So, this will be the final blog before the end of 2022. I wanted to write a recap of the year and review the highs and lows, there has been a few. This is a very tough time of year for many people and sadly a couple of weeks ago I heard that two young people from Alnwick (my home town) had lost their lives to suicide. I would like to dedicate this blog to both of them and their families.

Christmas bring a lot of pressure, of that there is no doubt. With the current cost of living crisis plummeting many people into further debt have we lost sight on what Christmas is meant to be? It seems that for many it’s getting that perfect picture of everyone in matching Christmas pyjamas is vital. Or posting the inevitable, “he/she done good” posts on Facebook. Parents parading their kids online with all their new presents is more important than enjoying the time with them . For many families this year, having the money to pay the bills and live up to the high expectations of ‘what Christmas is all about’ will be too much. I am no fan of this time of year. Usually that is because I have done something stupid brought on by a alcohol fueled bender, which lasts from finishing work to going back in January. This year is different. This year will be the first alcohol free Crimbly I have had since being a child. This looks like a daunting task sitting here writing this, but I am embracing it as much as possible.  

Last Christmas I gave you…sorry that slips out so easily. Last Christmas I still felt very unsecure. I was only a couple of months on from my lowest point. I had begun therapy sessions but had not yet embraced them in the way in which I do now. I was still drinking, but acutely aware that it was getting to a point where I would have to decide on whether this was going to get a final hold over me. I decided to press on and enjoy one last festive period with friends and family. The new year is a blur, although I was not overly drunk on new year’s eve I made up for this the next day by having a massive session (mainly on my own) with a neighbour. I recall feeling a sense of massive disappointment in myself towards the end of the year. I still felt depressed, and that time was not being kind to me. The problem was the booze. I hadn’t stopped and continued well into the new year before embarking on the alcohol-free life I now lead. I have had one small return to drinking but having now calculated the days since I stopped to today’s date I have drank once in 324 days. I am pretty pleased with that considering where I was beforehand. My plan of course for 2023 is to be completely sober for the full calendar year. A new year’s resolution if you like. Life is full of challenges and mini setbacks, and I don’t for one second think that next year will not include tough times. But I feel stronger for the setback I had and want to continue this sober life not reverting back to my old ways.

There has been high and lows to 2022. I have enjoyed many things but had to deal with life’s challenges that have come my way. But who hasn’t? I know my situation isn’t unique in the sense of facing up to difficulties. However, everyone has their own shit to deal with don’t they and your experiences are yours to combat. The highs have included getting fitter and stronger with Jack at the gym. Something I would never have contemplated this time last year. I have had some really positive moments with work, and I am genuinely looking forward to next year’s challenges in that aspect of my life. I have been fortunate to go on two really enjoyable holidays visiting a new country in Morrocco with Chloe and then going away with friends to Valencia. Two brilliant and very different places. I haven’t written in detail about my relationship with Chloe coming to an end because I don’t feel it would be right to publish this in public. This is down to the respect and love I have for Chloe. I was very sad when the relationship broke down and struggled immensely in those initial few weeks after it happened. Again, I know this is not an experience unique to me and many people go through break ups but it was a difficult time to navigate through. I am pleased that the parting was not a toxic one and we were very amicable at the split. I want Chloe to be happy and flourish which I can see she is already doing starting a new chapter of her life in her new home. I mean this sincerely when I say I wish her the very best because she deserves that. We remain friends and I look forward to seeing her again soon when the time is right.

Christmas will take a new shape for me this year and enjoying the time with family and friends without alcohol will of course be different. I will savour the fresh morning feelings of not being hungover on Christmas day and make better use of the time I have off from work. As I mentioned at the start of this blog, times are tough many people and families will be feeling the strain of the current economic climate so if you are able to – look out for another and be compassionate. Don’t worry if you can’t buy every single present your kids or partners want just love them and be there for them. They will remember that in years to come and not some material object they will forget about by mid February. Christmas should be a time for giving, so if you are able to give generously to your local foodbank or charity who will be feeling the squeeze at the moment.

Take care everyone and have a wonderful christmas. All the very best for 2023. I will be back with more blogs in the new year so for now, goodbye.

Nick Denton
Sobering Thoughts