Sobering Thoughts has recently celebrated its first birthday. I want to say a big thank you to all of the people who have supported the blog since its inception. Whether you read it, recommend it or champion it in any way I am very grateful. As I have said since blog number one, I wanted to be able to express myself in a way that I had not tried before to help assist with my ongoing mental wellbeing. But, it’s also a privilege to know that Sobering Thoughts has helped other people too. I had a wonderful message recently from someone I had been able to assist. They had managed to pay that forward and help another person they knew. By discussing their recent news, the topic of alcohol had come up which had led to some self reflection on weekly and regular consumption. In my experience I don’t think in some cases people realise how much they may be consuming until they have that initial discussion. One way to start this conversation is by taking the alcohol survey that is easily accessible online. I will post a link at the bottom of the blog.

Now there is likely a number of reasons people don’t know how much they are drinking. One could be that they don’t want to know. By inputting numbers (honestly) into a survey it may force them to address things they don’t wish to think about. Second could be a real absence in counting how many units you are consuming, however subconsciously I think people generally have an idea. Complete the survey below on drinkaware and let me know your findings. Units add up over the course of the week or rack up on that weekend binge you have.

I have struggled to consistently write blogs since the start of the year having only posted two since January. I am trying to work out why this might be. In the last piece I was trying to deliberate on whether I was and am a good person, or not. I am still working on that if I’m honest. It’s a conundrum in my head that I am trying to examine myself as well as talking to my therapist. Last time out I mentioned about coming off my medication and it is something that I am considering more. My hope is that it would allow me to feel more again. To enable my senses to be heightened and hopefully enjoy the experiences in my life. There is of course trepidation when it comes to making this decision. Can I cope? Will I cope? I am about to start a new role at work which will push me to new limits and come with more added pressures. Maybe it is worth holding back the withdrawal of my meds until I am settled into this new role and routine.

I want to talk about a couple of recent experiences I have had with booze and discuss them in more detail. I have had two days and nights out recently with firstly work and then with mates. The first night out came a few weeks ago when I was attending a work event down in Birmingham. I met up with all my colleagues and on the evening time after our sales meeting we went out for food and drinks. At first, I felt very comfortable having been in this situation before but then as the night went on I felt myself feeling like I wasn’t involved in the night everyone else was having. This was something I concocted in my head as no one was purposely trying to exclude me from the evening. So why did I feel like this? I had been on many nights out with friends and family and not felt these emotions come up. Why am I now suddenly starting to miss alcohol? Is my conscious bias towards not drinking wavering? It shouldn’t be. I know why I don’t drink anymore. I felt the same way again last Sunday when out with friends for the Newcastle game. I was among maybe fifteen or twenty lads who were all boozing and my head went straight to I wish I was part of this. I am slightly disappointed in myself for feeling like this, but it was inevitable.

Alcohol was such a big part of my life, it controlled many aspects of what I did and who I interacted with. This is going to be a constant battle for me, until my dying day. Easier at some points like it has been in my sobriety and then harder in other moments. But hopefully the harder moments will become less frequent as more time elapses. I want to stay sober. This is a choice I am making for the good of my physical and mental health. That is what I need to tell myself every time that little fella sits on my shoulder and says, go on Nick have a beer mate. If you are reading this and have a similar relationship with booze or you are trying some time away from drinking then please let me know. I would love to hear from you and understand what methods you employ to keep the devil from taking over. What I am accepting of is that I now have a different relationship with alcohol and socialising as a whole. As long as I am able to go out and act responsibly whilst not drinking then I will reap the benefits of this long and short term. My mental wellbeing will continue to grow, and I will not have those dreaded hangovers that I see friends and colleagues suffering from the next day.

I have to stay strong in my convictions. Try to be the man I want to be and then hopefully I can get to a state of mind where I ultimately know that I am a good person. Sobriety will help with this I am one hundred percent sure. I also need to keep up with my blogs, whether it is weekly or fortnightly. Bringing that constant back into my life and discussing these issues will help combat those feelings of doubt I had been experiencing on the nights out.

Thanks for reading. Take the survey below, it might make you think about how much you are drinking and whether that is healthy.

Nick Denton

Sobering Thoughts