This is me before and after sobriety.
I am 51 years old, married, with 2 teenage children. I stopped drinking in May 2020 and I can honestly say without any doubt it's the best thing I've ever done.
I was your typical middle-aged businessman. Lots on my mind, a hectic life with little to no time for myself.
All social life revolved around drinking. All relaxing at home revolved around drinking. All thoughts revolved around drinking.
"God I feel rough, I'm not drinking for a few days. Actually, I'm starting to feel a bit better, maybe a couple tonight, it is a Thursday and I'm out tomorrow anyway..." and so it went on.
Before that, I was a post-school drinker, a university drinker, and a young professional drinker. I kidded myself into thinking it was all normal and cool.
It's what everyone does, right? It's how we relax!
But as life goes on it takes its toll. My health was starting to show signs of weakness. Back surgery, steady weight gain, and rising anxiety. I just wasn't who I wanted to be and I just didn't really like myself and who I was.
I started with a 90-day mission. That's what I told the few who knew what I was doing. But really I was going for the year.
The first year was hard.
For me, it wasn't resisting drinking. I was "lucky". We were in lockdown so the temptation wasn't really there anyway.
It was the worry about what people made of my nondrinking antics. What did they think of me now I didn't drink? It seems stupid in hindsight.
The second year, I grew wings. I'm a completely different bloke.
Not perfect (ask my wife), but so much happier, more relaxed, and healthier.
I've swapped drinking for fitness and relaxation. I've run 4 marathons in 12 months, traveling around Europe in the process and raising funds for charity along the way.
I take my own health, physical and mental a lot more seriously. I also try and be mindful about how I interact with others and what I really want to do with myself now I've got more time and mental bandwidth.
I've made friends with a whole host of quality folk via OTI. We go walking, we meet up and I host weekly Zooms on OTI and love being part of a new community that just "get it".
I could bang on but you get the gist...
Want to trade in the parts of your life you don't want for the things you do before it's too late?
Try quitting drinking.
It opens up doors to the life you really want and much much more that you just don't see coming.
Thank you to our fantastic community member Ian - your story is relatable to people everywhere! If you have a story you'd like to share as part of Sober October, don't hesitate to get in touch! Join our community for support, understanding, and a bunch of extra AF content.