Eternally Grateful for Chance to Change

I’m eternally grateful for my experience and it is because of this I now find myself charting a new course and in the process managing to turn my life around. I never imagined that this would be the outcome, but it has been. I found books in the last 6 months I wish I’d found years before. Coupled with some coaching I received through work, I’ve had a very good opportunity to explore every part of my life to date and work out how I would have done things differently. The books I found helped me so much this far, I talked about in my last post. Go read it, if you haven’t already and let me know in the comments what you think of them if you go on and buy them.

At the time, when I was drinking I had no idea that this little pot of gold was there waiting for me. Because I always drank at parties I found that ‘I always did what I’d always done, so I always got, what I’d always got’. Now I can go to a party, dance (because I learned a new skill – Salsa) and enjoy myself in ways I never thought I could before.

Those of you reading this blog as you start out on your own sobriety journey are probably blissfully unaware what benefits are waiting once you find yourself well and truly on your journey. The best thing is, if you’ve decided to give up drinking you are already on this trip. You will change your life no matter what, because to be successful you will need to change. In changing you will find many new things and you’ll look back and wonder why you didn’t do this earlier.

This is the special part that keeps me going, unsure but excited about what the future may still have in store for me. My experiences before, during and after giving up drinking and the process of change has shown me that more or less anything is possible. And it is for this reason that I am eternally grateful.

My 5 Top Reasons for Giving Up Drink

  1. Becoming an antisocial
  2. Developing a taste for heights (Climbing scaffolding)
  3. Sleep walking home from the pub
  4. Hangovers taking longer and more difficult to get over
  5. Watching my life disappear in a drunken haze

There we are – my top 5 reasons why I gave up drinking. Of them all, the taste for climbing was most worrying. I started doing this whilst at college. One night I found myself on a ledge at the back of a nightclub, oblivious to how dangerous it was. It was at least 3 stories up and would have been a certain end to me, had I fallen.

It didn’t stop at ledges, I enjoyed climbing scaffolding as well. Totally oblivious to the danger to not just me, but those around me, especially if id fallen and hit someone. I would always wake in the morning in disbelief that I’d done that. Not sure how I could have done something so stupid, but at the time the drink is in you egging you on. Pushing you…relentlessly.

“Have another it would say in your ear”, “you’ll be ok”. “You don’t need to think about giving up drink”

I never was though, I always was an early casualty and left the bar or club early too drunk to really know what I was doing. The scrapes I got into. Talk about a cat with 9 lives…I must have got to the 8th when I finally decided to stop!

Sleep walking was another worrier. I don’t know how I did it, but I’d regularly fall asleep walking home from the bar late at night. I walked into buildings, literally the walls and quickly woke up. I was getting bruised and scraped and had to explain marks to work colleagues, who must have whispered behind my back. They must have realised, except I never did. It’s only now that I think back and wonder if they did know I had a problem and just couldn’t control my drinking.

Watching my life disappear before me, my 20s went really fast and my 30s were speeding along quickly too. Suddenly I saw myself as an old drunk, lurching from one bar to the next, on my own. With friends married off with families, I knew that I really didn’t want this to happen to me. I wanted to take some control of my life.

In the end I knew deep down that I had to give up drinking. It was no longer funny to look back and think about lucky escapes. There is only so much luck in life and I figured that if I pushed it too much, too often, I’d end up regretting it, and really regretting it at that!

So my top 5 reasons are still good enough to stop me from imagining for a second that having a drink now would be a good thing to do. I know that I have to be sober the rest of my life. I know that it isn’t a vacation I’ve taken, it’s a life choice. But you know what? It gets more and more comfortable the feeling of knowing that with care and attention I am going to be sober the rest of my life and I’m going to have such a better life because of that. :o)

The Serenity Prayer – How it Helps Me to Stay Sober

“O God and Heavenly Father, Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”, Reinhold Niebuhr.

In my research online for help with my binge drinking problem, I came across this short prayer many times. I’ve seen it on Twitter as well in posts on other blogs, and each time I see it, it strikes me how simple the prayer is. It helped me to look at my own problems and I know that if I could sort out those things that I can’t change from the ones that I can, then life is indeed a lot happier and less stressful too.

Maybe I worry too much. Sometimes I find that I’ve been focusing on the wrong things, i.e. trying to change the things that can’t be, whilst overlooking completely the things I can..! Having wisdom is all very well, but being able to apply it correctly is important.

In giving up drinking, for the last time, I was able to focus and zoom in on exactly what I had to do in order to give up alcohol. With perseverance and sheer hard work, as well as putting up with doubters around me, I succeeded. I found that I could change that which can be changed, but up to that point had been something that I couldn’t have changed no matter what I did to try. I always failed, just couldn’t make the break and always found myself back at the bar on the Friday and again Saturday as if nothing had happened.

I still think of this serenity prayer and though I don’t say it as often as I should, the elements within it help me to stay true to myself.

Why Steve Jobs was an Inspiration in Helping me Give up Drinking

Believe it or not, the question of whether or not Steve Jobs drank alcohol brings more traffic to my site that anything else. Why? Well my blog about Steve Jobs’ Stanford University graduation speech seems to bring a ton of traffic about it.

As to whether or not he actually drank or was an alcoholic I can’t say. I read Walter Isaacson’s biography on Jobs within a week of it coming out, there weren’t any signs about him being an alcoholic. He was a hero of mine from years back, so I was happy to at least read that he wasn’t a regular drunk, though he clearly experimented with drugs in his early years. The reason I was so interested in Jobs, enough to write about his Stanford accept speech, was his inspiration. If you ever wanted to see how a presentation should be delivered, all you needed to do was watch any of his keynotes. He kept them uncluttered, simple and timed to perfection.

He inspired me and I enjoyed following his career and the rise of Apple Inc. Inspiration is the key to giving up drinking or smoking or whatever it is you are addicted to. Alcohol was my demon and anyone with a similar addiction will know how hard it is to give it up.

So in giving up you need inspiration. You need to know that it is worthwhile, this life change, and something worth should bother to do. Without inspiration, giving up anything is much, much harder.

So whether or not he was drunk is immaterial to me. He inspired me to find myself and in that process was able to find a route to give up drinking. It inspired me to start this blog to write about my journey and the progress I made along it. You guys who read and post comments give me the inspiration to continue and keep posting here on my Blog. Without inspiration none of us would be able to do anything, we’d have no focus or guide to pull us out and upward to a better place.

I hope that those of you who are starting out on the road to recovery get some inspiration from me to. I’d love to think that the pain of what I’ve been through helps you to get to your destination more quickly. Enjoy your life and make something of it. Make your plan to stop drinking today and go for it!

What do you think? Please write and tell me in the comments below and share your experiences with us today.

Prayer of St. Francis


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

My Grandmother was incredibly spiritual and religious and she often quoted this prayer, in fact I think it helped shape her life. I’ve since found it to be inspirational and help me with my own recovery. With each sentence help me to look for the positive and what is it that I can do to help others, instead of just helping me, selfishly.

This road of recovery that I’ve been on the past 5 years hasn’t been easy, but there are many others who need more help than I needed. If you’re reading this and are thinking of giving up drink or getting sober after years of drinking, then please write to me. I’d love to hear your comments, simply reply in the comment box below.

The gift of being able to survive modern life without the need for getting drunk is amazing, and through this blog I’d be so happy to have reached as many people as could be. It is through this blog that I am giving my tips and hopefully an energy that someone reading this, nervously thinking of giving up, should then see that it is possible to succeed without losing all your friends or having to live a life of a hermit on an island away from everyone else.

Writing my blog has been incredibly helpful on my journey. I hope you find it equally helpful. Please write your thoughts in the comments area below.

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P.s. Thanks to SoberIsSexy for reminding me of this prayer and inspiring me to add it to my own blog.

My New Year Resolution – To Finally Give Up Drinking Alcohol

5 years ago I was beginning my new year having given up drinking alcohol. For the first time I felt that the New Year was going to be really, really challenging. After all I enjoyed to drink with friends, so how on earth was I going to manage socialising without drink. How easy can that be? I was partly filled with dread, and partly filled with excitement. Excitement came from the fact that I had hoped I would give up drink for many years, but always found a way to put it off. Denial was always in the way. This particular year would be different.

In order to get my New Year resolution off to a flying start I joined a salsa club. The first night I went I was late arriving. I couldn’t believe I was actually about to go into a room full of strangers and learn how to dance. How mad is that?! I hung around in the car park kicking my feet around and tried to put myself off from doing this act of what felt at the time, complete humiliation or certain social suicide if my drinking buddies ever found out.

But I did get the courage up eventually. The room was full. Mostly women and with their friends. Everyone was kind of nervously wondering what they were all doing there. Most people it turned out, were just there to learn how to dance. I was definitely more unusual because I was sure that I was the only one there that was trying to juggle both giving up drinking as well as taking up dancing.

After 2 hours or so of trying hopelessly to keep the Latin up tempo beat the class came to a close. I actually enjoyed it. It was fun. And most of all there were others more or less in the same boat as me, just looking for a change. A change in perspective is always a good thing, because it’s refreshing and makes you look at the world differently. Salsa dancing was something I’d only tried once before and I was fairly drunk and totally self conscious. But this time was different. I felt that in time it would be something I could get my head round and learn and enjoy learning as well.

I went the following week and soon I was progressing through the classes and learning more difficult routines. I’d made friends with some of the regulars and was soon going to both the twice weekly classes.

Getting beyond the fear I had of making a fool of myself was the hardest part, but once you’ve done that and you realise how little there was to fear, the rest was easy. What’s the worst thing that could happen?! Dr. Pepper – always there in my mind. I mean, once you realise that there is really nothing to lose, you end up having a lot of fun! Most people who went were it turned out all looking for a chance to do something slightly different.

For me, it really helped me along my road to recovery. It was still months before I told people where I was going on Tuesday & Thursday nights, but once I did, I felt totally free and happy with my life.

If you’re reading this and thinking of drinking less or even giving up completely this year then go for it. You won’t regret it. Post your comment and tell how you’re getting on.

Rudyard Kipling’s If – Inspiration to help reach your goals

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I was driving home tonight in heavy pre-Christmas traffic. Folk rushing about doing last minute shopping, whilst others were heading out to office parties and drinks. While I sat traffic lights waiting for them to go green, the following came on the radio; the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. It’s years since I heard this, and somehow it felt as if I was supposed to hear it. It was as if I was being directed. Since the poem is so profound I thought I’d Google it. I did, and it is here for all to enjoy.

If‘ by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

~Kipling