To Sobriety and beyond


As the (No)Buzz Lightyear”s that are the heroes of Dry January consider their missions into to sobriety and beyond (Parched March anyone?), we thought we would highlight some relatively new approaches in the recovery universe.

The 12 Step fellowships work for a lot of people. They will continue working for a lot more. There are, though, multiple paths in to recovery and each person needs to find their own way.

For an alcoholic of my type, the 12 Steps were a life saver, but what about some alternative paths?

The idea of moderation (drugs or alcohol) is anathema to many in the treatment world and the recovery community. But could attempted moderation convince a problem user how bad things are?

This seems to be the path common to three very different organisations. In the US, Allies In Recovery (AIR) and the Centre For Optimal Living (CFOL) and in the UK Club Soda.

Dominique Simon of AIR says “If your loved one believes they can moderate, there are two good reasons for you to go along with this. First of all, it may work. Second, if it doesn’t work, they will learn that they are unable to control their using – the problem is bigger than they initially thought.”

Founder of CFOL, Dr Andrew Tartarsky’s model, the Positive Change Pathway, help’s to create the individuals optimal relationship to substances—whether that means reduced, safer, more controlled use, or abstinence.

It would be fair to say that not everyone with a drinking or drug problem is an alcoholic or addict, they may still need to recover their lives!

Laura Willoughby of Club Soda in the UK wants “to help you make the change to your drinking that you want. They are continually developing tools and techniques, and support a growing social network.

To paraphrase Shakespeare “Be not afraid of sobriety. Some are born sober, some achieve sobriety, and others have sobriety thrust upon them.”






The Scottish Recovery Consortium (SRC) are at it again. One of our favourite recovery organisations in the world have announced yet another initiative to support recovery wherever you are. A free recovery workbook, free to everyone. Just click here and download the pdf.

The SRC’s innovative ideas and practices deserve attention everywhere. Since 2008 the SRC team have developed their charity with an ongoing “organisational” recovery practice.

Watch Kuladahrini talk about it here.

The SRC believe that not only can people recover from addiction, but their lives can be truly enhanced by the recovery process. Recovery results in a better way of living and a better life.

SRC have developed Recovery College, the Recovery Initiative Fund, Opiate Replacement Treatment Recovery and many other great ideas that support recovery in the community.With a vision to have a country in recovery, SRC march on, literally with helping organise the annual Recovery Walk in Scotland.

The SRC have put the idea of recovery at the heart of treatment and drug strategy advocating for a “recovery” model in dealing with the problems caused by addiction. There are now more than 100 Recovery Café’s across Scotland as well as sports clubs and other community support organisations that support recovery. The mindset is changing in Scotland and across the UK, a recovery “movement” is emerging.

The SRC’s free recovery workbook is, as they put it, “a gift from the recovery movement in Scotland, to people in early recovery from addictions everywhere. Our gift, like recovery itself, is free to you.”

You can read about SRC online, or you can watch some videos on Youtube, you can also keep coming back here and reading about recovery in Scotland, all over the UK, and from all around the world.

Image from SRC Recovery Gave Me poster campaign.






Bowie enjoyed a long and successful career and recovery.

A great many creatives fear recovery from addiction might mean an end to their artistic achievements. Alcoholism and addiction have been see by many as the creative curse.

That said alcoholic writers probably write (or wrote) just as well sober as drunk, and as South African playwright Athol Fugard nearly said do you want to be a dead good writer, or a good dead writer?

Stephen King puts it this way “Hemingway and Fitzgerald didn’t drink because they were creative, alienated, or morally weak. They drank because it’s what alkies are wired up to do. Creative people probably do run a greater risk of alcoholism and addiction than those in some other jobs, but so what? We all look the same when we’re puking in the gutter.”

There are almost certainly more great non-alcoholic or drug using creatives than addicted ones, but the larger than life behaviours of the creative wrecking crews rock’n’roll lifestyles ensure their place in the pantheon of doomed genius.

Vice Media looked in to a random Vice-style selection of artistic alcoholics and addicts in a recent article that reasoned, “in case you need another reason to check in with your own addiction, it sounds like it kinda sucks to forget some of your biggest artistic achievements to drug-or alcohol–induced amnesia.”

Arguably the real genius creatives with substance abuse problems produce most of their best work before the addiction fully takes hold. In the alcohol soaked drug fuelled years work often becomes erratic or self indulgent sometimes incomprehensible.

Recovery from addiction can mean a return to form, a clearer vision and more energy and wit, David Bowie springs to mind.

Whatever happens creativity, like recovery is about practice, work and consistency. With these values both are possible and compatible.



Under pressure? Drinking to conform.
Under pressure? Drinking to conform.

“Alcohol is a big element of our social interactions (in the UK at least) so not drinking, or stopping drinking, is normally met with criticism or mockery, which we want to avoid, even at a subconscious level. It can be extremely powerful, this social influence. If you’re allergic to alcohol, you’ve likely been pressured to have a drink anyway because “just one won’t hurt”, when it literally will. Clearly.”

Catching up with current articles about drinking, alcohol and alcoholism we came across this article from the UK’s Guardian.

This is a well written and thoughtful article about alcohol, the UK’s drinking culture – the social pressure to drink and how drinking, drunkenness and hangovers can be acceptable, even if occasionally reasoned away, despite some serious consequences.

If recovery is a new way of life, it is easy to understand both from this article and the comments below it how choosing a sober life style can be quite a challenge.

The assumption from many of the comments seem to be if an individual chooses not to drink they are suddenly judging every one who does. There are certainly those that do, but, there are plenty who don’t.

Our view is that it is a personal choice to drink, or to stop (or cut down if you wish). If drinking has caused damage and consequences it might be a good idea to try and correct these.

If stopping is too hard, then ask for help. There are many ways to stop drinking (or using drugs), there are lots of ways to live sober, different people try different ways and go with what works.

The foundation for a good recovery might be found through a 12 Step approach, Lifering, SMART, yoga Refuge Recovery or any other number of routes.

Being honest and open about getting sober reduces social pressure to drink and can only help shift the relationship our culture has with alcohol.

Sober is the New Sexy (Apparently)

Don’t take our word for it, take a look at this article featured recently in Elle Magazine. In our last post, we talked about the research into the benefits of being in recovery from addiction and alcoholism. This piece takes a slightly different view, looking at long term sobriety as a lifestyle choice. Read about Elle’s top sober lifestyle choices here.