I have seen many of my friends take their courage into both hands and put pen to paper in the hope of … their hopes are their own and not for me to say. Inspired people inspire people in the same way as hurt people hurt people. We are not the first to share our awakening experiences, full of hope that wisdom shared will find a home in the heart of a seeker and help to smooth the path for them or, at the very least, let them know that they are not walking this path alone.
I have been very fortunate to meet teachers along the way whose generosity of spirit continue to light the path for me. Some known and widely cited, others who share their wisdom in a small little corner of the world wide web for the mutual benefit of the, mainly, women who go there for support in ridding themselves of the scourge of alcohol in their lives. I speak of course of Soberistas (www.soberistas.com), and thank the stars that guided me there in my hour of need. In the interests of protecting their privacy I won’t be mentioning any of these women by name, although from time to time may need to adopt a code for the sake of the narrative. Inspired people lead me to the source of their inspiration that I too may be inspired and so it goes on. For me, learning to live a life that is free of alcohol (AF) was like undertaking a Masters degree in an unknown, under-researched area of learning in a very condensed period of time. It is a journey, as one friend put it, “without a roadmap” and yet a map of sorts emerged from the rich seam of literature, including blogs, that already exists. Piecing this map together into a coherent shape has been an adventure in itself, made possible by the clarity that arises in a mind no longer numbed by alcohol.
Two and a half years into this AF life I no longer devour what we refer to as the “quitlit” that in the early days nourished my awakening soul. Some of the many books I read in the first year, all of which added grist to my determination in different ways, are listed below. Alongside the literature was something totally unexpected that I could never have anticipated. If Soberistas was my university of sobriety, then my fellow students were amongst the best and most compassionate of teachers. The curriculum was non-existent and yet the learning materials dropped onto my computer screen, sometimes like an avalanche, at other times a trickle, in the words of real people who shared their day-to-day experiences of this new way of living, together with their insights often written with extraordinary erudition and always with complete sincerity. I lapped up every word, recognising the truth contained in them and the passion with which the bloggers sought to inform and advise their fellow students about potholes in the road ahead, and useful tools for navigating them to maintain progress in a forward direction. I stuck myself like glue to Soberistas and chose to put my faith in the words of those ahead of me, sending their light of reassurance and hope back along the path. It was a ‘leap of faith’ that I have never had cause to regret.
It is thus that I open my heart to you to share what is turning out to be the greatest adventure of my time one earth so far, the journey into me. I hope that adding my voice to those whose voices reached me, I will in some way honour them and spread the lessons I have learned from them to others who will in turn carry them forward and hand them on.
Grace, Annie (2015) This Naked Mind. ASPN Publications
Pooley, Clare (ongoing) Blogspot www.mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot.com (author of The Sober Diaries, 2017)
Porter, William (2015) Alcohol Explained. CreateSpace Independent Publishing (www.alcoholexplained.com)
Rocca, Lucy (2014) Glass Half Full. Accent Press
Tozer, Amber (2016) Sober Stick Figure. Blink Publishing
 Assisted by Lucy Rocca who had the courage of her convictions, and my niece for a timely text.