The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living

A Merit Club Book Review

Despite seeing myself as a strong, determined person, I’m totally unable to stick to any of my resolutions for longer than a week or two.
— Clare Pooley

The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living: frank, funny and fiercely unabashed, interlacing the personal with insight and research, in this book Clare deals with what many women face when they are middle-aged, trying to balance a demanding career and family. Clare struggled immensely, and with that on her mind she decided to leave her successful job as Managing Partner at one of the world’s leading advertising agencies to look after her family. She suspected that the change wasn’t going to be easy, but she never thought she’d end up depressed and overweight, drinking a bottle of wine a day.

The Sober Diaries is a brave, honest account of a year in Clare’s life, which started with her trying to battle her alcohol addiction and quit booze to then being given the most shocking news that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. How do I know if I’m drinking too much? How will I cope? What do I tell my friends and family? Although the tone of the book is very lighthearted, Clare deals with very serious topics and provides advice and answers to questions such as these and more. Her answers are well researched, thought out, and easily digestible, as well as being personal and with some moments of hilarity too.

As many people have experienced, struggles such as Clare's are not always easy to deal with and Clare doesn’t beat around the bush when telling us how this affected all aspects of her life. It is simply about being human. This book has made me cry tears of laughter, forced me to think, and has taught me many things, distinctly just how messy life can really be. Yet, as this book reveals, it is possible to overcome these struggles, women share similar worries, and fundamentally, women are not on their own.

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Words by Mine Sherifali