I’ve only got ten hours to go before one of the more significant milestones of my adult life arrives.
At midnight I’ll officially have been stone cold sober for 1000 days.
It’s something of a personal triumph that I’m very proud of – but in many ways it also represents something of a bittersweet victory.
Whilst I can’t deny that every aspect of my life has changed for the better since I gave up drinking and lost lots of weight I’m also still plagued by endless regrets.
I know that I could have been a better person for many years and for whatever reason I chose not to be – and that hurts.
The self-recrimination that comes with swathes of largely wasted time are legion, and sometimes I find it very difficult to turn off.
Today is one of those days.
Despite knowing that what I’m writing about represents a massive victory (and that it demonstrates conclusively to anyone caring to pay attention that profound change after lifelong failure is possible) I’m still sad.
I wish it hadn’t taken so long to overcome the pain that I buried and held close to me. I wish I’d been more present in people’s lives when instead I withdrew.
I wish a lot of things – but I can’t change any of it.
I know though that this sense of loss is something of a paradox – because part of the reason I managed to do what I’ve did is because I hated what I’d become so much.
I had to get to my lowest point before I could begin to rebuild.
I’d gotten to the stage where things had to change. If they didn’t then I’d either have continued to kill myself slowly or eventually taken a more active role in the event.
So – today is a victory.
It’s a win in the ‘rest of my life’ column and that’s something worth holding onto.
Maybe it’s also a win for other people reading this who are trapped in their own personal repeating cycles of self abuse – because if I can go from a 35 stone man drinking three bottles of wine a night that couldn’t walk to the end of his street to who I am now then they can too.
It’s all possible.
It’s not easy though – and sometimes every single day is a battle – but it’s right there for the taking if you want it enough.
You can’t change what’s already in the past – but you can fight for a better future.
If you do then there’s real, tangible hope at the end of what may be a long and difficult road.
You just have to take the first step internet – and then take another and another until gradually you become the person that you always wanted to be.