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Overcome Alcohol by Understanding Emotions & Circumstance
After a 4 and ½ year whirlwind and the realisation that I had a problem long before that, I kicked alcohol out of my life for good, by finally understanding my emotions beneath the façade of my everyday life. My name is Darren, and this is a summary of my story in the hope it will inspire others:
I drank alcohol for effect, and I always used to say; ‘What’s the point in being drunk if you can’t be a little bit disorderly’, which is a motto I basically lived by. From being very young, I drank to be social and to give me confidence. In my job, I worked hard, but played harder and would often entertain clients getting smashed on expenses regardless of the hangovers. Then, after hardly any sleep, I would carry out informative presentations in a bid to secure contracts, often worth hundreds of millions of Euros. Stressful and sleep deprived, I was on a collision course to a breakdown, ending with me leaving the job in 2014. You see, people who drink are usually emotional, and for me, the laughter stopped, the sorrow increased, and I knew for a while before I made any real effort that I had to act towards sobriety at some point, for all our sakes.
I struggled for a few years to deal with increasing anxieties and emotions, and booze became the nemesis I would battle with constantly, finally admitting I needed help in 2017. I tried different counsellors to deal with my anxiety but even remember drinking a bottle of wine immediately after leaving one of them, obviously that also failed. By the end of 2017, I had met a Lady who was a master practitioner in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques and soon discovered that my brain probably needed reprogramming, and so with her help, I began to try to change my thinking, and it worked to an extent. Looking back, in 2006, when I was 28, cancer took my Mum when she was only 60. Diagnosed in February, she died in the April. I also had final exams for the Open University in the Summer, I got married in the September and my wife became pregnant with our first child shortly after. That year was an emotional rollercoaster of a year to say the least, and these are some of the fundamental circumstances that I did not deal with and kept under the surface, losing my mum in particular. These emotions stayed hidden.
Fast forward to Christmas 2018 and I was sober the whole time, up until New Year’s Eve, when after drinking vodka at a neighbour’s party, I ended up paralytic.
After a few days of feeling sorry for myself, and guilt for letting my family down again, I contacted an on-line AA group and began attending Skype meetings, realising that by owning sobriety, dealing with my emotions, and avoiding the triggers, it gave me a sense of positivity.
My guard came down for the final time in March 2019. At a work stakeholder event I got so drunk before arriving that I got turned away and could easily have lost my job. However, the next day, although full of remorse, I saw it differently and remember going over the triggers. I knew, I mean really knew, I wanted Sobriety.
I drifted away from AA after a while with the realisation it was not for me (very long story made short), although I will never forget what I learnt during those months. I began to put this experience to use in my own way and with my rollercoaster journey, I wanted to help others in some way and so bought the domain name for my first website, with the idea of expressing myself and sharing my experiences, along with keeping me accountable.
I treated sobriety like I would a business plan and reviewed all my lessons learnt over many years. I had momentum and the following is a snapshot of the main steps. Others duly followed:
- Continued to understand the ‘real’ reason I wanted to stop, my family, and dealt with the emotions of my past through personal inventory, NLP techniques and writing.
- Actively told people I was stopping drinking for good and would likely avoid trigger situations for a while. If this offended them then so be it.
- Started using the health club I was a member of as a place to vent when I wanted to holler at the demon for messing with my Feng Shui (or Cravings). Mainly swimming for me.
- Substituted alcohol with tonic water (bizarrely I never used to like it) and other carbonated drinks (diet as sugar also has a dark side). I found that it helped with cravings.
- Ensured I had pictures of my family all around me as a reminder why I wanted to quit.
- Limited my time away from home as far as possible. This was extremely important and a major trigger from the past to avoid, although it has got easier.
- Dabbled with Instagram and started following people on the ‘sober train’.
- Rewarded myself after 30 days with an espresso machine to give me a boost, in more ways than one. The rewards from sobriety now don’t necessarily need planning, they just come.
- Finally, I documented my journey, experiences and successes through journaling – This became the foundation for my debut book ‘Finding Your Sober Bubble’.
My kids are now 10 and 13 and with me now a non-drinker, my hope is that they will grow to see this as normal, unlike me where it was considered odd if you didn’t drink, and to some extent I see that the younger generation is changing which is inspiring. In the time since quitting drinking, I have also:
- Created a much happier and calmer home.
- Enjoyed sober holidays in the UK and Overseas.
- Begun appreciating the small things and realised: they really are those you look back on as the big things.
- Picked up the guitar again.
- Started Karate and achieved the red belt thus far.
- Supported others through social media and found a whole new sober tribe.
- And then there is my website: www.soberbubble.com, podcasts and my book which gives an insight, a success story, and a guide to quitting alcohol. Something I hope will inspire others.
If anyone can take anything from my story, then it’s this:
Do not give up! My passion to encourage others and any advice I give, is driven from personal experience and the issues and stresses that are around us every day. I consider myself extremely fortunate and I have accepted that people like me do make their own mistakes. With core values, determination, hope and humour we can get back on track. I spent most of my adult life looking for something, blinded by alcohol, but through sobriety I found it right under my nose.
I found contentment, so can you!
All the best... Darren G. Taylor (UK)