Thursday, 11 January 2018

A Sobering Thought.

I sincerely hope that you are settling in nicely to the year that is Two Thousand and Eighteen.  It has taken me eleven days to actually concentrate enough to do a posting.

This year is a milestone for me.  Or, if you speak in metric, a kilometrestone for me, I suppose.  For, as of June eighteen, it will be exactly twenty years since I last consumed alcohol.  Twenty years since I got stretchered out of my home and rushed to hospital.  But hey, who's keeping track.

On the actual date of my twentieth anniversary, I shall put up a harrowing yet uplifting post to mark an occasion that I hope may well give hope to those who think it's hopeless to even attempt to combat addiction and the underlying causes.

Even now, after all these years, I'm still raw with the pain I caused to others and to myself.  To this very day, I'm an extreme combination of fragility and resilient strength.  I've spent nearly twenty years trying to compensate, to prove to those that I love, to myself, that I could seek out and find the good man that had been hidden away during those frightening days of alcohol abuse. 

If somebody had told me, as I lay in a hospital bed, on the verge of death, that twenty years later I'd be writing about how I defeated alcohol, I'd of never believed them.

When I left hospital, I had two choices.  I could of chosen to continue drinking and die a painful, agonising death or choose the exhilarating freedom of being sober.  I chose freedom.

89 comments:

  1. And we are glad you chose freedom.
    You can't change what happened but you can continue to work on you and your relationships.
    Besides, Penny thinks you're pretty cool!

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    1. Thank you, Alex.

      Indeed, the past paved the way to the now and the now is paved with a passion to continue to grow in a positive way.

      Penny, the cool dog, is one of my positive distractions that has kept me moving forward.

      Thank you for your thoughtful words, Alex.

      Gary

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    2. .
      Alex said what I was thinking.
      And I'll add, much congrats to you.
      You are one of the kindness people I know.

      Delete
    3. Hi Ivy,

      Oh, your comment is here and not down there. LOL I was also thinking what Alex was thinking but I thought that Alex or somebody else would make such an observation.

      Thanks for the congrats. Thank you for your kindness, my kind friend.

      Gary πŸ˜‰

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    4. Gary! You really are one of the sweetest bloggers I know!

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    5. Hey Ivy,

      Thanks and that's um, very sweet of you!

      Gary πŸ˜‰

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  2. Good on you, Gary. I hope you make it and another twenty years too.

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    1. Hi Pat,

      Thanks for that and for your encouraging words.

      Gary

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  3. Good for you, Gary! You're an example to us all!

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    1. Hi Debra,

      Thank you for your kind words, Debra. They are most heartening.

      Gary

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  4. My dear friend I think you have chosen wisely. Just think if you had chosen otherwise we would not be conversing. You have enriched the lives of many. Embrace the frequency of life!

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    1. Hi Truedessa,

      It was the wise choice that the last remaining fragments of my sanity told me to understand and accept. Thank you and if I had not made that choice, my then nine year old son would have been without a dad. I've been able to see him grow up into a wonderful young man. Priceless.

      Thanks you for such encouraging words, Truedessa. The frequency of life is tuned into the rhythm of my inner child.

      Be well and smile, my lovely friend.

      Gary

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  5. Good for you, Gary. I'm sure it's a daily struggle - my step-father was a recovering alcoholic and I know he took strides every day to keep it that way. You are a positive influence on everyone now. Cling to that.

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    1. Hi Diane,

      Thank you, my kind friend. Thankfully, I don't have a daily struggle in regards to alcohol. Although, the toll it took on me has meant I do struggle, even to this day, with a lack of confidence. I heartened by how your stepfather challenged the addiction.

      I do try to maintain that positive attitude which came about profoundly after I won the battle against such an evil disease. I know try to help others so they can help themselves.

      Thanks again, Diane.

      Gary

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  6. Huge congratulations. My mother took the other choice. And I still grieve.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      Thank you, Sue. I'm sorry about the grief you've had to endure. I found the strength, the focus, to make sure my son still had a dad in his life. Bless you, my thoughtful friend.

      Gary

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  7. Congratulations on a very worthwhile achievement.
    My ex-the second has not had a drink for just over a year now.

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    1. Hi River,

      Thank you for the congratulations.

      Here's hoping that your ex will continue to refrain from alcohol.

      Gary

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  8. You made the harder and far better choice. Congratulations, strong, fragile, resilient, beautiful friend! 20 years! You can tackle ANYTHING. I'm proud of you.

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    1. Hi Robyn,

      Rather amazingly, the harder choice turned out to be the easier and far better choice. I was absorbed by the sense of relief, of freedom, I felt.

      Thank you for such kind, flattering words, my lovely, supportive friend.

      Gary

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  9. Hi Gary,
    Congratulations on being 20 years sober. As you know, I have had my own problems with the old demon drink, and understand how difficult it is to beat such an addiction. So, suffice it to say, you're doing really well, and I'm glad, along with all your other mates, that, to paraphrase Irvine Welsh, you chose life!
    From "the handsome Andy Fordham" (although, as you are aware, I don't have the same meaty forearms), David.

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    1. Hi David,

      Thanks, my fine friend, for the congratulations. Thus, good sir, you can so relate to the battle. We both chose life and the freedom of being ourselves, along with the rawness that can bring.

      180, to you!

      Gary

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  10. Well done you Gary, it was a most sobering post to read. I wish you well.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Hi Yvonne,

      Thank you for that, dear lady. I love being sober. Wishing you well, also, Yvonne.

      Gary

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  11. Replies
    1. Hi Eileen,

      Thank you, my friend. That calls for a coffee.

      Gary

      Delete
  12. Alex took the words right out of my mouth. Thank goodness you chose freedom and Penny is not the only one who thinks you’re cool.

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    1. Hi Barbara,

      Indeed and of course, I can't change what happened but I continue to be inspired on how much better I've become from the lessons learnt. Freedom is so exhilarating. Hey, I think you're well cool, Barbara!πŸ˜€

      Gary

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  13. I find it interesting and and I am impressed by the fact that you chose to stop drinking. That must take some doing! Congratulations on what you have achieved and the battle you are continuing to win. I have long-time friend who lost his marriage and career through alcohol. He hasn't drunk for about the same time as you and is living a full and useful life. Although he does have health issues. If we go out he is always the designated driver!
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s novaturient Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Hi Barry,

      Actually, that last time in hospital made me realise that choosing to stop drinking became a very easy choice. I became genuine in giving it up. That was the key. Like your long-time, I lost my wife, my house, my life-savings and very nearly, the last bit of respect from my beloved son. I had the focus to get better. I also, to this very day, have physical and mental health concerns directly attributable to the unhealthy consumption of booze.

      I'm a designated driver these days!

      Thank you, good sir.

      Gary

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  14. Congrats on the twenty years Gary, well done. I know someone who is a recovering alcoholic so I know what a daily struggle it is - I'm glad you personally chose freedom, I probably wouldn't have had the pleasure of 'meeting' you and Penny otherwise :)

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    1. Hi Eunice,

      Thank you kindly for the twenty years congrats. In my case, I barely think of the alcoholic angle. I like to think of it as that I had a serious drink problem and now I don't. I don't even crave a drink. Freedom was the choice that gave me the opportunity to rekindle the childhood passion of writing.

      Penny and I, her human dad, are blessed to know you, kind lady.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  15. Congrats on nearly the 20 year milestone. Hopefully another 20 comes your way too.

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    1. Hi Pat Hatt,

      Thank you and here's to the next 20.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  16. Wow! Congratulations Gary! I can imagine how meaningful it is to hit this milestone. Really amazing. Happy New Year and a toast to more milestones. Be well.

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    1. Hi Rebecca!

      How lovely to see you, my amazing friend! Thank you very much for the congratulations, Rebecca. A milestone that will be cherished. A peaceful, positive 2018 to you and your loved ones.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  17. Fantastic! Well done Gary, that's one hell of an acheivement! I'm very glad you're still around, the world would be a darker place without you. Love and hugs Michelle Xxxx

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    1. Hi Michelle,

      Cheers to your comment, Michelle. It took a few detox sessions and the final time in hospital was one hell of a wake up or I'm dead revelation.

      Like your good self, I do my best to brighten the place.

      Thank you, Michelle. Love and hugs, your way. Xxx πŸ˜€

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  18. You are very strong and resilient to get through it alive on the other side! Congratulations on an awesome milestone! Unfortunately my ex husband chose 'keep drinking' and died in 2012 at age 52. I've now lived longer than he did, as I just turned 53.

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    1. Hi JoJo,

      Thanks and I kept thinking about my son. My son saved my life. I'm so sad to read that your ex husband chose the keep drinking and die option. The illness can completely take over. My last remaining fragments of sanity challenged the illness. Thank you for a poignant story of a wasted life.

      Gary

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  19. So proud of you for making the right choice and sticking to it.

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    1. Hi Delores,

      I greatly appreciate that. Thank you, Delores.

      Gary

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  20. Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment! I'm so glad you overcame that addiction and are here to share your story!

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    1. Hi Sherry,

      Thank you for the congratulations. Oh yes, the addiction was confronted and defeated. I hope the sharing of my story may give hope to those who feel like it's a hopeless situation they find themselves trapped in.

      Gary

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  21. Hi Gary - well done on letting us know about this milestone ahead ... it's not easy to go public as such. It's an horrific and troublesome disease - so you really deserve much credit for accepting that there was and is a way forward ... you've done so much for yourself. I've been around it - thankfully not suffered from it, but can understand a little ...

    Give yourself a big hug each and every day because you seriously deserve it ... and be positive facing the world - whatever the challenges ... it will all make life easier - and that's the way I've found things to be ... take care and once again congratulations for stepping out and enjoying life ahead of you. Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary,

      Thank you, Hilary. I'm comfortable with going public and bringing further awareness of this awful disease. My suffering ended and the hurt I caused other stopped. I know you sense how debilitating and yes, frightening this disease can be.

      I do have my head held high. A combination of humility and pride. Positivity and optimism are most assuredly embraced.

      Thank you for your wise and caring comment, my lovely friend.

      Hugs to you, Hilary.

      Gary

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  22. That is such an excellent achievement, Gary, well done. Sending you the warmest of wishes for 2018 and beyond.

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    1. Hi Suzanne,

      Thank you for noting such an excellent achievement that I hope others in a similar plight can achieve. Warmest wishes back to you and your loved one for 2018, Suzanne.

      Gary

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  23. A well-fought battle. Keep it up!

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    1. Hi Susan,

      The battle with booze is but a memory. I shall most certainly keep it going. Thank you for that, Susan.

      Gary

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  24. Highest accolades to you, dear Gary! You mastered one heck of an undertaking – and kept yourself from the undertaker in the process – way to go! All the best to you and Penny ;-)

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    1. Hi Diedre,

      Thank you so much for such accolades, Diedre. What an eloquent way of stating it, my thoughtful friend. Penny and I, her human dad, are grateful to know you.

      All the best to you, Diedre.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  25. An enormous accomplishment, Gary - well done. I'm very glad you chose the path you did, and continue to choose it. And I'm glad we've "met" in blog land; you are a hugely kind person and add to all our online lives. Keep on keepin' on, my friend!

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    1. Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for such nice words, Jenny. I shall continue along that inspirational pathway that continues to show me a better reality.

      I appreciate your flattering words. Our interaction is treasured and thus, a big thank you.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  26. Addiction is so hard to beat, and you, dear Gary, had to he strength and courage to overcome it. Congratulations and be proud of your accomplishments.

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    1. Hi Arleen,

      Indeed and especially when it becomes a psychological addiction followed by the horrifying physical addiction. I'm proud, delighted and still a bit surprised that I overcame that horrible illness.

      Thank you, dear Arleen.

      Gary

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  27. Wonderful, Gary! I'm so glad you chose freedom. I'm so glad you are here with us! You are an inspiration and a very kind soul. I'm proud to know you.

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    1. Hi Martha,

      And a wonderful, breathtaking freedom it be. Thanks and I'm glad to still be here.

      Inspiration breeds inspiration. Thank you for being an integral and thoughtful part of it all. I'm honoured to know you, Martha.

      Gary

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  28. Well done on beating the booze, Gary. I'm so pleased you found the strenght to do it.

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    1. Hi Patsy,

      Thank you, Patsy. The booze is totally beaten. Amazing what strength can be found when one becomes genuine in wanting freedom.

      Gary

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  29. You wrote: " I've spent nearly twenty years trying to compensate, to prove to those that I love, to myself, that I could seek out and find the good man that had been hidden away ". Which sounds like you're still not forgiving the one who truly needs it. You. Time to stop reworking history and apologizing for your past existence. I CAN SAY THIS because I've spent all my life apologizing for being alive. With 2017 not actually killing me, I'm hoping in 2018 I can allow myself to BE myself. CONGRATULATIONS, SWEETIE for having grit and determination.

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    1. Hi Dana,

      In actuality, I have forgiven myself, Dana. This is good situation for the compensating is one feeling very proud of just how good a man I now am.

      I'm not reworking history or apologising for my past existence. This is processing and reflecting to give somebody who may be desperately out of control, some inspiration to know that addiction can be overcome.

      Methinks you shall now forward, Dana. Thank you for the congratulations. We both continue to learn and thus, embrace that more hopeful way ahead on that pathway.

      Hugs and hope,

      Gary

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  30. Congratulations Gary, many people have not been able to accomplish this fantastic goal. I admire your strength. We've made it this far, let's have a very Happy 2018 and enjoy the beautiful things in life, like a cup of tea and a warm fuzzy friend like Penny! Hugs to both of you! xxDiane

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    1. Hi CraveCute,

      Thank you for the congratulations, Diane. My hope is that a lot of people can achieve the same goal I've accomplished.

      Let's make 2018 a year full of beautiful things where we savour such wonders as a nice cuppa' and a cute, furry companion! πŸ˜€

      Hugs back to you, my delightful friend.

      Gary

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  31. You stop feeling guilty. You are a hero. Dependence is like a demon and when it takes hold of people, they aren't themselves anymore. Sober you and alcohol-soaked you are not the same people.

    I wish more people could break the addiction cycle. I've watched too many wonderful people get lost to the bottle, pills, or what-not. It's not an easy thing to break away from.

    Hugs, Gary. I'm proud of you!!

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    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      My lovely friend, I can assure you that guilt is but a fading thought. Guilt expends unneeded negative energy. What you state is so very true. Dependence via addiction takes over and destroys personalities.

      The only way to break the addiction cycle is to have the person be totally genuine with themselves that they want to beat the addiction.

      I greatly appreciate your wise words, Elizabeth. Thank you.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  32. You are an inspiration and a role model for many.
    Love and hugs for you & penny from Duluth, MN. xx00

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    1. Hey Kim,

      That's most flattering of you, my most amazing friend.

      Love and hugs back to you from us here in Leek, Staffordshire.

      Gary πŸ˜€XxOO

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  33. "I chose freedom"

    What a great choice it was too, I'm so pleased you did ... be proud.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hi Jan,

      I most certainly did!

      It was the only choice in what was left of my battered physical and mental self. I'm very proud, my kind friend.

      All the best to you, Jan.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  34. A friend who is a recovering alcoholic once said just about the same to me. He was choosing freedom after years of being locked away from friends, family and everything he loved...life itself. He always called alcohol the Devil's Tears, and I've never forgotten the way those words sounded when he said them. Such sadness, yet such courage. Here's to excellent choices and sticking with them.

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    1. Hi Lee,

      Your friend took a courageous step forward. The fallout from my past addiction is that I'm still quite nervous about being fully out there in the social scene. The addiction knocked the stuffing out of me.

      The Devil's Tears will never again be a part of my life. Excellent choices and sticking with them, absolutely!

      Thank you for that, Lee.

      Gary

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    2. Here's to small steps and not going back to old patterns that haven't worked in the past. Sounds easy, but I know it's not, and I know how much courage it takes. You've got it, so I have no doubt that you're going to stay the course. If you don't, I believe there are a lot people who will let you know about their displeasure. Not to mention a small but tenacious dog.

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    3. Thank you for the follow up comment, Lee. Old patterns will never be repeated because the key to it all was that I became genuine in conquering the illness that nearly destroyed me. A number of folks would be devastated and so would I, if I ever went back to that dark, frightening place. Yep, a certain dog would not be amused.

      Thank you, Lee. I appreciate your thoughtful words.

      Gary

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  35. I'm thrilled for you. Defeating demons is no easy task. Moving past the pain of regrets, an ongoing task and one that steals from the joy. Hold on to the love, and know your resolve is a positive force.
    Happy New Year and Happy Anniversary!

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    1. Hi Yolanda,

      Thank you, Yolanda. The demons were defeated and shall never darken my being again. Love and hope is the focus.

      A wonderful 2018 to you and your loved ones at your home by the beach. Thanking you kindly for the upcoming anniversary wishes.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  36. Happy for & proud of you!
    Addictions are terrifying - I've seen far too many lives destroyed because of them. It's a strong and determined person who can choose freedom and win. Yay You!!!

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    1. Hi Jemi,

      Thank you so much, my lovely friend!

      Oh yes and I was so frightened when I was trapped in the addictive torment. The very thing that I was physically and psychologically addicted to was killing me. The killing stopped and the living began again.

      Bless you, Jemi.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  37. I am so glad you chose freedom. I am sure it has been hard- but you have done it! Not an easy thing to do! You help others by telling your story. Try to let go of the guilt you feel about what you did when you were addicted to alcohol. Over the last 20 years you have proven that you aren't that person anymore. You are a new you! Be proud and only look forward. :)

    ~Jess

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    1. Hi Jess,

      Thank you, Jess. Yes, freedom became the obvious choice in my head. Perhaps, rather surprisingly, giving up the alcohol was quite easy when I realised that if I continued to drink I'd be soon dead.

      I don't feel guilt, as such. I did more than enough to work through that. I just continue to be a hopefully kind, caring person who nearly got destroyed by the evil drink.

      The new me continues to get better and better. Thank you for your thoughtful words, Jess.

      Gary πŸ˜€

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  38. I am the one who should apologize for being late. But never too late, eh? Congratulations, Gary, 20 years is a milestone, though it does go by fast. Probably seems like yesterday? I hope you can relinquish all of the guilt for the past. I think we need to look back as parents over our child self. Most importantly, forgiveness allows so much happiness and contentment. Thank your for sharing your special day. Feels like I should be shouting HAPPY BIRTHDAY, young fella!

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    1. Hey Joylene,

      It's a delight to see your amazing self here. No matter the time, eh! Thanks for the congratulations, Joylene. The twenty years seems like about twenty minutes.

      I don't feel quilt, as such. For I know I've done so very much to to move on from that time by being what I hopefully is a kind, caring, even better person than before the illness dominated my life.

      Thank you for your wise, encouraging words, Joylene. Happy birthday, indeed, eh! :)

      Gary

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  39. Congratulations on your twenty years of sobriety! That is quite a feat. Addiction is an awful thing and a hard thing to overcome. Well done, my friend!

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    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thank you so much for the congratulations, Sharon. Distraction techniques and finding positive replacements for my addiction have worked wonders for me. Thanks again, dear friend.

      Gary

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  40. I'm happy you made the choice to become sober. It's not an easy thing to do, and I realize it never stops being something you have to work at. You're strong, and you support those around you. <3

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    1. Hi Shannon,

      Thank you, Shannon. I was amazed at how easy a choice sobriety became for me. When I stopped, the sense of relief and freedom has positively overwhelmed me to this day. Yes, I have worked with a number of charities to help those with addictions to learn to help themselves. Thanks again, Shannon.

      Gary

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  41. Congrats on your upcoming amazing anniversary! It is so nice to hear a great success story!

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    1. Hi Becca,

      Thank you for the congrats in regards to my upcoming twentieth anniversary. I hope that my success in defeating the addiction will be inspiration for others.

      I appreciate your encouraging words, Becca.

      Gary

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  42. Congratulations, old friend. It is a big kilometerstone indeed, and that freedom is priceless. Hope this year is kind to you, and my regards to Penny.

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I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.