Trevor's story: "It is so liberating being alcohol-free"

Trevor | November 2021 | 7 minutes

Teacher, author and West Ham fan, Trevor Twohig is one of Alcohol Change UK’s Community Champions - here, he tells us a bit about his experiences and why he decided to volunteer.

I never felt that I could quit drinking. I’m 40 now and if someone had said to me in my early thirties, “you’re going to quit drinking in five years,” I’d have laughed and said, “no chance!” I used to drink heavily for several reasons. I owned a bar, where I spent most days drinking eight to ten pints and then onto the shorts. My friends and I were pretty much in a constant state of drunkenness.

I started drinking at fourteen because I thought it was cool! It seemed elite; my dad had a nice drinks cabinet and drank things I’d never seen before. It was on TV and made to look sexy. During my school years, we all necked cheap cider by the two-litre bottle every Friday night.

I drank because it’s part and parcel of the society we live in. Pubs were a massive part of my life, and as a football fan, I learnt first-hand how following your team is synonymous with excess alcohol consumption – you can’t go to the game without there being the offer of a beer or three. It’s just part of the culture.

"It was hard to stop, and the cravings were intense. But they lessened eventually and it is so liberating being alcohol free."

My continued drinking was a ‘working-class’ thing as well, which seems to be the case especially for men. There’s a bonding element to it between everybody, and a bit of expectation. But then things became a bit more ‘middle-class’ for me as I rose through the ranks as a teacher, and I started learning a lot more about wine. Now my drinking was validated as wine drinkers (in my mind) were cool, classy, and sophisticated. It seems like there’s a reason to drink whatever your background or status!

All of this added up to imbibing far too much and too often. It affected and changed my life. So, I had to make a change. It was hard to stop, and the cravings were intense. But they lessened eventually and it is so liberating being alcohol free – rather than thinking about my next drink, I can now focus on my kids, writing and teaching.

I became a Community Champion because I want to create something that helps regular drinkers, those who are aware that booze is affecting their lives but aren’t at ‘crisis point’. I’ve just finished writing a book aimed at men about quitting alcohol. This is from my own perspective, as I was a heavy drinker and am still exposed to it through my interests in football and live music. I think there are a number of people who need that support, who feel that alcohol is so ingrained in their life, just as I did, and can’t see a way out of the toxic cycle. I want to help those people.

"If I can contribute by being honest and truthful about how alcohol can take over your life, then maybe I can help people."

I want to tell people about the dangerous side of drinking too. There are risks that I don’t think people are aware of, like cancer – I think it needs to be looked at in greater detail. I find it interesting that this is overlooked, because perhaps if it was something else, say, a virus, more would be done. But it’s alcohol, so nothing happens. If I can contribute by being honest and truthful about how alcohol can take over your life and how you behave differently, then maybe I can help people, especially young men, in the future.

I’m taking on the 15-21 Challenge for Alcohol Change UK’s Alcohol Awareness Week, I will be doing a 1,521 work out in the gym. This equates to a good 1.5/2 hrs of cardio, which will be out of my comfort zone! I’m hoping to raise as much money as possible while also raising awareness of the effects alcohol can have.

Trevor is a teacher, Alcohol Change UK Community Champion and the author of Don’t Look Back Hungover: how to handle your drinking demons, from which 20% of the proceeds go to Alcohol Change UK. Find him on Instagram and Facebook.