Giving up drinking was for me a life changing event. In order to stay successfully sober since 2006 has taken a lot of effort, sweat and tears! Along the way I discovered that I needed to hear inspirational stories to help keep me focused and give me the determination to succeed. In the last couple of months I stumbled across three books that I want to recommend all of you on the same sober journey.
- Feel The Fear, Susan Jeffers – Buy on Amazon US/GB
- Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl – Buy on Amazon US/GB
- Finding Your Element, Ken Robinson – Buy on Amazon US/GB
I left the UK to live in Spain when I was in my early 20s to try and experience life and everything before settling down into a job. While I was concerned about finding work and somewhere to live was in my mind, it wasn’t really in the front or top of my priorities. I figured I’d handle whatever was thrown at me. I also guessed that buying a one way ticket would make me a little more motivated to find work and succeed. My decision to move to Spain caused a huge row with my parents so by going, I was burning some bridges. I knew everyone back home, including close friends were expecting me to return within a week or two, which doubly increased my motivation. I lasted a year and to be honest never looked back. By going, surviving and having the time of my life I’d uncovered something else, that I was actually good at living abroad.
Since then I’ve lived in a number of countries and taken every opportunity to explore the world. Even though I’m 20 years older now, the flame still burns. Read Susan Jeffers book, which talks about all the fear you feel in the pit of your stomach, the voice in your head that tells you you are crazy. I felt and heard all those things before leaving for Spain, I felt them too the first night I went to a salsa class about 3 weeks into my sobriety. I wasn’t so much feeling fear, just totally frightened and scared about dancing in public sober. I read Jeffers book in a weekend, just couldn’t put it down. There were so many things she described that made me smile and I could relate to. I also saw that I had fears about some other areas of my life and that they were also irrational.
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – Ken Robinson, one of my favourite speakers who I’ve found on the TED channel. He’s an inspiration just to watch and listen to. A lot of what he says about education makes sense, for example the way kids are taught resembles some kind of sausage factory, an experience he’s found all over the world. His stories in this book talk about people who schools wrote off as not likely to achieve anything, yet they went on to start up successful businesses or go into show business, all household names and the way he writes inspired me greatly to think about my own achievements.
Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust – Viktor Frankl’s altogether harrowing account of his time in several Nazi concentration camps. I read his book in just a few days. The feeling that I took away from his book was that there are so many things that are more important in life, that life is so fragile that it doesn’t take so much to end, that even when there is such a horrendous landscape around you there is always a ray of hope. Once you cling to this ray of hope you have something to pull you out. This is what I did in my journey to become sober. I clung onto the believe that life would just be so much better with me a sober person, enjoying an honest life, one that I wasn’t lying to myself or others, a purer life. It was all what I wanted and that ray of hope got me there in the end.
I’m as much inspired by the way that I’ve changed my life, but that I was able to do that. For years I thought I was just going to be this awful drinker who got drunk at parties, said the wrong thing at the wrong time, etc. I never realised when I decided to give up drinking that it would lead me to change my life in the way that I have. My whole outlook changed and the thing I most enjoy is being able to write it here in my blog and share it with you.
If you’ve just started on the road to giving up drinking, smoking, using, whatever…stick at it and be prepared for some nice changes further along the road. Maybe like me you’ll discover things about you that you didn’t know existed.