Sober Is The New Black

Sober Is The New Black, by Rachel Black

Rachel sent me an email telling me about her book and I decided to read it, and am glad I did. It is unusual, because it has been written by somebody who is relatively new to an alcohol free life and so the initial battle is still very real and memorable. I think this adds a lot of realism to the book and I feel it would be very useful for those who are contemplating a new alcohol free lifestyle or for those who are fairly new to it. There are many people who gave up at the start of the year and who would fall into this category. It covers the first nine months of her recovery, and how she has been successful in going alcohol free and how her attitude to alcohol has changed. You can buy it here

and her blog is here

Sober is the New Black

Sober is the New Black

I think a lot of people will relate to her initial reluctance to stop and recognise some of the twisted drinker’s reasoning – I certainly did!  She was a wine drinker and was living the kind of lifestyle that looked like she was in control, but drinking was causing her problems. As the problems increased so did the drinking. She is one of the many people who has benefited from joining the Soberistas site, which she uses as a support group at times which makes sense to me. She talks about the fellowship from the anonymous people using the chatroom, who were there, when a bit of support was needed in potentially difficult situations.

Most of the book is about events that take place in the first year of recovery and highlight the type of events that would have been full of triggers to drink in the past and how she has  learnt to deal with them. She contrasts then and now and over time realises that her life is simply better without alcohol. She talks about work get togethers and dinner parties which can be stressful until you have done it a few times and are less self-conscious about not drinking. She starts with an almost day by day approach to sobriety, but this merges into a long-term aim to stay stopped quite quickly, which is similar to what happened to me.

I really enjoyed chapter 5, (which for the ex 12 steppers is ironically) about AA. The first bit really brought back memories – I actually did the same thing as her, and went to my first meeting miles away so nobody would recognise me, and was also confused when asked “are you a friend of Bill”. I found many of the AA phrases quite ridiculous, to be honest, especially that one . She decided that AA was not for her as she was not “diseased and powerless” but treats the subject in a sensitive respectful way, which I like. Like myself, she had some sober time before going, and I think this allows you to take a step back and look at the 12 step world with some objectivity, compared to somebody who has turned up drunk and who will do anything to stop.

She did not need AA or use a formal group to stop. I think it is really important that people say that this can be done, as many are put off going alcohol free by the thought of joining a recovery group. It is interesting reading this so soon after the Gabrielle Glaser book, which also talks about the way that wine has become a part of life and people do not think of it as a drug until things go too far. A  lot of women drink at home and so it is hard for them to avoid certain triggers compared to many men who drink in pubs. I think the kind of online support, that she talks about is great for working mums, who can use it when convenient, and get on with life the rest of the time. If you join AA, you can be encouraged to make it the main part of your life and this can have a detrimental effect on relationships and other activities. This book shows an alternative way, where somebody has stood up to the challenge of getting sober, while carrying on with normal life. This is what makes it really useful and inspiring, as well as up to date compared to what is on offer in the literature in certain groups. I worked all through my early days as well and had to deal with uncertainties at work or other areas, but I feel being independent and keeping regular contact with normal people, rather than just surrounding yourself with people in recovery is a healthy thing to do, and will allow you to escape the pull of alcohol quicker as you really see the benefits of an alcohol free lifestyle. This is what she has done and it seems to have worked for her.

I think this book will encourage people to stop drinking when things have got out of hand and that many will be able to relate to the descriptions of life before and after joining the alcohol free world.



Commenting area

  1. I think moderation is the new black. I love your new blog !!! RFR keep up the educating. we need it!!!

    • Im staying alcohol free as I went too far for too long. You had over 30 years away from it so I will see how I feel when I’m 70! I’m really enjoying being alcohol, drug and smoke free and have got so much into running and other sporting activities, that I see drinking as a negative thing that I don’t need or want.
      I can’t really write too much about moderation as I have not done it! I do know a famous footballer here who wrote a recovery book some time ago but who now moderates well, but it took hime several years to get his life together. It would not have suited me at the start of my recovery.
      Glad you like the blog! It is getting a good number of readers, and no nutters so far. It is nice to have a site I don’t have to moderate much!

  2. Hi Massive
    I so so wanted to be able to moderate but never managed. It was like walking a tight rope at the top of the slippery slope and I kept falling. I never learnt and made the same mistakes repeatedly.
    I hated that I had to give up completely, now I love it!

  3. I love it as well, much to my surprise and relief. Life is certainly much easier without for me.

  4. Hi Michael, Rachel is a great writer and shares her experiences with alcohol in a way we can all relate to. I really enjoyed the book too!

    • Hi Bren, I think it is a really helpful book, especially to those in the first year of going alcohol free, as she describes many of the problems that you face and how she got round them. I found hearing from people who had managed to change really motivating in my early days. If they could do it, so could I.

  5. I remember the firs time someone pointed out in the big book that AA held no monopolies in people getting sober. As something still ignorant to the process I was quite shocked that maybe there were other solutions to my struggle.

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