So after a crazy end to last year this is my first blog of 2017. I had quite possibly the best year of my life last year and I’ll tell you why. I used to drink because I thought I had to, to impress people, to socialise, the list goes on. I might have looked like I was confident and outgoing, but internally I was a mess and the only way I could make that feeling go away, was to drink. It was an instant fix and as soon as it went away I thought I was becoming the person I was supposed to be.
Last year I finally began to spread my wings and do things that I wanted, rather than fear the temptation of a drink. I was so scared of drinking again that I basically put my life on hold and if that meant I didn’t go out, then that’s what I had to do. Last year, however, I met a few people who helped me realise that I can go out and enjoy myself and not drink, most of these people were part of the FFIT (football fans in training) family where I’d started to play football. This led to me going out socially and enjoying myself and the best thing about it was that I was just being Graham Wilson. The real Graham, not the Graham that alcohol had created. For me that was a major breakthrough, I honestly believed I would never be able to enjoy myself on a night out again – how wrong I was.
Mrs W and I have also been out more than ever for incredible food in amazing restaurants both on our own and with family. We’ve also been out with new friends and had some really memorable (alcohol free) nights and I guess that’s what life is all about. Mrs W deserves to enjoy herself more than anyone and going out for nice meals has become the new staple of our social life.
I’m also now an ambassador for Partick Thistle and love being back watching football again without the fear of drinking. In fact, during my first two years of sobriety I was absolutely terrified of going to watch football, it had always meant a guaranteed drinking session. On the subject of Partick Thistle, I received an award from them for completing the Glasgow Half Marathon on behalf of their charity. It’s one of the best honours I’ve ever received, we raised a grand total of £900 which was fantastic. I owe a huge thank you to the football club for their help. Football, both watching and playing has been pivotal in helping me get to a place of good mental health – it’s all about the little things in life.
A huge part of my recovery going to the next level has also been down to Blogging. I had never really heard of blogging up until late last year when I was introduced to a popular Glasgow blogger. With his help, I started to attend a ‘blogging for beginners’ class which is how it all got started. I’ve had so much help from everyone involved in the class and I’m so incredibly grateful for that. I still can’t really believe that anyone would be interested in my writing but I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to the blog. I get such a buzz when people comment and tell me that it’s been of any sort of help to them and just by blogging – it blows me away every time. This blogging business is now like a bit of internal housekeeping for me, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
Moving on from blogging I’ve also been asked to speak at some workshops for people with mental/addiction issues which is a dream come true for me, I love sharing my story, always in the hope that it will help even one person. I think what I’m trying to say is this year I’m still very protective of my sobriety and will never get ahead of myself, but I’m not scared anymore and that’s what has changed everything.
My festive period was really special this year. We spent Christmas day with the whole family, which for me is exactly what my Christmas should be. Mrs W and I topped it off with a trip to Venice as part of her birthday surprise, which apart from me getting food poisoning was an amazing experience.
Overall 2016 was the best year of my sobriety, to the incredible people around me, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. My next blog is going to be my goals and ambitions for 2017 – there’s a first for everything!
I love my new life