Little Wins

(thought I’d do a positive post instead of my usual depressing drivel)

Friday evening:

You are in bed in your pyjamas reading Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker.

Your boyfriend is at the pub getting wasted with his friends.

You have been sober for 10 days.

You are struggling with the book because choosing sobriety is scary.

You scroll through your phone notifications and spot an email notifying you that your creative piece ‘Moondance’ is to be published in the Winter 2020 issue of In Parentheses magazine.

You jump out of bed. You are buzzing. Your first publication of 2020 and it’s an old story of yours that you love that you’ve always wanted to find a home for.

You text your boyfriend. You don’t disturb him when he’s with his friends and/or watching football, but you are excited and alone and you want to share this excitement with someone. Also, you don’t know what it’s like to have something good happen and not have a drink to celebrate.

He replies to your message saying “YAAAAYYYYYY well done my darling, will pick up a bottle of champers on the way home!!!”

You are suddenly salivating. You can practically taste the sharp bubbles on your tongue, the sweetness on your lips.

You are trembling. You aren’t sure if that’s because your body is reacting to wanting alcohol, or you’re overwhelmed by your little win, or these are just your usual hand tremors but they seem worse in the moment.

You reply saying “Thank you, my love! No champers though xx”

You have a cigarette to celebrate/calm down.

You look at the photo of your father by your desk and say, “Dad! I did it!” and you hear him smiling.

You sit at the computer and set about replying to the editor to thank him.

Another email pops up. Your creative non-fiction piece ‘A Brief History of Tea’ (an homage to your late father) is to be published in the Summer/Fall issue of The Hellebore Review.

You (for want of a better phrase) cannot deal. You phone your boyfriend. You never phone your boyfriend. He answers and he is nervous. He says “Baby… is everything okay?” and you tell him you’re having another piece published, a piece about your Dad. He shouts out to the pub “OI! EVERYONE! MY GIRLFRIEND’S A FUCKING GENIUS!” and you hear the men cheer.

You can’t believe you’ve had 2 wins in such a short space of time.

You are jumping around the kitchen laughing.

You spot the litre bottle of vodka which is out on the counter because the fridge is full.

A full fridge and 2 publications and a boyfriend who is proud of you: you are so lucky.

You are on your own. You want to celebrate. You need to celebrate.

You could have a vodka. You deserve a vodka. Don’t get drunk, just have a little vodka to celebrate your little wins.

You tell your boyfriend to have fun, tell him you’ll see him later, and hang up.

You unscrew the lid of the vodka and inhale the fumes.

Your brother texts you asking what you’re up to.

You replace the lid. You put the vodka away in a cupboard.

You reply to his message saying, “Really good thanks, kiddo. Had 2 pieces of writing accepted by 2 different publications! Having a hot chocolate to celebrate :)”

You make a hot chocolate.

You go back to bed with your hot drink which tastes rich and luxurious.

You start reading a different book, one that doesn’t scare you or stress you out, an old favourite, a book that never lets you down, a copy which belonged to your Dad.

You count your blessings. You are so lucky.

Friday night: you are proud of yourself for more than just your writing.

Saturday morning:

You wake up early.

Your boyfriend is asleep next you, having drunk dreams and smelling like a brewery.

You leave him to sleep and creep out of the bedroom.

You rarely eat breakfast but you’re hungry today. You make a vegetarian sausage sandwich and a toffee nut latte. You eat your breakfast and drink your coffee and have a cigarette.

You walk to the corner shop to buy the newspaper. It is cold and sunny and you are outside on a Saturday morning and you are proud of yourself.

You have a soak in a hot bubble bath. You are so lucky. You are smiling because you can’t believe how lucky you are.

You are reading a book on the sofa when your boyfriend emerges with the hangover from hell.

You feel smug, but sympathise with him so you make him a full-English breakfast and a strong coffee.

You are so glad that you didn’t drink the night before.

You are proud of yourself for more than just choosing hot chocolate over vodka.

Sober success is strange: still sweet, but strange.

You love it.

Saturday night: you are still sober and you are still lucky.

The following Friday:

You have been sober for 17 days. Your poem ‘Found in Phone Notes’ has been published in the inaugural issue of Dust Poetry Magazine. You are still sober and you are still lucky.

You sit down to write about your successful week because your little wins wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the people who read your writing.

Every view, like, comment, email and reblog from incredibly kind strangers around the world slightly dims the pink neon sign on the wall of your skull that says NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH and flashes in time with your broken heartbeat. All of the supportive souls here on WordPress are the reason why you were able to write in your journal last night, “I think I have done some good work.”


You, you reading this now, YOU are the cause of my little wins.
And I am so very grateful.
Thank you ♥♥♥


  1. My neon sign says too broken. And now I want a cigarette. And it’s actually quite hard to type a comment with tears in your eyes. And thank you too. 💖

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