As World Without Wine joins the global blogosphere we get a warm welcome from www.ahangoverfreelife.com in London – thanks Louise!
Author: Louise Rowlinson
Janet has asked me to write this feature as she launches World Without Wine. Who am I and why am I here? My name is Louise Rowlinson and on 21st September 2013 I decided that I wanted to live a life hangover free. I had spent the previous 5 years trying to moderate and manage my drinking without success and finally decided that enough was enough and I would give not drinking a try. Suffice it to say it was so successful I’ve carried on and here I am.
As well as being a booze hound from the age of 17 I happened to be a nurse who had cared for alcoholic liver disease patients so knew where this road led if I didn’t do something about my drinking, that felt like it was hurtling towards being out of control. I loved a drink and would use any excuse – happy, sad, celebrating, commiserating, bored, stressed, tired – as long as the day endedwith a ‘y’ I would drink. In my final year of battling to control the bottle I also trained as a public health nurse and noticed how little there was to support those who weren’t physically addicted to alcohol, but had a serious emotional or psychological addiction, just like me. Who were using increasing amounts of booze to smooth the edges of life and numb how they felt. Self-medicating on a far too regular basis.
I always drank more than I planned to from my earliest memories and chose friends who drank just like me so my drinking felt very normal. I had grown up with a father who drank every day so excessive alcohol consumption was completely normalised. In my world this is what you did. Once I’d had one drink all bets were off. Socially it isn’t just accepted it is socially expected that we drink. Drinking and alcohol has become so thoroughly embedded in our cultures and society that stepping away from that can feel isolating. A community is critical to support us in our desire to change our behaviours and habits or else we risk being a lone voice and then the siren call back to alcohol can be strong and irresistible. All our friends saying ‘oh one won’t hurt you’ not knowing that one opens the door to so much more for some of us ……
So I started to write a blog, and then design online tools, an e-book and workshops to provide the very thing that I felt was lacking. Curating the knowledge, information and skills to allow myself and others to make an informed choice about our drinking and empowering and supporting those who chose to cut down or stop. As my blog grew followers, people from around the globe reached out to me and me to them. I realised that within the sober blogosphere there were thousands of us all looking for the answer to why we drank too much and didn’t seem to be able to control it once we started. Lots of women and men just like me.
I’m in the UK and here we have Soberistas and Club Soda, which is how I met Janet. In Australia there is Hello Sunday Morning, New Zealand has Living Sober and the US has many including Hip Sobriety. Sober online, and then in real life, communities springing up across the world. And so it is that I welcome our newest addition to the sober blogosphere, World Without Wine, adding South Africa to the list of continents spreading the sober love…