Exactly eight years ago – 19th October 2009 – I quit drinking, for good.
My reasons for getting sober will be obvious to anyone who knew me in my 20s, and familiar to anyone who has ever known a self-destructive alcoholic.
I was the worst kind of drinker: The kind who got into fistfights with strangers and said unforgivable things to friends and regularly woke up naked in hotel corridors or battered and bloody in police cells. The kind who was once was nearly stabbed to death by a Spanish drug dealer halfway up a mountain. My drinking problem became so bad that the Guardian hired me to write a column titled “Not Safe For Work” about my blackout misadventures. The money I made from the column allowed – enabled, you might say – me to carry on drinking myself to death and calling it work.
I didn’t realize I had a problem until I was already past rock bottom. And, by then, I couldn’t afford to stop.
And yet. While my drinking might have been suicidally mundane, my process of quitting was different from the usual AA/treatment path.