no, this is not the cake I made for my eighteen month celebration! although I wish I had… and if you feel compelled to do so there are detailed instructions here at I particularly like her thoroughness in describing the method, right down to the colour of summer toenail polish you need to wear 🙂

did not have cake yesterday… was at a tea shop in blissful isolation yesterday but it was lunchtime and instead I had the most fantastic hearty bowl of brown lentil soup with caramelised red onion and creme fraiche topping, and with some terrific brown bread that tasted like something Demelza Poldark would have made in hopes of enticing Ross home for lunch from the copper mine… ahem, lost my train of thought there, where was I… 😉

sorry post-soberversary euphoria rambling I think. and what I really wanted to do was make sure that as many people as possible have seen this completely wonderful post from Daisy at thesobergirlwifeandmum about how a SMART recovery meeting works. if you haven’t already done so, please go and read it and don’t miss out the video, which I found immensely moving.

Daisy talks in detail about what takes place at a SMART meeting, and gives details of a really useful approach to dealing with triggers to drink… ABCDE…. which is really useful in dealing with any stressful event that tends to make us react in a negative way. in the post Daisy describes what ABCDE stands for as follows:

ACTION or ACTIVATING EVENT – What happened? Somethings made me upset/angry.

BELIEF (UNHELPFUL or IRRATIONAL) – Drinking will make this better/go away/less stressful.

CONSEQUENCE – Drink is my usual outcome from these types of events. I isolate myself, makes me feel worse, lose credibility with family/friends. Not sure when I’ll get a sober day next.

And we try to turn the outcome into a different route that doesn’t involve drinking or using.

DISPUTE – Drinking won’t make it better, it might numb it for a while but the feelings will still be there and perhaps worse when I’m sober again and I also am dealing with self-loathing and the upsetting event. So actually drinking makes it worse.

EFFECTIVE NEW BELIEF – Drinking isn’t better, I should have done something different, had a cup of tea/a bath/taken myself off for a walk. Talked through my upset.

had a grim social occasion last night which did not make me want to drink but did make me want to run off into the hills and not come back until everyone had left – also not the most highly adaptive reaction 🙂 that acronym would have really helped in that scenario

A – social scenario I would far rather not be in
B – that my head will actually EXPLODE if I have to, or my cheeks will crack with my unconvincing Stepford Wife smile
C – I don’t drink but I do isolate myself mentally in the hope that doing so will protect me
D – by freezing up I make it worse for myself rather than better
E – by getting through it one moment at a time (also by checking in with sober support network) I deal with it better rather than seeing it as insurmountable.

I did look at the SMART website some time ago but didn’t take it any further – but the approach sounds really positive and might be helpful to you perhaps particularly if you are in the early days of recovery. I especially like what Daisy said about not dwelling on the past but focusing on the days to come.

a few extras to add to Daisy’s excellent post – if you are looking at the UK map there’s a point where it asks you for your current location. I was too nervous to put this in when I originally looked at this site (what? why?! as if there were spotter helicopters which were going to come and spray paint a big purple A for Alcoholic on my front lawn?? paranoid boozer, moi?!)

so it that’s you, too, then rest assured that if you hover over then click on your location on the UK map then it will come up with a list of meeting local to you. and yes, there were some surprisingly close to me that I could have got to *facepalm*

and the other thing I wanted to mention was that SMART offer online meetings – I wasn’t aware of this, and wondered if anyone had tried them and would be willing to share whether that experience was valuable?

the ABCDE acronym also reminded me of another acronym I’ve used in the past in stressful situations but had forgotten. I thought I’d blogged about it but maybe not? or maybe its in comments or on someone else’s blog?! am obviously suffering from middle aged blogger memory loss 🙂

anyway that acronym is SOBER, which is intrinsically memorable! and stands for

Stop, Observe, Breathe, Expand, Respond, an approach summarised here if you’re interested. the concept of responding rather than reacting has been very useful to me and might be maybe for you, too?

keeping going on the sober path. still very much a beginner, but keeping going! love, Prim xx

you guys are my bear. thanks for always being there.