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I am eight years sober today
Celebrating the best decision I ever made
Today is my eight year sober anniversary.
I post something every year to mark the day.
Every day something reminds me of what a good decision I made back in 2015, when things had got a bit too chaotic and miserable for me to cope with.
I needed to improve so many different aspects of my life: my relationship with my wife, my performance as a dad, my physical fitness, my mental health, my career, my financial situation and my increasingly volatile emotions.
It felt like such a lot; like a drawer filled with a tangle of charging cables that look like they could never be undone.
But it turned out the solution was simple: all I had to do was stop drinking.
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I was smart enough, strong enough and surrounded by enough love and support to get everything sorted. I just needed to get sober first.
Eight years on, I am so grateful that I took the plunge and decided to quit for good. Probably the most important moment was realising that cutting down was neither possible nor desirable. To get back on track I needed to remove the option of booze forever.
I think it’s worth my reflecting on all of this publicly. Partly so others who might be in a similar predicament can see there is a way out. I don’t think I am any smarter or stronger than the next person. I just woke up to the fact that booze was the common factor in all of my problems.
I am proud of what I did. I don’t want to ever get complacent about it or lose sight of the fact that it play a massive role in everything that’s good about my life.
I still have shitty days just like anyone else. But I feel so much more able to cope with them these days. I know myself better, I’m braver about facing down challenges and more acutely aware of the beautiful and joyous things that surround me every day. Those things - chief among them, my relationship with my wife and kids - offset the bad things very easily.
I feel like sobriety flushed the fear and cynicism out of me; enabling me to enjoy life more and more with each passing year.
I watched the Arctic Monkeys at Glastonbury with my wife and kids last night. All four of us really loved it. We sat in front of the telly on a warm evening, a cool breeze wafting through the open windows, spellbound.
I was delighted that my kids derive as much pleasure from music as I do. I felt so lucky to have shared that love with my wife for all the years we have been together. But most of all I just felt proud and happy that I could sit and enjoy the performance without picking holes in it, moaning, or writing snide stuff on Twitter to get attention. I just sat back and absorbed it with a smile on my face, then went to bed.
That, in a nutshell, is what sobriety has done for me.
If you’re curious, give it a go. You might like it.
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Some services, links and phone numbers to help you through the tough times
https://www.samaritans.org/ Tel 116 123
@YoungMindsUK 0800 018 2138
@CharitySane 0300 304 7000