On 26th July 2019, aged 39 yrs young, I turned 10 years sober (and abstinent from self-harm for the same amount of time). 10 fucking years! A whole decade. This felt like an enormous milestone for me and one I often thought I’d never reach. When I was ‘new’ and struggling I would frequently say that if I ever reached 10 years sober and still felt like shit I would drink again. And I meant it. Lucky for me, I no longer feel like shit and here I am, a whole decade later, still sober and self-harm clean. Which really is a fucking miracle. Getting sober was 100% the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Ever.
Until now I haven’t really spoken publicly about my past. It felt very private and sometimes precarious and I didn’t want to disclose my vulnerabilities. I’d worked hard at creating a very colourful, super cheery persona (my other job is a children’s face painter FFS!) and so to reveal my debauched history of drinking and self-harm felt in direct conflict to the character I’d created. I silenced my history and I hid my scars. I successfully compartmentalised the old me from the new me.
Now at 10 years it feels like the right time to open up. Art has been an immensely powerful tool in my healing journey and I’m discovering more and more ways to marry my art and my recovery. Designing a range of sobriety celebration cards is just one of them.
These sobriety birthday cards have absolutely been made with love. I wanted to create gloriously vibrant keepsake cards, not only to commemorate AA birthdays and encourage those still struggling, but also as little pieces of art in themselves – cards that people want to keep, not only because of the messages inside, but because they look beautiful on the wall too!
Celebrating sober milestones is SO important and showing your sober friends/ loved ones that you understand where they’ve come from, to get where they are today, is never to be underestimated.
Each card has a little message with a lot of significance. Some of my sobriety cards simply say ‘Happy Sobriety Birthday’ – three small words with so much power. Getting sober is a big fucking deal. People who do it, against all the odds, deserve all the congratulations.
Probably my favourite card, directed every sober warrior out there, declares that ‘You’re a fucking Miracle’ ❤ Very few people who aren’t addicts understand addiction. Putting down the drink/ drugs/ self-harming is the ‘easy’ part. Staying stopped is what’s hard. Addiction is an illness, not a choice. Rebuilding your life without your ‘coping mechanism’ is fucking hard work, one day at a time. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Everyone I know on this journey is a MIRACLE.
‘Don’t quit before the miracle happens’ still echoes in my mind today. These words were repeated to me endlessly when I was new and struggling and I clung onto them for dear life. I longed for the ‘miracle’ to happen and found some degree of comfort in ‘sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly’ because for me it was slooooow. The suffering felt relentless and unending and I wanted to give up so many times. These simple words kept me clinging on, one day at a time, and those days accumulated into weeks, months and eventually years.
‘One day at a time’ was also a fundamental tool in my early recovery and one I still utilise today when I’m navigating a painful situation. In the beginning it quite literally kept me sober. All those time I wanted to drink (and for 18 months it was every day!) I repeated this like a mantra. I only had to stay sober for that one day. Just one day. And even though that felt impossible and excruciating, it made it manageable. Now, it keeps me focused on the present day, reminding me to keep my head where my feet are and grateful for all the beauty in today, instead of projecting and worrying about the worst case scenario in the future. What I’ve learned is that most of the time, my fear is actually greater than the reality of a situation.
The last 10 years have hardly been a smooth ride. I harboured the illusion for a long time that the longer I stayed sober and abstinent from self-harm, the happier I would get. I held the utterly erroneous belief that working the 12 steps would result in a permanent state of euphoria, a plateau of fluffy feelings and a permanent jettison of all negative feelings. Oh how wrong I was! I would propose though that it was my expectations that were faulty, not any program of recovery. Like the Calvin & Hobbs cartoon so simply and eloquently puts it, I may as well have been holding a big fucking neon sign exclaiming “Happiness is not enough. I demand euphoria!” I wanted nirvana. I wanted enlightenment. I wanted complete and utter freedom from my demons. Realistic I think not.
What I’m still learning is that this isn’t possible and THAT’S OK! Happiness is just ONE of many many human emotions and somehow I (and countless others) have made it the sole (or soul!) destination. In sobriety I have experienced real happiness, joy and intense gratitude, full belly laughter and utter hilarity, and I have experienced deep sadness, pain, longing, depression, fear, loneliness and more. I have experienced profound peace and serenity, and I have experienced mood swings, irritability, anger and despair. With this in mind, my ‘Clean and Serene’ card should definitely say ‘Clean and Sometimes Serene’ instead! Next batch I promise!
All my sobriety celebration cards/ AA birthday cards are available to buy in my Etsy shop. Click each photo to be taken to the listing, or click here for multi-card discounts ❤
|As many of you know, everything I do is a labour of love and my greeting cards are no different! Each one is designed with so much love and attention to detail, ensuring that the colours on the card are as true to the original piece as possible (not always an easy feat). Colour is everything after all!|
I recently wrote a Behind the Scenes blog post on my process of creating a card which you can find here.
My most recent collection of greeting cards is my most colourful to date. The colours simply pop off the page and everyone comments on how vibrant they are! Photos do not do them justice.
There’s 14 designs to choose from and they can either be bought individually, or 4 for £12 from my Etsy shop.
There’s ones with butterflies….
And there’s ones with rainbows…
And there’s ones for birthdays…
And many more!
All my greeting cards are blank inside for your own personal message.
Can’t see what you’re looking for? I am open to suggestions! I’m always looking to expand my range and am currently in the process of designing a brand new range of cards. If there’s a message you’d like on the front of your greeting card, let me know and I’ll add it to my list of my possibilities!
Big love as always,
A few months ago I made a huge batch of alcohol ink coasters but unfortunately the resin used to seal them didn’t cure perfectly (due to inconsistent temperatures during the first week). That’s chemistry, folks! As a result, the mug or glass may leave teeny tiny marks on the coaster, but when I say teeny tiny, they really are! The micro marks are barely perceptible and to be honest, most people wouldn’t even notice them. I however am cursed with chronic perfectionism and my eye is drawn to every single tiny imperfection. The good news is that the marks are only temporary, and usually vanish within a few minutes or hours. Oh the relief when I discovered this!
Due to the coasters not being 100% perfect I didn’t feel comfortable charging full price for them. They are therefore priced at a bargain 40% off the intended price! Rest assured though, all the alcohol ink coasters are perfectly functional and perfectly beautiful and suitable for hot and cold drinks. They are a stunning addition to any coffee table and guaranteed to be a conversation piece, each one having been individually painted and completely unique!
As is so common with internet shopping, a static image just doesn’t do the coasters justice. These glorious glossy beauties are, without doubt, doubly gorgeous in real life – the vibrancy of the colours and the mirror-like shine of the resin are just breathtaking and cannot be captured on camera.
These green and gold alcohol ink coasters were created with all the greens from the Ranger collection – Citrus, Lettuce, Bottle and Oregano – and the glittering gold (which really shimmers!) is from the Piñata range.
Grab yourself a bargain as these alcohol ink coasters are still available at the discounted price of £29.99. International shipping available.
Watch this space for more alcohol ink coaster sets and as I endeavour to attempt the resin process again very soon!
At the end of July I will be 10 years sober and free from self-harm 🤚🏻
To coincide with this I made my first sobriety birthday card and within the first couple of weeks I’ve sold over half my stock, which I’m beyond excited about! When the first run sells out, my plan is to create a whole range of sobriety cards. It goes without saying that this is very dear to my heart.
I’ve never spoken publicly about my recovery journey before, but at 10 years the time feels right to start talking about it. A decade feels like a real accomplishment, a real milestone, but never in a million years could I have done this on my own. I have had an immeasurable amount of love and support from others who have walked the walk ahead of me and to them I owe my life. In the words of a wise old friend, I am not proud, I am GRATEFUL. Sobriety was a gift bestowed upon me and I grabbed it with both hands and didn’t look back.
It’s been beyond difficult – undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done – and the battle with my mental health has continued periodically through the years, but today, as I write this, I feel peaceful, calm and overwhelmed with gratitude.
Creating a sobriety birthday card out of my art just felt like the most natural thing in the world to do. It had to have rainbows, it had to have the right words and it had to be beautiful. I’m not sure anyone not in recovery understands exactly how significant a sobriety birthday is, but to me it is everything. My ‘belly button’ birthday is really not that important, but my sobriety birthday means the world. Every year, every anniversary, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come and what I’ve overcome. I feel an equal vicarious joy whenever I hear about or read about someone else who has achieved multiple years of sobriety. It makes me cry. It’s a miracle, every time.
In addition to this sober anniversary card I have also created a rainbow print with the words that saved my life when I first walked into those anonymous rooms. I was broken, raw and scared – nothing hot about this mess – and people kept saying to me “Don’t quit before the miracle happens!” Their words echoed in my mind every time things got hard, and back then every day was hard, and I clung onto those words with all my might. I hope these words continue to help people in the way they helped me.
Once I’ve sold out of all my sobriety birthday cards (available HERE) I will be introducing a whole new range of recovery celebratory cards. They will be full of joy and rainbows and I can’t wait to share them with you. Ideas and suggestions for what to write on them are welcome!
My ideas so far are:
• Clean and Serene
• Transformed by Grace
• You’re a Fucking Miracle!
• The Best is Yet to Come
• You’re an Inspiration
Until then, please spread the word and share the joy! Watch this space 😍