When I first left school I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (still don’t really), and so I followed my school mates into engineering training. Engineering turned out to not be the career I wanted, so I ditched it, but whilst I was training I made a few good friends. One of these was Float, a lad who is the same age as me (37ish as this is written), and who also grew up in West Yorkshire. He was Halifax, I was Mirfield then Huddersfield.
Float and I lost touch years ago, but then like most people managed to reconnect on Facebook. Our adult lives have not been too dissimilar, in that we both threw ourselves into the world of drinking and music, both spending weekends gigging with our respective bands.
Recently Float, who has been keeping one eye on my blog, has been in touch to say he’s also reached the point where drinking has gone beyond fun. I sent him some ideas, things that worked for me, but also asked him if he’d like to share his story for Soberpunks. It turns out the lad has a knack for writing, so hopefully we’ll hear more from him, but in the meantime here’s his story in his own words…
Hi there everyone..
I am a 37 year old man from Halifax in West Yorkshire.
My relationship with alcohol started at 10 years old (yes, really). I grew up in a small village community, where the dads all went to the pub every night, and the women stayed at home and brought up the children. All the mums were allowed out for a few halves of lager on a Friday night… if they were lucky. Yes. Chauvinism really did rule the place of my upbringing.
At 10 years old, a few friends and I used to raid one lad’s dad’s drinks cabinet. We didn’t start on the classic cider/lager route. From an early age, we were drinking Three Barrels brandy, vodka, blue curacao (basically a version of Blue Bols, and it was fucking putrid), also various red wines he’d been given every Christmas from work colleagues.
I can clearly remember three of us getting pissed down at our local cliffs, staggering across the top of them, with double vision, as we set fire to the heather along the way, then building a fire and loading it up with boxes of paraffin gaffer taped with cans of deodorant and watch the “nuke cloud” go up like a fucking mushroom as we all laughed at the huge explosion we’d created…. and this is just at 10 years old. (This isn’t a “my story is better than your story” thing, It’s just how we were).
From here on in the cast was set. We progressed to 11 and 12 years old sharing a tenners worth of “squidgy black” (hashish), and drinking Mad Dog 20/20 (technicolour spew), all washed down with K cider. These camping out sessions usually lead to mindless vandalism, namely ruining the local golf course (that one made the headlines in our local rag), setting off the security alarms and lights in our local bullet factory, paint balling local residents front doors using black widow catapults… we were little bastards.
At 13 we were, unbelievably in this day and age, allowed to drink in the pubs with our fathers. Our mothers would think nothing of us going to the local pubs on Saturday afternoons, to drink Worthington bitter, and play hi-lo jack at cards. The camping trips still carried on, along with microdot acid tabs, weed, and strong ciders mixed with castaway.. (blast away anyone?)
At 14 I had my first venture into our town’s local rock club, The Zoo Bar. I’ll never forget the feeling as the cashier took my 3 quid, and let me into the club through the turnstile… I couldn’t quite believe my long hair and big sideburns had sealed my entry into the promised land, as Rage Against The Machine rumbled my lungs inside the dark, miserable shithole.
I’ll spare you the rest of the stories, but my life then revolved around drinking, women, and drugs… with quite a bit of travelling around in a transit van playing in UK cities with the band I was in.
You could say that heavy drinking has been hard wired into my friends and me… but I believe at a certain age, we are all capable of making our own choices in life…
2 weeks ago, I made some ridiculously foolish decisions whilst drunk, that almost cost me my wife and children. It culminated in a few nights sleeping in my grandma’s spare room, lost days at work, and a fucking huge wake up call…… the booze is doing me no favours.
2 years ago I tried to stop, and managed a 100 days, but it felt like a chore. I couldn’t wait to sink that first pint of guinness after the 100 days… and I was then back to my weekly cycle of being pissed up Thursday to Sunday.
This time round, if I don’t stop, I lose everything that is dearest to me.
No amount of piss taking from my mates, no piss up, and no crazy blow out will ever stop me achieving my goal this time round. I’ve seen what’s truly important… this isn’t a religious or spiritual thing, because I’m not that way inclined.. but it feels like a rebirth.
I feel more energetic, happy, rational, bouncing with creative ideas again… what’s not to like?
I’ve been pissed or drugged for 27 years. It’s time for a rest.
Keep on keeping on.
As I publish this, Float has been about 3 weeks dry and is showing no signs of weakening. GAWAAARN LAD!!!!11