there/here that go through the pains and joys of quitting. It helped me a lot. You might have seen a tiny little peak in your stats somewhere around the 25th of august. – that was me reading all your posts. πŸ™‚
    Thank you! πŸ™‚

  3. Sam October 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm Reply

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Reading your blog has inspired and supported my sobriety greatly. It has actually been my absolutely best support on the web. The West is so wine, food and booze oriented that it is actually difficult to stay sober for social reasons. I recently got invited to a party in if I promised to make an exception to my sobriety. Just one day. I actually liked the way they put it – it made it quite easy to say no. Do people actually want to meet with each others sober anymore or is it just me … hahaha? However, there comes a day when weekend solitude turns into feeling lonely. But yea, I share your feeling of time flying. But then I realize I spend more time on my studies and five evenings at the gym. Couch potatoeing has been replaced by long city walks exploring hundreads of art galleries and exhibits etc. However, sometimes it gets a little mellow. The highs and lows of getting drunkenly high spirited and allowing yourself the cure … junk food and junk entertainment did feel pretty good sometimes. However, there is no turning back. That lifestyle takes more than it gives. But there is always hesitation, as the addiction is always lurking near us. There and then I need friends like you, blogs like yours, to make sure I stay sober. Thank you. I really mean it. And Happy Birthday!!

  4. Teetotal October 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday and well done πŸ™‚

  5. Louise October 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday Kate, this is a great place to be, enjoy it, xx

  6. James October 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm Reply

    Just wanted to echo what others are saying. Your blog rocks. I stumbled upon it by chance – perhaps while trying to find a definition for alcoholic and finding your ‘almost alcoholic’. It helped me so much in my early days. I’m still only five months sober and now it gets easier, but at the beginning when you’re feeling so anxious, odd one out, wondering where you’ll end up, social outcast, your blog is a blanket of warmth and reassurance that it’s a good decision, that we’re not alone and that there are people ahead of us in the journey who are doing just fine, one day at a time. It helps us to stay on track. Even if your life is swinging, please continue to drop a line down now and then as I guarantee there are lots of us who love to read how you are and even though we’ve never met you, we hope the very best for you and share all your ups and downs. Wishing you a fabulously Happy Birthday!!

  7. Sharon October 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm Reply

    Well done you! I am so happy to be part of your sober network and you are part of mine. Just 86 days for me I hope I can say 18 months one day.

  8. leilliarose October 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday! And 18 months sober – that is amazing!
    Heyy, April 6th is actually my birthday! And I just turned 31 this year too (so today is my half birthday, haha). I’m new to these blogs… but it seems that it’s a special kind of support network here that just might help (as well as the sorting out your thoughts part, as you mentioned)

    Reading about someone who is already a year and a half sober really encourages me. I have tried to quit so many times… hopefully one day it will click. Thanks for this post.

  9. byebyebeer October 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm Reply

    Happy days all around! I like what you said about this not being your first attempt at getting sober and what made it difference. So nice to read you’re 18 months now, a happy birthday indeed.

  10. DE October 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday and heartfelt congratulations to you Kate! When I stumbled upon your blog I immediately connected because I saw a lot of my behaviour echoed in your own and from then on in I knew I could change. I’m now 11 months sober, my 1 year anniversary is on 6th November and I also had numerous attempts to cut down and stop drinking before now. It’s not easy and I had a bit of a wobble last month when I contemplated moderation drinking. I’m back on track again and reading your blog and others out there keeps me committed and determined. You have made a huge difference to my life by starting this blog. Thank you
    Enjoy your Birthday, may you have much luck, joy and happiness in the future..x

  11. Amy Yanni October 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday. I’ve about half your sobriety (just shy of 9 months) and almost twice your years, so you see how veddy smart you are, lady! I’m one of Belle’s crew, but I certainly have drawn support and inspriation from many of your past blog posts, so thank you, belatedly. I’m at the stage where I’m looking at other things in my life that haven’t magically resolved themselves b/c I’ve stopped drinking, so I need to be reminded that the not drinking is not to be taken for granted! All the best to you for continued lucid days and happy years.

  12. themiracleisaroundthecorner October 6, 2014 at 6:16 pm Reply

    Happy birthday AND happy 18 months, great reasons both to celebrate! I worry about my blog feeling like it was just too easy as well, when in fact I just happened not to start blogging until 90 days in. I know your blog is helping many, I know it helps me! Hope your day is a great one!

  13. sherryd32148 October 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday!!!!! And as for staying sober while blogging? Screw conventional! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!



  14. thesobergarden October 6, 2014 at 7:04 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday and Happy days! Yours was the very first sober blog I read…so thank you for everything you’ve shared over the last eighteen months.

  15. FitFatFood October 6, 2014 at 11:03 pm Reply

    Amazing Kate- your blog was so helpful to me when I first started on this journey. Great to hear you continuing to do so amazingly x

  16. Debbie October 6, 2014 at 11:26 pm Reply

    I knew I liked you – and not just because you are a strong amazing women who helped me begin and stick with my sobriety, but because we SHARE the same birthday (albeit I’m 27 years older!!)

    • soberjournalist October 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm Reply

      A fellow Libran! Hope you had a good birthday too.

  17. Glitter n Goop October 7, 2014 at 2:52 am Reply

    Proud of you!

  18. Chris Highcock October 7, 2014 at 7:55 am Reply

    Happy birthday and well done.

  19. Drunky Drunk Girl October 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm Reply

    So awesome! And, so glad we “met” here–this place is what got and has kept me sober, through the past two years. I can’t believe I’m still on here, two years later. Congratulations…it only keeps getting better!

  20. Lisa Neumann October 7, 2014 at 3:55 pm Reply

    A birthday and another birthday (of sorts). Love seeing those numbers stack higher and higher. Be proud, be very proud. If it was easy everyone could do it. It’s damn hard and you are facing life sober. So proud of you. (not that you’re mine to be proud of, but you get it) Keep up the good work, your words inspire those who are to follow you in sobriety. Your words make sobriety better for all of us. xo Lisa

  21. Annie October 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm Reply

    Happy Everything! You’re amazing! I read your blog from start to finish when I first started trying to be sober earlier this year, and have looked forward to your posts ever since. You’re an inspiration! And look at all the lovely comments people have left you here: you’ve got a fan club! Annie x

  22. Hugh Byrne October 9, 2014 at 11:51 am Reply

    Good for you girl! I’m a week and a day into it, no fixed time limit but plan to keep pushing the days out. thanks to you too. happy birthday too, think they speed up at 31, try 52, then the years are months, the months weeks, weeks become days, and days mere moments! Cherish before we perish (:

  23. Suky October 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm Reply

    Your blog got me started this summer and I made it to 49 days wine-free! Now I’m back on day 2 😦 wish me luck – glad to hear that it takes some practice.

  24. Christina October 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm Reply

    Good Job:-) So happy for you!

  25. xx566819xx October 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm Reply

    Hey hey, I came across your blog yesterday, and really like it. It’s amazing you’ve done so well. I’ve just started on a similar topic and am fairly new to this – if you have a moment, please check it out.
    http://soberinlondon.wordpress.com// xx

  26. Jim Gregory October 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm Reply

    Day three for me…thank you for this blog…I feel like I have a community of support.

  27. Anonymous October 21, 2014 at 12:36 am Reply

    Goog luck keep going

  28. Jim Hill October 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm Reply

    It sounds like you are well on your way! Keep up the good work! When times are tough and you are really aching for that drink, many people fold under the pressure, so you were not the only one. But now, you seem determined to not let that happen again. Others have to find assistance outside of their home and look for a sober living house, whereas everyone you come in contact with is trying to do the same thing. Not drink. An interesting article here:


    Excellent post and keep us updated as to how things are going!!

  29. Visually Sober November 5, 2014 at 5:05 am Reply

    Congrats to you. I ran across your blog and being sober is worth it, but it isn’t always easy. I’m on visual end of things and got into it after I got sober. I have been sober 12 years and spent much of that time outside of my country. What I observed is a lot of journalists on the visual and as well as written end of things drink a lot, and the majority of the networking and social issues are around pubs and drinking, whether it be for for after assignments get together s or whatever. In my case and my situation I could not become such a social butterfly so to speak in order to get my work out there, due to that very real part of the industry. My sobriety is very important to me. It hasn’t stopped me from producing, but I do think it has kind of halted opportunities, because so many people I met drink a lot. Many of the journalists questioned me as to why I wasn’t joining them for drinks etc. I’m not that young, but not that old. I have a lot of life experience and I believe my former background actually prepared me to succeed in producing, in very difficult climates. I don’t have a crutch, I have to internally process what I see and at the end of the day, I really would prefer to just relax with a book, socializing at a pub really isn’t my mentality anyway. I don’t need a drink to deal with life and the issues that happen. There are soldiers that go into war zones, have to kill, have to come home and deal with atrocities or things that they might have had to do. It doesn’t mean they all drink in order to flush those memories aside. Journalists only have to report, and taking a drink to “deal” with the issues or thinking of it as just what one does with other reporters, well, it shouldn’t have to be a reality for everyone. I think a sober mind before and after reportage, actually makes a person a better at what they do. Not all people (or reporters) have a problem with alcohol, but the truth is there are sure a lot of heavy drinking that goes on in the industry and a lot of socializing at bars. I have found it isn’t healthy for me. I love doing projects and I got into this for a love of the work, not contests, and not for after assignment pub calls, or the like. etc. I am a woman and dealing with egos under alcohol at a pub is the last thing I want to do. I just want to produce and enjoy what I do. I would much rather send a sober mature person into a difficult assignment than someone who is attached to the profession just for the rush of adventure and then deals with that through heavy drinking…it does affect their reportage, whether we think it or not. Getting sober and healthy can allow for a deeper meaning in what you do; whether it is journalism or even flipping burgers.

  30. learningtolive November 16, 2014 at 1:57 am Reply

    Big congratulations Kate! And thanks for being the first part of my unconventional sober network. Your blog was the first I found on this high & low, life-giving journey since February. Thanks for sharing–it helps more than you know (or maybe you do know!)
    All best, Lindsey

  31. glamlyfiendish November 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm Reply

    Glad to find such an honest and well-written blog. I’m 14 days sober after 2 years off the wagon through a time of personal turmoil. Needing all the inspiration I can get and reading about your experiences of being sober, as well as your memories of being drunk, helps me as I can relate well to both and would rather stay in the sober camp too!

    This time I’m determined to clean up my act and stay sober, face any difficulties head on without a drink. It’s hard coming to terms with events months and years after they have happened, so much more difficult because my process has been on hold whilst looking at my reflection in the bottom of a wine glass, rather than looking at the reality of the mess that became my life. And everyone else has moved on. I was feeling alone with this until I started looking for help on the internet. Thanks for writing about your experiences. It’s good for me to remember that I am not alone.

  32. Caitlin Sweeney December 5, 2014 at 3:10 am Reply

    Congratulations on the anniversary and thank you so much for the posts, you don’t realize how supportive it is to other people:) I’m 29 and hope I can be sober for my 30th birthday, which is 6 months from now. Reading about woman like you is motivational and inspirational! Thanks lady!

  33. tinkfromneverland December 15, 2014 at 10:28 pm Reply

    I’ll join the praise team! I read all your posts last night I think and feel so empowered and hopeful about the future now. I am only on day 2 of being sober but thank you, felt I could really relate to a lot of stuff you were writing. Congrats on being 31yrs old, that’s a good age – I am 31 too πŸ™‚

  34. chris December 27, 2014 at 5:53 am Reply

    hi!why are you not posting anymore/everything ok?love your blog.

  35. Roisin Murray December 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm Reply

    I’ve been reading your blog. It’s very interesting! I’ve started a project where I have gone dry for 365 days, in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. I’m 14 days in and, as an irish girl who loves her Guinness, I’m finding it tough! Would love you to have a look/read? All advice welcome! http://www.thelongdryroad.com

  36. 6mo December 30, 2014 at 5:11 am Reply

    I come back to this site every few months. I feel the support.

  37. Matt February 23, 2015 at 6:17 am Reply

    So… it is the new year. How are you doing with being sober. I am sure we are all courious to know how you have been.

  38. me-fixing-me February 23, 2015 at 6:17 am Reply

    double congrats and thank you for this blog. very inspiring.

  39. I enjoyed the myriad of posts on here especially as it’s Mother’s Day and I’m sitting here on my jack jones having just reached day 6 of abstinence. I’m not about to bring the tone of happiness down by saying how utterly miserable I feel as an unemployed skint single mother with a law degree but to say how comforted I am that just for once, I am not alone !
    I detoxed myself last week on 6 mg of valium per day and now I’m just doing 2 mg. Yes, I realise it’s addictive but at least it’s better than rehab with a load of “real” drunks and I am u using it carefully !
    What started getting me hooked was the clever marketing tactic of “buy 2 for Β£10 and 3 for Β£12” . I used to just buy 3 and drink 3 ! All that sugar !!!!! what was I thinking of? I hasten to add that I’m now 18 stone and desperate for someone to lose weight with.
    Anyway, I digress. You all sound lovely people and probably all are. Whatever you have gone through or are going through, remember, you can change it anytime by simplying getting up one morning and saying “Right, that’s it, no more.”. The rest will follow, I promise. x

  40. SoberMummy March 17, 2015 at 3:13 pm Reply

    Well done you, and thanks for the great blog. I’m 15 days into the same journey. Please check out my blog on http://www.mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot.com
    Good luck!

    • Anonymous March 21, 2015 at 3:34 pm Reply

      Hello – took me ages to find out where to say hello to you. You sent me a link when I posted a comment on the Sober Journalist when I was on day 6 of abstinence. Well that’s as far as it went I’m afraid. I do have a rather volatile home life right now (I won’t post my recent pictures) but I think I am going to have to grin and bear it until he’s 18. His behaviour is endorsed, most astonishingly by my rather toxic mother and step-father so I’m afraid that the “wine witch” which left you has taken residence in me !
      On an upward note, I really enjoyed reading your blog and you sound great fun. If you live anywhere near the Winchester (which I very much doubt) then you would be just the sort of person I would like make friends with.
      In the meantime, keep up the amazing work you do and never stop trying.
      Ciao for Now.

  41. irishaircompressors March 19, 2015 at 7:57 am Reply

    How are you getting on. Long time since you blogged. Are you still off the wine?

  42. Faye22 May 20, 2015 at 8:56 am Reply

    Like you I’m quitting 6 months before turning 3-0. I have 15 days today. I’ve been trying to get sober off and on for seven years! I’ve quit for 90, 60, 30 days at a time over the years. Most recently 90 days 4 1/2 months ago. During those months all I did was try to quit, but was never able to string together more than 3 days at a time. I was up to my old tricks in no time drinking 6 (free poured so who knows how much really) vodka rocks everyday like water. Finally, 2 weeks ago I did something different and poured all the alcohol in the house down the drain. My chest hurt all the time. I was an anxious wreck. After 2 weeks I’m happy to say that’s diminished drastically. I’m doing Belles 100 day challenge (for the umpteenth time- bless her)! Going back to drinking isn’t an option. It’s not fun anymore. I dread ever having another Day 1. Thank you for being an inspiration that this can be done!

    • Emmet May 22, 2015 at 12:43 am Reply


      For some reason I’ve latched onto your response to all this more than all the others. Just wanted to wish you all the best for the future. After reading your brief story, I can see a lot of myself in there. And ready to do the same….. I’m hopefully just about to set on my journey to freedom too.

      It’s more than day to day, it’s hour to hour… So we can all do with some support.
      Let me know if you need some. I’m just learning how much it means to talk about it.

      Take care,


      • Faye22 May 25, 2015 at 1:04 am

        Hi, Thank you for reaching out. That was the first comment I’ve ever left on a blog post. (Trying another new thing this time). It is hour to hour for me sometimes too, especially in the beginning. Reading blogs (for hours) at a time helps. Then when I think about drinking, I remember how many hours I’ve spent trying to keep at this. I try to keep it as fresh as possible in my mind that I am not a person who can drink normally. We all can definitely do with more support. I love that you wrote “Journey to freedom”.. That’s a perfect way to describe it.

  43. And I go on... June 14, 2015 at 1:11 am Reply

    I hope you haven’t written for a while cause you are doing well. Haven’t read your whole blog yet, but some of the early posts it’s like I reading a better written version of what goes on in my head, and my life… Who knows where I am, and where I’m going, but reading things like this helps. So much. So thank you.

  44. Yenni Yen aka Y. P. July 2, 2016 at 3:17 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing your sobriety story!
    I like the honesty and simplicity on how you tell your story. Your blog is encouraging and inspiring! -:)

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