Clare Pooley Interview
Interviews

Interview with Clare Pooley author of The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living

Interview with Clare Pooley author of The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living

Clare Pooley Interview
Clare Pooley – Author and all round Sober Hero!

I am delighted to have the opportunity to interview Clare Pooley, she is the author of a brilliant book which helped me so much on my own sober-journey and has no doubt inspired and motivated many other people to quit alcohol for good.

Clare’s book is The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living – if you haven’t read it yet then make sure you get yourself a copy. The book tells Clare’s personal story of her relationship with alcohol and how it had taken over her life, the book takes readers from the point where Clare is in a difficult place with her drinking and feels dependant on her daily fix of wine, through to the realisation that she needs to make a change and onto the wonderful journey of discovery as she quits alcohol and experiences all the positive changes that come with a sober life.

Simon Interviews Clare Pooley
Me with a copy of The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley

What captivated me with The Sober Diaries was the brutal honesty with which it was written, Clare laid everything bare, including all the highs and lows and I really felt connected with her and the story she told. The book also has many touching and funny stories, it really is one of those books I just couldn’t put down.

Below is the interview Clare Pooley gave to Be Sober.

Interview with Clare Pooley author of The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living

Simon: “First of all, thank you for taking the time to talk to Be Sober, you are currently three and a half years sober which is an amazing achievement. When you look back over that time what would you say are your biggest achievements from quitting alcohol?”

Clare: I had no idea when I quit that it would have such a profound effect on my life! I think my biggest achievements have been becoming a better mother, partner and friend, re-discovering my love of writing, which enabled me to help other people along the way, and, of course, dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment without resorting to getting totally plastered!

Simon: “As a fellow parent one of the huge changes I noticed after stopping drinking was how much my relationship with my teenage son changed (for the better), how has your experience of parenting changed since you became sober?”

Clare: You know, I totally bought into all that stuff on social media about how motherhood is only possible when accompanied by copious glasses of wine. Not only is that not true, but it’s actually WAY easier without! I’m now much more patient, kinder and on the same wavelength as my kids. I actually enjoy spending time with them, rather than constantly trying to find excuses for ‘me time’ (drinking time).

Simon: “What was the toughest part of your sober-journey?”

Clare: The most difficult thing for me was learning to deal with EMOTIONS without having wine as a crutch. I was so used to being able to numb any stress, anxiety, fear or boredom with booze that it took me a long time to work out how to sit with those emotions without it. Once you master that, it makes you feel like a superhero!

Simon: “I have experienced a mix of reactions from my friends since I told them I have stopped drinking, not all of them were as positive as I thought they might be. What was your experience of telling your friends and family about your decision to quit alcohol?

Clare: Ha! That was the second most difficult thing – other people! The problem I had was that I’d spent years cultivating a group of friends who were all big drinkers like me. I hardly knew anyone who didn’t drink. Quitting drinking is still seen as so unusual that people assume you must have been a rock-bottom drunk who did terrible things, or they worry that you’ll be boring, or they think you’ll judge them. Times are changing, though, and choosing not to drink for positive reasons is slowly becoming more acceptable. Now my old friends have totally come to terms with my decision as they see how much healthier and happier I am, and I’ve made loads of new ones too – many of whom don’t drink much, or at all.

Simon: “Many people ask me when their thoughts/cravings about drinking will subside, after nearly four years without alcohol do you ever have the odd urge for a drink of wine?”

Clare: Only once in a blue moon! Usually when I have something really big to celebrate. I have a fleeting urge for a glass of champagne, then I eat cake instead!

Simon: “At what point do you think the sober-journey becomes easier?”

Clare: I found, as do many people, that 100 days is a big turning point. That’s when I stopped thinking about drinking ALL THE TIME and started seeing a chunk of light at the end of the tunnel!

Simon: “I am often asked if it is possible to moderate drinking instead of giving up totally, I know it isn’t something I could do. What is your view on this?”

Clare: I’ve come to realise that there are two sorts of people in the world – natural moderators (like my husband) and ‘all-or-nothing’ people, like me. I’m no good at moderating ANYTHING – cigarettes, crisps, chocolate, love, friendship, passion. It’s not a BAD thing, as being all-or-nothing makes us fabulous people – just not very good with anything addictive 😉 For us, quitting all together is WAY easier than constantly trying (and failing) to keep a lid on it.

Simon: “I have blogged my sober-journey from the start as I found it helps me express my feelings and evaluate myself, I also enjoy looking back at the posts I wrote to see how far I have come. Obviously writing/blogging isn’t for everyone, what are your thoughts on blogging and writing as a tool for helping people quit alcohol?”

Clare: I think it’s SO helpful and the main reason I succeeded this time, when I’d failed so many times before. For a start, it helps you to find a ‘tribe’ as it’s very hard to do this journey on your own. It also works as a reminder of how far you’ve come. When the wine witch starts telling you that ‘you weren’t that bad really, and of course you can just have one drink’ you’ll know she lies, because you have evidence!

Simon: “What advice would you give to someone who has realised they need to change their relationship with alcohol but is unsure what to do for the best?”

Clare: There are SO many resources out there now, whereas there used to be only AA. Find a tribe that you feel comfortable with – the blogosphere, Club Soda, Soberistas, AA, SMART Recovery, whatever works for you. You are not alone.

Simon: “If you could give one tip to someone who is in their first week of sobriety, what would it be?”

Clare: Be excited! If you think you are missing out on something and depriving yourself, quitting will only make you miserable. Focus on all the wonderful benefits of being sober, and you’ll get there!

Simon: “Is there anything you miss about not drinking alcohol?”

Clare: I sometimes miss the fast-track to relaxation. A glass of wine is such a quick and easy way to take the edge off. But I know that comes with such major downsides that I will never, ever take that route again!

Simon: “What is your current favourite alcohol-free drink?”

Clare: Seedlip with a Fever Tree tonic, fresh lime and ice. There’s so much choice now! When I first quit, all I had was Beck’s Blue!

Simon: “Do you have any plans to write more books?”

Clare: I’ve written a novel! It’s been published in Spring 2020 in 29 different languages. It features an addict, obviously!

Thanks again to Clare for taking the time to share her story, I hope Be Sober members will enjoy the interview and find the discussion helpful.

To get a copy of The Sober Diaries, you can visit Amazon to order here.

Clare has an awesome blog which you can check out here.

Clare Pooley - Sober Mummy

Clare has also done an inspirational TED Talk called Making Sober Less Shameful, watch it here.

Please leave comments and questions for Simon or Clare below or on social media.

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3 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    Brilliant thank you so much for that Simon. Really helpful & so great to once again be reminded of all our reasons to carry on this sober journey. I shall definitely look forward to reading her new book too 🙂

  2. Chablis says:

    Nice interview . I live Clare book which I bought almost 1 year ago and read it already twice.

    I am lucky to have friends who cannot care less if one in the group drinks alcohol or not and this is a plus.
    For me drinking is not associated with alleviating the stress, celebrating an achievement or because I feel sad o happy… it is an addiction full stop! I have found my self on day 1 so many times…
    I was surprised ( o maybe not) that in Italy I cannot find AF wine let alone seedlip but I wish there was something to help

  3. freeatlast says:

    Thanks for the comment, I was in Italy recently and found it hard to get my hands on any decent AF drinks. I found a few alcohol-free beers but no Seedlip or Ceders as you say. Stay strong and sober, well done. Simon.

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