Hi, my name is Karl; I'm also known as 'The Sober Yorkshireman'.
My drinking started when I was about fourteen/fifteen years old, as it did with lots of people brought up in the nineties. I started off drinking bottles of hooch and white lightning in my local park and this soon progressed to drinking beers at lunchtime when I got my first paid job as an adult.
Initially, I thought it was amazing that lunchtime meant a beer and a burger, however, soon it became two beers and a burger, and within four years, I was managing three to four beers in that time. This habit inevitably made me very unproductive in the afternoon and I regularly got behind on my work-load. This made me stressed, which led me straight back to the pub after work to de-stress. Yes, it was a vicious circle which was easy to slip into.
When I was twenty-one, I left that job which was in a career that could of taken me far and wide; I handed in my notice with no job to go to because my life was a mess and my drinking was my priority. I eventually found a job labouring on a building site but my habits never stopped. I’d just go from the building site to the pub.
This started me on a cycle of doing dead-end jobs with no career prospects. At one point, I was even unemployed for two years but still my drinking continued.
In 2008 aged twenty-seven, I managed to find a driving job that I liked. I was essentially my own boss and it gave me the freedom and opportunity to see lots of the Yorkshire countryside. In December 2011, I got my lorry licence which was something I’d wanted to do for years. In addition, my daughter was born in early January 2012. She was a complete surprise as we'd been unaware my partner at the time was pregnant!!
It was a huge shock to our world. We were both living with our respective parents and so I decided to move into my partner's parent's house so that we could bring up our daughter together. Even though we struggled for money, I still managed to go to the pub every night after work.
In August 2012, I changed jobs again to get more money, which hopefully meant I could start saving for an house. Unfortunately, our relationship broke down in March 2013 and I moved back to my parents house.
From the day I moved out, I started paying maintenance. This meant I had to scrap my plans to get a mortgage. I'd always worried about money but now it was stressing me out daily so I just went to my sanctuary (the pub) at every opportunity I could to blot it out.
My life went from bad to worse. I started dabbling with Class A drugs and was drinking what most people would consume on a Friday night on every single night of the week.
I started using dating sites to get my fix of attention as my self-worth was non-existent. Nothing lasted long though as the dates either wanted to change me and stop my drinking or I wanted to get back to my mates and the pub.
I could see that my family were also hating the amount I was drinking and so, to escape the crowd, I started drinking alone. I stopped taking drugs but all this meant that I was turning into a loner drinker. I’d find myself in a pub where I knew nobody, sitting alone, and drinking my nights and my life away.
In January 2016, I decided to do Dry January and actually lasted ten weeks into early March. I then decided to try moderation; my plan was to drink on a Friday or Sunday, but for the next 6 weeks, I drank every single day.
That was when I truly hit rock bottom. In May 2016, I remember seeing a TV programme by Louis Theroux called ‘Drinking to Oblivion’ and it really struck a cord with me. The next day, whilst driving in my lorry, I said to myself 'you need to give this up. You can’t go on living your life like this anymore'.
Later that week, I called my local alcohol support group 'Forward Leeds'.
They said they could help me the following day but due to work commitments, it wasn’t a possibility. The next available appointment was 5 weeks later on a Wednesday evening. I agreed to it but in the meantime I decided to try to find some online support.
One of the support groups I found suggested I choose the date to stop drinking and so I chose 1 June 2016. The day before was a bank holiday and I drank all day and got smashed.
That was last day I ever drank alcohol. With the help of my online support group and Forward Leeds, I’m now over 2.5 years sober.
There are so many positives to being sober.
I've met an amazing woman on a sober dating site. She lives 200 miles away from my Yorkshire roots in Ascot and I’m moving to be with her at Easter in a house we've bought together and renovated.
I’ve done sober weddings, stag parties and even a lads trip to Dublin, all without touching a drop of alcohol.
Everyday I try to better myself. I now eat a plant-based diet, have ditched coffee and started meditation, running and the gym. I’m also looking to start Crossfit in the near future.
In January 2017, I started a blog. My partner and I also blog together and in January 2019, we launched our own sober support group to help others get sober (see below for links).
Since becoming alcohol-free, we have both lost weight and got fit. I ran my first marathon in May 2018.
My life has never been so good; it’s like I’ve been given a second chance at life. Now we want to give other people the opportunity to see how our lives have got changed and help them get a second chance at life too
Written by Karl, edited by Sober FishInstagram @thesoberyorkshireman
Our support group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/SoberFitTRIBE
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