How I Felt Going Back to My Alcohol Drinking Roots

How I Felt Going Back to My Alcohol Drinking Roots

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It was very strange going back to Ireland recently.

I went back to some of the places I used to drink, some of the places I used to work, and most of it felt like I had never left.

I learned a few things about myself, and about habits in general, on this trip… But that’s for another video. This video is just about my general feeling about revisiting a part of my past… Some of it welcome, some of it not so welcome.

How I Felt Going Back to My Alcohol Drinking Roots (Transcript)

Today I wanted to talk about my recent visit back to my old stomping ground in Ireland – the first time I’ve been back in five years.

My Son recently had a gorgeous little Baby Daughter, my Granddaughter and we went over to see her, and it was brilliant. From that perspective seeing my Granddaughter, who was less than a week old when we arrived, it was brilliant.

We stayed there for nine days altogether during which my Granddaughter just melted by heart. I’ve got another person in my life now, she just bowled me over and I’m completely in love with her.

Going back to my old stomping ground, however, was a completely different story. One word describes it – sad.

It was a weird thing and it highlighted a lot of the things that I know about with habits, rituals, and behaviours. I went out and did some Videos whilst I was there, I will put them up but I don’t think they’re the best Videos I’ve ever done, because my mood wasn’t very good.

I went out walking in one of the local Forests that I used to work in and the weather was lousy – not raining but just typical Irish weather for this time of year. So, I don’t know if it was the weather, but I just felt like I’d never been away. It felt like I was back to where I had started off. It was strangest feeling all together really.

So, I walked and did these videos and it was so fucking weird. I’m set up over here in Spain now, when I do the Videos at home, I walk across these hills and I’m in my own environment, the environment and the life that I’ve created, now I’ve stopped drinking alcohol.

Even though I wasn’t drinking alcohol, it felt as though I was back in my old life and it just made me very sad, it sort of hit me, and – it’s hard to describe– but it was as though I’d put a strait jacket on for want of a better word. It was like I’d never been away.

It was uncanny and unsettling how quickly my mind settled back in that old track, a train track as a metaphor for how your life goes on. As soon as I got back to Ireland, in a short space of time, my life just settled back in that, even in Dublin.

I had a two and half hour drive to Ennis from Dublin and I was anticipating and looking forward to seeing my Granddaughter and my Son and their little family, to just being there, seeing his House which I hadn’t see before and all that kind of stuff. Then when I was in Enniss, after walking down the streets I found that nothing had changed, everything was the same.

There were a couple of little changes; new set of traffic lights and a new building in the Centre of Town that hadn’t been there before, but apart from that a couple of Shops might have changed their facade or changed hands with different signs on the Shops but in general everything was the same.

I met some of my drinking buddies and they were all the same, they hadn’t changed. I was if I’d left Ireland yesterday gone on holiday and just come back, apart from these people being five years older. It was weird.

I’m going to do another Video in which I’ll talk about the lessons that I’ve learned because I have learnt some lessons since coming back and thinking about the trip and how it affected me and what I had learnt from the trip. but I wanted to do a quick Video today just to say that it was one of the weirdest things I’ve done in my life.

I’ve been back to places before that I used to live at and had got a similar feeling, that as if I that I was stepping backwards in my life, when my whole life has been about trying to move forwards.

Alcohol was one of the biggest areas of my life which held me back and stopped me making inroads into going forward, but this was on a different level because my life has changed so much in five years and going back there was really sad.

It was depressing apart from being with my Son and being in his House. When I’m in my Son’s House I could be anywhere but as soon as I stepped outside and saw people, the face that I used to see, it was as if I’d never left.

When I was walking down the Street, I met a Guy I used to work with he said the same thing to me that he always used to say to me. “How’s it going? Are you still in the Forestry? Where are you today, where are you working these days?” and that kind of stuff. It was just as if I’d never left, and I know it’s a lot to do with – it’s got everything to do with – me stopping drinking alcohol.

Anyway, I’ll do another Video on this, as things occur to me. In the meantime, keep the alcohol out of your mouth and onwards and upwards eh? Onwards and upwards. Onwards and upwards.


“It’s a funny thing coming home, nothing changes, everything looks the same, everything feels the same, even smells the same - you realise what’s changed is you”

Until next time...
Onwards and Upwards!

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Kevin O'Hara

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2 Comments

  • Peter

    Reply Reply March 11, 2017

    Great message Kevin. Really an interesting topic. I do hope you will continue with sharing your personal experiences related to “coming home”.

    Seems to me that the message here might be that it is important for us to get away from our “home” environment on a more regular and longer term basis in order to experience different perspectives and avoid falling into routines (habits) that limit our understanding of the world in general. The alcohol habit (for example) is totally integrated into Western society and almost impossible to avoid as we grow up in places like America or Ireland. Yet in many other places throughout our world, alcohol use has a much more limited exposure to the general population and therefore is not such a significant part of normal lifestyles and behaviors.

    I have commented to you before that I believe one of the toughest barriers to eliminating alcohol use from our lives is related to dealing with our existing friends and family, and in particular the personal associations we have created that include alcohol usage as an integral component. While I applaud your successful lifestyle changes related to alcohol usage, I do believe that your relocation to Spain gave you an important advantage that much of the drinking public would have a hard time replicating. But maybe that in itself is a good message and underscores the importance of getting away from your current environment in order to properly review your condition and establish a new course of action.

    Congratulations on your Grandchild! I have three of them and they have really helped to change me for the better.

    Cheers, Peter

  • Ed

    Reply Reply March 12, 2017

    Congratulations on the grandchild. Couple of thoughts. Whether you gave up drinking or not, since you left your hometown, your world by default is that much larger than friends who have not left. You have grown and changed more just by changing your surroundings than your friends who have not had to adjust to new surroundings. Whether it was moving to Spain, Dublin or the UK, the fact that you left means you have moved on and your experience and world view naturally now differs from that of your childhood friends who have not. A good thing in my book. Your world is larger.

    You mentioned being depressed walking in the woods near your former home. Naturally being in the old stomping grounds dredges up memories of a self you left behind and want to forget. That is uncomfortable. But you did leave for a reason, you were uncomfortable living there in the first place. Now maybe it was the depression and the subconscious feeling of discontent that precipitated the alcohol abuse in the first place. Visiting the old country reminds you of those feelings and how your coping mechanisum lead to even more depression. Maybe there is guilt about not being happy in the place mom and dad chose to live where they were happy, but you ultimately were not. You are all about moving forward, so literally physically going back is disturbing. If it is any help, I believe nearly everyone is ambivilent visiting the childhood home one has chosen to leave behind, alcohol use or not. Alcohol exacerbates those feelings (being a depressant) and only speaking for myself, best left alone. Thanks for sharing. Onwards and upwards.

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