The Sober Haters

My previous post has stirred up quite a debate. I did wonder if it would! I’m not sure if it came across cocky or self assured (or in some people’s eyes ‘unrealistic’ ) but my argument has been quite simple. Actually, it’s not even an argument because I’m not challenging anybody or anything, I’m simply sharing how I’m staying sober and looking after my mental health. People can choose to read or skip past. I’m not here to give everyone guidance and promise results because I can only control me. If people can relate, feel inspired or even better, remain sober off the back of reading I’m so pleased to hear this but that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to share my story and anything else is out of my control.

I didn’t realise there could be so much bitterness and cult like behaviour in the recovery community at times. If you dare to challenge the archaic ways of treatment (again, I say challenge loosely) by sharing an alternative way of thinking and living day to day in sobriety you get chastised for it. Of course, it’s a minority but the minority are normally the loudest and the hardest to shake off.

There’s the door!

It reminds me of the other great social media subject – Politics. People get so nasty and aggressive with you if you disagree with a political statement, vote for a party that doesn’t match theirs or even ask a question that is then interpreted as disputing their view. Behind the keyboard folk lose all basic human decency and it gets bloody nasty in the social media world. I love using Twitter and Instagram (don’t bother with Facebook) to engage, learn and share but I do have to monitor my time on there because it can suck the life out of you and make you feel like shit when people who don’t even know you have a pop or accuse you of something.

I’m hardly a saint and if I’m rattled I’ll react but generally speaking I try to ignore the negativity and focus on the great connections I make in the virtual sphere. The time I used to spend drinking I now spend among other things writing my blog and often discussing recovery via the #recoveryposse hashtag on Twitter. I’ve met (if I can use that description) some great people at varying points in their recovery from those who have 30 years sobriety in AA to those who relapse regularly but thankfully keep coming back. I respect anybody who is prepared to open up and admit they need help and are honest about where they are at. We don’t have the beauty of face to face interactions on social media so a lot is interpreted from an emoji, a tweet or a photo.

Maybe that’s why I need ease up a little. I know what I mean every time I write a blog post or share a tweet but without the beauty of body language and tone of voice you will always find people taking things you say differently. To one person I may come across vulnerable, willing to learn and good hearted. The next person might think Happy Daddy is an obnoxious prick!

Anyways, that’s enough screen time for one day. I’ve been in front of a computer all day and when away from my work desk I’ve been on my phone. All this with conjunctivitis too. Time for bed and a few pages of my new best friend… ‘Rational Recovery’ by Jack Trimpey.

Alcohol would kill me

I’ve been listing all of the ‘great’ things that have happened to me in my adult life when intoxicated. I say ‘great’ with a substantial amount of sarcasm.

1. Spent the night in police cells

2. Had a fight with my brother in a pub

3. Head butted somebody in a night club and was then jumped by a a group of his friends

4. Punched a wall and still have a damaged finger years later

5. Fell over and split head open / ended up in hospital

6. Passed out in the toilets of a pub, ended up in an ambulance

7. Jumped out of a moving taxi and did a runner because I though the driver was going to assault me

8. Slipped in a bar, hit head on a shelf and woke up in hospital

9. Lost multiple mobile phones

10. Lost multiple bank cards

11. Restrained by the police for trying to talk to an ex-girlfriend (that one is going back a long time!)

12. Tripped at a Bus Station and still have a damaged elbow years later

13. Got locked out of my hotel room on a trip away and in only my underwear

14. Ejected from a pub by the bouncers after arguing with bad staff over something trivial

15. Turned up at my Parents pissed on Christmas Day and was an arsehole about the presents my Mam had bought me. Really upset her

I’ve purposely tried not to justify or explain the above incidents in more detail because it is irrelevant whether it was my fault or not, whether it was self defence, me sticking up for somebody or purely an accident. Some are safely 100% my own drunken arrogant behaviour. The theme is that in all of those moments in my life I was pissed.

Now for a similar list from when I wasn’t intoxicated…

1. Road rage incident where I followed the other driver for a few miles (off my route) – but then thought better of it and turned around

2. I’m really struggling to be honest…

I suppose the point I’m trying to make to myself is that no matter how bad things get for me in life going forward, I have a track record of screwing up my own life and hurting others when I drink. I mentioned 15 stand out examples for the purpose of this post but I could sit here all day and reel off the many more times I upset somebody, scared somebody, hurt somebody, made a bad decision, took an unnecessary risk or just let somebody down. My wife more than most has endured all of that and I owe it not only to me but to my family not to put them through that worry, fear and frustration again.

I’m still moody at times and I can be a sarcastic arsehole when I want to be but there is no malice there. At least in a constant sober state I can remember every word and action. I’m not perfect and pretty sure that nobody is but I can work on being the best version of me when I’m sober.

Those drunken incidents that I shared above are reminders that on another day it could have been even worse. I could have died, I could have killed somebody, I could have caused irreversible damage to a relationship. Thankfully nothing happened – and I didn’t even include the night I was sectioned. I seemed determined on ending things that night.

Given another chance, alcohol would kill me. No, I would kill me. With alcohol. My choice.