[2019-09-14] 20:05 I finished listening to The Sober Diaries by Claire Pooley today. I started it a week or two ago. It’s a 13-hour audiobook, and for me to make this kind of audio time is quite rare. Though I do a lot of driving, it’s mostly with kids, so not a good time for audiobooks, and same with my walking/running time. The few times driving or walking alone, I usually prefer silence, but occasionally I will listen to a podcast or two.
This is the first complete audiobook I’ve “read” via Audibles — which I came to via a free trial offer. Halfway through, I bought the Kindle version of this book as well, but didn’t end up reading that. I’d gotten into a habit of knitting while listening, and decided to stick with that to the end.
I am glad to have read the book. Clare Pooley’s vivacious and wholesome personality shines steadily through it; she’s the ultimate high-achieving professional and stay-at-home mom. Any mom (or dad for that matter, I’d say) who is considering sobriety and at the beginning of their journey could benefit from reading (or listening to) this book.
On the other hand, if, like me, you have been already blogging about sobriety for some months, and possibly (like me) diary-writing and/or blogging about moderation for months or years before that, you may find that the sobriety-related content mostly mirrors your own experience. I think that would apply to any sober-diary type book. Many of us don’t agree with calling ourselves alcoholics, many of us lived normal, relatively successful lives even during our drinking days, and most of us tried to moderate at some point, yet failed to do so to our own satisfaction. Many of us have also had bouts of shopping addiction, blogging addiction and other such things.
I actually struggled a bit, halfway through, noticing some bad feelings coming up… mainly, I was jealous that this lovely person had successfully written and published a book that included so many of the things I’d discovered through diary writing. Of course, that has been my dream as well, but I suppose I did not/do not have the skill set for that yet. Obviously, I can write (no matter how well or badly), but I don’t understand the publishing industry no do I (yet) have the chops for the advertising side of it, nor do I (yet?) have the strength to be even a little bit well-known. I love my life as a hermit crab.
Anyway, all this to say that I admired the book, had written (in my own way) on many of the topics that were covered in the book, and thus found myself unfairly and exceedingly annoyed by the book. So halfway through I stopped and read the negative reviews.
This was of course (awfully) gratifying (lol, but not-so-lol), but also, it changed my perspective on the book to become much more positive. As a writer (not a paid one, hey, but obviously, I’m sitting here typing, so…), and as a wanna-be book author (semi-reluctant-slash-secret), it felt like I was reading through all my worst future fears. Clare was being called out for all those things I myself dreaded being called out for (or most of them at least). Mainly, daring to write about her near-perfect-seeming (thanks in huge part to her behind-the-scenes vision, persistence, and hard work, and place stress on the “seeming”) life. Daring to be grateful to those around her, daring to see them for whom they were, imperfect beings, just like her, doing their best. Daring to put her best (well-heeled) foot forward.
This was her life, and thus she truthfully wrote it, while keeping her own well-being intact. In so doing, helping thousands (if not possibly tens or hundreds of thousands, or more, eventually) children gain parents who managed to kick their drinking habit/obsession (no matter how high-functioning) and focus more on the well-being of their families and the communities around them, than on themselves.
My personal favourite part, though, is the way Clare writes about and deals with her cancer diagnosis. She had me in literally laughing out loud at many instances during the whole long ride to meet my son at his school in the city this week. Ironically, that is one of the parts that a negative reviewer doesn’t like. They said they stopped reading at that point. I think it’s a shame for that person… however, I’m grateful to that person, for if I had not stopped to read the negative review they wrote, to be honest, I might not have continued either, just because I had already made it that far down the sobriety path (i.e. I am/was about halfway through my own first year of sobriety, as was Clare in the book, at the point I took a break to read reviews).
The book is very well written, just as you would expect it to be from a Cambridge grad. Yes! This was another point of admitted jealousy for me. But also a feeling of wonderment. I had been living in Cambridge — my husband’s work was based there, for some time — and writing about menopause and wine-moderation and possibly-desired sobriety, at the same exact time that Clare had been writing the blog that became her first book, not far away.
So all you sobriety-curious or sobriety-venturing out there (like me), please know, there are so many around you, perhaps unknown to you, doing the same! You’re not alone.
Now please, if you aren’t already, do start documenting your journey, whether on a blog or in a journal. You will thank yourself later. Even if you have no plans or urge to write or publish a blog or book, you will always be able to look back upon your path, see what worked and what didn’t, and this will in fact form your path, as you go.
Clare Pooley’s The Sober Diaries is beautifully designed and put together, just as you would expect from a former advertising consultant.
The Kindle price is currently unbeatable, considering the value, at USD$4.44 on Amazon.
20:15 have to go
The sober diaries book review I started but never finished, then finished, but then decided to publish (2019-09-26 14:14) unfinished, in its near-original state, backdated to original draft date (2019-09-14), because I’m cray-cray that way, and compassionate towards my inner cray-cray.