Published: Sun, March 2, 2014
BUSY mum Kate Baily used to enjoy a glass of wine. And then another one. Her friends all seemed to be doing the same but Kate knew something was wrong – and then she discovered Soberistas, an online community that changed her life
My name is Kate and I’m a Soberista. I’m “AF” (alcohol free) or – if you prefer – good old-fashioned teetotal. I’m also a mother of two with a husband, a home, a job and, until recently, a drink problem.
I’m not saying I’d got to the shaky-hands, vodka-in-the-loo-at-lunchtime stage – far from it. I was simply one of the great army of working mums for whom five o’clock had become wine o’clock, and who could put away a whole bottle without batting a mascara’d eyelid. But then I decided to stop.
“Why not just cut down a bit?” I hear you ask. “Why miss out on all the fun?” Well, frankly I’d been trying to cut down a bit for 20 years. Friends would laugh – usually over a few glasses of pinot – and say, “Don’t beat yourself up!” And it’s true, I didn’t appear to have a problem – not to my friends, my family, my colleagues or even my doctor. But deep down I knew that my relationship with booze was deeply unhealthy.
Then, on August 15 last summer, I put the children to bed and decided to do a spot of decorating. I’d have a quick glass first, of course, so I opened a bottle. Two hours later I’d finished it, so I went in search of more. I found some Southern Comfort and lemonade in the garage so I carried on drinking (and painting) till midnight. By the time my husband came back from a late shift at work, I was tucked up in bed, snoring.
I awoke at 3am, dry-mouthed, heart pounding as my body tried to cope with the 17 units of alcohol I’d consumed that evening. Recriminations ran through my mind: what if I’d needed to take my kids to A&E? What if I’d passed out? And I felt crushing guilt that once again my “two glasses of wine” had turned into much more. Clearly, I was not in control of my drinking.
I’d been here before but this time felt different. I felt as though I was approaching a cliff edge and I’d just taken another step forwards. I crept downstairs and Googled “how to give up alcohol”. Up popped the usual suspects: nannying NHS guidelines, Alcoholics Anonymous, private clinics for drink-sodden celebrities. And then I noticed a new name: Soberistas.
I started reading. Immediately I realised this was …