It’s December 31st 2010.
Like many years that preceeded that one I’m indulging in a festive tradition, which involves drinking to excess.
For some unknown reason on this occasion I take photos of me in my games room with my feet up on a footstool in front of the television. Both the bottle I’m drinking from and the glass in my hand have piqued my interest for some reason and I’ve documented them.
I remember waking up the next day, looking at my phone and wondering why I’d taken these photos. The bottle was empty and sitting in the recycling box next to several other flattened 3 litre bottles of cheap cider in the red bag beside it.
When I drank I made sure that I did the job properly. I never once opened a bottle of Southern Comfort during the holiday season without finishing it in one sitting and then moving onto something else.
In the forground of these snapshots my chubby fingers clutch a tumbler – and in the background I can see my badly swollen ankle. My leg doesn’t seem much better.
In a spearate, grainy and jerky video of the same scene I can hear my laboured breathing behind the camera.
I can’t believe I used to sound like that just sitting in my armchair.
I don’t breathe like that now when I’m climbing a mountain.
I continue to scroll through the December pictures and then find myself in 2014. I’m drinking again. It’s not surprising. I did it pretty much every night by then. My ankle looks worse.
A lot worse.
Compared to how it looks tonight it’s incredibe that by this point in 2014 I was still managing to walk anywhere – even if it was just hobbling to my car so that I could go to work. I remember cleary how painful it was to have my skin stretched so tight.
It felt like the surface of a snare drum and it itched all the time. The feeling alternated between a sensation that felt like frost before switching without warning to intense heat.
I continue scrolling and all of a sudden I’m in December 2015.
I’m drunk again and at my lowest ebb.
My mother was dying and I couldnt cope with life. My heath was rapidly failing and honestly most of the time I was hoping that a heart attack would just end it all and take away the pain.
Although emotionally I was hurting deep inside, physically there wasn’t a part of me that didn’t continually scream for relief. I was so heavy at around 35 stone that everything was painful all of the time and nomatter where I stood, sat or lay there was no relief to be found.
I could no longer sleep without being blind drunk and when I did I woke up panicking every hour during the night because I couldnt breathe.
For the man on the left every day was hell – and for the man on the right every day is a gift.
Sometimes the one on the right still struggles and tries to find the right path in life – but for the vast majority of time he’s winning.
The man on the left is someone that I loathed and couldnt look in the eye when I caught his reflection in the mirror.
The man on the right isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I’m proud of who he’s become. I like him. I’m amazed continually by his energy, positvity and zest for life.
The man on the left has been drunk for months and has no idea anymore what a day without a hangover feels like. The man on the right has now been sober for exactly two years this evening.
Those other photos are of someone else. Someone that I don’t remember.
That Dave is dead internet.
Long live Davey