Changing your mindset

Dave | March 2023 | 9 minutes

Alcohol Change UK ambassador and alcohol-free influencer, Sober Dave, helps us think through ways to change our mindsets this Sober Spring.

When I started drinking at the age of 14 years old, everything changed in my young world.  Suddenly, I became funny, I was accepted into the gang and I even liked myself. This drinking lark was great!

However, gradually over the years my relationship with alcohol changed. It stopped being fun and started to be something I began to rely on. There didn’t need to be any particular reason - good day, bad day, any old day. Alcohol was my crutch. Wind it forward four decades and I was in big trouble.

Wind it forward four decades forward and I was in big trouble.

I had lost a string of relationships along the way, but the biggest casualty was the relationship I had with myself. I hated and loathed the person I had become. The once athletic, life and soul of the party to the solitary drinker who was so isolated from the outside world that all I could see was the bottom of the glass. I knew things had to change but I didn’t know how to do it.

I knew things had to change but I didn’t know how to do it.

One day on 7 January 2019, either the universe threw a sign my way or I was just done with it, the party was well and truly over. I went to an AA meeting and cried my eyes out straight after. The new me had arrived with a big bang and I declared it to the world (because that’s what I do with everything). 

After a few AA meetings, I decided it wasn’t quite for me, and soon after I identified that being in ’discovery’ felt more positive to me than being in ’recovery’. I also realised that connection was so important to me, to share how I was feeling with people of a similar mindset. I also acknowledged that I had to change the pattern of my thinking with regards to my relationship with alcohol. I was not losing anything, in fact, I was gaining everything. 

I was not losing anything, in fact, I was gaining everything.

The last few years of my drinking had turned me into someone extremely negative and I knew this way of thinking had to go to be able to allow me any chance to succeed. So, I started to look at my default patterns of thinking and noted them all down for me to see.

I then wrote down some alternatives to replace my negative thought patterns. This was the start of a life changing experience for me in all areas of my life because I soon realised that my dysfunctional relationship with alcohol had made my life, and my way of thinking extremely small and narrow-minded. 

Stopping drinking allowed me to rip off the blinkers and see the view, to stop looking at the floor to looking around at what has always been there but I just hadn’t seen it. Of course, it’s not as easy as just stopping and it all gets better at the click of a finger, but it allows you to open a new door in your life and take a different route.

With a more positive outlook, refraining from alcohol one day at a time, connecting with a community of your choice and feeling gratitude every day for how I have managed to turn my entire life around from something quite dismal, helps to keep me on this wonderful path of sobriety. It has also allowed me the pleasure of really getting to know who I am, and after 40 years of self-loathing the good news is - I actually really do like myself! 

It has also allowed me the pleasure of really getting to know who I am…

If you are thinking about your drinking on a regular basis, if it’s getting you down and you’re not sure what to do or how to do it, there’s lots of support out there. But you have to want to make that change, or even be open to explore the idea by giving it a chance.  

I have just celebrated 50 months of sobriety…and I didn’t think I could achieve five days. But with the right mindset, support and self-belief, I’ve now reached a place where I have never been so happy. And for someone who is going to be celebrating his 59th birthday this year, feeling as good as this feels like a real gift.   

To see more from Dave, follow him onInstagram (@soberdave) and Twitter (@soberdaveuk).

Want to try three months without alcohol, like Dave? Give Sober Spring a go!

Find out more and sign up here

Related content