Happy New Year!

I have done the same thing every New Year’s Eve since 1996: family time at the ski hill.

Well, not exactly the same.

When our boys were little we would set the clocks ahead so they *thought* they were staying up until midnight. Once they were in bed, the real party started.

When I quit drinking I had a lot of concerns about our ski weekends – how on earth would I manage? Apres ski drinks, happy hour cocktails, wine with meals and drinks in the hot tub. The first year seemed strange but it got easier and easier. Now I don’t miss alcohol anymore, I am too busy living my life!

I ski and snowshoe, or snuggle indoors to read and write. I enjoy cooking for family and guests, do crafts, play with the grandkids, watch movies and play board games. I feel great in the morning and am always the first one up. I start my day with coffee in the hot tub, marvelling at the beauty of this world as snow falls on the mountains before me.

Snow Labyrinth in Canada
Making a meditation labyrinth in the snow (Alberta, Canada)

Last week I snowshoed into the woods and tried something new, creating a meditation labyrinth in the snow! It was tricky but the results are beautiful. I posted pictures to our community group at the ski hill so others could find it and give it a try.

I never thought I would be so content or feel fulfilled by these simple things, but being alcohol free has given me the opportunity to settle into myself and relax. It’s a really lovely way to live!

All the best to everyone. Happy New Year and may you find peace and joy in the year ahead.

Thinking of quitting drinking for the new year? Here are some of my top posts to help you get started:






  1. Hi Jean,

    Your blog is so special and I’m so glad it’s here! I’m really struggling emotionally today. I have a history of benzodiazepine addiction/abuse and although I’ve been off of those meds for three years now (yay!), this experience changed my relationship with alcohol. I’ve really leaned into meditation and cognitive behavioral techniques learned in therapy, but I had a slip recently and feel so let down by myself. I went to dinner with a friend from the “old days” when I was still on the pills and drank heavily and didn’t have the courage to say that I’ve pulled back from drinking. I’m pretty distraught by this stumble and feel very lacking in character. How did you talk to people in your life about changes that you made? If you stumbled in your recovery, how did you get back up again and strengthen resolve? This question is certainly open to anyone here he would like to offer any advice. Thank you!


  2. Jean thank you for always checking in. I can say with so much pride and joy that it has been now 3 WHOLE years since I put the bottle down. Never thought I’d EVER be able to say that but here I am, loving it (the hard parts suck but are way more manageable now). It’s still an everyday choice, it will have to be forever, and I’m so happy to finally feel and own the fact that I am a non-drinker.




  3. I first read your blog during my first attempt at sobriety a few years back. Now, 10 months in to my third, and God-willing last attempt, I discovered it again and remembered how much I enjoyed your writer’s voice. I look forward to diving in and reading what I’ve missed since then.


  4. My name is Marques. My sobriety date is November 26, 2001. I live in San Francisco. I would love to send you a copy of my first 2 books that I had published. My first book focuses on how I got sober at 22 and my second book focuses on dual diagnosis. Is it possible for me to mail these to you?


  5. Happy New Year, Jean 🙂 I’ve just discovered your blog and am really enjoying what I’ve read so far. You’ve had such success with getting and staying sober, it’s wonderful. I’ve been quitting drinking periodically for YEARS and have always ended up going back to drinking. I’ve never been an everyday drinker, I’m much more spontaneous and unpredictable in my habits. I can be fine and have just a couple of drinks one night, then a couple of days later drink an entire bottle with friends and embarrass myself terribly (or worse, though I won’t go into details!)
    Well, I’ve realised that one thing I haven’t done yet is write a regular blog to keep myself on track, so that’s what I started doing yesterday. It’s great to have blogs like yours as inspiration, not only to remind me that I’m not alone, but to see that long-term sobriety is absolutely possible! Here’s to a wonderful 2020 for you and your family.
    Betty x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aloha Jean, I have wanted to write to you for.a while. Happy 2020 from Hawaii! You are truly an angel and so many people, including me, appreciate all that you do on the Unpickled Blog and the Bubble Hour! Both have been a tremendous help to me. I am 152 days alcohol free and made it through the holidays! I plan on buying your Holiday Survival guide to use for the future, I am a bit late for this year, but no worries since your advice is timeless. I wish you all the best for 2020!! Thank you, thank you, thank you – and Mahalo too! 🙂


  7. I got tears in my eyes picturing you making your labyrinth in the snow. (that design is no easy task). It must’ve been incredibly meditative in the silent snowy mountains with the crunch crunch of your crafty foot steps. Nice contrast to the sunny sand and seaweed as Kathy explained the labyrinth mediation with the sounds of waves in the background. Thank you for all of your encouragement to each of us seeking sobriety and the joy it brings.


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