Why and how I did it
Lovely stuff Sam. I’ll be 2 years sober in January 2021 (one day at a time) and the amount I’ve accomplished since then is amazing. Not in an egotistical way (money, fame whatever) but more on a wholesome level (deep connections with friends, solid relationship with family). I too ended up at the Priory (the one in Hayes) and without sounding dramatic it saved my life. Having people like you who have a large following but are still classified as relatively normal (in a good way) talking about addiction has such a positive effect on newcomers or those thinking of going back out there. Keep it up, I could hear you talk about this all day. That and Roy Race.
I can already tell this newsletter is going to be very helpful.
I’m 2 months sober and it was initially supposed to be part of my new plan to regulate/moderate my drinking. What do you think?
Oct & Nov = No drinking
Dec & Jan = Drinking
Feb, Mar & April = No drinking
May, Jun, Jul, Aug & Sept = Drinking
Thankfully, being off the booze helped me finally (after 18 years) admit I had issues with depression and get help.
I’m on the happy pills, getting counselling, exercising and sober.
My new plan is this:
Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov & Dec = No drinking.
It’s early days but I’m on the right road. I’m really looking forward to hearing your story Sam and taking some inspiration from it.
Thanks Sam, this is really helpful and relatable for me. The line where you said “if you think you have a problem then you probably have a problem”. I mean I don’t drink everyday but I probably drink 3-4 times a week and I won’t bat an eyelid at doing a 70cl of spirits on my Todd in a night, which is pretty sad when you look at it. Wife and daughter will be in bed and I’ll just keep drinking. I justify it by saying oh it’s ok I don’t get hangovers, which I rarely do. I used to be a real party guy before I met my misses would be out every weekend on the drink, iron fillings, Mandy whatever really. I stopped all that business when I met my now wife as she is pretty clean living, but It’s like I drink more now because I don’t party like I used to, but I guess there’s more too it??? I worry about my health, the fact it might get worse and maybe my best bet would be going tee total? As I have knocked the other stuff on the head I think it could be for me? I’m 35 and my daughter is 3 so a lot of life to enjoy still, food for thought. Ps. Love the Pod been a listener since the beginning and fully paid up IFS member. You (and Andy) are Top dollar for sure mate. Thanks again for sharing this. x
As you rightly say it is absolutely vital we can all share our stories without judgement and stigma. I had my last drink on 13th August 2019. Since then (althought the world's gone fucking mad) I now have a beautiful 3 month old daughter. I don't think that would have happened if I had continued in my booze filled ways.
As an avid counter and beta Babylonian, it's really helped to hear how someone like yourself has got through what you have, and that humour is key to progression.
Books and podcasts have been at the centre of everything for me. (TFTM #1 of course!)
Thanks for sharing Sam. TTFN.
Thanks for all your work on this newsletter. I’m a long time listener of TFTM and Betamax Babylon, and I’ve been in touch before under the ‘cunter2018’ moniker, probably mentioning that I’ve struggled with mental health issues through my life and all your work is always helpful (and of course I put Andy and Bruce under that umbrella too).
One particular thing about your story interests me most ... I’ve been very, VERY lucky that addiction hasn’t been a part of my troubles, but I suspect that a large part of my problems were caused by growing up in a household where alcoholism was prevalent. My stepdad died from alcohol addiction a few years ago at the age of 49, and the impact that his addiction had on the family unit and our lives has been incalculable.
I’m curious to know how your addiction had an impact on your relationship with your kids and whether you think coming through things has made that relationship stronger.
I’m very sad that some of the changing attitudes to how we discuss mental health and addiction in society seem to have to come a bit too late for my stepdad, because as I got older I realised that there was a wonderful man underneath the monster that alcohol turned him into, and he’s now lost forever.
If he was alive today I like to think he’d be responsive to the way you’re presenting things.
Thanks for everything you do,
Great story Sam that rings true with me too. I am/was a functioning alcoholic for around 10 years and am nearly a year sober now. It has been, and still is a massive struggle as my brain chemistry settles. What you said about rock bottom resonates, I thought I’d hit it several times but it wasn’t that which motivated me. Like many of us I was just sick of it. I’d tried several times to stop and failed but looking back it was just practice. For me sobriety was like learning to ride a bike. With all of the gashed knees and bashed elbows that went with it. Then one day, I got it. It’s not to say I won’t fall off if I’m not paying attention but I feel a lot safer. Thanks for this mate, it is a motivating read!
Thanks Sam. It took an accident to stop my drinking in august 2012. I’d love to say I’ve got my shit together but far from it but things are certainly better without the distraction and health fuckery that comes with drinking. Not sure what my issues are at the moment but they are real and can be problematic and don’t feel I’m far from obsessing on something or other. Look forward to more articles. Thanks
Great article Sam, tough read at times but love the positivity. Keep it up, you well up there on the human decency scale 😉
Hi Sam, thanks for doing this, I really appreciate you sharing your experiences. I stopped drinking a year ago, I was a problem drinker, it had to stop but I really didn't know if I could do it.
The experiences you'd shared on TFTM really helped me at the time to believe it was possible. Look forward to reading more about your journey. Thanks again.
"Getting your head around the inherent unpredictability of human existence - and just sort of learning to accept it without resorting to boshing four pints of Kronenbourg every lunchtime - is really at the heart of all this." Genius stuff mate. I'm only 22 but giving serious thought about knocking the drink on the head, can already tell this is gonna be a big help with that. Cheers x
Late to the party here Sam, but thanks all the same. I quit for good a year ago last October. It was the habitual drinking followed by godawful hangovers and anxiety that did for me. Days wasted feeling utterly, utterly dreadful and hating myself for it.
Something that has helped immeasurably have been the stories and examples of other people who've quit and are now living healthy lives. Stories like yours. I'm really grateful for the work you do to help people with addiction and MH issues Sam. Keep going buddy - you're doing a great job!
Hi Sam. Congratulations on your recovery. Thank you for writing this post. I believe that posts such as these really do help to change people’s lives. As a comedy fan it was hearing comedians talk about getting sober that helped me to get sober myself. Maybe it’s because I can relate to comedians lives more than the usual the rock/filmstar stories.
Although I’ve read quite a lot on drinking and recovery I had never actually heard the term “dry drunk” before (think it maybe in another of your posts). I’m currently dealing with a lot of remorse/shame with regards to my years of alcohol abuse. Luckily I have access to therapy etc and right this minute I’m confident I can move past it. I think it’s great that you’re willing to chat to people on Twitter about their own struggles and I may get in touch myself.
Thanks for sharing. I lost my best mate to booze earlier this year. I grieve for him every day. This has helped my appreciate and understand the struggle he went through every hour of every day. It's been so easy (not all the time but sometimes) to blame him for dying but it wasn't his fault of course. It must have been an absolutely lonely fucking soulless place to be.
Much love pal.
I'd like to use my experience to let this out not just to frequent drinking but the demon in general. In my salad days I was your textbook binge drinker and a bender - during which I'd ruined a potential relationship and slept in for half a workday - is what tipped my scale into what I'd consider my first full-blown 'episode'.
Did I give it up? Did I fuck. It toyed with my head on a weekly basis for years but I kept coming back for more, totally swept up in the moment come 5pm on a Friday (and 10pm on a Sunday). My life more than my conscience brought it to a near halt. Growing up, responsibilities, the life debt, in TFTM parlance - a good girlfriend.
Down to a pint or two before and after a Dons game, and about six 'proper' nights out a year, that was me. But it still had an affect. The lethargy that came with the odd pint. The memory loss, oh, the memory loss, with the proper nights out. Ironically I used the term 'reset' to describe its effects in undoing the good work I'd be doing for my nut in the days and weeks in between.
I'd have a clear head, a good week at work and play, progress in a therapy session; and then wash it all away a few litres of piss-poor beer. Regret becomes self-hatred for not just what you've done but who you are and you're back at the bottom of the ladder. Not every time I may add. I could go out, sink a few and have a great night with no repercussions. That made me feel better if anything. But worth the gamble?
The last time was around a year ago. Your words, Sam (fair play if you're still reading at this point, I've got arthritis now), were ringing in my hungover ears and I decided not to take said gamble any more. The way you spoke about your issues - albeit on a different level - made sense to my own circumstances. So I thought fuck it: I'll try giving it up. https://twitter.com/RTD85/status/1212045961121423361?s=19
Nearly 12 months on I'm of a mind that I'll never drink again. I've gone from not missing it to looking back in horror at how much I did it in the past. But thankfully - because I've got a clear, level head - I can let that go as a past I can't change.
My TL;DR is that even if you're only drinking now and then, give giving up a go. What's the harm, you're not doing it much anyway. Stay in, or out on the the alcohol-frees. If anyone asks me why, I'll come completely clean or give an ambiguous "it just doesn't do me any good". That'll set anyone straight. Why? Because deep down everyone knows it's true for them, too.
Brilliant article - I was in rehab with one of the gentleman who has posted below. Stopping the drink saved my life.
Sober life - that’s living alright
Great stuff Sam. I’m going to share this with my son who has had (and continues to have) issues with addiction. He tries really hard but can’t quite get himself off the cycle of ‘get clean, something happens, fall back’. He needs help and I’ve tried but it has to be him that makes it happen. He’s a fantastic guy who is in danger of wasting a brilliant life