Losing a grandfather just before my fifteenth birthday, someone that had been such an influence on my childhood was devastating. I wasn’t prepared for it and didn’t expect to lose him so young. The anger, guilt and hate I felt at this time was overwhelming.
My outlook on life changed, I began acting out of character and started doing things that I would never think about doing before. Not caring what the consequences might be.
After this experience, I believe I’d stopped growing emotionally. By the time I was eighteen, all the past times I enjoyed so much, such as rugby and music were over.
For me now alcohol had become the preferred way of dealing with life. I’d always enjoyed the freedom to express myself it gave me, allowing me to feel the way I wanted, almost instantly.
Pretty much all my spare time was spent drinking alcohol, it was the only pastime I really wanted.
Relationships were difficult.
It was difficult allowing people to become too close to me. I’d already decided that I wouldn’t allow anything to affect me like that in life again. When I lost my second grandfather I didn’t really grieve, I simply went through the motions of being there for my mother and grandmother. Visiting him before he died and going to his funeral, because this is what you do.
This had consequences, realistically romantic relationships were a disaster however long they lasted. Without consciously thinking about it, I couldn’t commit to them. I couldn’t be with the person, yet I didn’t want to be without them. When they did finally disintegrate, the loss of that person and seeing them with someone else, was still however, catastrophic.
In the dark of night
Those small hours
Uncertain and anxious
I need to call you
By My Side...INXS
That wonderful thing.
I'm not sure now, what world I was living in. I'd listen to this song, over and over. It's an easy thing to say after it's gone, you'd have done anything to have certain people remain in your life. Where we may not know why, we feel the way we do. There is every likelihood, we know something isn't right.
The decision we must make, which I wasn't prepared to do, because firstly, I was superficially happy and 'comfortable' living the way I was. Secondly, there were also, too many issues to resolve, and of course, they weren't even my fault.
What do we really want in life? Is it to remain angry, blaming and hating? Fighting everything, living in stress and fear of being judged, never finding peace.
Or finding it, only after we've ended up on our knees.
We don't have to be on our knees, lose face, or the people we love, ourselves included, before we find peace. Making the change before this happens, is a far easier way, of transforming our lives.
Recently, my mother and I, were discussing a visit to the doctor we had made when I was around fifteen years of age. How I must have given the doctor, the impression that it was only grief I was suffering with, when we discussed the situation without her being present.
For some reason, which was likely to be, I couldn't show anyone, how this was affecting me. Although my mother had stated, she believed I was suffering with more than simply grief. The doctor explained, he believed it was only grief and nothing more.
Clearly, I was suffering from the loss of my grandfather and this is tough, as anyone that has experienced it, is fully aware. However, there were many other issues that were out of character, which were being reflected in my behaviour.
While reflecting on this huge loss in my life, it is clear now, not being prepared for it, if you can be at that age. I'd also suffered the loss, of my expectations, how life was going to be, my plan had been blown apart.
We can explain away, much of our behaviour, when we are in our teens and early twenties. Also, developing strategies for coping. It's widely accepted, that we will grow out of it, learn to live and deal with life, and become an 'adult'.
In my late teens and early twenties family relationships had already started to become strained which led to me moving in with friends on several occasions, just to get away from the conflict. Later, relationships behind the scenes became dysfunctional.
When we aren't becoming an 'acceptable' adult, reaching the age of twenty-four or twenty-five. It becomes more difficult to explain away our behaviour, although one recent study shows, the average male doesn't mature until he is 43 years of age.
Being unable to deal with our anger, insecurities, procrastination and the stresses of life. To function effectively in society, relationships, both romantic and workplace, becomes a real issue. Leading to us under performing in all these areas, whatever the underlying reasons, or triggers are for our behaviour.
From my experience, hitting thirty was when it had all begun to completely fall apart. It becomes impossible, to continue with the facade, life is great, when really it wasn't.
Emotions and work.
The emotions I was living with and the way I’d dealt with them effected my working life tremendously. I was unable to deal with colleague’s in a professional manner, after I believed I’d been lied to and wronged. The cycle of anger, hate, the stress of the situation and alcohol consumption, simply got worse.
I’d always been competitive, now though my working life had very quickly, become a battle which I didn’t intend to lose.
Life really was all about drinking, laughing and forgetting, the added distraction of travelling with friends whenever possible was an incredible way of achieving this goal.
I’d been vomiting blood and bile for many years; Also experiencing unstoppable, flowing nose bleeds and gastric bleeding. A couple of people were aware of this, suggesting that this shouldn’t be happening, I should see a doctor. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone that might be able to help. The thoughts of what might be causing this to happen were just too much.
I simply carried on, worrying about the situation and hoping it wouldn’t happen again, living a totally unhealthy lifestyle, suffering from sleep deprivation and a lack of nutrition. Food was generally sugary drinks and sweets; I’d not had a healthy appetite for years. This combined with a substantial intake of alcohol, made it difficult to function.
Delerium Tremens (DT's).
My health was the topic of conversation at the office one morning. I was looking and feeling terrible. Somebody mentioned that the cause of the problem with my blocked or streaming sinuses, was my liver. Due to my level of alcohol consumption.
I decided to stop drinking alcohol immediately, this is extremely dangerous and shouldn’t be done without consulting your doctor.
Next, I started taking prescribed antibiotics for my sinuses, shortly afterwards I began to hallucinate. I hadn’t been honest with a doctor about the alcohol. Experiencing what has been described as psychotic episode, after more research, it was the DT's (Delirium tremens) the antibiotics could have made the situation worse or not. I was rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital, where this continued for several days. After a week on an intravenous drip I was discharged and told my liver was damaged. Never drink alcohol again.
A break from alcohol.
I had a few weeks without alcohol, I’d been coping with life for such a long-time using it, I couldn’t comprehend how I was going to live without it in the longer term. Figuring out, what I’d use as a support mechanism and for the feel-good factor at that time, was beyond me. It was never my intention to stop. I invented a story that I’d be alright if I only drunk products containing less volume of alcohol and no spirits.
A phased return.
On my phased return to work and before I'd begun drinking again, with the benefit of hindsight, I'm not surprised. One of my business partners, deemed it acceptable, to discuss my health, in an office full of people. He'd also done this at a customer site, previously.
How 'he' wanted me to come into the office, more days in the week. This without any discussion concerning my health, or calling a meeting of the other directors concerned, which would have made it professional.
Anger, anxiety, hate, stress and everything else I'd suffered with, now went to another level. I'd only had a break from alcohol, I'd not addressed any of the issues I had in life and certainly not learned how to deal with myself, or them.
Having walked back into this working environment, that I couldn’t deal with and couldn’t wait to get away from, was an issue. Not being prepared to quit, be bullied and lose face, or my potential future. I decided to carry on in the manner I had done previously.
Being honest, once I’d started consuming alcohol again, the original cycle had restarted, now though, it had become a spiral.
Life became unbearable.
Life became a real torment. I’d began to hate it now, no longer just myself and some other people. I now believed that long-time friends and people in general really, that had more than me, were better than me.
Around this time, I started going to see a counsellor. This didn’t work out, once he’d told me that, a person I worked with had issues of his own. I made another foolish decision. It wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could do about the situation; it was down to someone else to sort it out.
I discuss this subject, throughout the site. Obviously, primarily, under inner speech.
The negativity of the voices in my own head were extremely powerful, the judge, was constantly telling me, there was no way I could do it on my own, that I'd fail. I was useless, worthless, look at what you've become. That I was weak, allowing people, to make me feel this way about myself and life.
Next it would be the victim, telling me how people, for instance, I'd played rugby with. Had the cap that 'we' deserved. Or that they weren't as I good as 'us', even when they didn't play in the same position, and 'we' were no longer playing the game.
'We' hated what people were achieving, at all levels, when ‘we’ were achieving nothing. Not for one moment, did 'we' believe the achievements were a credit to them, for all their hard work.
Strangely...we've got a great life, look at the car 'we' drive, the clothes 'we' wear, everyone would love to have these things and this life. This being particularly twisted, due to the fact, I was literally killing myself, wearing clothes that were too big and couldn't drive the car, because I was drinking.
Consistently...these people won't beat 'us', don't give in to them. I'd hate the person I’d become, if I did, and, what 'we' could and should do, to resolve the problem.
The years between thirty and forty, for the most part, were a disaster. The laughing and joking just became harder, superficially smiling was tough. The facade was no longer enough, the travelling had stopped, along with my escape. Going to my pub, my comfort zone, had become somewhat of a prison. I don’t think I was fooling anyone any longer, including myself.
Somewhere along the line after a frank discussion with my doctor about relationships in work, I’d been prescribed antidepressants which I was taking whilst consuming alcohol.
This really didn’t work out well. I was consuming so much alcohol, friends told me I needed to stop, if I was going continue taking those tablets. It was as if my tolerance to alcohol had been greatly diminished, I was finding it hard to think.
Please read. Anti-depressants, under Suffering with depression.
Alone in the world.
I believed now that I was all alone. Nobody cared including myself. Where I never really gave suicide a great deal of thought. At my worst there was only one reoccurring thought that stopped me doing something irreversible. I just didn’t want to be here any longer. I was giving up; the fighting had been going on too long and nothing was getting better.
In my mind now, it's impossible to beat them all.
I’d had enough, it was like living with someone you didn’t really know and didn’t particularly like. I had lost the person I thought I was long ago, wondered where he had gone, but saw no way of ever seeing him again.
A long time coming.
Eventually the inevitable happened, I collapsed my body had also had enough. I ended up in intensive care for a week, almost dead and then on a hospital ward for a further six. The psychiatrist after some discussion with my specialist, a close friend and my father discharged me, on the proviso that I was brought back if my mental health and behaviour became any worse. Unable to walk unaided but happy to be alive, we left the hospital.
I have alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. At that time, also varices and an acute duodenum (ulcer), which have cleared up without medication. When mentioning training, during a discussion with my specialist, I was told that I would probably have difficulty gaining muscle due to the condition of my liver. Doctor’s also said, balancing might be difficult and when I couldn’t remember people’s names or speak properly, that I could have brain damage.
The condition my body, brain and mind were in at this time, was something that I wasn't prepared to accept. While discussing my diagnosis with the specialist, I told him I'd prove him wrong. To which he replied, I hope you do. I had every intention of proving to him, what could be achieved with the correct mindset.
Obviously, I understand I’m not the first person to recover in such a way, importantly, I don't want to be the last.
The way I had perceived and dealt with life previously, no matter how I'd felt about it. Would have to change, dramatically.
Existing not living.
I'd given my power away long enough, it was time to take it back, to be aware of my unconscious thoughts and emotions. How I acted on them or reacted to them. Understanding that I am more than those thoughts, and that I would need to quieten my mind, 'sacking the narrators'.
I'd also existed long enough, I committed myself to change my way of life. Constructing a plan of action to break the bad habits and create healthy new ones. All the self-defeating beliefs I'd had would have to be discarded and new ones formalised.
Visualising myself being fit and healthy. Enjoying activities like I once did. Walking first, with friends every morning, which was painful. After a few weeks, being strong enough to walk over a nearby mountain. Joining the gym, which was daunting at first, I'd lost most of my muscle mass and strength. I was fearful of what people would say.
Being uncomfortable was something I realised I'd have to get used to, if I was going to become the person I wanted to be.
Employing a personal trainer, once a week, and building a relationship with him. Understanding I’d not trained in the gym for many years and would require guidance, in order to get results. Added to many, what seemed to be extremely early training sessions, with my supportive friends. It wasn't too long before I achieved a decent level of fitness, allowing me to move forward.
During this time, I learned about nutrition for fuelling the brain and body. Learning how to eat properly again, not worrying about, 'this week’s diet'. I'd also begun to monitor my sleep to see if I was experiencing healthy sleeping patterns.
Being introduced to cycling by a friend, which was tough, and persevering with it has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Cycling has given me the opportunity to be in another place mentally, allowing me to contemplate the issues that had almost destroyed me. It's allowed me to make some difficult yet essential decisions about life, my career and future. It's also aided me in changing the way I perceive myself.
All personal achievement starts in the mind of the individual. Your personal achievenment starts in your mind. The first step is to know exactly what your problem, goal and desire is.
W. Clement Stone.
The Rhigos mountain road, heading for the Bwlch.
Quite a different experience, to sitting at the bar, for many hours daily.
Deciding not to walk back into an environment that was reaffirming my relationship to anger, hate and stress. I no longer cared about what I'd potentially lose financially, I didn't feel like I was running away, or worry that I'd lost the fight. Believing that this had given me the opportunity to achieve something constructive in life, helping people.
Using cycling as a tool to get me past my growth edges, had proven what could be achieved with intent, a positive attitude and action. I now understood, I'd been using all the energy I'd previously been pouring into negativity, in a positive way. This had allowed me to achieve everything I'd set my mind to, in a relatively short period of time.
I'd now reached a point where I'd achieved all I could with the help of my friends and contemplation about the next move while cycling. I wanted to learn more, as quickly as possible. Contacting a coach and building a relationship, has been invaluable.
Discussing life as it had been, my story. Making me aware, it wasn't his place to be my therapist, we simply needed a baseline to work from. Discovering that where I thought I'd dealt with the loss of my grandfather, and that it couldn't be influencing me now. This wasn't necessarily true; I consciously didn't think about him anymore. When I did think about him, I'd become upset and stop immediately.
I've now discussed my grandfather's loss with my father, how we dealt with it at the time. Agreeing, this was the first time it had happened to either of us, we had no previous experience of how to deal with such a loss. Shedding a tear or two over him, I've also thought about him and discussed him with friends. Looking back at the short time we had together with love, cherishing the memories of him, without it affecting me emotionally in a negative way.
My coach and I also discussed what had been achieved in my personal growth and development, since leaving the hospital. Together we formulated a plan of action, enabling me to continue to be successful in my endeavour to maintain a contented and fulfilled life.
I now possess a firm understanding of what was happening to my brain, and me as a person, when I was cycling, thinking and meditating. On several occasions, I’d made references to contemplation and mobile meditation when out riding and subsequently naming and posting my rides.
I've gained this knowledge by investing in myself and spending time, attending live events, hosted by neuroscientists and quantum physicists, plus reading many books.
Becoming interested in biological evidence, that our brain and our thoughts have an overall effect on our health. This obviously, giving me insight into my own healing and recovery.
Attempting to digest as much of the latest scientific research, that has been taking place, utilising brain scans and the study of behaviour, over the last decade or so, as possible.
Added to what I believed to be fundamental methods of moving forward (which were highly successful, achieving fantastic results), accompanied by numerous coaching courses and the study of NLP.
Along with listening to and discussing issues with anyone that wanted to talk. Has given me a realistic world understanding of the whole process of change and moving forward in whatever way is desired.
A different life.
Being fitter and healthier than I ever imagined I could be. Understanding myself more than I ever have, I'm much closer to becoming the real me.
I've spent time contemplating and meditating about the most effective ways of accepting, and dealing with my thoughts and emotions, realising that they weren't simply going to vanish because I'd almost died.
I can no longer be the person that was so competitive about life, understanding it nearly put me in an early grave.
The realisation that, attempting to control everything and subsequently losing control, had a profoundly negative effect on my life. It would no longer be viable for me to continue with this behaviour.
A new world.
I've started travelling again, now though I experience and have a real appreciation of how beautiful the places I visit are and the world itself is.
Hating no one, the self-loathing and guilt are gone. The constant dialog in my head has disappeared and I've thrown away my mask. I've learned to love and accept myself for who I am right now, with the intention, to never stop evolving as a person.
Important relationships, which were neglected and lost, with family and old friends, have been rebuilt.
I've discussed my decision to give up playing rugby with my coach and how mixed up my thoughts were at that time, which was an extremely positive experience.
I'm learning to play the bass guitar, the enjoyment of playing and listening to music is an important part of my life, as it once was.
The old beliefs have been scrapped, replaced with positive new ones, that will help me in life. I am grateful for and love living life every day, I haven't drunk alcohol since leaving the hospital, importantly I've broken my addiction to 'my pub’, although I've never stopped using it.
Family relationships have never been better, we have moved on from the horrendous past, we enjoy each other’s company like we used to, spending lots of quality time together.
Breaking my clavacle.
This was an unexpected turn of events, while cycling in Italy, I came off the bike and broke my collarbone. Preventing me from participating in the activities that I now loved, for a couple of months at least. I was also unable to drive.
As it transpired, a couple of months, became five and a half months. Unable to ride a bike, or train in pretty much any way, for almost half of the year.
Could have been worse.
Not for a moment did I feel or think, why did this have to happen? What was I going to do now? Or that it had set me back in any way. I had no negativity about the situation, it hadn't affected how I felt, it could have been worse and other than concentrating on recovering, there was no point in wasting any energy on thinking about it.
This was a true test of how much I'd grown, previously a situation like this, where things hadn't gone according to plan. Would have been a real issue for me, I'd have found it difficult to deal with.
Wearing the sling, simply because the doctor at A&E asked me to, until I'd seen the consultant. Only then wearing a sling, when I was walking longer distances, of up to twelve miles a day.
Operation and recovery.
Thankfully, a surgeon I met on a cycling trip, operated on my shoulder and put a plate in there, this enabled me to get back into training as soon as was possible.
There were some major positives to be taken from this, it's very easy to say, nothing that happens will affect how I feel, a change in circumstances or external events and my feelings internally.
Stress and our body.
I now understand that stress, basically, shuts down our immune system. Our body doesn't need to repair, if it is preparing to run, or fight. Also believing, our body can deal with pain, as well as repair itself, without the need for medication. The fact that my stomach and oesophagus have been confirmed twice, by a specialist after carrying out endoscopies, to look like there has never been anything wrong with them, supports this argument.
Genetically, there are only a small percentage of human beings, that are born with a disease. It is our reaction to the environment influencing our emotional state. Which sends a signal to the cells, which up-regulate, or down-regulate, the expression of our genes. When we send positive instructions to our cells, the gene produces an up-regulated protein and vise, versa. Epigenetics says, we are not victims of our genes.
When we are in homeostasis, our immune system functions correctly, the body produces immunogloblins which work to fight infections. When we are aware of our thoughts, become positive, the effect of pain which is a stress on our body, is reduced. We are much better able to deal with pain, our perception of it is different.
Post operation, although I was supplied with them by the hospital, I didn't take a pain killer, I allowed my body to deal with the recovery and lack of pain. Visiting the physiotherapy department, the physiotherapist was surprised to see I didn't require any treatment, mentioning my mindset in respect to my recovery.
Six weeks after the operation, the first ride I'd decided I'd like to do, was the Bwlch mountain road. When we change our focus and beliefs, we can achieve anything in life.
Being genuinely confident without the use of alcohol, has allowed me to do so much more. I've addressed my insecurities and feelings of not being enough. It's also enabled me to create the new life I needed, which incorporates numerous healthy friendships.
Confidence also allows me to be comfortable saying, I understand that although I'm no longer living in my past, it is my greatest teacher and I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday. Enabling me to create my future in the present moment, as opposed to living in it.
We are all unique, perceiving and dealing with situations in very different ways, when choosing the coach you'd like to work with, it helps if you can talk to someone who you believe might have experienced something which although it couldn't be exactly the same, you might be able to draw a comparison with.
While writing the website, sharing my story, without making that story a book. I've not only found the process therapeutic, but on times quite difficult. I've in no way wanted to convey a person, that remains angry or bitter. I have attempted to remove any venom, that was flowing through me previously, I have moved on in my life. There is no way it would have been possible to share my thoughts and inner most feelings with people, if I hadn't.
"It isn't the snake bite that kills you, it's the venom that continues to pour through your veins"
Process of transformation.
From the outset, I planned to approach my own process of change in a holistic manner. The activities I have chosen to participate in and use as tools, to implement that change. While becoming enjoyable and now something I very much love to do, most of them were not activities I was particularly fond of earlier in life.
I have a complete understanding, that some of the activities I have utilised, may be something that you are indifferent to. There is a vast amount of activities available, to be used as a tool in the process of moving forward, it is the result we are concerned with, not the activities.
Everything on this site, is written from personal experience, which is in the past. I apportion no blame. Everyone involved in the situation acted, at that time, as they had been conditioned to act, by their own lives and experiences.
Realistically, at that time, I'd become a walking ego, I could see very little good in life. All I managed to achieve was, to cause hurt and destruction.
Accepting, it's all been part of my journey, where previously it was tough, I'm now loving every moment of it. I've never felt more at ease with myself and also I believe, found my purpose.
It's also important to point out, although I in no way dismiss the issues I've experienced. Taking responsibility for my life, successfully moving forward and reinventing myself, has completely changed my perception of it, and I have not looked back.
I can help you create new beliefs.
Together we can explore what beliefs are holding you back and where they came from. Create new healthy beliefs that will add to your contentment in life, enhancing your ability to achieve whatever you set your mind to.
I can help you be comfortable being you.
A journey, an exploration into who you are, find out what makes you tick. Quieten your mind, become confident and relaxed in life.