I am an addict of people, places and things. I have been clean and sober since 18/10/17, one day at a time.

At 23, I never imagined committing to a new way of life; to be abstinent and free from the clutches of drink and drugs. Before I became sober, I’d have told you alcohol was the problem but deep down I always knew that I was using the alcohol as the solution to block out my perceived pain of reality.

When I was drinking, I was dissatisfied with life for a number of reasons. When I drank, I always overdid it, only to wake up wondering how the hell I had ended up making my situation worse.

Drink and drugs gave me immediate gratification. Until I found sobriety (or sobriety found me), I had always blamed everyone else for my misfortunes, especially those nearest and dearest to me.

I took no accountability for my actions whatsoever.

My first dabble with sobriety was in April 2017 when I received a DUI (drink drive charge) and went to alcohol counselling. Sadly, I didn’t stick with it as I didn’t consider my drinking to be a problem and felt the counsellor didn’t understand me. As far as I was concerned, life was the problem and I drank to deal with it.

In the summer of 2017, after various failed attempts to control my ‘binge’ drinking, I realised the fun, good times and laughter had stopped. I was still in denial that alcohol was causing me problems, although deep down I knew it was the main issue.

I then started seeing a new counsellor who suggested I attend a recovery program. The fellowship was a group of men and women who had found a new way of life through their sense of community. Of course, it wasn’t portrayed to me in this manner; I’m describing such a place with the benefit of hindsight. His words were ‘Try it but it’s not for everyone’.

So I tried it but decided it was not for me. At that point, I didn’t want to commit to total abstinence. I still believed life could get better, that I could safely drink and that ultimately, everything would be ok. I longed for happiness but didn’t want change. I didn’t know how to change and wasn’t open to the possibility things could be different for me.

Fast forward to October 2017. The binges had continued; the drinking was worse than ever. Lying, cheating and stealing were my closest friends and yet despite all this, I had somehow managed to gain entry to a prestigious Scottish University to start a Masters course. The extremes were unreal; the intelligent academic versus the scared little boy unable to focus on the simple tasks of life due to the unbearable pain.

17/10/17. The day I drank my last drink. It was by no means my worst session; I drank about 6 pints then went home to be greeted by my family’s disappointed faces. Sadly, it had became the norm for me to be intoxicated in my household but still I was unable to admit the pain or see the destruction it was causing.

The following day, feeling spiritually and emotionally broken, I decided it was time to give the fellowship another chance. This time, it felt different. This time, I wanted it more than anything.

‘They’ say we don’t change unless we experience pain… it’s so true!

Since that day, through the support of like-minded individuals and staying away from that fatal first drink, I am finally sober, taking it slowly, one day at a time. In addition, I have also applied the same principles to drugs and other mind altering substances.

Life isn’t perfect but that’s ok. I don’t know what the future will hold. Sometimes, I romanticise the thought of a drink but think that’s only natural; after all I was a problem drinker, abuser and performing alcoholic for 8 years.

Now, as a non-drinking alcoholic, I sit here typing this for you my Sober Fish friend, hoping that others find the solution like I did. The first step is to admit there is a problem. The second is to understand that I don’t touch one drink for one day at a time, it’s impossible to get drunk.

It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.

Written by Scott 2018

Edited by Sober Fish

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