For those of you with exemplary musical taste you may have picked up on the title of the blog being a track by Editors. Well done if you did, that’s a point for you. Naturally you would think we would begin this story at where I can pinpoint my troubles starting but let us buck that trend and start in the here and now.
Saturday was a good day. I went to the eighth wonder of the world to watch the ever-improving Newcastle United. Unfortunately, I was one of those idiots who kept their season ticket during the final thrilling years of the Mike Ashley era. You would be forgiven for thinking that I had brought on some of the mental trauma in my life by continuing to pay money to watch the toon, especially during the tenure of the one and only Steven Roger Bruce. However, let me tell you vindication is mine. I was rewarded for such ludicrous loyalty and in came the new regime which under the stewardship of Amanda Staveley and co seems to be going in the right direction. I usually go to the football on my own and enjoy that but Saturday was different in that my pals were there also. More on those reprobates in other posts as we move forward.
Saturday was a big test for me. I had gone thirty-one days without a drop of alcohol, and I knew that my friends would be having a few drinks throughout the day. There were moments that I thought about getting a beer and joining in. This shows where I am currently at with my sobriety, not quite being in that mental state to not want to drink at all. Will I ever get there? I am not sure, and I don’t think I can answer that right now. It is still early days on this change of course and there are likely to be days and moments when I feel like this even if I am not out with friends or in other social situations. One of the critical aspects with my relationship with booze that I want to change is how I perceive alcohol to be a positive influence in my life. It isn’t and it never has been. It is like one of those relationships you have had with an ex that you know is shocking and yet you still want to be with them for some inextricable reason. We have all been there I am sure, unless you have dated me of course then how could you feel like that….
For the past few weeks since stopping drinking I have been following an online coach called Leon Sylvester. I came across his posts on YouTube (see Sober Clear) and they instantly resonated with me. Our relationship history with alcohol was very similar and our mental health struggles ran parallel along side the excessive use of alcohol. Let me label booze for what it is, a depressant and a highly addictive one at that. Like recreational drugs, alcohol is similar and provides short term highs but with longer term come downs. In my opinion, (which you are probably beginning to understand is very rarely wrong) alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances you can abuse in comparison to other drugs which are prohibited in the UK. Alcohol is so readily available to everyone and normalised in society as something to regular use to excess. I will cover this in more detail in later posts.
Since stopping drinking my mental health has improved dramatically. The difference is night and day. Its difficult to express how much better I am feeling. Part of me wishes that I could still have that odd night out or odd glass of wine (yes I am sophisticated) but deep down I know that one glass of wine is leading me into a bottle and then the day after will be a hungover day. That will then lead into a couple of drinks to feel better and the vicious cycle resumes. I just can’t do it. As I mentioned earlier I am hopeful I will get to a position where I no longer have FOMO when it comes to alcohol. Yuk, FOMO. Get in the bin Nicholas.
The last thirty-three days have allowed me to feel better about myself. I have started going to the gym and exercising more, I have started writing this blog. I have been far more productive at work. I have been generally more fun to be around (I hope) all positive effects of not drinking most days like I had been. In this time, I have also attended four psychotherapy sessions and two alcohol support sessions. At first (probably because I was still drinking) the sessions were not going well, and I didn’t feel they were beneficial to me. But over the course of the last few weeks, I have felt more positivity towards both these support systems and embraced them for what they are.
Although the last month has been positive, I am not naive enough to think that’s me sorted and I will never feel negatively again. This is a long process that will last me until the end of my life. In future blogs I want to get into the details of how I was feeling and what were the causes but of course I want to also talk about how I am feeling in the present as well as looking at the darker past. This is exactly why I wanted to start this now because I am still learning a massive amount about myself as my therapy sessions continue and I begin to navigate my way through a life without alcohol.
If you have any questions with regards to anything you have read or just a general query, please get in touch via email or through my social media. All details can be found on the contact page on soberingthoughts.co.uk
I hope you have enjoyed reading this and please feel free to leave comments on the blog page. Thank you to everyone who read Volume One. The feedback was fantastic and really appreciated.