“I’ve had enough. I have a problem and I want to change!”

It is the end.

Five months of travel has come to an end. I am typing this at the airport. I have just achieved my dream of travelling the world. It is a dream I have held since I was in my late teens. It only happened because one day I said “I’ve had enough. I have a problem and I want to change!”

I now ask myself the question “Now what? What do you do when you have achieved your wildest dreams?”

The adventure fades into the past and becomes a memory. A moment that may never have happened. The world seems a little darker and the future less titillating. I wander through duty-free trying to forget about the tears that are amassing behind my eyes. Each tear a memory. A celebration of an achievement that was never expected. I notice I am in the hard liquor aisle, by coincidence, I didn’t wander here like some sort of alcoholic homing pigeon. The bottles seem blank and lifeless. They no longer offer a solution to my current plight. I am at the lowest I have been for years but this isn’t depression. This is the comedown from the greatest time in my life. I want it back. I want those five months of travel back. I want them again. I want to relive each day again. I never said that whilst drinking. I drank to escape each day. I pause for a minute and look at the bottles. There is nothing here for me. There is no longing. No yearning. It’s like looking at a photo of an ex-girlfriend who I know reconciling with would only end in disaster. The solution resides inside me. I have to accept, regroup and go again. To where? I don’t know.

The tears won’t leave. My emotions are discombobulated. A mixture of joy, sadness and loneliness. Joy at being able to see it through and achieve what I never thought possible. Sadness at it being over. And loneliness from the people I met and left behind.

I don’t know what I am going to do. I am unsure for the first time in years because I no longer have a plan. I am not worried about the lack of direction. I am encouraged by the freedom I still have thanks to not drinking. The freedom to draft up another plan and set more goals.

I just never expected to be at this point.

My focus was first on quitting drinking and then on reaping the benefits of sobriety. I am at the end of that road. The dreams I drafted out on a scrap of paper and hung next to my desk as a reminder are now complete. I never expected to say that. Those words should belong to someone else, not me. Not the man who gave himself no chance. But they do and on reflection, it was easier than I thought it would be. At the time, the change seemed hard. The changes I wanted to make seemed like trying to turn the titanic the second before impact. That’s why I broke them down and gave no deadline. I didn’t want pressure I wanted to change and was prepared to wait for it to happen. I had the belief it would turn out okay and thankfully it did. A drinking problem is progressive and so is wellness. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience but with goals and determination, it will be fruitful.

My flight is boarding so I fight the tears and make my way home.

The UK is in the grip of winter. The cold seeps into my bones as reality seeps into my mind. I have no plan, no crosses to bear. I have given what was owed to the alcoholic me, a life beyond my wildest dreams. I achieved what I could never have done back then and feel proud to have done so. Yet, on my return, I feel a sense of emptiness like something is missing. I notice that I browse shopping websites for something to buy. Like an item will fill the void. Maybe it will for a short time but it seems like a series of short term fixes for a long time. It’s almost as if the adventure I found whilst travelling resonated with me. The unknown gave me contentment. Alcohol clearly filled the void. A void that I dare say is experienced by large amounts of the population. Who, like me, are left wanting by the consumption-based model we find ourselves in. A poor imitation of life. Constant searching for contentment in a culture that promotes discontentment. Food, sex, clothes, electronics, anything to itch the scratch, even for a short while. But there is no void. There is no perfect item to make us complete. We are already enough. It all resides within. There is beauty in everyone.

People will wrongly assume that my “hippie” outlook can be attributed to the travel but it is due to the work I did on myself in sobriety. The meditation, yoga and the books I read played a part. I had to release the shit that used to twist my brain into a knot. The world problems that I had adopted yet had no chance of changing. I was killing myself with worry. I had to learn to release them and pick my battles wisely. I had to stop and smell the roses every once in a while. Embrace the simple beauty in life and celebrate being alive. Not weighed down with pointless guilt and worry.

I know my purpose. I just have no idea how to make it happen, yet. I climbed off a barstool, paid back what I owed and achieved my dreams. It is time to pay it forward. To demonstrate the way. To help others achieve what they thought they never would. To help others find the strength to find the answers. How this takes place I am not sure yet. I will keep writing blogs in the hope that someone gets something from them but in the long run, I will need to be more involved. I want to do this because I once thought that the cyclic mundanity that was my life was life. I thought the self-loathing negativity was normality. I thought that it was my destiny to live like that. I sit here today knowing that nothing is further from the truth. The world I thought existed was a mirage. An illusion that I had created to keep me from trying. I lived two lies; the version of myself I showed the world and the world I thought I lived in. No wonder I was so messed up.

It took courage at the start. “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” That step was saying “I’ve had enough. I have a problem and I want to change!” I had to say it. No one could say it for me. I had to say it. I had to believe it and I had to mean it. I spent years lying to myself and that had got me nowhere. It was time to get honest. First, with myself and then the world. Of course, it was scary but the fear was just a barrier I had created to stop me changing.

At first, I just stopped drinking. Nothing more. I just focused on not drinking. There was a temptation. A craving to escape. To scratch the itch but I knew where it would take me and I was tired of being in that place. I was then left with a void of time and loneliness. As I had consumed alcohol it had consumed my time and my emotions. Now I had time to fill. I believe if I didn’t fill that time then boredom would have crept in and then old habits would have come back. I had to get busy living. Sobriety is the time to achieve the things that were once unachievable. To be the person who you deserve to be. So dust off those dreams and bring them into the light. It is time to believe in yourself. It is time to reward yourself for making the change. Not be punished for the decision. It seemed like I was missing out on life at the start of my sobriety. My friends would be out drinking and having a “good time”. I would be at home drawing a comparison and questioning my decisions. But over time I began to see the rewards of not drinking; financially, physically and mentally. It was hard to not fall back into the old routine but that is why it is so important to replace the old habits with new healthier ones. I read books on confidence, self-help and personal growth. All things I would have laughed at previously but I wanted to change and I had to be prepared to change to make it happen. I don’t know why I believed that it would be better. I guess I just thought that being sober couldn’t be any worse. I had blamed everything and everyone for my problems. Everyone, accept me and everything, accept alcohol that is. So it was the only thing left to try. I’m glad I realised before it was too late.


Feeling lost…

It has been two weeks since I ended my travels and those weeks have been filled with a sense of loss. I have finished what I set out to do and am now left with the question “Now what am I supposed to do?”

A friend recently said to me “now you’ve done everything you set out to do you might go backwards.” I can see how. The feeling I have now reminds me of the first few weeks of sobriety. Having vowed not to drink I would sit anxiously watching the TV whilst bemoaning that I was bored shitless. “No wonder I used to drink!” I would exclaim “Life is so fucking boring.” And do you know what? It is with that attitude. It’s easy to stare into the blackness of the night sky and miss the beauty of the stars if darkness is all you want to see but who does that benefit? Only the person who wishes to deny the light.

That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.

Charles Buckowski

That attitude of bemoaning life was really just me not wanting to do anything. It is easier to moan than it is to take action. That’s what was so good about alcohol. It removed the need for action. It is an amazing time killer. Without it, I was left with not only time but also my unfulfilled potential staring at me tapping its watch. I didn’t want to have to make decisions. It was all because I was scared of failure. That’s what I have learned I didn’t try because I was scared of not succeeding. How could I now if I would succeed without trying? I had to take the leap into the unknown and I found that the fear was a mirage. On the other side of fear were lessons and success.

“Choice is the basis of every part of your existence, but so is fear. The difference is, choice creates movement, where fear limits movement.”

Réné Gaudette

But at first, much like now, I saw an abyss of time to be filled. It was scary not knowing what to do. Thankfully I realised that I felt lost because I was looking at things the wrong way. Firstly, I was looking at what I didn’t have. I was looking at things with a sense of loss. I was not looking at the things I had. I was looking at the abundance of time as a negative. As something, I had to use up. When I should have been looking at the potentiality of that time. It took a few months until I realised that I needed something to do with my time otherwise I would have sat in the pub and drank again because when there was nothing to do that is what I had done for most of my life. I had to break that chain and change was the only way to do so. So I had to bite the bullet and make a list of thing I wanted to do. Who did I want to be? What did I want to learn? I jotted then down and made them my focal point. Sobriety was my gateway to achieving my dreams but it wasn’t a given. I had to maintain focus and not be deterred by temptation. It wasn’t easy but in the end, it was worth it.

Quitting drinking was also like losing a good friend. A friend who had been there for me when others went missing. Which is why it was so hard to quit. It would have been easy to wallow in the loss and focus on the good times that I had with alcohol. Eventually, slipping back down the rabbit hole and into despair. The only option was to stand up and take a chance. To have a go at setting an outline for my life after years of getting what was given. There is a saying in AA that says sobriety is “Life on life’s terms.” But if I don’t put one foot in front of the other I don’t get anywhere. Life will not push me forward. Time will pass and the seasons will change but without direction, I will not progress. All I had to do was stop bemoaning my feeling of being lost and give my life some direction. I just pointed and said “that way.”

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”

Terence McKenna

All the years drinking was like being a rudderless ship being dragged along by the tides. All the while I was waiting to smash against the rocks. When it eventually happened I had a choice; rebuild and carry on as before or rebuild and add a rudder. Life’s so much easier when I know where I am heading.

So now the dreams have been fulfilled it is time to create some new ones.

What a gift being sober and free is.


The importance of exercise

It was Christmas time and there was no sound in the house
Nothing to hear, not even a mouse.
But wait!
What’s this?
I think I hear something
Yes, it sounds like someone munching
Ahh, of course, it’s Charlie eating and getting fat.
He’s using Christmas as an excuse to be a right lazy twat.

My exercise routine took a backseat over the festive period. I like to run a few times a week. Nothing major. No marathons. Just enough to keep me active. I found that it helps with my physical and mental health. It keeps me thinking and feeling right. Slowly over the past month, I was slipping into a sedentary lifestyle. I could feel it. Not just physically but mentally as well. I felt tired all the time. Like I had no energy. I mean how could I have no energy I was relaxing whilst watching the waves crash down on the beach? I should have been bouncing with energy.

Thankfully, I know the cure… get moving!

Years ago I would have thought that my low energy levels needed some more coffee or more sugar to lift them up but now I realise that I have to get moving. Energy creates energy. Sugar comes with a crash that requires more sugar to escape from. And over time addiction is formed. Don’t think it’s addictive? Try quitting. I did and experienced withdrawal symptoms. I now limit my sugar intake for this reason.

I didn’t want to exercise. I wanted to lay in bed and then lay on the beach but I had to break the routine. So I got up and went for a run. It hurt. I was struggling and didn’t even make a mile before I stopped. I could have given myself a hard time for being lazy but what would that achieve? Making myself feel bad. I noted that my stamina had decreased over the month of inactivity but praised myself for getting off my arse. Even though it wasn’t a great run I felt better. Lighter. The cobwebs of inactivity had been dusted. I sat down for breakfast feeling like I’d earned it. I couldn’t help but think how quickly I had slipped into the sedentary lifestyle and how my energy levels had decreased. I was reminded of a sign I saw in the natural history museum;

When I was hugely overweight it was because I ate too much shite food and moved to little. I felt tired and sluggish all the time. My weight was the excuse not to exercise. Inactivity became my lifestyle. Gradually, as I started moving more, I started to feel better. Eating and exercise are just habits. They can be bad or good habits. Humans are creatures of habit. Changing habits can be hard but it can be done. A bit at a time.

I started running because, two years ago, I stopped smoking after twenty-three years. I hated running, to begin with. My lungs would burn as I coughed up all sorts of shit. I would be doubled over in a park coughing and wheezing whilst thinking, this is your own fault. It was my own fault. I chose to smoke and knacker my lungs. Just like I chose to eat shit and do nothing for a month over Christmas. But thankfully I put the work in previously so that now I can see the signs and take the correct action.

It doesn’t have to be a run. It can be a walk. Just SOMETHING to break the routine. To shake me out of the idle thinking.

“All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.”

James Allen, As a man thinketh

In my experience, I have found that my physical and mental health is directly related to my own actions. I used to come up with all manner of bullshit excuses why I couldn’t exercise or eat healthy. In the end, I had to take responsibility for myself and found that when I did not only did my physical health improve, so did my mental health.

For example, if I had read what I have written here I would have said: “that’s fine for you but I can’t do that because of these reasons.” Or I would have thought that it was too hard. It hasn’t been as hard as it has rewarding. A small amount of exercise goes a long way. Our lymphatic system has no pump. The movement of our muscles pumps the lymphatic system. We have to move to remove toxins from our body. It is quite clear that for a number of reasons we are meant to move.

The hardest part is getting of my arse but a few steps go a long way.


Life beyond alcohol…

I ponder about the energy of life. My life energy. My lust for life. I mean where did it disappear for all those years. For over ten years I was a heavy drinker. I accepted sluggishness as normality. How did I get trapped in a cycle of destructive mundanity? I was convinced that alcohol would save me. On reflection it is sad. Sad that it got to that point. Sad that I let life beat me down so much. Sad that I was prepared to accept that nonexistence as my fate. Sad because I had no belief I could escape that torrid existence. Sad because I was scared to test my mantel and fall into freedom. I was stuck.

Well, I say fuck that. One life. One opportunity to be the person I want to be. I say to hell with the shackles of expectation. I say I will walk tall and proud. The scars of the past are now part of my soul. Part of a spirit that never quit and eventually was rewarded. I tore up the script of my life and started writing new chapters as I went along. For over five years I haven’t had a drink now and my life is not the one I used to live. I am not the person that I used to be.

For me, removing alcohol was just the start. It gave clarity to my life. Kind of like removing a lunatic dictator from a country. The problems don’t disappear overnight it just paves the way for progress to happen. Progress takes hard work that appears daunting but is surprisingly rewarding and sometimes enjoyable. I had to ask myself the question of what would I do with the money and time I no longer wasted on alcohol? Travel? Study? Learn music? Get healthy? I did everything that I wanted to do. I wrote lists of things I would like to achieve and then tried them. When I either succeeded or failed I made new lists. New goals. New dreams. I took them and broke them down into manageable pieces; “What do I have to do today to get closer to my dream?” The answer was always “Don’t drink!”

For the first time in my life, I am without a goal. I have lived out my dreams. Dreams that once upon a time were so far away from being achievable that they weren’t dreams, they were impossibilities.

I was my own worst enemy back then. I was the obstacle to life. I had a problem for every solution and an encyclopedia of excuses. I was scared of failing and looking stupid. When I first quit drinking, I did it to prove myself wrong. I challenged myself to go for a week, then a month and then a year. Each step forward gave me confidence. In the end, I won my freedom from the soul-sapping habit that used to dictate my life. I have experienced people, places and things I never thought possible. I learned things and did things I thought beyond my capability. All thanks to a simple belief;


I used to repeat it like a mantra until it was ingrained in my psyche. Advertising told me I would be better with alcohol. I told myself the opposite. I have constantly been proven right.

I encourage you to try. I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised.


Change your mindset and you change your future…

Imagine becoming the person that you drank to become but without the negative aspects of drinking. Imagine being that person. A person who you like being. With confidence and strength. Integrity and self-respect. Imagine setting a goal and achieving it. Imagine standing at the finish line and looking back and think holy shit I did it. Imagine a life untethered by addiction. Unbound by the servitude of use. Free to explore new avenues. A gateway to the soul. A connection to the self and the ability to connect with people with boundaries.

Picture the world as a playground, resplendent with opportunity and vibrancy. Not darkness and scarcity. No longer fighting the clock for time. The ability to be present for your loved ones. To be a useful family member. Imagine imagining and then achieving goals.

That is what I got from quitting drinking. It’s as simple as that. Yes, I have to do things I don’t enjoy. Yes, I have bills to pay. But I no longer trudge through life downbeat and downtrodden. I no longer feel the shame that used seep from my pores with the alcohol from the previous night. Together they clung to my skin like the adhesive that kept my mask of positivity in place. Yet inside I was dying.

What did I want more than death by alcoholism? LIFE. I wanted life. I wanted to live and explore and adventure and love and experience life. Life beyond the walls I had created for myself. The routines were so ingrained that I thought change was impossible. I couldn’t imagine living without drinking. Now I can’t imagine living with it.

It took time to get to this point;

PATIENCE is not a virtue I had. I wanted more sobriety like I wanted more alcohol. It didn’t work that way. I learned to wait. I learned to do the things I used alcohol to do. I learned to fail and I learned to learn.

RESPONSIBILITY was something I avoided in my drinking days. If there was a problem it definitely wasn’t my fault and my health was certainly not my fault. My health was negatively impacted by my alcohol consumption. My alcohol consumption was due to other peoples actions. Someone might have annoyed me or said something to me that had caused me to need a drink. Slowly, after quitting I came to realise that my health was my responsibility. When I took ownership of my well being it became more manageable. It’s almost as if the people who I had been blaming my problems on had no idea they were responsible for my well being. This victim mentality had to end. I could no longer spend my life expecting the world to conform to my expectations as this approach constantly left me disappointed. I had to take stock and work through my problems. I had to take ownership and face up to some hard facts. It was scary. It was hard work. But the pathway to liberation is full of hardships. The trails I overcame have been the building blocks for the person I am today. Those scars on my soul are a badge of honour. A reminder of the strength I never thought I possessed.

A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.

James Allen

HABITS had to change. The old ones had to die. I am a creature of habits. We all are. We imagine ourselves to be free-thinking individuals with a penchant for spontaneity but in reality, we are dictated by our habits. Changing habits is hard enough but throw addiction into the mix and it is even trickier. So it is important to seek more fulfilling activities.

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it.

Horace Mann

When I realised I was responsible for my life I realised that I was also responsible for how I used my time. Sitting in the pub would lead me to drink again. I had to replace the old habits with new, healthier ones. But it didn’t happen overnight. I wrote a list of all the things I had wanted to do in life and picked the ones that were realistic. As I ticked them off I realised that my outlook had been holding me back because they were all realistic.

RELIEF is what I felt when I realised it was over. When the conflict that had been raging inside of my mind finally fell silent. It was one of the most liberating and joyous experiences of my life. I remember thinking oh I haven’t thought about drinking for a while. It was amazing. I never thought that I could live that way. I had achieved the impossible. Everything I have achieved after that point is a bonus.

A day of serenity seemed impossible. Now, it is the norm.


To thine self be true – A Poem

I was sixteen years old when I first went out to a pub drinking. I can remember walking up to the door with my chest sticking out like a barrel-chested pigeon. Slowly praying to a God I didn’t believe existed, that the bouncer would let me in. He did. And as a result, I approached every pub in the same stupid fashion for years to come. 

When I walked into the door I was hit with a wall of noise. Chaotic chatter was interspersed with musical beats. The smell of smoke hanging heavy in the air. A toxic environment that made me feel alive. I had arrived in the world of adulthood. Proud to be a man. 

I did these things because my friends did these things. We did these things because we were told that’s what people our age did. We were told that it’s fun. We were told to view people who didn’t drink with suspicion because they weren’t to be trusted. I verbally attacked people who dared deviate from this way of life. I verbally attacked them because I dare not deviate. I was racked with fear. I would write stories and poems in my late teens in solitude. When I had finished I would tear them up and put them in the bin, ashamed of my internal desire to be creative. The words dancing on my fingertips demanding to be written yet I dared not pursue that avenue for fear of ridicule. 
I believed that alcohol would give me the strength to do so. The strength to be me. To be true to myself. 

It took me sixteen years of hard lessons from that moment of walking into the pub, excitedly embracing the world of alcohol, to realise that sobriety was the only pathway to my true self. 

TTSBT a poem

To thine self be true
Do you know how hard that is to do?
When the world expects you to conform
Not be yourself but just perform
A task. A role. An act. An Act.
It’s just an act.
Sell your soul for the latest commodity
That’s the reward for a spiritual lobotomy
Turn off your intuition
To that inner voice, you no longer listen
Just act
Just act
Don’t question 
Just act
Like a puppet in a play
Having doubts?
Have a drink. That takes them away
So we shop and work 
And work and shop
But the misery doesn’t stop
We follow the rhetoric that’s always been preached
That success breeds happiness once a level has been reached
So we shop for an identity
Browsing and browsing for an expression of individuality
We act
Oh we act
Like the person, we wish to be
Create the illusion we want the world to see
Fighting to maintain frame and not let the mask slip
Yet struggling to keep life in a firm grip
More money will give me my true self
Buy better image and impress the world with my wealth
Then maybe once the outer me is complete
The inner me will fit all snug and neat

We shouldn’t act
We shouldn’t act
We should just BE

Trying to be something you’re not will destroy your spirit!
It’ll cost you your role in life and your purpose within it
To thine self be true
Cos no matter how difficult it seems 
It is the right thing to do.

Thanks for reading,


Picture by ANAKBRUNEI – https://www.instagram.com/p/rJnMh5GwS2/

The world keeps turning after the room stops spinning

Almost as if applying the emergency brake. As if the driving examiner has slammed her clipboard onto the dashboard of life. Quitting drinking is a jolting change. A jarring experience for some of the lucky ones. The unlucky ones crash before the brakes work.

I expected the world to stop with me. I expected triumph and to lead my old friends into a new life. Unfortunately, just because I stopped doesn’t mean the world stopped too. It was hard at first. I mean realising the majority of people who I spent the majority of time with loved drinking more than they did me was no good for my already low self-esteem. Most of them expected me to fail. Most of them I never speak to anymore. Worrying at first. Lonely sometimes but no transition is easy. Thankfully, the ones who valued our friendship more than drinking stook around. Sobriety just removed hardcore drinkers from my social landscape.

I expected instant rewards. I expected that by removing alcohol from my life it would all be okay. Strangely, I had thought that adding alcohol would make it alright at some time in my past. Removing alcohol didn’t make it alright but it did make it easier… after a while.

The world washed over me. I could have drowned in the troubles I had been avoiding. Sobriety seemed like a really really bad idea. I mean at first, it was like I was stopping the medication that kept me sane. I had to baton down the hatches and ride out the initial storm of my own creation. It was just the chaos of my mind. I stayed away from the pub and places where people drank alcohol. The storm calmed and I realised that alcohol was the medicine that had been keeping me sick.

After any storm, it is time to rebuild whilst I mourned what I had lost. In the chaos I had lost alcohol, it was my best friend but also a terrible influence. We had spent a lot of time together but it was time to move on. It was a toxic relationship. One I couldn’t see how bad until I left.

There is no sobriety insurance. No one will go around and apologise on my behalf. I had to do it myself. I had to build a new life from the ruins of the old.

“Beautiful souls are shaped by ugly experiences.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

There is plenty of help available. There are survivors out there who came through what I came through and share their tale to help others out. Their message is clear “it isn’t easy but it is worth it!” I found them when I was ready and they can help but deep down it was me who had to want it to happen. All the support in the world wouldn’t have made me want to put the brakes on my old life and say “enough!” I had to want to change. I was sick to fucking death of being sick to death. I was so sick and tired that I was prepared to risk losing what I had. Purely on the belief that I could build something better. No more bullshit excuses.

One thing I have learned is that the world keeps turning regardless of what you do. Each spin is another day gone and it came to the simple choice; do I want to spend my life hiding and making excuses or do I want to take ownership of my life? Do I want to become someone I am proud of being or do I want to remain as the person I had grown to despise? In the end, I thought it had to be worth a try and it was.

There was no fanfare. No breaking news item stating that I had stopped drinking. The world carried on regardless. My “friends” carried on regardless. I had been drinking myself to death under the belief drinking was integral to my life and also the functioning of the world. I was wrong on both fronts. Nobody gave a fuck. I was free to rebuild.

“Positive Self Talk Isn’t Enough… If You Want To Overcome More Put In The Work.”

Wesam Fawzi

Quitting drinking isn’t a race. There isn’t really any training. Day to day living is training and fuck ups still happen but that’s life. People start to worry after so many months they haven’t achieved XYZ because they know someone who stopped drinking and did. People develop at different paces. Some people say “Never again” and then never drink again. Some it takes longer. Some never realise the potential they pissed away.

I found adding pressure to an already tricky experience did nothing but made me fail. My only criteria was not to drink at first and when I felt ready, I began tackling other problems. If it got too much I backed off and when I felt ready, I tried again. A slow process but decades of running aren’t fixed in a weekend. Thankfully, time is no longer my enemy. I no longer rush through life to get to an alcoholic drink. I saunter through life and take in what I had been missing.

The world might be turning but I’m no longer clinging on.


My drunken dreams became my sober reality…

With the end of six months travelling approaching and my return to work slow tapping on the window of my future like a huge Monday morning, I begin to ask, was it worth it? A resounding ABSOLUTELY!

People said I was lucky to be able to take six months off from life to fulfil the dreams of a once useless drunk. I never doubted that I was lucky but I also lived like a hermit for nearly a year to make it happen. I stayed in and saved every penny. I sold my car so I didn’t have to pay for the tax and insurance. I bought NOTHING other than bare essentials. I felt indebted to myself for all the years of slumping against a bar dreaming of seeing the things I’d always longed to see. Sobriety gave me the freedom to do so and to waste that freedom would have been an affront to myself. If it was not for sobriety I WOULD NOT HAVE TRAVELLED THE WORLD. It’s as clear as that. Sobriety gave me the tools to save money. The self-belief to pursue the goal and the strength to see it through. I owe it all to stopping drinking.

Thanks to sticking to the simple path of choosing to try life over trying alcohol. I have fulfilled my lifelong ambition of visiting some of the wonders of the world. I experienced beautiful people and cultures, I have found a level of self-belief that I didn’t think I had. It has been an incredible six months that has far exceeded my expectations.

It is taking a bit to sink in. That the man who thought nothing of himself could climb off the barstool and turn those drunken dreams into a reality. But it is the same person just with the alcohol removed and a bit of work done on myself.

Fuck, it was scary at the start. Sobriety seems like a long road of nothingness. A bland future that will end in a withering death caused by boredom. How wrong was I? It has been an incredible, difficult, scary journey but much like climbing a mountain the rewards come much later.

Of course, there were times where I thought this is a waste of time. But deep down I didn’t want to be like the people I drank with. I didn’t want to be the men who frequented the pubs and normalised my drinking. Who told me tales of all the things they “nearly” did and all the things they were “gonna” do. They would tell tales of lives they never lived as their dreams would remain on a shelf. Some had genuine reasons for not pursuing what they wanted. Many, like myself, hid behind a glass and used the illusionary fun of heavy drinking as the preferred life activity. Cowards.

If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor.

I could never have imagined in those early days that behind the drunken veil was a life of vibrancy and opportunity. It wasn’t a million miles away. I collected myself on the way and made my way into a future that had been written off as fantasy. And, now, due to seeing the simple wonders life has to offer I cannot go back to the dark days of drinking. The fullness of life offers too much that the positives of drinking are FAR outweighed by the negatives; hangovers, regret, remorse, weight gain, financial impact, health impact. For what? A few hours of escapism and illusionary fun? Standing in a bar repeating the same tired conversations? Fuck that! I’ve seen life. I’ve seen what it has to offer and that isn’t it. Give me peace any day. Give me serenity. Give me good health and good finances. Give me not having to avoid people because I might have offended them or I have built up a world of lies. That’s where I end up. I know. I tried.

Initially, I was upset that I couldn’t drink. I thought I was missing out. Then I created a mindset and life that I wouldn’t want to trade for all the alcohol in the world. Slowly, one goal at a time I managed to get some self-respect. That alone is worth more than a night of drinking. The ending of the never-ending torrent of torment that used to barrel frantically around my head with barbed words intent on cutting my self-respect down is a gift I can never trade.

I am not perfect and sometimes get impatient. I sometimes lose my temper and say things I regret but these occurrences are not on a nightly basis like they once were. Those fleeting moments are a reminder of the damage that can be done if I lose too much control of myself. How I can slide back to the start so easily. There is a fragile beauty to sobriety. It gives so much strength but it can so easily be broken. I guess that is why I see it as something to be protected. I need sobriety for my strength but I need to protect it. And by protecting it I am rewarded with the ability to turn the dreams of the drunk me into my sober reality.


Leaving a trail of positivity?

My current life is quite transient, yet I still try to treat people well. I don’t have to. Many I will never see again and their opinions hold no sway over my future. Despite this, I still try to leave a positive impression on people. For years I tried to be what people wanted. I tried to imagine how they would want me to be. This approach led to failure. Mostly down to the fact I was disingenuous. So why would I now try to leave a positive impression? I think it is because there are enough pricks in the world. Nice people should be treated nicely. Their giving nature should be reciprocated not taken advantage. There is an ever-increasing amount of selfish, childish, narcissists that to live a life-giving to give, cultivates an environment that I like to dwell within.

I live for myself and answer to nobody.

Steve McQueen

To follow your own path does not mean that you have to be a heartless dick. Nor does it mean that you have to be a selfish arsehole. To live by your own moral codes shows strength. It just happens that I want to leave people better than when I found them. I went through a decade of shit to get here. I took from life and gave very little back. I believed that is what I should do. I had a self-entitled hedonistic attitude and it left me isolated. I was cut off from life because, I believe, to be connected I have to give. When I approach life now, I think what can I give to this situation? Not what can I take? I will try to leave people better than when I found them.

It’s nice to be nice!

To give. To be nice. Doesn’t mean to be a doormat. Nor does it mean to give with the view of receiving. Our culture seems to send a mixed message that it is nice to be nice but it is also weak… except when heroic. We are breeding narcissism and self-entitled adult babies whos toys come flying out of the pram when their unrealistic expectations are not met by reality.

I overheard a man complaining that he couldn’t connect to facebook…. we were in the Sahara desert!

I know I was one of those whiny babies whose life was shit because of the world. Then I chose to grow the fuck up and take control of my life. I realised that you get what you give from life. Sitting around expecting reality to be served up like the dross on TV is the road to disappointment. To own your shit and say “Hey, I fucked up but it wasn’t my intention, I am only human and I’ll try to sort it out,” makes life run a lot more smoothly than “It’s not my fault!!”

When your inner world and outer world align it is an amazing feeling. The need to impress diminishes and the yearning for acceptance evaporates. People are drawn to your energy when positivity and direction exudes. Think about it. Who would you want to spend time with? A whiny cry baby moaning about how everyone is better off and how their life is shit or a person who says “Yes, let us try that and if it doesn’t work out at least we tried.” Adventure is titillating and courage exciting.

In my drinking days, I couldn’t find the ideal partner because I didn’t know what I was looking for and would cling to anyone who showed me the slightest attention like I was lost at sea. I would try to be who I thought they wanted me to be. It was exhausting and would often fail.

I had to think about what I wanted in a partner and in life. After I thought about it I realised that I am happy with my current situation and a long term partner isn’t on my agenda. I can then approach situations with this knowledge. I can be open and honest. It removes a lot of pressure and stress. I have cultivated a drama-free zone and a serene mind. To start playing games and being duplicitous would be detrimental to this. I don’t need it. Plus it doesn’t fit with my ethos of trying to be positive.

Fundamentally without a religious belief to offer salvation, I am left with the humanistic belief; that we are all we have. But more importantly, we are all we need. People who show love, regardless of their personal beliefs, receive love. We should stop rewarding and promoting selfish attitudes purely because it reinforces the structures that we have in place. Regardless of the labels that we attach to our economic or political models, they all reward a certain type of behaviour. This will only change when, we the people, decide that enough is enough. That in this blip in the infinite we call life it would be preferable to live in a place of contentment.

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.

Audre Lorde

Let’s accept that there are differences in life and that’s what makes it interesting but also let’s accept there are similarities. One thing I have noticed whilst travelling the world is that most people, although carved by their culture, are driven by their human nature. There are of course exceptions to the rule but on a whole, most people want to feel part of something, have food, feel connected and not suffer. Let’s focus on that. Let’s switch off the news and go speak to our neighbours. Maybe fly to another country and experience the similarities for real.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain

Maybe it will take more than that. Maybe when space flight is available to all them we will realise that there are no lines on the earth. That it is just a blue dot in space that we call home. That we a fortunate enough to be here experiencing life and all the parts that come with it. Until it is available to all the closest we have to experience the overview effect is space buzz.

I think my shift towards a life of positivity and reciprocation instead of consumption was out of desperation. When I was pursuing happiness through consumption I was always unhappy. Happiness was elusive and just the next “thing” away. Then I realised it was a futile endeavour designed to keep me pursuing. That’s when I began to look for other, healthy, means of finding contentment. That’s when I realised that all I have is here and now. And the people that exist in the here and now with me. I am content on my own but the right people compliment that contentment and heighten the human experience. It should be our duty to isolate the negative behaviour that is rewarded and turn attention to the type of behaviour that we would like to shape our world with.

The dreamers are the savoirs of the world

James Allen, As a man thinketh


New year, new me?

The days leading up to new years eve were an annual tradition of mentally running through the seismic changes that I would be undertaking in the following year. From sobriety to relationships I would plan them all out. I would be convinced that the changes would happen just by thinking they would. That making the list would be enough to conjure the fairy of sorting shit lives out. It never did and I never enacted those changes. I would profess that new years eve would be the last blow out of the year and hit the drink hard. “One last hoorah,” I would profess “for tomorrow I will be reborn!”

I would enter the New year as I would continue it; in a state of drunken stupor and lying to myself. When I would eventually wake I would be too hungover to do anything. The compromise that I would negotiate with myself would be dry January. It is a start I would think. If I can abstain for a month then obviously I don’t have a problem and those changes I thought about won’t need to be enacted! A genius plan. The pressure to prove to myself that I didn’t have a problem meant that I ALWAYS completed dry January. I just rolled into February a month behind quota on my intake and upped my consumption to compensate. And the cycle would continue.

On reflection, I was trapped in a routine. A soul-sucking cycle of addiction that I couldn’t see the harm of and as such saw no reason to need to escape. There was so much I wanted to do but much like the new years’ resolutions, they could be done later. All the while life passing me by. Unbeknown to me I was the hamster running on its wheel hoping to escape its cage. Then one day life and my body had other plans I was offered a way out of the cage. That’s how I saw it, my rock bottom, I saw it as an opportunity to rebuild. I had nothing to lose now, only my life, but there was much I wanted to see and do. I felt like the universe, god, life, luck, chance, whatever you want to call it was pointing to a door marked exit. I took it but I had to build the stairs to the floor I wanted to be at. Rock bottoms come in many shapes and sizes. Some people need more of good kicking until the message gets through. I was lucky. I only had a liver that was temporarily knackered and twenty grand in debt. I have seen people come back from much worse. People who thought they were done and dusted. People who thought they would never see their kids again. People who fell to their knees and prayed to a God they didn’t believe purely because they had no other option. No matter how low, how hard you crash down or how much you think you won’t be able to turn it around. You can. Or be smart and don’t wait. I should have started those changes I dreamt about on the run-up to new years eve. I shouldn’t have waited until I was desperate. I was lucky and it took a lot of work. A lot of work that could have been avoided if I’d just have pursued my goals instead of putting them off.

Sitting on the beach in Sri Lanka, I think about those days. About how I would lie to others and myself. Promise after promise broken. It was always going to be tomorrow and it was always someone else’s fault. Mostly, about how each new year was going to be the one, the catalyst for change but never was. Each New Years eve just like the last. Like a terrible sequel to a movie; the venue would change but the story would remain the same. 

But what about this years resolution?

As I sit listening to the waves I contemplate what will be this New Years change. What do I want? I guess the answer is more of the same. Imagine that? I struggled for a long time to accept that it was my life that I enjoyed so much. I had serious imposter syndrome because life had been so shit for so long. Now I just want to continue what I have started and keep practising the simple steps that make it possible.

I find it still strange that I had faith that it would work out. I was convinced that sobriety had to be better.

Other than the health and the debt, why did I decide to give change ago? The answer is simple; because trying to turn it around couldn’t be any worse than I felt on a daily basis. Dripping in shame and feeling like my life belonged to someone else. Lead by an impulse, that I lost a daily battle to, made me feel weak. The rock bottom freed me from any fear of failure and allowed me to test a strength I didn’t believe I had. I never expected to succeed. I never expected to get this far. I never expected to do this. I never expected to be sharing this message in the hope that it would encourage someone to try. I never planned that. I just planned not to drink and then began to pursue goals that were healthy. Slowly, I created healthy routines and patterns. Negative routines are the death of life. Positive routines are the start of it.

There perfect time to change is right now.


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