An interview with myself (guest post from @behind-the-sofa)

Wednesday 11 Mar, 2015, 11:03am by Mrs D 28 comments

One of the lovely members of this site @behind-the-sofa recently celebrated 1 year of living alcohol-free (woo hoo!!). He posted a quirky update in the Members Feed that was essentially an interview with himself – a very clever way to extrapolate what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling after working hard on himself for a whole year. I think it’s incredibly powerful, brave and honest. He has expanded his interview slightly and is allowing me to share it here for all of us to enjoy. 

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@behind-the-sofa

- Congratulations on one year of sobriety. You must very pleased.

- Thank you. Yes, I am. I never thought it was going to be possible. I’d failed so many times before that I just didn’t think I had it in me. I thought me and drink were going to be permanently entwined.

- I understand you quit alcohol and cigarettes at the same time. What made you do that?

- For me, one led into the other. I thought the best chance of quitting either was to tackle them both together. Obviously booze was having the most detrimental and immediate effect on my health but cigarettes were also bringing me down and I’m so glad to be free of those too. Any smokers out there know what a burden it is to be a slave to those noxious little suckers.

- You say you failed so many times previously quitting booze; Why did you keep trying?

- You have to keep trying, the only other option is oblivion. I’d lost my job and was down to my last bit of money. I was too incapacitated by drink to do any other work. It was a straight choice between sobriety or oblivion for me.

- Is there no family members you could have asked for help?

- I was at a point where I wouldn’t even have gone to my family for help. I was too embarrassed about the mess that I was getting into. I would have rather slept rough than show up on their doorstep as a complete wreck.

- Why were you successful this time?

- Well, I wouldn’t say that I am  successful yet. I’m not sure there will ever be a point where I can say I’ve successfully beaten drink, but that’s okay. I’ve done one year and for most of that year I’ve isolated myself. I think that’s been key to helping me stay sober. I’ve cut myself off from people and situations which trigger me to drink. 

- But you can’t hide from the world forever?

- No and I don’t want to. I set myself one year as the marker. I decided to put everything else on hold for that time and focus squarely on my sobriety. Going as easy on myself as I can but now I want to take more risks and venture out into the world again. There’s a lot more that I want out of life than what I currently have.

- But you are grateful for the things you already have aren’t you?

- I’m grateful that I’m sober and that I have good relationships with my family members but there are still a lot of areas I need to work on. I still need to overcome my anxiety and I want to find a job which interests me.

- What’s been the biggest change you’ve noticed in yourself over the past year?

- I’m a lot more at ease with myself and with the world. Things don’t jolt me like they used to. I still get pissed off and frustrated but generally it takes a lot more to unhinge me. I’ve also got a lot more time for people and instead of just trying to avoid them and keep my head down I actually smile and say hello to people now.

- What advice would you give to someone trying to get sober?

- Hold on. That feeling that you can’t live without a drink or a ciggie or whatever for the next five minutes, let alone the next five months will pass. It’s not easy and you’ve got to be ruthless and pig-headed, stubborn and bloody minded. There’ll be times when you want to give up giving up. When you’re hurting so much that it doesn’t seem worth it and that you feel too weak to carry on. When it seems like your misery is going to stretch on into eternity and that sobriety is not for you. Those are the really testing times when you feel low and lonely and don’t care about anything let alone yourself anymore but if you can somehow hold on through that. Somehow hold on to even the tiniest shred of a thought that this is actually only a temporary state and things will change then it is possible to come out the other side. Unfortunately those negative feelings may resurface many times but each time you get past them you do get a little stronger even if it’s not always apparent…..There will be moments of elation too when you feel amazed at how well you’re doing and how easy it is…. they will happen… I guarantee that…. hold on for them.

- Any other advice?

- I was too shy to go and ask for help from any organization and earlier I mentioned that I isolated myself but that’s not strictly true. I was lucky to find an online support group called Living Sober and that’s given me a great sense of connectedness and has also inspired and motivated me. I think it’s possible to get sober by yourself but I also think you have a much better chance if you have a support network of some sort, whether that be something local to you or an online group.

- What are your aims for the future?

- My immediate aim is to do another year sober and see where that takes me. I’ve got high hopes for my second of year of sobriety. Now that the first one’s over I hope to kick on and accomplish some goals. 

- Anything else to add?

- I’ve heard it said quite a lot by different people that, “If I can get sober, anyone can.” But you don’t believe that when you’re trapped in a boozy hell. You feel separated from normal human society and you think that you are too far gone and that you aren’t strong enough to overcome your addiction. You almost resign yourself to the fact that you need drink and that’s just the way it is. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get sober. And you can learn to live life in a much more meaningful and rewarding way. Take it from me who couldn’t even make a phone call without a drink in hand. If I can get sober, anyone can.

@behind-the-sofa

28 comments

  1. An interesting piece of writing @behind-the-sofa and may I congratulate you on making it to and surpassing one year of sobriety. It is really no mean feat and having personally also gone through some of the same struggles as yourself I know just how challenging, tiring and discombobulating it can all be at times. If I could give you one piece of advice it would be to never forget the low times when you were drinking. It’s quite easy for them to lose their edge and potency in your memory as more time elapses from when they occurred. The wounds heal over and although you remember that they were not pleasant they lose their raw, stinging pain over time. I would encourage you to do all you can to remember just how low and desperate alcohol was making you. To the best of your ability feel and remember those emotions. You will never be able to fully summon up the accurate feelings and thus it is a safe exercise to do but in keeping them as fresh in your mind as possible they will act as a deterrent to you drinking again. This is because there is a danger that there will be times when you become bored with sobriety, bored with life and during these times you might find yourself in a place surrounded by drink and people ‘having a good time’ and think ‘what the hell’ ‘you only live once’ ‘I’m going to allow myself this good time’ ‘It’s not like I always had a bad time when I was drinking’ ‘It’ll be interesting to find out if I can handle it now’ ‘I’m a changed person to who I used to be’ ‘come on, have some fun, why have you always got to be so strict on yourself?’ and then just like that you’ll find yourself back in the boozy prison of sickness and confusion. So this is just a little reminder to you that as you go forward in sobriety never forget what drink did to you. Drink is a serious, grave and deadly issue for you. For whatever unjust and unfair reasons you are not one of those happy frolicking, carefree people who can have a good time in a German beer tent, drinking a couple of steins, dancing a jig and then later going home to do some paperwork. And no matter how much you long to be ‘normal’ I’m telling you now that you will never be, so get that notion right out of your head. You, like me my friend, are a problem drinker, and once that ethanol is in your system, the fuse of self destruction is lit, and you will not be content until you blow yourself up. Go well and good luck for your second year : )

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  2. That is amazing you too – I only just found it. Powerful words which will be of great help to many Tom. Good to know we can direct others to your interview for encouragement. Each part seems to contain a huge amount, like, a chapter. Do you think you have a book waiting to be written? Is one started?
    Hope so. Have a great Year 2.

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  3. Tremendous achievement! The interviewer forgot to ask about all the kindness, and support you have graciously shared with others along the way. Your wit, lively posts, and beautifully crafted Friday poems are treasured here. Congratulations my friend!!!

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  4. Wow that was awesome. I wish everyone on here who’s struggling could especially read the paragraph where you answer ‘what advice would you give someone trying to get sober?’
    I so loved reading that

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  5. Really love this, beautifully written, with a power and determination behind it and a great encouragement to others, you little lamplighter you!! I hope your second year of sobriety will bring you even more rewards than the first, and I believe it will too, because of you xo

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