Early on in recovery I found it very difficult to come to terms with the idea that I would never drink again. Looking back I couldn’t do anything without drinking, even something as simple as a game of Golf. Every Saturday I would tee off, 6.30am on the button – with a bottle of Rose wine in my bag. I HATED Rose wine but I thought it looked like diluted Blackcurrant juice and so it seemed the one choice that wouldn’t arouse suspicion with my playing partners. Occasionally, I would also drink diluted Vodka, as you can perhaps tell I didn’t really care what I was drinking, so long as it gave me a hit. When I got sober I stayed away from Golf until I felt strong enough to do it without drinking. It was difficult to begin again, I’d convinced myself that it just wasn’t possible for me to play sober, such was the extent of my habit when I did play in the past. Eventually I did start again and eventually, I began to enjoy it again – sober. This time around I was actually able to hold a conversation with my playing partners rather than avoiding them like the plague in case they could smell drink off me. The crazy thing was, in the past when I’d reached the 18th hole I used to tell myself “you deserve a pint after all that Graham” – and that was after my bottle of wine!
As it turns out I’m not too bad at Golf when I’m sober, I’ve even won a couple of tournaments – who’d have guessed it! Attending football was another problem when it came to drinking, the problem I had was I couldn’t last ninety minutes without a drink! The excuses I came up with were typically hilarious, in total I think Mrs W went into labor about 46 times. New hobbies came and went, all for the purpose of drinking. Ten Pin Bowling, Darts, Pool, you name it I tried it, in fact I still have my own personalized bowling bowl sitting in the cupboard, oh and the clown shoes that came with it.
Come to think of it, I would do quite literally anything that was asked of me so long as it came with an excuse to drink. Unfortunately that meant my family were widely ignored or let down with broken promises on very much a daily basis. I often wondered why I still craved drink at the end of the night when everyone else who’d been out was contently heading home to bed. Always the last one standing, that was me. I would wander around the city centre until 7am waiting for the early drinking pubs to open so I could begin again. Sometimes I would find a quiet lane and sleep beside a bin, I’d even set an alarm on my phone to wake me up so I didn’t miss the pub opening. It’s bizarre to reminisce of my mindset at the time, this was so normal, even though I had a warm bed at home I literally thought nothing of sleeping in the street to wait for the pub. I even convinced myself that other people did as well – not that I ever bumped into any of them.
My self-confidence was stuck firmly at zero. I needed to drink before going out to drink, there was no occasion I could face sober. I used it odd that some people could come home after drinking and have a cup of tea, seemed like a waste of perfectly good drinking time to me. Low self-confidence seems like a bit of an understatement to be honest, my mental health issues at the time of my addiction were far from pretty. I once planned my own funeral in my head, and in that head of mine a certain family member didn’t attend this fictitious event and as a result, I was mad at them in real life. How do you even begin to explain that?
I’m pleased to say I’ve come a long way since then. This week I was given the Community champion Award by Partick Thistle Football Club for completing the half marathon on behalf of their Charity Trust. This meant being interviewed on the pitch prior to kick off. It was nerve wracking to say the least but I got an applause that sent a shiver down my spine, a feeling I’ll remember for the rest of my life. As I’ve said before, I still find praise difficult to accept and it’s certainly not why I do charity work. But as weekends go, last weekend was probably one of the best of my life. I’m pleased to announce I’ll be doing another challenge early next year which involves running 26 miles around various football grounds in Glasgow.
So this week goes firmly in the memory bank, another week of happiness and of course – progress. Believe me when I say if there’s hope for me, there’s hope for anyone.
Today I am loving life.