Category Archives: Interviews

Veronica Valli and I (9) discuss Step 4

So this was a marathon conversation between Veronica and I with 3 Skype discussions as there was so much to talk about.  Here we discuss Step 4 which reads: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.  I post this with a warning as some of the information (particularly part 2) discussed maybe a trigger for you.  Proceed with caution.

Part 1 of our discussion on what Step 4 means and how by examining our resentments we can become free of alcoholism.

Part 2 is a discussion on resentments and the inventory process helps us become free of them

And then finally part 3 where we have a discussion on what it means to do a fear inventory and sex conduct inventory.

A lot of what this process does is very similar to what I am learning at Cambridge.  Yes truly!  What she describes in part 3 about putting things down on paper and moving from the unconscious to the conscious is us ‘labelling’ them.  Taking the emotional heat out of them by engaging our higher cognitive function as we discussed in the flipping our lid post here.

I appreciate that Veronica covered a great deal of ground and so I’ve written some notes for the key parts of what she said that you can access here: Step 4 with Veronica Valli notes

Just having this discussion with Veronica was hugely cathartic for me and I am now really beginning to understand the power of the 12 steps if done well with a sponsor (and a secret wish that Veronica was my sponsor!)

We’ll be back in a few weeks discussing Step 5.  We do hope that you are enjoying these and finding them useful and please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

Veronica Valli and I (8) discuss Step 3

So Veronica and I got together on Skype to continue our discussions about the 12 steps today discussing Step 3.

As a reminder Step 3 reads: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood him.

This is an in-depth discussion on what Step 3 actually means and how to apply it to your life. It’s an easy and straight-forward step that is immediately followed by the Step 4 inventory which I’ll post up in two weeks.

As you hear in the discussion I get caught up in the semantics of GOD but she says that this can mean Group of Drunks or Good Orderly Direction – both of which are true of where I came from and what I am now trying to achieve.

We’ll be back in two weeks to discuss Step 4 🙂

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

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

Veronica Valli and I (7) discuss Step 2

So today is Boxing Day in the UK – another bank holiday so in the past this meant spending the day recovering from a hangover or sod it – let’s start early and skip the hangover by getting drunk again!  Boxing Day races was always a big thing when I was growing up.  Mulled wine and watching the jee jee’s with a punt on the side.  For many it is now associated with the Boxing Day sales so a bit like Black Friday in the US.

Veronica and I met once more to chat on Skype and continued our series about the 12 steps.  Today we discuss Step 2 which reads: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  Veronica does an excellent job of exploring exactly what Step 2 means and how you apply it to your life.

I am so enjoying these discussions, and I hope you are too?   As I say at the end it is encouraging me to re-evaluate my beliefs about things.  Open-mindedness is key 🙂

We’ll be back in the New Year discussing the remainder of the steps.

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

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

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?

Veronica Valli and I (5) discuss ‘recovered’ vs ‘recovering’

Veronica and I met a couple of weeks ago on Skype and during this conversation we discuss how the AA fellowship perceives ‘recovered’ alcoholics as opposed to ‘recovering’ and the difference between the ‘fellowship’ of AA and the ‘programme’ of AA.

As someone who has a copy of the Big Book, which is the ‘programme’, but who has only been to one 12 step meeting, which is the fellowship, I find AA fascinating and over the next 12 sessions we are going to discuss each of the 12 steps.  I am interested to learn how the steps can be used to resolve the ‘spiritual malady’ that AA talks of without necessarily attending a 12 step meeting and Veronica has very kindly agree to be my guide, and because it’s recorded, you can share the journey too 🙂

Look out for the next conversation in the coming weeks or subscribe if you don’t want to miss it!

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


2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

PS Over 450 of you have subscribed to receive my e-book since it launched and I am so grateful for the support.  You can now buy it on Amazon and it is being well-received there with three 5 star reviews already! Please feel free to go add a review yourself if you’ve read it and benefited from it.  If you are reading this and haven’t subscribed I’m offering a free place on my newly launched Udemy course for the 500th subscriber so go sign up at the top of the page if you haven’t all ready! 🙂

Veronica Valli & I (4) ‘A Royal Hangover’

So I’ve sneaked an extra blog post in this week because I’ve been catching up with Veronica again on Skype and I thought you’d like to hear what we discussed.  Here we talk about the upcoming documentary film ‘A Royal Hangover‘ that explores the relationship the British have with binge drinking following Veronica’s attending it’s LA premiere and meeting Arthur Cauty and Gabrielle Weller, it’s Director and Producer.

It’s coming to the UK soon and should be here next month!

Veronica and I will be chatting again two weeks from today and I’ll share it here first 🙂

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

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280


Veronica Valli & I (3) Psychological vs physical alcohol addiction

So as promised Veronica &  I got together on Skype for another chat which we both love as we learn from each other.   We hope that you also value us sharing our conversations? Please do let us know what you think 🙂

Today we discuss the question posed by Lori to explain further what is meant by, and our understanding of, psychological vs physical alcohol dependence and addiction.  It is longer than our other conversations at about 18 minutes but that’s because there is a lot to say and we both had good stuff to share.

Two amendments to what I said: I mixed up want and need having tried to correct myself!  You end up needing to drink, it goes beyond want.  Also I talk about putting an ascitic tap into the stomach but technically it goes into the peritoneal cavity, so the abdomen.

If anyone else has a question for us please do drop me an email, contact Veronica or put it in the comments section below.

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

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280


Veronica and I talk about the Recovery Movement

As promised the first thing that Veronica Valli and I discussed when we last got together on Skype was the UK Recovery Walk and the Recovery Movement both in the UK and the US.

I need to add a comment that although in the video I said that Annemarie didn’t know about the sober blogging community, that isn’t the case, I got confused in the excitement of the call!!  It was other people I met that day that didn’t know about all of us 😉

They’ll be another Skype discussion posted up in two weeks 🙂

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

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

Discussion about alcohol and addiction with Veronica Valli (1)

So last week Veronica Valli and I got together on Skype to discuss alcohol and addiction and we recorded our conversation to share with you 🙂

In this little nugget we discuss:

If you think you have an alcohol problem what are the things that will be going through your mind?

Is there a line that you cross in terms of alcoholism? (psychological vs physical dependence)

We discuss recovery meetings and barriers we might feel that deter us from accessing them

We plan on doing more of these and would love to involve you in the conversation too! 🙂

We’d love to hear from you either with comments or feedback on this discussion or questions for the future.  If you have any questions you would like to ask Veronica, as an addictions specialist, or me as a nurse with alcoholic liver disease and public health experience, then put them in the comments below or email Veronica or myself.

4 days to go

Easter hiatus

Apologies folks for the interruption in service over this week-end.  As I mentioned in a previous post I am doing some work to my blog which involved moving servers and so some functionality was lost for a few days.  Thank you to those of you who emailed me to let me know about the 404 error messages and those who sent text messages to make sure I hadn’t drowned in a vat of wine,  you know who you are  😉  It hadn’t gone dark because I was off drinking – more like tearing my hair out as my luddite technology skills were severely challenged!!

Anyway I am happy to say that the normal daily blog service is now resumed 🙂

And with some news too.  In a couple of weeks I am going to do a Skype interview with Veronica Valli from Recovery Rocks.  If anyone would like to submit a question for Veronica then please let me know on email in the next two weeks.  I am planning on posting the interview up on Monday 12th May.

Here is her bio:

Veronica has worked as a therapist and life coach specialising in addiction for over ten years; her experience includes working with young people in the criminal justice system, primary care adult treatment, outreach services and private practice. Veronica has also worked in local government, delivering local drug and alcohol strategies.

As a recovered alcoholic, she has personal experience of what it takes to recover. Veronica struggled with alcoholism through most of her twenties. Never a daily drinker but a binge drinker, she was aware for some time that something was wrong but was unable to define what it was; a chance meeting led to her finally getting help and turning her life around.

At the height of her drink problem, Veronica was unable to go to work without the aid of a drink; her life and confidence were in tatters. She got sober in 2000 at the age of twenty-seven. She now uses this experience to help and inspire others. She fully believes that all alcoholics and addicts can recover if they have access to the right kind of help, and that they can then go on to live life to the full.

She is committed to educating and informing the public on problem drinking and addiction and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire as a specialist guest. She has also appeared on the Lorraine Kelly show on ITV, and an ITV programme entitled The Truth About Binge Drinking; she has also appeared in national magazines and publications, discussing recovery from alcoholism.

Her book ‘Why you drink and How to stop: Journey to freedom’ is available on

Veronica is married with a young son and is currently working in private practice.

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

If you have a question you would like to ask an addictions specialist then drop me an email.  Or maybe you’d like to ask a question of me as a nurse?  Whatever we’ll try to accommodate and are really looking forward to it!