I was watching Roxanne last night, something easy to watch and there was a bit where CD’s sister Dixie says a riddle to him ‘what can you sit on, sleep on and brush your teeth with?’ and he debates a bit then she says, ‘well a chair, a bed and a toothbrush’….the upshot being that sometimes the answers you seek are as plain as the nose on your face…well of course!


It seems to me that we could perhaps in terms of alcohol abuse see a similar link. Like, why did I buy that bottle, why did I drink it and why do I regret it…because we have a dependency on a the drug alcohol and we cannot stop once we start.


As plain as the nose… there is no escaping it, no denying it, no way to get round it. If you have a problem with getting drunk despite your best efforts, you need to stop and stay stopped. This is what I revisit in my own head whenever the craving strikes (and the craving never completely goes).


At the weekend I was in the hotel bar, cosy little place with wood panels and swish bottles of wine right across the bar, lots of nice people having friendly chats, smell of delicious food from the restaurant, my red wine sat there at eye level, and I felt the craving very badly. But I made myself remember the truth as plain as the nose on my face. I am no saint, I am not clever, and I do not have all the answers. I am still a work in progress. I am a pain in the butt a lot of the time. But the answer to my cravings is as plain as. Wishing you strength and determination.

How to stop beating yourself up

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Stop Beating Yourself Up: 40 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic

Depressed Little Girl

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

If you’re anything like I used to be, your inner critic packs a powerful punch.

You’ve got a vicious voice bad mouthing you for much of the day. And when it’s in one of those moods, wow, are you going to suffer.

It’s no wonder you feel small, disappointed, and ashamed of who you are.

It’s the reason you lie in bed at night feeling like a failure, convinced you’re a nobody, certain you’re a serial mistake maker.

It was exactly why I used to just lie in the dark, a lot. Most days in fact. Not sleeping, not even thinking, just lying.

I was forever longing for my life to go away. I’d gotten so good at beating myself up that each day seemed to present more opportunities to fail, to feel insignificant and never good enough.

Alone in the dark, I could pretend that all my problems disappeared and that I was free of the stress. I could make-believe that the pressure had evaporated.

You see, I’d taken on one of those jobs, one of those supposed leaps up the career ladder. But hell, being the head of a college department turned out to be a bad life choice … given my oh-so critical inner voice.

Every day added to my imagined portfolio of failures. Every day blew another hole in my smokescreen of having any confidence in my ability. And every day, I became more fearful of being exposed as the ‘fake’ I believed I was.

I felt like I was constantly aching yet feeling numb at the same time, which became too painful to bear. I dragged my shameful self into the college and quit. I left my entire library of books on the table along with my resignation.

Four years on, even though I’d tried to move on, even changing countries, I still felt the same. No more confident and no less self-critical.

That’s when I learned that even if I hadn’t packed any belongings, I still took a devastating amount of baggage with me. Even worse, I’d allowed my inner critic to ride passenger.

That voice—that mean, vicious, ever-present voice—had to go if life was going to be worth living.

Consciously and patiently, I set out to understand why this self-critical person had become such a huge part of me. I learned how to recognize and counter the habitual negative messages and destructive behavior patterns. I learned how to beat my inner critic, for the most part.

And now it’s your turn.

Because it’s time you felt free from the pain of constant self-criticism as well. It’s time you finally stopped beating yourself up over everything you say or do. And it’s time you were able to breathe, smile, and be pleased with yourself, just as you are.

How? With one simple, small action at a time.

Some of these ideas will speak to you; some will shout. Others will only mumble. Try a handful that grab your imagination. Add in others from the list over time as you learn to build them into an inner-critic-beating habit.

1. Keep a self-praise journal. Pocket-size is best. Each time you feel pleased by something you’ve done or said, jot it down. Flip through the pages every time you feel your critical voice starting to pipe up.

2. Write a positive self-message. Use a permanent marker and inscribe it on the inside of your shoes.

3. Diminish your inner critic’s power. Repeat a negative thought back in a silly voice.

4. Update your Facebook status: “Happy to be me. Work in progress.”

5. Send yourself a loving text. Keep it, and re-read it often. Appreciate yourself.

6. Add a positive self-message to an image. Put it on your phone and laptop.

7. Draw a caricature. Give your inner critic a silly feature that makes you laugh. Stick it on your fridge.

8. Make a face or blow a raspberry—at your inner critic, not yourself!

9. Visualize your inner critic. Imagine it as an evil gremlin squatting on your shoulder. Each time it speaks up, turn and flick it away.

10. Look in the mirror. Smile and compliment yourself on one quality or trait you like.

11. Keep a list of self-forgiveness quotes. Or sign up to receive daily emails from Tiny Buddha.

12. Write a list of qualities others like about you. Keep it in your purse or wallet.

13. Write a list of qualities you like about yourself. Add it to your purse or wallet as well.

14. Remind yourself: “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” ~Unknown.

15. End each negative thought with a positive. For example, “But I’m human and I can learn not to make the same mistake,” or, “But I have the power to change this.”

16. Jot down one thing you’d like to be better at. Then take one tiny step toward that.

17. Remember “not good enough” doesn’t exist. “I don’t know a perfect person, I only know flawed people who are still worth loving.” ~John Green

18. Ask yourself why you think you should be good at everything. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Concentrate on your strengths.

19. Find one thing each day to reward yourself for. Make it something you truly look forward to.

20. Apologize to yourself. Do this every time you recognize self-criticism (tell yourself you’re sorry out loud if you can).

21. Ring someone you haven’t spoken to in ages. Tell them how much they mean to you. The best way to feel better about yourself is to make someone else feel better.

22. Remember that self-hate is not an option. You’re the only person you can guarantee you’ll be in a relationship with from birth to death, so learn to love yourself.

23. Remember there’s no shame in messing up. You’re trying to do something, grow, and contribute.

24. Break the cycle. Admit you made a mistake and ask, “Now what can I do about it?”

25. Look at a mistake or “failure” in context. Will it really matter in a week, a year, or ten years from now?

26. Recognize that you make fewer mistakes than you think. You just criticize yourself repeatedly for the same few.

27. Drown out your inner critic. Put on your favorite feel-good music.

28. Stop trying to do too much. Strike one task from your to-do list that won’t stop Earth from revolving if it isn’t done.

29. Reflect on how you’re only on this planet for a short time. You can either spend it beating yourself up and being miserable or learn to love yourself and be happy.

30. Stop focusing on the one thing you got wrong. Focus on the many things you got right.

31. Recognize the good you do for others. The more you beat yourself up, the less good you do.

32. Keep a daily, written tally of positive self-messages. Increase this by at least one each day.

33. Physically pat yourself on the back. Do this for everything you’ve done well this week.

34. Look at a satellite image of the earth. Realize that you are an important part of this amazing creation.

35. Realize that over six billion people in the world don’t care. Only you care that you made a mistake.

36. Think of a fun, positive adjective. Adopt this as your middle name so that every time you criticize yourself by name, you’ve described yourself in a positive way.

37. Buy a houseplant. When you tend it remind yourself you need this much love and attention.

38. Note down kind words from others. Write them on slips of paper and keep them in a compliment jar. Dip into this whenever you need to counter a negative self-message.

39. Halt a negative self-thought. Use an act of self-care. For example apply hand cream, or give yourself a neck rub.

40. Stop comparing yourself to others. Remember Dr. Seuss: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!”

Stop Beating Yourself Up Once and for All

Beating yourself up leaves you feeling horrible.

All that constant self-criticism is exhausting. It leaves you aching inside.

Small, simple actions can bring great leaps in breaking this negative cycle—for good.

Let these ideas speak to you. Pick the ones that shout loudest.

Defeat self-depreciating thoughts you’ve heard over and over with conscious, positive acts of self-compassion.

Stop letting your inner critic overpower you. Fight back with self-love.

Depressed little girl image via Shutterstock

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Mind the gap



A lovely lady posted pictures of vintage blankets she is collecting on her Facebook page and this  reminded me of the benefits of having projects on the go at night to stop the feelings of boredom and loneliness that lead to many of us wanting to go back to drinking.


It is absolutely crucial to have something planned to fill in the gap in time, often at night, that opens up when drinking alcohol is no longer a vald lifestyle option.


I am knitting squares at the moment to make what I think of as a sober blanket – in the winter it will keep me warm and each square will remind me of the hours, days, weeks, months and then years I am sober. The warmth and cuddliness of the blanket will be a sources of pleasure, just like being sober. I love knitting and of course knitting one square after another in front of the telly might not be everyone’s cuppa, but it helps me keep the ‘bad’ thoughts at bay. What are you doing in the evenings to fill the gap? Do you have a cunning plan?


cunning plan

thank you, inadequacy

Like a lot of people, I get to feel inadequate several times a week.  A sense of not quite being up to par.  Disappointing, even.  You hear about people who have performed better, earned more, got more friends, seen more of the world, slept better, argued less, looked more appealing…and the list goes on.  Superhuman beings, who seem to attract success.  Or,  the ones that get on quietly with life and put temperamental, flapping people like me to shame. They are just better. Of course it’s possible to learn stuff from everyone we meet, even if it is how not to do things.


I’m not a particularly driven or focused person.  I just like to run with stuff, but I would like to plan better. I have never been one of those that work a seven day week and gets a kick out of it. Writing is my thing, I guess. 


The main element that  makes me feel inadequate in the face of people who are ‘better’ is something I have come to recognise as fear.  I used to label it anxiety, shyness, stress, tiredness, lots of things, frustration, resentment, bitterness – depending on my mood – but in the end it comes down to fear.


Fear of not being to pay the bills. Fear of getting ill. Fear of losing people.  Fear of being judged, or of not getting approval.  Always on the scary rollercoaster. I used to drink to push back the fear, but now it is here in all its dragon like, sober glory.


Someone mentioned to me a while ago the concept of giving myself permission, which sounds innocuous enough, but actually when I considered it further, it became a big deal.  Why wasn’t I giving myself permission not to be afraid?  What was the worst that could happen if I stopped being fearful? Why did I have to have my fists so tightly curled into my eyes?


At this point in time I am trying really hard to believe in a new way forward, using the ‘give yourself permission’ criteria.  It’s ok therefore (in my model of the world) to…

  • change your mind about something you once believed in, because you have learned a better way
  • change what you do and how you do it
  • not know how things will develop as a result
  • feel the fear and do it anyway (love that phrase)
  • not do things because ‘everyone’ (it’s never everyone) else is but because it is right for you
  • leave a situation because it is not working for you or you feel stuck
  • be materially poor as a field mouse but actually possessions mean sod all.
  • not change the world
  • make mistakes, just as others do
  • not to obsess about what other people are thinking
  • not to have the answers to someone’s questions
  • not to answer questions just because they are asked
  • not to have an opinion when asked, and to remain quiet


Like many people, I would guess, I try to be ‘good’; grateful and kind.  I don’t always manage it because I am human. It’s ok not to be perfect, however.  No one else is, after all. It’s ok not to be liked by every single person in the world.  No one else is, after all. Sometimes it is hard to recognise that someone I really want to like me is never going to, but actually that is ok too. There will always be people who argue and people who agree.  That is life.

Are drinking dreams a bad sign?

You can join all the swan discussions by friend requesting Binki Laidler on Facebook and she will add you to the secret group (no one can see it). Set up a dummy account if you want to keep your identity separate?  Binki xxx

From a swan


I wanted to share something with you. After years of struggling I’m finally achieving sobriety 100% of the time, it’s wonderful and my time is so productive now and people I haven’t seen in a while always comment on how well I look. Well anyway, last night I had a dream I had a wine binge last night. I woke up close to tears believing I had a hangover, and the familiar old thoughts of “oh god how am I going to cope with today?” And depression and sadness were crushing. And then I realised it was a dream!! So relieved. So grateful for my sobriety and the support that has made it possible. Sending hugs to anyone struggling – if even I can nail it, you can too – and it’s beautiful xxx

From another swan

I want to share my dream too. There was a bottle of gin lurking in the kitchen last night and I was sooo tempted to open it but didn’t. Had a terrible night’s sleep and dreamed I was really drunk and sick, had borrowed someone’s car, my phone had been stolen and I didn’t even know where I lived. And I was convinced I still lived with my Mum who has been dead for three years. It was so horrible that even when I woke up I still seemed to be in the dream and was convinced my phone had gone missing. I was in this car with other people and they were asking my address but I didn’t even know it.

Tipped the full bottle of gin down the sink this morning as I am sure the thoughts started me off. xx

And from this Swan…

I know quite a few SWANS have been having drinking dreams recently…I have shared this before but now seems like a good time to re post the link. This is an episode of The Bubble Hour that talks about drinking dreams. As you probably can guess I am a huge fan of these podcasts and they have been a huge part of my staying sober in the very early days and now. I still listen to one a day!

‘The Bubble Hour’s mission is to provide hope and inspiration to people who are wondering about their drinking, struggling to get sober, or who are sober and want to stay that way.

The concept of the “bubble” was something co-host Lisa N. came up with in her early sobriety. She recognized that her sobriety needed to come first, and as such she created what she call a “bubble” around herself to keep herself safe, and prioritize her recovery.

Talking with other recovering alcoholics was a big part of Lisa’s Bubble, but she also talked about the role of a good book, funny television shows, exercise, ice cream – anything that replaced the hole alcohol left in her life.

Pretty soon Lisa’s recovery community caught on to this concept, and she began creating “bubbles” for them as they struggled during difficult times of the day, events or simply adjusting to life in new sobriety.

People who had been sober awhile also recognized the importance of The Bubble, which essentially represents a ‘force field’ of safety and support you surround yourself with to remember you’re ARE NOT in this alone.

The Bubble Hour’s podcasts are a way for people to listen to real stories, interviews and conversations between real sober people, offering practical advice, humor and companionship, especially during the difficult hours of the day.

Is five o’clock a trigger for you? Did you usually drink while cooking dinner? Download The Bubble Hour podcasts, stick in some earbuds and listen to The Bubble Hour while you go about your day. Or riding in your car, or when you’re having a weak moment.

It is meant to be another tool we can use to comfort each other as we travel this path together.

The podcasts are the main focus of this page, but we will also be offering sober resources and websites, posting information and articles, or anything else we think may be helpful.

Please remember, no matter what, you are NOT alone.…

I do run a bit

by Jessie
I do run a bit …… I am currently training for my 6th marathon and running between 55 and 70 miles a week. But I really want to tell you that I started from almost nothing 7 years ago. I had run the Great North Run in 1984 in 2 hours 8 minutes then marriage , children and life got in the way for over 22 years and I started again when my wonderful Mum finally went into full time care shortly before her death. I felt so impotent and as a way of repaying the Alzheimers Society for all the help and support we received as a family I started to run to raise money and instead of crying.

It has changed my life. Here I am a 53 year old Nana only getting faster at the moment!! My running has had a huge boost since I embraced sobriety and I am able to fully commit to my training and I push myself much harder. But I truly could not run round the block 7 years ago and those people in their lycra tights and running vests were terrifying!!

It is hard at first … I started in the June and it felt tortuous for weeks…only the thought of my Mum kept me going. I was determined to raise money for research in the hope that my future can be different to the one she had. I never intended to keep going after the Great North Run that October but somewhere along that road something clicked and I have truly never looked back.

It has saved me in so many ways. For a long time it helped keep a lid on my drinking, but it gave me both physical and emotional strength. My BP and resting heart rate are phenomenally low, my BMI and weight have reduced. I have faced demons and dealt with them and running through emotional pain has been a godsend.

Last year I ran a half marathon in 1 hour 39 …. 29 minutes faster than I was 30 years ago! So don’t think you can’t ..think you will!

If you can find a charity that is very close to your heart it really helps to focus on the training when you can’t face a run.

If I can help, share bits of my journey, run with you ….then let me know! If running makes you even half as happy as it has made me every investment in time and pain will be worthwhile.

There will of course be Swans who for a range of reasons are unable to choose running ….. But find something and make it yours. Exercise is a life changer.

Finally you might find something else …. ! I met my husband at a race in my second year of running and we got married last August! He is faster than me but can’t go as far!

Now I only look back to see how far I have come.

Happy running ….. And don’t forget Swans have strong legs!! Xxx

  • Hippydippy66 says: Jessie has really inspired me to get out there – Binki, I forsee the London Marathon next year, what do you think lol x

Fluff says:  well, have dusted off my trainers .. it is my cygnet’s birthday today and I am doing a dinner tonight – lunchtime run for this swannette xxxx

  • Sue says:
set myself up for a Race for Life 10k in July so starting to get nervous now but working to plan in the gym! xx

Bonkers101 says:

  •   Have you tried the site? You can get a plan specific to your personal requirements which will help work towards your goal xx

    MY ASICS helps you achieve your running goals. Create a custom training program for a marathon, half…
Paulita says:

Swooshing swans, i’m going to join you but I will start by walking fast, OK? And i might break into a run when the weather gets better. I don’t have much time during the day so I plan to walk at lunchtimes. And in summer, i can go out in the evening for a little trot perhaps…I did a fast walk at lunchtime yesterday. it was fabulous. I pulled on an old pair of walking boots ‘cos the path is muddy. And off i went with my phone. Didn’t have shower afterwards so it all fitted nicely into an hour. Can’t believe what a difference it made to a busy day. Great

 Cat says:

Going to start running at the gym to begin with & see how I get on………..🏃🏃🏃🏃

 Amanda says:

Ok I’m gonna do it too but only if I can wear this tee shirt… xxx

"Ok I'm gonna do it too but only if I can wear this tee shirt... xxx"