Last year, just before New Years Eve, I wrote a blog post called How To Grab 2017 By The Balls which talked about getting the best out of the new year by STOPPING DRINKING and STARTING RUNNING. This year, based on my experiences over 2017, my flaky advice for making 2018 your bitch is as follows:
- Find something new to be passionate about
- Do stuff that scares you
2017 has probably been the most important year of my life so far; I got married to the woman of my dreams, my wanky techno-punk band Petrol Bastard called it a day (despite my protestations to the contrary in this blog HERE), I leveled-up my rock climbing abilities and ran my first proper half-marathon, I bought a flat with the missus, and I entered my 3rd year of sobriety – the longest time I have ever spent sober since being about 16 years old.
Further to that last point, there have been some weird things happening in my leaky brain since getting sober. As I sit here, currently at 841 days dry, I feel like things have shifted a bit.
Don’t worry, I haven’t shat myself again.
It’s not a religious thing, but I feel like I’ve recently been unplugged from The Matrix, or swallowed a ton of those brain-enhancing drugs from Limitless. It’s only really starting to dawn on me just how much the booze was fogging up my thinking-abilities during my 20 years as a booze-warrior, and now that my body has got used to being without alcohol, my brain is going into overdrive. The main by-product of this is that I’m suddenly questioning every habit I ever formed, and changing things for the better. This became apparent 4 or 5 weeks ago when I sat in a restaurant, a fully committed lifelong meat-eater, and suddenly couldn’t justify the idea of chewing on a dead animal. I’ve never even really thought about it before – just always eaten meat unquestionably, then suddenly BLAM! I couldn’t face it, and haven’t been able to eat meat since. Feels good to be re-evaluating and making my own decisions, man.
So anyway, back to my 2 pieces of advice for PUNCHING 2018 IN THE FUCKING FACE. Here’s a half-arsed explanation of what I’m talking about…
Find something new to be passionate about – This year I discovered the violent joys of ice hockey, as explained in my little blog HERE. Since that first game back in September I’ve become quite addicted to the whole thing – I even own my own Milton Keynes Lightning replica jersey now like a proper fan – and the fact that the games usually take place on a Saturday night means that any cravings for a mad weekend night out are fully and completely satisfied. Trust me – this shit is loud, fast, brutal, and FUN. A few weeks back I noticed that, despite there being a bar at the rink, I really didn’t see many people drinking booze. Most people watch the game clutching no more than a cup of tea or a hot chocolate and a giant hotdog. I then got chatting to the guy I usually sit next to, a lovely Essex bloke called Tony, and guess what? He ditched the booze 4 years ago – proudly stating that hockey is a much safer addiction. Damn right Tony!
My point here isn’t that you should start going to hockey matches, but that it’s good to find something that can fill the time you used to spend rolling around on nightclub floors and fighting taxi drivers. Build a computer, take a cookery course, get into Bollywood movies, join a choir… whatever it is, just find SOMETHING that you can look forward to and that puts a wall between you and the world of boredom drinking – coz we all know where that leads (right kids?).
Fuck knows what I’m going to do when the hockey season ends in March…
Do stuff that scares you – I used to be fucking terrified of heights. I was a proper wuss, to the point of it being a bit of a problem. I decided to tackle it head-on which is why I started climbing (read my little blog about that HERE) and since then the problem has all but evaporated. Now comes the real challenge though! You see, I’m cool these days with hanging from a rope at 30 or 40 foot in the air, but that means I no longer get that adrenaline rush which did such a good job of replacing the alcohol buzz. I need that buzz back, and so in 2018 I’ll be doing 2 things which positively terrify me:
- I’ll be abseiling down the tallest abseil tower in the world – which just happens to be up the road from me in Northampton. And I’ll be paying £95 for the privilege. Fuck.
- We’re off to New York in October to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, so I’ve booked us a helicopter flight which will take us down the Hudson and up over the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Planning on wearing a nappy for this one. Or at least brown trousers. Double fuck.
The other fear I’ll be tackling this year is that of standing in front of a room full of strangers and talking. No music, no props, no partner to hide behind, just ME. I never had any problems performing with the band, even after going sober, but that was a tried and tested formula with a set pattern to follow. This will be different. The plan for 2018 is to take SoberPunks on the road and quite honestly – I’m bricking it.
So why even do this shit? Why on earth would we choose to put ourselves through the mangler like this? It’s dead simple to understand for anyone with a history of addiction. it’s the buzz. It’s that the keeps us going forwards, gives us something to strive for, and pays off with a massive dose of endorphins and contentment. It’s all about the warm fuzzies dude.
As we come to the end of 2017 I’d like to thank all of you bastards for putting up with my whiny shit. It’s been a great year for the blog – In 2017 SoberPunks has been read almost 18,000 times, by people in nearly 100 different countries across the world. I’ve told you guys some of my most embarrassing stories, and I’d like to think that I’ve helped a few people out along the way.
If you’re reading this because alcohol is negatively affecting your life, and you’re considering going sober in the new year, then let me tell you one thing: It’s hard, but it’s the best decision you’ll ever make. The only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner.
Enjoy 2018 everyone! Try not to fuck it up!
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