I was at the Newcastle game last night. Another three points for Eddie’s mags. I came away from the match buoyant and happy to be part of another great night at St. James Park. Contrast that with how I was feeling coming away from a Newcastle match just over a year ago indicates how far I’ve come. On Monday, it had been exactly one year since the night where I had wanted to end things. It has not been plain sailing to get to this point, so I wanted to share that timeline with you and also get it written down in the form of a blog mapping out the progress that has been made.

If I go back to that point in time a year ago, I could not have been any lower. As I have mentioned in other blogs I had been drinking heavily and in a downward spiral to a point where days and nights were just passing me by. I was not happy, but I hadn’t appreciated how unhappy I was. I wanted things to end, I wanted to die. I did not feel like I could offer myself or anyone anything worthwhile in life. I was in a cycle of drinking most nights and feeling extremely lousy the next day. The time I spent with loved ones could not have been to any quality. What followed after the night in question over the next three to four months was not much better. Having reached the lowest point in my existence, things didn’t get better instantly. At first, I don’t think I wanted to get better, I wanted to feel down. I wanted to carry on drinking and wallow in self pity for my situation. I wasn’t accepting the help that those close to me wanted me to get. I started therapy sessions and alcohol support in December, but I wasn’t receptive to it. Although now, I was beginning to talk about my problems I wasn’t combating them. I never returned to that very dark place in my mind following that night, but I certainly didn’t start to feel better until I binned the booze.

One of the critical problems I had during this time was that I didn’t care about myself. I knew I was damaging my wellbeing and not getting better but I still couldn’t let go of my liquid friend. I felt it was the most loyal thing in my life, always by my side when I needed it in the dark days not willing to accept that it was contributing to causing those dark days. Reading this, you could think that the alcohol is to blame for all my problems, but it isn’t. I am. I am the root cause of all of my woes, and it is my choices and actions that led to this. I had to take control of myself again. For too long, I had been making poor choices and sliding further down. Yes, alcohol played a large part in my plummeting mental health, but I had not reached a point of no return. I still had the power to take control of the situation and for many months I chose not to. Maybe I am being over critical of myself here and downplaying the hold booze had over me. Not sure, still working that out, I guess.

Fortunately, I was able to regain control and begin to properly get better. Both mentally and physically. When I quit drinking, I wasn’t expecting miracles, but I was surprised how quickly I started to feel better and have more clarity in my thinking. By working with my therapist, alcohol support team and the love of my friends and family I have managed to get to this point feeling a lot more positive about life and the future. Yes, of course there has been bumps in the road getting to this moment but on the whole, it has been a positive life changing experience. I had a therapy session this week and one of the focus points was, what is the end game for this treatment? At what moment can I walk away from that fully ready? I think the answer to that, is never. I don’t think I can ever completely leave therapy and conclude I am no longer needing that support. Yes, the sessions may become less frequent but still vital to have some contact for my wellbeing. Knowing that avenue is never closed off will also be a positive for me. I was thinking back to why I started going. The generic reasoning was to feel better. For it to assist in that process and of course it has but it is so much more than that. I want to talk about therapy in an upcoming piece, so I won’t get into a lot of details just now. My physical health is a lot better now. I still enjoy the occasional cigarette or junk food but on balance I am healthier now than I have ever been. Going to the gym with Jack has been so important in my stronger mental health. My mind is stronger now because of it and I feel in a very good place at the moment which is nice. A couple of months ago I had a setback which I dealt with quickly. In a much speedier fashion that if this had taken place last year. I am now stronger because of that setback. I know that challenges will come, and I will look to draw upon this experience to combat them. Not revert back to normal coping mechanisms which ultimately don’t work.

I would never have been able to reach that better point without the truly amazing support I received at the darkest times. I want to thank my family, friends, work colleagues and Chloe. All of whom were there for me when I needed them. Although Chloe and I are no longer together, we remain friends and I want to say that I will always be very thankful to her for being someone I could rely on during what was an awful time.

As always, thanks for reading this if you are. If I can ever be of help to you or someone you know who needs help, then please get in touch. My details are on the contact page on the website.

Nick Denton

Sobering Thoughts