Sobriety: Seven Years On.

Seven years sober. It's surreal to write those three words. I used to live in a parallel (drunken) world where I'd imagine a sober me. The odds always seemed insurmountable, though. Sobriety was for other people. Me? I'd never get out of the vortex of addiction, at least not alive, anyway.

With each passing year of gratitude—for not waking up at 7 am and dry heaving into a toilet to purge my system, for not then cracking a beer immediately afterwards to rid myself of the DT's, for not trying to recreate the previous night's conversations in my head and praying I didn't offend anyone, and for not wanting to kill myself on a daily basis—I have experienced different emotions and generally asserted more ownership over my addiction. Year seven was primarily about educating and empowering others who are new to sobriety. By new, I mean anywhere from a month to eighteen months. I realise the importance of giving back because of a few sober warriors who guided me when I was in sobriety infancy. The key time in my sobriety came at nine months. I'd made it to nine months a few years before but I got amnesia. I believed that because I'd gotten that far, I could just have one. That one led me to disappear on an alcohol and cocaine-fuelled bender for two straight days. My motto these days is "one beer is too many and a thousand is never enough." After two years, it gets a little easier. I feel more comfortable in my own skin and can start to focus on other things without feeling trapped by the booze. By years five to seven it's a whole new world. It feels truly like death to the old addict. However it doesn't mean you can take your foot off the gas. No, no, no, you still have to have the restrictions and the safeguards in place to prevent a slip. If I even feel like things are getting on top of me and that drinking to alleviate the pain is an option, I have 3 people I can call who'll know what to do.

The people I have surrounded myself with are paramount in my battle. I have an incredible wife who supports me and allows me to be me. I have friends who take this thing as seriously as I do and will not allow me to be placed in situations that could lead to relapse.

Fighting this battle is something I do every single day of my life and not one day goes by where I don't feel deep-seated thankfulness. I am alive! I absolutely should not be. There have been suicide attempts, overdoses, near drownings... but I came out OK in the end. So many dear friends have killed themselves or overdosed. I certainly feel God's breath on my shoulder.

Today I know that my worst day sober will always outshine my best day drunk.

Thank you so much for continuing to support me and journey with me. I hope and pray that this time next year we can meet back here to celebrate #8!

Malcolm McLoughlinComment