The older I get the more I close ranks on myself, around my family, and very few close friends.
There’s a reason for that.
I think when, I was a drinker, I was always looking for something which I thought was outside.
I always thought – “yeah, the more friends you have the better your life is going to be.”
The more successful your life is going to be.
And for a start I was looking for my friends in all the wrong places.
You’re never going to find true friends in a Pub.
In a Bar.
You know, your friends are always found in the most unusual of places.
I did have who I thought were close friends when I was drinking alcohol, but since I’ve stopped and I started thinking about those relationships.
Once those relationships – you get a distance between yourself and certain relationships – you can essentially think about them in a different way.
You can be more analytic about the people and the friendships in general.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that most of those friendships that I had back then, where based, not around friendship but on being accomplices on helping each other do what we did – based around culture; based around a lot of different built in proxies that were already there before I started drinking.
We grew up into this life, this is what we’re supposed to do, this is how we’re trained from young to behave.
I was trained – not deliberately and not systematically – but systematically in a cultural sense
(I’m watching out for bikes here)
That young men got their buzz, young women got their buzz – at the weekends, after they finished work – by going out on a Friday night, a Saturday night and enjoying themselves.
And that enjoyment meant going out and getting pissed.
Meeting with people in Pubs.
You know, I see it everywhere now when I look around.
I see the people going “well, you know don’t forget when you’re going on holidays, take advantage of the cheap wine and drink loads. You’re on your holidays and you deserve it. You don’t have to get up for work in the mornings, so you can have that bit extra, you know.”
It’s like, what a sad waste of life.
What a sad waste that that…
I used to do it with my own life.
I’m saying this from the perspective of – that my friends were my accomplices
Because, you know, the round system, when you buy a round is based around that fact.
It’s based around “Well, we’re all going to stay together in this. We’re all going to drink the same amount. We’re all going to get drunk together. We’re all going to say shite together and tomorrow we’ll going to be in unison of not remembering the shite that we said the night before.”
And that’s why it’s so uncomfortable, not only for you – when you become a non-drinker – but for the other people, the drinkers, for you to be around them.
Because you make them feel uncomfortable.
Your presence as a non-drinker, as somebody who is not going to get drunk, as somebody who’s not going to be in that round system, as somebody who is going to remember all this stuff the next day – is completely against the whole thing about what they’re there for.
And the pretence of friendship is there you know – the pretence – the attempt at friendship is still going to be there.
These are still your friends.
You still have to adhere to the rules of friendship and you know, you can take the piss, but these are your friends after all so you’re not really allowed to say anything bad or doing anything outside of that friendship thing – do you know what I mean?
So, you know, the breakdown of friendships usually happens over a period of time and it’s normally when people drift apart.
And that’s basically what happened with a lot of my friendships.
I drifted apart.
I had one good friend in Ireland, who when I was there and I quit drinking, the relationship didn’t drift apart.
But because we followed the same football team and we meet up once a twice a week, whatever it was, to watch the matches.
Before I stopped drinking, I used to meet this guy nearly every night, after work and I couldn’t do that anymore.
Not only did I not want to do this anymore.
I didn’t want to be that person who was sitting in the Bar drinking, drinking water, when he was drinking alcohol.
When you don’t drink anymore – sitting in the Bar seems fucking pointless – because the whole point of being there is to drink and you know, get drunk.
As I say when I used to drink, it was like a Groundhog Day.
That old movie with Bill Murray in it, where he woke up the same day and did exactly the same things.
The same shit was going on.
He might have done something differently – done a few of the things differently – but at the end of the day, same shit different day.
That’s what I felt like at the end of it.
Was that I was in a frozen day.
This was the same, doing the same things, over and over and over again.
Nothing would every change – nothing ever did change.
Minor things changed, but the generally picture of it was the same.
And it was one day, one step forward, two steps back – I’ve talked about this a lot.
It’s just the nature of the beast – isn’t it?
As I said, eventually you start to think “Well, you know – are these people my friends – or are they my accomplices?”
And it’s the only conclusion that you can come to is that, your drinkers are, the drinking people that you drink with, are basically your accomplices because…
People get angry.
These people do get angry with you when you don’t drink any more.
You can see it and you’ll really start to judge who your friendships are.
Anyway – look I mean…
My relationships have just blossomed since I stopped drinking.
Because I have more time for people – I have more time in general.
I have more brain capacity.
I have more money.
I’ve more of everything that is good in life, you know, and not so much of all the shit stuff that used to happen in my life. Do you know what I mean?
When you think about drinking – you’ve got this tiny window of buzz
Maybe two or three drinks and them once you’ve drank those two or three drinks – the buzz disappears.
Let’s face it!
You don’t get the same buzz, you just drink through the habit then.
So that buzz – that nice buzz – only happens for a couple of drinks.
And it’s basically your habit is being satisfied.
You’re going “Yes, the craving – I don’t have to think about the craving anymore – I’m actually sat doing what I want to do.”
But once that buzz disappears, then what have you got left then?
You’ve got drunkenness; you’ve got your mind is being altered; your mind is being effected; your body is being fucked up; your mind is being fucked up; the next day you’ve got the consequences of all the drinking that you’ve done.
Hangovers and stuff like that.
So for that little one buzz there’s very little reward.
Taking out the alcohol out your body and treating your body with respect, giving it the good nutrients that you need, not putting the bad shit into your body.
Giving yourself exercise, getting out walking, just doing something which is – you don’t have to fucking kill yourself – just do something simple.
But it’s giving you self-respect.
Giving your body respect.
And when you do that – you gain much more back.
The rewards are huge!
So I’m saying from that perspective, quitting drinking just allowed me to – not be a better person.
I don’t think that essentially we’re bad people.
Just because we drink – this is a habit that we do, you know?
But I think that everything else is clouded and everything else is taken over by the alcohol so at the end of the day we haven’t got time to do it.
We haven’t got the brain capacity to do it.
You know, we’re ill, most of the time.
We’re handicapped you know?
This is what life is like and when someone is handicapped you don’t expect them to do that much.
It’s like other people give you less, because you give less, in return
We’ve all got a certain amount of time in our lives and you’re going to focus your attentions on building relationships with people who can reciprocate.
Who can give you the same thing back.
Who can give you tenderness and love and affection and friendship back, right?
If it’s just a one-way street.
If all of it’s coming from them and you’re giving them a lot less than they’re giving you.
Then, you know, it’s easy to see why some people will go “Fuck You! I’ll go somewhere else, I’ll look for my attention somewhere else, you know.”
And that happens all over the place.
It happens in relationships all over the place.
That’s not the only reason why relationships break down, but it’s one of the reasons.
I’m saying, when you stop drinking.
You not only gain in terms of your health and your wealth and your brain power and your physical, what you can put out physically – your energy levels, all that type of stuff.
But you also gain in your ability to focus on other people and the power that you put out from that.
I’m not talking about just some fucking woo-woo stuff here.
I’m talking about just the basic day to day emanations that you give off.
You give more attention to other people and when you give more attention, they notice that.
But other people notice that, so.
The closer I get to my family.
I started this of thing talking about – that I was looking in all the wrong places for my friendships and stuff – and I thought that I was finding it outside
And it was because of what I was doing in my own family, because I was being this drunken person and I was focusing so much of my selfish energy onto drinking alcohol, that I wasn’t giving the attention to my family.
And I thought that, you know, this is the way that life works, you know.
You’re supposed to go out and you’re supposed to get your buddies outside and go out and be a man in the Pub and do all this other kind of stuff.
And since I’ve stopped drinking, I’ve realised that everything that I needed out of life, was here all along.
It’s been right under my nose.
My family, you know, my Son – who I’ve always cherished anyway – but more so now.
My partner is my best friend – and I would have never have said that when I was drinking.
My partner was my partner; my wife was my wife.
Those are two separate things.
And my best friend was my buddy in the pub who I was able to say stuff to.
I can say anything to my partner now.
I’m not afraid to say anything to my partner now.
I’m not trying to hide anything from my partner, which I used to do when I was drinking.
It’s just – I tell you – it’s so much of a release to be this way.
To be honest with people.
To build those relationships which are life long.
Your family are there for life – this is blood.
This is something that you can’t get away from.
That you don’t choose in the beginning – fair enough – but these are the people who are going to reciprocate the most.
Going to give you the most if you give them as well.
So, anyway, I’m rambling on a bit here.
Dalai Lama said that – “If you want to find out how rich you are, look for all the things in your life that you have that money just can’t buy”
That’s where you’re going to find richness.
He also said that – “happiness doesn’t come from things, it comes from actions, it comes from you doing stuff.”
I talk about the Dalai Lama a lot.
I’m not a religious person, in any stretch of the imagination.
But if I were to be a religious person, that would be my religion, because he said it himself.
His religion is happiness and for me that’s fucking – from what I grew up with, in my religion which was Catholicism – that was as further away from happiness as you can get.
Religion seems to be based around pain.
Pain from every aspect man, you know!
The Guy’s up there on a cross like and he’s done this for us to deal with our sins and shit and that we’re sinners all our lives.
And… oh! man!
If you’re a Catholic, please don’t take any offence at this.
This is my version, maybe it was just the church I went to or the Priests that I dealt with.
The people I dealt with in Church and stuff like that.
It’s just not my thing.
So, you know like, I’m saying from the Dalai Lama.
Much respect goes out to this guy.
Because this Guy, all he talks about is – he talks – every time I listen to the Guy talking he’s always very calm, very collected, very, very positive.
I’ve never heard the Guy talking negatively or about anything, about anyone.
The guy could stand in front of a fucking multiple child molesting serial killer and he’ll have something positive to say about the Guy.
You know, when you hear somebody saying his religion is happiness, then for me that’s top, top drawer stuff.
Like I say, I’m not religious, I’m not Buddhist or anything like that.
I just like what this Guy says.
For me, there’s many spiritual leaders in the world and spiritualism has got nothing to do with religion.
Spiritualism is, you know, there is religious aspects, like the Bible for instance has taken some aspects of life, like, do onto others as you would have them do onto you.
Which is written in the Bible, but it is a good life lesson.
You don’t have to be a bible basher to understand that or bring it into your life.
So, I’m not religious as I say, but Dalai Lama, for me – top man – top dog.
Like I say the whole video is about me just saying that I’m closing ranks.
I’m trying to bring in a lot more of my family.
I’ve got two close friends at most in my life.
I don’t see them very often, but they are very close friends of mine.
I have acquaintances. I like people.
But, from my personal perspective, from my personal life.
That’s what I’ve learnt from quitting drinking and from being a few years and thinking about this a lot.
That everything was there under my nose all along and that’s the way I’m going to approach my life from now on.
Take Care of yourself.
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“The secret to having it all, is knowing that you already do”
Until next time…
Keep the alcohol out of your mouth
Onwards and Upwards!
Take of yourselves.