It is ten years since I co-wrote The Sober Revolution, a decade of extraordinary events for myself, Harrogate Sanctuary and the big wide world in general.

In 2013 there was such excitement when I was offered a publishing deal for an idea that my co-author, Lucy Rocca and I had struck upon. We were both very familiar with stories about stopping drinking, but the real era of ‘quit lit’ hadn’t really taken off. We wrote the book insanely quickly and had outstanding reviews and publicity.

Since then, my practice has grown exponentially, now a global enterprise, and a very long way from the very local clientele that I had started with way back in 2009. Along with the Sober Revolution, I also gave my permission to our publisher to release a version of my Six Week Programme which was in it’s infancy. It was not meant as a copy, as each programme I provide is tailored to individual clients, but it did offer a helpful method of stopping drinking using tips and journaling daily. 

During the last ten years has seen massive changes. Many books have been written about how to stop drinking, forums and groups have sprung up all over the internet and social media, leading to a real acceptance of being a non-drinker. Especially amongst the younger generation where sober has become the new black.

Stopping drinking, or even harm reduction is wonderful, but there is so much more involved in being truly free from dependence. AA use the expression ‘Dry Drunk’. I certainly was in the category for many years, sober but extremely discontented, which often can lead to unhappy relationships and a poor quality of life. On top of that, whatever your drug of choice was, it still remains a constant in terms of thinking about using it again.

Following the unprecedented COVID epidemic and lockdowns, studies have shown that for many our personalities have changed too. We all need to give and receive much more tenderness, kindness and empathy.

My methods have evolved and become far more flexible and inclusive. It is no longer a question of stopping the habit of imbibing but relearning how to live well and with purpose. To achieve this can take much longer than six weeks, and not just the individual but their families and loved ones as well. 

My new will book explain my professional and personal journey over the last ten years and those of some of my clients who explain how being sober has affected their relationships, friendships, working lives and their own struggles to face the world without any kind of prop.

The chapters will show all the flaws and struggles we have experienced, rather than the pink cloud of euphoria that I sat on all those years ago, giddy with the thought that not picking up was the biggest hurdle, and that would be enough. Often faking a great mood to make it. Since then, battling through empty nesting, losing my husband to a heart attack, and so much more, life has given me many tools to offer clients in times of deep sadness and joy.

Watch the space, and I look forward to welcoming you to The Sober Evolution! 

Author: Sarah Turner

Founder of the Harrogate Sanctuary.