Being a successful broker means you need to get on with people, and let’s not pretend for one second that alcohol doesn’t aid relationships in the early days. Most of us meet our partners over a drink or two, most of us party hard together in the early days.
At least, that’s how I met my wife, some 11 years ago now. I was at a friend’s 30th birthday party and it was fancy dress. I was dressed as Kiss, all-in-one spandex, black and white face, big black, curly-haired wig and a foot taller in platform shoes. By the time she walked into the party, I was already smashed to pieces. But then, I would never have had the confidence to walk up to a Swedish model, grab the drink from her hand and drag her onto the dance floor and I would never have had the balls to go for the kiss, which she denied me, if it hadn’t been for the litres of vodka I’d consumed.
When we started dating, we partied like two Jack Russells in the long grass. It was magic, we were in love! Clubbing, house parties, crazy, crazy times.
We also fought like cat and dog. Our tumultuous relationship was what had people always saying, “This won’t last long…” Although our friends loved us, they were often consoling one or the other. Our relationship was like Trump’s Twitter feed, big, public and brutal.
Something kept us together though, something guided us through the murky waters.
Our wedding day was the party of the century – or at least that’s what the 90 or so guests who came said. Most of our relationship had been built around parties; those that knew us, knew us to be the party starters – we always brought our A game.
A year or so after our wedding, when all the warm fuzziness of marriage dries up and you are standing there in front of someone who exacerbates what’s broken about you, that’s when the real hard work begins.
I’ve been lucky enough to be in counselling since I was in primary school. I was ADHD and had the option of drugs or counselling – my parents wisely chose counselling. So I wasn’t afraid to go to therapy with my wife.
We worked hard on our relationship together; we fought and fought, but we wanted to work it out, and that’s the main battle. Sitting in front of a third person meant that she couldn’t throw ashtrays at me, and I couldn’t walk out.
So, we often got down to some deep feelings and thoughts. Once you start airing these things, you can easily go through a period of hating each other. It’s hard to hear the person you love the most say openly what they dislike about you, it’s hard to hear where you are failing. I needed to take things to the next level.
That next level was the day I stopped drinking alcohol. To be honest, I hate myself for writing that, and you probably hate me too, but don’t stop reading just yet and let me explain something to you.
When I stopped drinking, I did it to prove to my wife IT WASN’T the problem in our relationship. I was tired of her blaming her shit on my drinking. I was tired of her getting so angry at me when I was a little bit bleary-eyed, and knew it was her insecurities.
Except I was wrong, deeply wrong
Stopping drinking within 30 days started to wake up my mind, it made me MUCH happier inside, it made me more tolerant. I always used to say that if I could just be Neo in The Matrix when Jen is shooting her verbal bullets at me and dodge them calmly, then there would be no arguments. Well, STOPPING drinking made me NEO.
I literally felt awakened, I felt powerful, I felt confident, I felt happy and able to deal with anything. I felt like me again.
The changes it made to our relationship were profound. We fell in love all over again. We talked about things properly, we both became less irrational.
I did some two years pretty much alcohol-free and I now only drink on special occasions, or when I feel like it. I have a level of control I never had before – because I took an extended break. This led me to set up www.oneyearnobeer.com, a 30, 90 or 365 day challenge to go alcohol-free and transform your life. We’ve helped some 16,000 people in over 100 countries change their relationship with alcohol. The benefits are wide reaching.
I’ve just come back from a weekend in Ibiza after 42 days alcohol-free; it was my reward, and I went with my wife. We partied like we did when we were dating, except we didn’t argue, not once. We loved each other deeply; it was a major step forward in our relationship.
I am a very strong believer in leading by example, in taking things into your own hands and showing others the way forward. I am also now totally resolute that, if you are having ANY problems in your relationship, then your first step should be stop drinking for at least 30 days. It will give you the clarity of mind to see what’s really the problem.
So, like the title of this article says… drinking alcohol was NOT the problem in my relationship – but it was HIDING the problem.