Monthly Archives: December 2014

12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 9

Nine ladies dancing – well this one makes me dance anyway!! 🙂
Over the last five weeks of my Cambridge course one of the tutors has repeatedly described mindfulness, and the practice of mindful meditation, as the two wings of a bird.  She describes it as one wing is insight and the other compassion.
And then in a moment of synchronicity Feeling posted a link to a talk by Tara Brach where the very same description was used (Thanks feeling!)
Her talk is so good, and at times funny, that I am sharing it again here as a sober treat and as the idea for another sober treat.  Mrs D is a BIG fan of Tara Brach and I am fast becoming one too.  She has books and meditations free online that you can access here.
As part of my course I am expected to complete a daily mindfulness practice and then journal about it.  Maybe a moment of mindfulness each day would work for you too?  Why not over the next 30 days find a few minutes to be mindful: washing the dishes, making a cup of tea, in the shower, wrapping presents?  Or why not sign up for the excellent Headspace app where you can complete the Take 10 challenge for free and even sign up with a buddy so you can work on it together, as well as support and motivate each other.
As we head into Christmas and New Year when it can be really difficult to remember why we’ve made the choice we have – being present and mindful can help with that.  I find this practice both inspiring, supporting and nourishing and helps me accept that who I am is okay as I am.  What better way to treat yourself? 🙂
Any other ideas for nine ladies dancing – a CD of your favourite tunes? Ticket’s to a gig of a band you love?, A fitness class like Zumba?
PS 15 months today!! 😀
PPS The 600th person has subscribed for my e-book and has been offered a free Udemy course place so now the offer is open to subscriber no 750!

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 8

Eight maids a milking – well I’m going to have to milk this one for sure!!  I’m going to propose that this sober treat you save for next year.  Delay gratification?  A big ask for us instant gratification driven drinkers LOL!

movie tickets

Set aside the money to pay for a ticket to go see ‘A Royal Hangover‘.  It’s already premiered in the US and Australia and is due to premiere here in the UK in the New Year.  If you haven’t heard of it here’s the films trailer:

I was lucky enough to be sent the film to watch by it’s producer Gabrielle Weller and I can safely say it is absolutely brilliant.  In fact that’s an understatement – it is f**king dynamite!!  I was squirming in my seat from the first two minutes and I was enthralled the whole way through.  The film covers all the facets of how embedded drinking is in this countries culture and reveals the problem so clearly that  you wonder why it has taken us so long to wake up to the public health crisis unfolding before our very eyes.  I could not agree more with director Arthur Cauty’s view of what is going on and it saddens and enrages me in equal measure.

I met them at the Alcohol Concern Conference and this is what Gabrielle has confirmed about viewing availability in 2015: The film is still on the international film festival circuit and as such isn’t being released outside of independent movie theatres (in the UK, Australia and the US) until April next year when it will be available on NetFlix and also shown on television across the UK, US and Australia. Follow the facebook page of ‘A Royal Hangover’ for all updates on distribution and screenings.

This definitely fits in the surprising category of Living Sober’s First Aid Kit.  You’ll watch it and be surprised that it has taken so long for a film this good to be directed and produced about what we know is a major issue for both us as individuals and within our own respective cultures and countries.

Any other eight maids a milking sober treat ideas?  A cup of hot milk? Some milk chocolate?

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 7

Seven swans a swimming – hmm, I’m going to have to take liberties with this one too and it makes me think of swimming against the tide.  Which we are – we are swimming against the whole tide of alcohol advertising and marketing and drinking in our culture and that can make this journey feel tough.

So sometimes we just have to surrender to the idea that we can’t drink.  With that in mind here’s Veronica and I’s next Skype chat installment where we talk about Step 1 of the 12 steps <decent segway or not?>  😉

To remind you Step 1 reads: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.  Over to Veronica where she really breaks down what each step means and clears up any misinformation.

I have found these conversations hugely helpful because AA has been in existence since 1935 and their wisdom and 12 step process has helped many millions get sober and stay sober.  Whether we choose to go sit in the rooms or not I feel there is much to be learned from this programme and I find the premise of the steps both supporting and inspiring.

Maybe this series will help you re-evaluate how you feel about the programme and the fellowship and help open up an important new avenue of support?  You could always buy yourself Veronica’s book to support your spiritual recovery process 😉

Veronica Valli is an Addictions Therapist and the author of Why you drink and How to stop:…

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

Any other ideas for seven swans a swimming?

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 6

Six Geese a Laying ….. hmm I’m going to have to think about this laterally again.  How about something for when you’re ‘a laying’ in the bath? 😉

For my birthday my sister in law’s family gifted me this amazing candle.  It smelled heavenly of mandarin and plum and has a wooden wick so it crackles when it burns.  I’d like me some more of these and you can get them on Ebay.  I found this caramel and apple  one available for about £8 -20.  Plus my sister in law shared that she bought the one for me in Homesense, that is part of TKMaxx, so you can probably pick them up for even less £££’s there.  Happy Days!

wooden wick candle

If you want to push the boat out then what about a Jo Malone or Diptyque candle? Slightly more pricey at £40 and Selfridges carries the best selection.

So for me this is both a smelly sober treat and feels very pampering when I’m luxuriating in the bath with my cinnamon buns bath soak 🙂

What other geese a laying ideas could you use?  Eggs hollandaise for breakfast ……


The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 5

Five Gold Rings – yes gold is one way to my heart but at £760 per troy ounce currently is a little extravagant even for me!

So the other way to my heart currently?  Chocolate! My favourite chocolaterie in the whole wide world is in my home city of Brighton and goes by the name of Choccywoccydoodah and boy is their sweet stuff the best 🙂  If you want to see chocolate porn just go to their website – it’s amazing!!


These chocolate lollies are £9.99 each and a sweet rescue moment

If chocolate’s not your thing how about 6 festive mixed flavour fortune cookies? Each handcrafted fortune cookies is perfect for the festive period and contains a traditional style fortune message.  And the flavours – all 22 of them from salted caramel to chocolate and chilli to raspberry, honey and vanilla, here they are all listed:


YUM!! and a snip at £6.99 🙂

These fit sweet, inspiring and surprising in the sober first aid kit.

What other gold ring inspired sober treats could I get? A bag of chocolate gold coins? Glazed doughnut rings maybe …..

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 4

Four Calling Birds ……hmm how about the kettle calling instead?

You could buy  yourself some specialist or expensive loose leaf tea.  This is my favourite and I’ve talked about it before here.  It is on my Amazon wish list – with 45 other things 😉 (mainly recovery books!!)

Beautiful tea

This is a handmade glass infuser mug for flowering tea, which looks and tastes divine, and you can get from Amazon here for £24.00

For me tea has been a massively supporting sober treat so this is perfect for the sober first aid kit

This may be too late for this year but an idea for next year?  How about a tea advent calendar!  24 different teas for each day from December 1st – 24th and a special treat for the 25th.  Each day’s sachet has enough tea for 2-3 cups of tea, so you can enjoy a treat in the morning and in the afternoon, or with a friend.  The flavour choice is huge: Lemon Verbena, Japanese Sencha Green, Peppermint Infusion, Assam, Breakfast Blend, Duchess Earl Grey, Blackcurrant Burst, Pai Mu Tan White Tea, Balancing Infusion, Lemon Gunpowder, Chamomile Infusion, Spring Spritzer, Refreshing Infusion, Orange Blossom Oolong, Clanwilliam Rooibos, Gingerbread Chai, Citrus Zing, Aromatic Black Chai, Cherry Medley Rooibos, Jasmine Green Tea, Winterberry Fruit Infusion, Strawberry Split, Spiced Apple Infusion and Genmaicha Popcorn Tea.

Any other four calling birds sober treat ideas? …..

Edited to add: these were two teas that I bought today:

ThreeTulsi_CMYK_NEW                     Love_CMYK_NEW

Here’s where to find out about three tulsi:

and love:

Enjoy! 🙂

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 3

So today according to the Christmas song it’s Three French Hens.  But what if I couldn’t find Three French Hens – would I be disappointed?

So this sober treat looks at disappointment and the expectation hangover that we can get when things do not go according to plan.  I subscribe to Kate Northrup and recently she interviewed Christine Hassler the author of a new book called ‘Expectation Hangover’

Here’s the interview:

You can buy the book here for £20 and if you go to her website here you can take the expectation hangover quiz, order the book and get loads of free goodies too! 🙂

For me this goes in the nourishing category of sober treats – as it nourishes my soul.

What other sober treats would work for today?  A French cookbook or a dinner reservation at a French restaurant?  I still find eating out in French restaurants tricky as wine seems a central part of their dining experience.  French language lessons?  Some croissants for breakfast?

PS Day 450 here for me – so will definitely be having almond croissants for breakfast as an extra extra milestone number sober treat 🙂

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas – Day 2

Day 2 of our 12 sober treat Days of Christmas!  Two Turtle Doves? OK going off piste today – can I get dove to rhyme with mug?

Thanks to a Mumsnetter for this one!


Yep I really will be buying one of these – or asking MrHOF to ask Santa 😉

To me this one is inspiring as it will remind me, every day when I drink my tea, or every night when I drink my sleepy time herbal tea that this is why I made this decision and choice.

Available at Be Happy for $15.95

Any good dove idea’s from you?  Some Dove body care products maybe?

The 12 sober treat Days of Christmas

Last year in the run up to Christmas my sobriety was pretty new and the week before the big day I made a mocktail every day as a way of keeping my mind focused and to stop me from slipping and you can see them all here.

This year I thought I’d do the 12 sober treat Days of Christmas.  I’m aware that my blog can be a little heavy going at times because I focus on the media stories and public  health issues so I wanted to lighten things up a little.  Normal service will be resumed in the New Year when with January comes the warnings of the dangers of excess which my usual blog format will suit perfectly! 😉

So ….. my I’m done drinking app tells me that MrHOF and I so far have saved the princely sum of £5500+ between us and that will buy some very BIG sober treats.  So I’m going to go wild and stretch my imagination and scour the net looking for the best sober treats I can find and for each of the next 12 days I will share them here so we can dream of the amazing things we can do with all our time and money and energies now we don’t drink 🙂

These could also be items to go into your sober first aid kit as designed by SueK and discussed over at Living Sober which you can read here.  This is a truly amazing idea so thank you to to the other side of our sober world!  As a reminder they are something: smelly, sweet, inspiring, soft and cosy, supporting, pampering, nourishing and surprising all in a nice box or bag.

The original 12 days of Christmas were quite wacky too – so how do I start and match a partridge in a pear tree?  Do I follow the theme?  I think I shall  – how about ……..

green® fresh pear shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath from Philosophy

12 days of Xmas pear shower gel

Which you can buy for $20 here or for £18 in the UK.  They even do a cinammon bun shower gel, which made me think of Belle 🙂

Perfect for your sober bath at the end of the day so something smelly or pampering from your first aid kit! What gift will tomorrow bring? What pear themed sober treat would you buy for yourself?

Edited to add:  my friend Rachel over at Sober Is The New Black has a great piece in the Guardian Society She Said blog today which you can read here: A Christmas letter to my old lover – alcohol.  Couldn’t agree more Rachel!! 🙂

Booze aversion therapy

This is something that feeling has mentioned on her blog as I believe the Dutch have a study programme that works on and as alcohol aversion therapy.

Aversion therapy is a form of psychological treatment in which the patient is exposed to a stimulus while simultaneously being subjected to some form of discomfort. This conditioning is intended to cause the patient to associate the stimulus with unpleasant sensations in order to stop the specific behavior (wiki)

One of the drugs used to manage alcohol dependency Antabuse works on the principle of booze aversion therapy as it gives you many unpleasant symptoms including nausea and vomiting if you drink having taken it.

So while trawling Youtube I came across this video published in March 2014 which uses the same principles and I thought I’d share it here to see what you thought.

There is something quite powerful about images of booze followed by images of bleach and feeling if you’re reading this I’d be really interested in hearing in the comments if this helped you when you stopped?

What do you think?  Does this help or would it have helped you stop?

Edited to add: feeling has very kindly written a whole post in response to my question – which talks you through how to access and use the Dutch programme that she has used.  She says ‘I did a free alcohol desensitization training which is still in its test phase but I think it works’ so if you’d like to have a go at it go here:

Thank you so much feeling 🙂