Sober Story: Dave


This week’s Sober Story comes from Dave, a 61-year-old living in Golden Bay at the top of the South Island.


Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?

Dave: “Sobriety” and “Recovery” are different things. I was 54 when I had my last drink (I haven’t had a drink since July 2010) so that’s when I stopped being a drunk. But I didn’t begin doing anything about recovery until about a month after that.

Mrs D: What can you tell us about the last months/years of your drinking before you gave up?

Dave: I didn’t set out to be an alcoholic. I never intended to become an alcoholic and I certainly didn’t want to be an alcoholic. Where I came from alcoholics were the lowest of the low, they were useless and irredeemable; they’d never amount to anything and couldn’t be helped. They were the tramps and dossers of the town that nobody wanted anywhere near them.

Mrs D: That wasn’t you?

Dave: I wasn’t like that. I had a job, a house, two cars in the driveway, and a family. I went to work in a suit and polished black shoes. I was respectable, I couldn’t be an alcoholic. But my life had become incredibly small and dark, and I couldn’t stop drinking. Every day was like Groundhog Day. My waking thoughts were always about drink. When and where would I get my first drink? Did I still have any hidden nearby? Under the bed? Under the deck? Down in the garage? What I’d done the previous day would start coming back to me as I stood in the shower and I’d cringe inside at the bits and pieces that came back. Often I’d still have some wine left in a cask behind the drivers seat. I’d have a huge gulp and try to hold it down while the stress eased off and I could go to work. Most days at lunchtime I went to the park. I wasn’t the dirty alcoholic on a park bench drinking from something in a brown paper bag. I was the one sitting is his car enjoying the scene… drinking a bottle of wine decanted into a sipper bottle.

Mrs D: Sounds dark…

Dave: It was never ending. It was impossible not to drink. Sometimes I’d walk into a bar determined that I’d only stay for one, but once I was there the reasons to have another came flooding in. I never, ever left a bar having had only one drink in my life. Why on earth I thought it might be different each time I tried… I have no idea. Time alone was awful, but I often sat and drank on my own; most other people didn’t drink fast enough. The first swallow was wonderful… instant calm and relief, but soon my head was a tangled mess of churning, raging pieces of my past, all chasing each other round to find a better resolution than the last time. But they never did, and it never stopped. I was constantly taut as a bowstring. I couldn’t understand why no-one else saw my distress… but they didn’t, they didn’t understand how hard it was to be me. So I drank. I had many reasons to drink… I was never short of them. I drank when I was sad, stressed, distressed, bored, busy, idle… but not happy. That didn’t happen anymore.

Mrs D: It often starts out happy but doesn’t end that way..

Dave: My first memories of drinking were of fun and good times. When I first started drinking it was liberating, freeing, I could join in, I could be a part of the crowd. But that time was long gone. It was still there in my mind though, in the biggest letters possible… D R I N K I N G I S F U N… but it wasn’t. I couldn’t drink enough to get happy any more. But it didn’t stop me trying. But in the end I was alone, desperately alone, and that loneliness was completely crushing. I could see no way out. All I could see was that I would die alone and miserable somewhere, or kill myself. I favoured the latter.

Mrs D: What was the final straw that led you to get sober?

Dave: If things didn’t change then I was going to kill myself. I already had it planned. The best conceivable outcome was that I would die in my sleep and not wake up – that’s what I wished for, but it just wouldn’t happen. The hopelessness of everything in my life finally got too much for me, and essentially I gave up. Nothing I tried fixed my life up to any measurable extent. I was confronted with something that I just couldn’t fix. I didn’t know how to. I didn’t know what was wrong. Nothing worked. I was out of ideas. I was beaten. I knew in my heart… “I don’t know what to do. I can’t fix this. I give up. I need help”.

Mrs D: How was it for you in the early days? What was most difficult?

Dave: Fighting the lie was the most difficult. My head would be screaming at me “have a drink! Have a drink! It will all be better if you have a drink!”… convincing myself that my mind was lying to me was hard. Sometimes it was easy to push back the cravings, but sometimes it was very hard indeed. I knew that if I had a drink then I’d immediately feel better, that wave of calm… that aaaaahhhh, would wash through me, and I’d feel better. But only in the short term. In the long term it just made things worse and worse. It was extremely difficult to pass up that immediate relief I knew would come in favour of the longer benefit, “just one will make you feel better”, but it was never just one.

Mrs D: It’s amazing how our own brains try to sabotage us by convincing us to keep drinking.

Dave: One of the things that really did my head in was thinking about the future without a drink. Would I really only be holding a glass of orange juice at my childrens’ weddings? What about birthdays? Christmas? New Year? What about my friends that I drank with every day… what would they think? How would I explain it to them? The idea of stopping drinking forever was too hard, and I had nothing in my own experience to suggest that it was even remotely possible. I drank, because I drank, because I drank… and I always would. So I never decided to stop drinking forever… it was too unlikely a thing to even imagine. I set out to give it a rest for a few days… and that is all. I’m still giving it a rest for a few days; it’s the only commitment I’ve ever made about stopping drinking, and, so far so good.

Mrs D: I like that – just giving it a rest for a few days. So how did you get through the days without drinking?

Dave: When I first stopped I took stock of what I knew about my previous attempts. In the past I’d gone the first day fairly easily, usually on the back of a ferocious hangover… but by the afternoon I was getting twitchy and looking for excuses to get out. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night… that was one of the things that happened if I didn’t drink, I’d just lie in bed sweating away, my mind racing for hours and hours. The second day would be bad… I’d really want to get away and get a drink. I rarely made the third day. I’d get part way through it then tell myself how well I’d done. I deserved a drink, just one … as a reward for being so good. But it never was just one. So I came up with some tricks to help myself. When the craving was low but resolve was high there was no problem. But the other way around was incredibly difficult… when the craving was strong, but resolve was weak. So I did some things to deny myself the opportunity to even buy drink on those occasions. I didn’t have cash in my pocket. I gave my cards to my wife for her to give back to me only for specific things. I gave my keys to my wife. If I went out I left my phone turned on, I told her exactly where I was going and how long I should be. If I was out then I wouldn’t stop in the car park of anywhere that sold alcohol, and I wouldn’t drive past anywhere that I used to drink.

Mrs D: Powerful steps..

Dave: I had a mantra I used too. It was a line I’d picked up from elsewhere and changed it to reflect the way I drank… “One is too many, ten is not enough!” Ten is not enough… that was me. Once I started I’d carry on until something forced me to stop. Many times those tricks bought me enough time for resolve to rise again and for the craving to subside. When I got to four days it was a major milestone… at a week I was euphoric. I hadn’t been a week without getting drunk at least once since my early twenties.

Mrs D: How did your family & friends react to you quitting?

Dave: I never found out what my drinking buddies thought about me stopping… I have never seen or heard from any of them since; some “friends” they were! I don’t miss them. With hindsight they weren’t even friends at all. They were really only a way to legitimise my drinking; they drank like me, and they didn’t say it was wrong to do so. I only told my wife and few others that I was going to stop drinking for a while. I was quite disappointed by their reaction to my daily/hourly struggle at first. I expected more encouragement, and I expected more congratulations… but it didn’t happen, and really I shouldn’t have expected it.

Mrs D: Why?

Dave: For two reasons. First… they’d heard it all before, and their experience was that this would be short lived, then it would be straight back to the bottle. The second was that they had no conception at all of how hard this was… and why should they? For them to not have a drink for a few days was neither here nor there… they could just choose not to. As far as they were concerned it was an easy thing that I was doing, so why was I making such a song and dance about it? They had no idea how desperately difficult it is. And really, why should they have to understand? There were times I felt very alone early on in this struggle, but it was not their problem to fix, it was mine.

Mrs D: So what did you do to find good support?

Dave: Fortunately I took my sorry ass to AA. I met some people there who would become new friends, but initially simply seeing them and them seeing me was enough. Firstly, I met and listened to people that had actually stopped drinking. So for the first time I realised that something I thought I knew for certain was actually incorrect. It WAS possible to stop drinking, whereas all my experience to date said that it wasn’t. The second thing not to be underestimated is the peer pressure. They were encouraging me, urging me on and waiting (hoping) to see me at the next meeting. I would be asked if I had managed to carry on not drinking. Sometimes that fear of failure was enough to get me through a craving. The third strength I got from these people was that they were un-exceptional. These people that had stopped drinking weren’t highly-driven corporate high-flyers, they weren’t Olympic sportsmen, they weren’t intellectuals… they were ordinary. They were a simple cross-section of society. They didn’t have some special power that I didn’t possess… so if they could do it, then so could I.

Mrs D: Have you ever experienced a relapse?

Dave: That’s a really interesting question, and I was about to answer, no! but then I realised that “no” isn’t really true at all. The answer depends on when you start counting from! How many times did I try to stop, only to get 1, 2 or 3 days before drinking again?…. countless times. Certainly it was many tens, if not hundreds. So I relapsed many times. Thinking about it now I think all those unsuccessful attempts were actually all essential. Until I really understood just what “addicted” actually meant; how we experience it… just how bad a place it is to be and how hard it was to break, then I don’t think I had the strength to confront it. Only by failing did I understand what it took to succeed. On “relapse” all I can truthfully say is that I haven’t had a drink since I got help and then stopped… all other attempts failed miserably. The most I ever managed alone was four days. However… I expect to live a few more years yet, so there’s still plenty of time and opportunity for another relapse.

Mrs D: How long did it take for things to start to calm down for you emotionally & physically?

Dave: Physically things came right pretty quickly. The shakes stopped, my skin got colour back, my eyes brightened… all within a few days really, maybe a couple of weeks. Something that was a big change at about a week or so was sleep. The first nights were an awful sweaty tangle of bedsheets and a raging mind… the roaring just wouldn’t stop as it churned and churned. Then suddenly I “slept like a baby”… it was a sleep like I couldn’t recall ever having had before. I woke in the morning bright eyed, refreshed and ready to meet the world. Wow! What a difference. Emotionally is a quite different story. My brain had sat in a puddle of alcohol for years, and when that suddenly disappeared my emotions were all over the place. For years I had been drinking to make myself feel good. Now that daily medication was gone my brain struggled to find a new equilibrium. I’ve no idea what was actually happening to my brain chemistry, but some levels of something were flopping around all over the place. It was a wild emotional roller coaster… until it stopped quite abruptly.

Mrs D: What happened?

Dave: After a few months my mind changed in a completely unexpected way. It was like someone had taken my brain out in the night, given it a thorough washing, tweaked all the adjusters, and given it a thorough tune up. I suddenly saw the world and my place in it quite differently. 1. I was no longer at the centre of everything, I was just a tiny part of a huge world, and 2. The world was no longer a hard place to live in. Quite suddenly (I’ve no idea quite what this quote means, but it seems to describe it well) I “wore the world like a loose overcoat”. Suddenly life didn’t hurt, and it wasn’t a struggle. My mind had stopped being a turbulent mass seething with problems chasing themselves around and around… it was calm. All the stress, fear, confusion, frustration, shame, guilt and hopelessness were gone. What was left in their place was a calm contentment. It was a great day when it happened.

Mrs D: How hard was it getting used to socialising sober?

Dave: It was uncomfortable. For the first three months I barely went out at all. My sobriety was tenuous and brittle. I certainly didn’t feel able to spend time in the company of people drinking without picking up a drink myself. Slowly though my confidence grew, but whenever I went to a social occasion where there would be drinking I always had a way out prepared so that I could cut-and-run if I needed to. Over time the confidence in my ability to be near drink but not at risk of picking one up has got stronger and stronger. I’ve been to many weddings and parties for example, with no great struggle. But that was actually not the hardest part for me. The most difficult thing for me was socialising AT ALL. For years I’d only gone to social events as an opportunity to drink heavily. Eventually though most people did not drink fast enough for me to be with them, so I drank alone. I spent a lot of time on my own drinking… it was hiding really. Deep inside I felt that what I was doing was somehow bad and shameful, others would disapprove, and I didn’t want people to see it. So I hid away.

Mrs D: Lonely….

Dave: Even though I was married, worked with a whole bunch of people and had teenage children in the house, I felt desperately alone. It took a long time to overcome this. It took a long time to willingly join in, and even years later I still have to work at this. When invited to some social occasion I have to say “yes” immediately, then worry about the fear of meeting people later. It always turns out fine, but for some reason there’s still an instinctive aversion to meeting people. “Safety” is still defined in my mind as being on my own… being with others is somehow a bad thing, that’s still the initial emotional response. I have to actively fight it to this day. If I do not actively intervene on my initial impulse then I can still find that I isolate myself.

Mrs D: Was there anything surprising that you learned about yourself when you stopped drinking?

Dave: Most definitely. I expected that when I stopped drinking I would revert to the person I was before I drank heavily. I did not. I became someone altogether new.

Mrs D: How so?

Dave: I started drinking in my teens, and by the time I was in my early twenties I was drinking daily and excessively. Socially I stopped growing in my teens. Instead of facing life’s challenges, I obliterated them. I never grew up to be a mature adult, and I can still be completely childish and petulant on occasions. However, the way I see myself in the world and the way I see others is radically changed, as too is my view of material things. I don’t need ‘stuff’ any more. It has little or no interest to me. I need what I need, but beyond that owning things doesn’t have any appeal, nor does it make me feel better about myself. I am materially less well off than I was when I was drinking, but I am far, far more content with my lot in the world. I don’t need praise or approval from other people any more to feel good about myself. The only person that has to think I’m doing the right things in life is me… other people opinions don’t count one iota. As long as I live in a way that doesn’t offend my own conscience, then I stay content with my lot. That’s enormously liberating. The way I see others, and what I expect of them has also changed dramatically. I don’t stand on some moral high-ground… I have none to stand on. So I find I don’t judge other people any more. I don’t know what they’re going through or what the pressures are in their lives. If they do things differently to the way I might like to do them, then that’s just fine. If they say things I don’t agree with, or if they do things that seem foolish… well that’s up to them. It’s their life, and it is their right to live it how they want. It is not my job to correct or direct them. That’s up to them, not me. My job is to do my bit right… not theirs.

Mrs D: How did your life change?

Dave: Here are some things that have flipped 180 degrees:

Being right: Is not important.

Being wrong: It’s OK to be wrong. I am not perfect and I don’t have to pretend to be.

Not knowing the answer: It is OK to not know. I don’t know everything, nobody does. Sometimes other people know better than I do.

Acquiring stuff: Is not important at all, it is mostly a burden rather than a benefit.

Being important: Is not important.

Being better than other people: I’m not.

Bigger, better, faster, stronger… fighting your way to the top is now completely unimportant to me. Been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt… didn’t like any of it. These days my life is much simpler, and without expectations. The world owes me nothing. It is what it is. What it gives me I accept with gratitude.

Mrs D: Can you pinpoint any main benefits that have emerged for you from getting sober?

Dave: This is an easy one… peace of mind.

Mrs D: Would you do anything differently given the chance to go through the process again?

Dave: It would be nice to say “I wish I’d done it years earlier”, but I don’t think it’s true. I don’t think I could have actually pulled off stopping drinking until I was down on my knees. I think that the complete hopelessness and despair is the only thing that allowed me to let go of how things were, and try a completely new way… and stopping drinking altogether was a completely new way.

Mrs D: Any advice or tips for those who are just starting on this journey?

Dave: There are some things, that if I’d known them (or believed them) could have made it possible to stop earlier, and/or made it easier. Stopping drinking IS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE. Lots of people do it. But I thought I was the only person suffering what I was going through. This is not true. There are lots of others, and they have come out the other end smiling. It is not only possible to stop drinking it is well worth it. I didn’t know or believe that. I thought I was giving up something good. Alcoholism is an illness, not a weakness, so treat it like one. Go and get help, because it’s not going to get better on its own – it’s only going to get worse.

Mrs D: We can’t do this alone.

Dave: Alcoholism is a mental illness, and the fight is with myself. Half of my mind is saying “drinking is good. Have a drink. It will make you feel better”. The other half of my mind is saying “drinking is bad. Don’t do it”. The part of my mind that’s instructing me to drink is primal and insistent… it comes from very deep within and is emotionally driven. The part that says I should not drink is intellectually driven. In the long run instinct and emotion will win… they are the more powerful, and the willpower needed to resist them is not infinite. It is a battle with myself, and the illness is (exactly) just as smart as I am. Alone I do not have to power to overcome it. Find someone, or some people, that can and will help you because we lack the power to overcome it ourselves. This is an absolute truth. If I had the power to stop drinking myself then I would have done so years earlier. Only with other people did I have enough strength to win through.

Mrs D: Anything else you’d like to share?

Dave: Alcoholism is progressive, and it’s going to get keep getting worse. You are going to lose everything unless you do something. “If you do not change direction, then you’ll probably end up where you are headed”. If you’ve tried to stop drinking but can’t then tell someone you need help: your partner, your closest friend, your doctor, CADS, AA, anyone… but tell someone, and ask for help! (and tell them the actual, honest truth… not what you’d like them to hear!). There is no point sitting and wishing and wanting things to be different. They are what they are and won’t change until you do something to change them. Your problems aren’t going to go away on their own. No-one is coming along on a white horse to save you. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Do something. Do something that gives you hope that the future can be different.

  1. wanttostop87 4 years ago

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story.
    Early days for me so I find your story really encouraging.

  2. lynnelowe 4 years ago

    Such a great read, especially I find inspiring how you find yourself noww, lessons I can learn from…

  3. trijntje 5 years ago

    Thanks Dave. Your story is like my story with secret drinking and many relapses. I have to be more active on the website .The addiction is horrible . At the moment I am struggling to get sober again. The secrecy is disgusting . Today is another day 1 sadly. I did read your story 2x .Alcohol has been an escape from reality.

  4. kitten 5 years ago

    @Dave, i just read this. I am not sure how I missed it before. Miss you. Hope you are well.

  5. Saoirse 5 years ago

    Hi Dave
    Your story is so powerful and gut wrenching but also beautiful in the way it speaks to people. I admire hugely your unflinching honesty and courage. You stand tall with quiet dignity. Thank you so much.

  6. MelissaJane 6 years ago

    Reading your story made me cry because I see myself, I feel that same pain, loneliness and sense of despair and hopelessness. I know it will get better but damn, it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. Thank you for sharing your story, Dave.

  7. Serenaville 6 years ago

    I loved reading your story Dave. Every word totally relatable. I’ll be remembering ‘one is too many, ten is not enough’. It hits me so hard I could cry.

  8. reginald 6 years ago

    Good evening Dave. Have just read your story again. Very inspirational and very familiar. Heaps of great imformation and ideas. I did think that that wine in a sipper bottle was my cunning idea but obviously you beat me to it. Today I filled it with water and managed to get through another day.
    Kind regards.

    • Serenaville 6 years ago

      My drink bottle needs throwing out @reginald. The wine vapours have stuck hard. Another day for us. Good aye.

  9. Lee Deverell 6 years ago


  10. Lilliane 6 years ago

    You are one of those people who when you speak (type/write) I get something from every word. Thank you. I can relate to the drinking alone and the having to come to knees.

  11. Pixie2017 6 years ago

    Wow this was amazing. So honest and I can really relate. I am at 9 months and the memories of what he mentions is so real.

  12. Mrs W's Wine Habit 6 years ago

    Hi Dave. Thank you so much for your reply. I certainly do remember all of the bad stuff. It’s the bad stuff that also helps me to stay sober. I never want to return to that place.

    If my story encourages just one person to even seriously consider becoming sober then I will tell it – just tell where to post it.

  13. Mrs W 6 years ago

    “A better future is possible. Go and get it.”

    I just love this quote that you mentioned above, Dave. To me, it pretty much sums up everything that is great about being sober (just over 38 weeks for me). My future is so much better. I am me again.

    • DaveH 6 years ago

      Hi @Mrs W “My future is so much better. I am me again.” Do you remember the times when life was dark and small and the weight of the world seemed unbearable. When you coudn’t see the possibility of escape? Do you remember that one of the things holding you back was that you couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol? There are countless thousands still locked into that hell. They know they should probably stop drinking, but they’ve tried and they know how much it hurts. They need to believe that there IS a life worth living without alcohol. They need to know that it is both possible to stop drinking, and that it is absolutely worthwhile. You are evidence that this is true. People need to hear from those that were in exactly their position that it is worth it… it makes escape possible for them. You’ve said that your future is so much better. Do you think you could post about that? The more you feel able to share your experience the more you can help them. Tell them life is good again. Tell them life doesn’t hurt anymore. Even if you find your story repetitive it will be heard for the first time by anyone new and struggling that comes in. You can make a huge difference to someone in trouble.

      • Feisty52 4 years ago

        Well said. And true. I’m finding reading the stories of others both inspirational and’sobering’ (excuse the pun). Actually – pun intended. They help keep me sober. 62 days.

  14. Elizabeth522 6 years ago

    Thank you. This is just incredible to read. What you said about relapsing several times is powerful. I’ve done it for years and have justified it as a “reward for being good” just like you wrote. It’s been 5 years since I knew had a real problem. Went to AA stayed 18 months but left bc I hated the homework with the big book. I wish they would update it to give a modern, feminist makeover. But I also left bc I wanted to get pissed. Your post is a roadmap for sobriety very timely for me on this day 3. Again.

  15. Tom4500 6 years ago

    Very well said, Dave. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story.

  16. George 6 years ago

    .. I was reading your story 3rd time in a row, Dave.. Each & every word & sentence you have used to describe this illness was so powerful. It was a great inspiration reading this. Great achievement. I am ony 25th day today.. Still struggling, but I don’t want to leave this beautiful world behind & walk to an early I will stick to it.. reading part of your story made me cry..
    Thanks Dave, for sharing your wonderful experience.

    • DaveH 6 years ago

      I heard stories exactly like this in my early recovery. It was like someone was walking through my mind and saying things about me that I’d never shared with anyone. The power in it is that it stops us feeling alone. We start off thinking that our problems are unique to us. They are not. It turns out that these issues are common to all alcoholics. Hearing a stories like that made me realise I wasn’t alone, but it also gave me something else. Here were people saying they’d been exactly where I was, describing the same things I felt, but these people were; relaxed, cheerful and optimistic. Somehow they had escaped that never-ending despair and feeling of imminent doom. They gave me hope that the future could be different to how I saw it. You are on your way to a different future now too. Don’t apologise for being “only 25 days”:- not all days are equal. I well remember having not drunk for 14 days. That was during the “hard yards” days. I sat and listened to a lady saying she’d not drunk for 30 days. I was on complete awe. I had no idea it was possible to not drink for 30 consecutive days. I was probably in the company of people who hadn’t drunk for a year, two years, three years, ten years…. but if they’d have said so then it would have had no impact. Not drinking in terms of years was completely unimaginable and meaningless to me… but 30 days I could grasp. It was enough. It kept me going for another week. Personally I kept my visible horizon very close. I had “milestones” all over the place; weeks, multiples of 10 days… 10, 20, 30 etc, also “pretty” numbers… 11,22,33, I used “squares” and “cubes” 8,9,16,27,36,45, and so on and I also used (and still do) prime numbers. I kept the next target very close… then it didn’t seem so unachievable. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself. When was the last time you went 25 consecutive days without getting drunk? Please announce your progress too. You’re not showing off or bragging, you’re helping others along that are in the midst of their hardest times. Your 25 days is the inspiration that someone else needs to keep them going… even if you never hear from them they hear you, and they are lifted by it. You make it possible for them to keep going.

  17. Kerris 6 years ago

    Thank you Dave for sharing you story. So raw and honest and inspirational.

    • DaveH 6 years ago

      Hahaha… honesty. Yes. They say “The truth will set you free!” What they don’t tell you is that it’s going to hurt like hell first!.

  18. Goldie 6 years ago

    Such an incredible story. Thanks so much for your honesty… reading things like this truly help me stay on the road to getting sober. I will read it over and over… thanks again Dave!!

  19. Mari135 6 years ago

    Wow…just wow…thank you so much for sharing your story, Dave!
    I found so many nuggets of wisdom in it, and read it twice.

    What an inspiration you are!


  20. Cinderella 6 years ago

    “Alcoholism is progressive” Isn’t that a very scary truth. I’m so grateful for your story Dave. Thank you indeed 🙂

  21. janabel 6 years ago

    Hi Dave. Me too, i absolutely love the peace you feel when alcohol is no longer a part of your life. Thankyou so much for sharing your story with us. 🙂

  22. gottlob 6 years ago

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing this Dave, it rang quite a few bells.

  23. Anonymous 6 years ago

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for writing. So much of it is totally understandable to me and your non judgemental honesty really gets home.
    If we just carry on drinking and continue functioning to some degree, then by middle age it is really becoming an “entrenched” behaviour.
    I have to remember that when I now get concerned for every other person I know who is possibly dependant. I can,t save the world, but I can do this today.
    I,m grateful for all my days free of alcohol in the past 4 years and guess I,d better forgive myself for the times I tried to be a responsible (moderate) drinker since I first realised it was a problem. For over a year I treated drinking as normal, again, and also last Christmas/New Year for a week.
    It only confirmed that alcohol is a depressant and I much prefer being straight, although that beguiling idea, of the sharing of wine, celebrating with wine, etc, plays out in my head from time to time, I prefer alternatives now.
    You are inspirational.

  24. behind-the-sofa 6 years ago

    Wow…. so much in your story resonated with me Dave…. hiding alcohol; others not drinking fast enough; daytime drinking; isolating; being emotionally stunted; thinking you’re alone and worse than everyone else; wanting to die; hopelessness; and the way you describe the internal battle and also the impossibility of doing it alone…. I actually found that accountability and positive peer pressure you spoke of on this LS website and that was invaluable to me…. if you’re ever in Auckland and want to meet up for a coffee, hit me up, you can get my email address from Lotta 🙂

  25. Lucy 6 years ago

    Thank you Dave for you share.. I have read it twice… you are very inspiring.. I wanted to go to sleep and just die to… So glad I surrendered and got help… I couldn’t do this with out help and being totally honest.. xx

    • DaveH 6 years ago

      Hi Lucy. “So glad I surrendered and got help”… it’s an odd thing isn’t it. It’s only when we give up that we can succeed. While we think we can find our own way out we can’t, but as soon as we realise we can’t… we can!

      It seems that only when we give up and reach out do the scales tip in our favour. The crucial turning point in our minds seems to be that moment when we go “I can’t do this on my own… I need help”. Whether we go to a therapist, counselor, rehab, 12 step, an on-line community like this or anywhere else doesn’t seem to matter. It is the timing that is important. It’s not the nature of the help, but the timing. Give up and let go… then it’s possible. Until then I couldn’t be helped.

  26. Anonymous 6 years ago

    I’ve read hundreds of recovery stories and this one is one of favorites, Dave. Thank you.

  27. Libertynow 6 years ago

    Thank you, Dave. Congratulations on 7 + years. Just awesome. The way you relate your story is so very inspirational and puts things into true perspective. I am so happy for all you have achieved and so grateful & honoured that you choose to share it with us.

  28. Cheshirecat 6 years ago

    Boy I really needed to see this. So inspiring. Some of it I could so relate to. Congratulations Dave.

  29. jo14 6 years ago

    I saw myself in much of your story. I too tried many, many times to stop, I had a mantra that helped me through my early days, and as I come up on 4 years of sobriety, I am wanting less and less stuff and focusing more and more on what I think of myself. Sobriety gives us back ourselves and appreciation for the simple things in life. Thank you, Dave, for sharing your story.

  30. sophia2 6 years ago

    Thanks so much for your powerful story. You are an inspiration !

  31. Oceania 6 years ago

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing , so very inspiring xx

  32. wiser4it 6 years ago

    Wow. I will go back and read this again. So inspiring there’s such sense in what you are saying. Almost like putting the hard questions and answers in easy to understand english. Day 11 here after many day ones!!! Many thanks xxxxxx

  33. MissFreedom 6 years ago

    Oh ! I needed to read this , so much . I came to the conclusion , after countless failed attempts to stay sober , that i need outside help . I need to go out there and meet others that share this addiction . I woke up from my last alcohol fueled blackout and made the call . Going into re hab next monday for 3 weeks . ” Safety ” is still defined in my mind as being on my own …..Wow ! You nailed it for me right there . Thank you for sharing your story .

    • DaveH 6 years ago

      I’m so pleased for you that you have me in tears. Congratulations. A better future is possible. Go and get it.

  34. RedRedRed 6 years ago

    Wow…absolutely inspirational.
    Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us.

  35. JM 6 years ago

    Hi Dave, huge congrats on 7 1/2 years+ sober! There’s so much good common sense advice in your story. It’s interesting – I also am not that interested in material things, my life is so much simpler now and I’m far less interested in what people think of me. Great, great benefits of sobriety. I also feel a lot of gratitude for what I do have. Thanks for sharing!!

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