This month, on the 13th December, I celebrated 9 years sobriety.
My weapon of choice being booze; with occasionally doing other recreational ‘stuff’. But mostly booze. Booze was my go-to guy for the good days, the bad days, the average days, or any days!
But on the 13th December 2009, I had finally had enough of feeling shite about myself, always planning my life around my next fix and ultimately escaping the real issues going on. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
Prior to this day, I’d tried several times to give up but only ever lasted a few weeks; with 5 weeks being the longest stretch and it felt like 5 years! The times when I’d tried to give up before were just a reaction to my partners or parents concern about me so I’d promise to change for them, it was never because I actually wanted to. I didn’t really think I had a problem after-all.
On 13th Dec 2009, I was 33, a grown man, but I felt like a lost little boy. No confidence, low self-esteem, anxiety, panic attacks, body image issues, I thought I constantly blushed (like being embarrassed to be me). But the booze fixed all that.
On that day, 9 years ago, I woke up severely hungover and feeling down. I thought about getting back on it. It’s Christmas after all, a time for partying. I could just give up in the New Year, make a New Year’s Resolution. But I knew this was weak and a cop out. So, instead, I just cried. I sat and cried for ages.
I’d finally had enough.
That day I started a whole new journey to where I am now. I had no idea what would happen, even if I’d succeed, I just knew I had to go for it in a different way.
This time though, I got proper help. Therapy (CBT) for 9 months, paid for privately as the NHS waiting time was 6 months. I spoke to my GP, my friends, parents and workmates.
I took away temptation in the house, tipped all alcohol down the sink. I recall a time when I’d panic if there was no alcohol in the house; or not enough, what if I ran out and needed more beer or wine, so always have a good stock. I changed my environment. Drinking buddies fell by the wayside but real friends remained.
I discovered exercise and a whole new world was revealed. I joined the local gym on 29th December 2009, I was so nervous, I’d never exercised, I hated it, I hated PE at school. But I went in for my induction, I remember fretting so much about what to wear! Crazy when I think back. Exercising immediately became part of my new life; the benefits of moving the body every day are immense.
I ultimately changed my mind. About myself. About life. And changed my habits.
Remember we have conditioned ourselves over many years to think and act a certain way. This thinking and behaving can serve a purpose of seeking pleasure or moving away from pain. You can think it serves you well but if you ultimately haven’t got the desired results you want then you need to re-condition yourself. No one is born destined to be fat, lazy, poor, unloved, unfulfilled and unhappy – we can create this by way of our habitual thoughts and actions.
Re-conditioning yourself isn’t an overnight fix, there’s no magic pill, potion, guru, webinar, seminar or book. It’s all down to YOU to change. Yes, there’s plenty help and support out there, go get it, talk to professionals, talk to family & friends, talk to people who’ve achieved what you want to achieve, read the books, do the 12-steps, go into rehab if you need to.
Find the things that work for you. It all comes down to YOU, how bad do you want to change, how much do you value your self, your body, your mind, your relationships, your future. How committed are you? How much discipline and self-control have you got? You already have all you need deep inside of you to make it work.
Mind, it’s not easy, it’s very hard at first but it does get less hard over time. But be prepared for it getting worse before it gets better. You’ll have moments of being tempted to say “fuck this shit, I’m back on it”. But this is the test, part of the process of re-conditioning and improving your mental strength.
Just take it one day at a time, that’s all I did and all anyone can do. And if you fail, then start again, never give up.
The road to success is peppered with mistakes, failures and learning.
I found 1 day quickly turned into 2 days. Then 3. Then 1 week, into 2 weeks then 1 month. Fucking hell I was doing this. Then 2 months, 3 months. Then 1 year, 2 years, 3, 4, 5 etc etc. All from just a ‘one day at a time’ approach.
Our daily habits create our results. Are your habits creating the results you actually want?
Point of this story? Just to let you know that you can do it too. I promise you. You’ve got it in you to do it. Believe in yourself.
If you have things you’d like to change, don’t wait until new years to set resolutions, just do it now, start today.
Change is hard at first, messy in the middle but beautiful in the end.
Hope this post helps.