If I Hadn’t Seen Such Riches I Could Live With Being Poor

Today I woke up tired. I’m a middle aged father of three teenage kids. It’s what I do.

Today I woke up sore. I’m training for a marathon next year. My tenth no less. At the minutes this necessitate 30 mile weeks. My knee hurts. My back hurts. I’m sore.

Today I woke up without a hangover.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. I’ve been waking up without a hangover for over seven years now. Yet today it hit me, amidst the yawning and aches and pains. I wasn’t hungover. There was no nausea, no fatigue, no headache. Best of all, there was no fear. The dread of ‘what did I do or say last night.’ The shame, the guilt, the worry that I had messed up again and hurt loved ones.

The one day hangovers became two, then three. My body couldn’t cope with the weekly poisoning I was inflicting it with. My already fragile mental health couldn’t cope with the damage I was inflicting on myself and, more importantly, others. My father was dead and no matter how many tins of beer I consumed that wasn’t changing. He wasn’t coming back. It was time to sober up, man up and front up.

I stopped hiding. Behind the hangovers. For all the big promises and false starts, it was actually quite easy in the end. I just stopped. No big announcements, no magic pill, no dramatic intervention or twelve week counselling session. I just stopped. I remember the last night I went out drinking a work colleague I was with had a stroke. Maybe that was a contributing factor, I don’t know.

I stopped lying. That was more difficult. Lying is a habit and it came easily to me. It was much simpler to lurk in the shadows, to evade reality than step out into the glaring light and expose my vulnerabilities and weakness. It’s still a work in process and there’s always the temptation to take the easy option when the going gets tough. I’m a recovering liar, I always will be and that’s the truth.

I’m not perfect, far from it. I’m no superhero or knight in shining armour. I still drive Fionnuala nuts on a daily basis. But I’m making progress, despite all the slips and stumbles along the way. And I will never grow tired of waking up on a Sunday morning without a hangover. What’s more it’s absolutely free, in fact I’m saving money. I awake now with dignity, pride and purpose. I have wrestled my life back.

I turn my back on what has passed and focus instead on what could be, what will be. It’s amazing how far you can get on a bucketful of determination with a sprinkling of ability. You can only truly appreciate the freshness of the morning breeze when you have tasted the dank, foul air at the bottom of the abyss. To quote the band James, ‘If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor.’

Are you waking up hungover today? Alcohol? Prescription drugs? Or has your mental health taken such a battering in recent days that you feel broken, bereft, on the point of giving up? I can’t wave a magic wand and make that disappear but I can offer you my story; one of hope and possibility. I can tell it again and again for whoever wants to hear it, whoever needs to hear it. Today we live.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

69 thoughts on “If I Hadn’t Seen Such Riches I Could Live With Being Poor

  1. Good on you. I gave up booze after my first hangover, which might make me sound smug, but I’ve struggled with plenty of other things. It’s good to be reminded of good choices, of honesty and effort.

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  2. Thank you for this piece. I’m reminded how grateful I am to have a body that aches from working Opal’s Farm rather than the throbbing haze of frequent hangovers. Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing the real “real”!

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  3. Great post, thank you for being so honest.I believe your experience with alcohol had a big purpose where you could help others .This is because for those who never went through addiction its a hard experience to try and relate to those who are currently looking for help or going through it now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve had two alcoholic induced hangovers and I just can’t! Thankfully, Getting sick has kept me from becoming an alcoholic.
    I do have “hangovers” but it is more due to lack of proper sleep which my dna is in total control. So I try very hard not to have appointments before 11am. However, I will be struggling to attend a class that starts at 9am one day a week. I will do it. I will be horrid… yet maybe it will help me try harder in other days.

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  5. Really brave and very moving but more than that very relatable to me.
    I am 22 years sober and after a few years of drinking I no longer had hangovers but I did act without thought and consideration for other people and their feelings.
    I really don’t know how many people I hurt along the way or even sometimes how I survived.
    I have woken up in bus shelters, doorways and even on a Chesterfield suite in our company boardroom and have had alcoholic blackouts.
    I love waking up today sober and unashamed, without fear and being absolutely lucid and my life has been truly blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My cure for hangovers was fairly straight forward. I simply never stopped drinking.

    I thought I would be giving up a lot when I stopped drinking. I’ve come to realize over the past 350 days that I’ve given up nothing, and better yet – been able to reclaim everything I thought was gone forever. Thanks for the post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Such a powerful testimony. You shared from your heart. We all have our faults and we all are a work in progress. Thank God that He accepts us just as we are, with all the flaws. Blessings to you.

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  8. “You can only truly appreciate the freshness of the morning breeze when you have tasted the dank, foul air at the bottom of the abyss” ha! so true..well said!. I get 3 day hangovers these days if I over drink. Totally not worth it. I love waking up without a hangover on a Sunday.

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  9. This is a beautiful testimony. It gives some us hope when others share. I am trying to recover from something else I am too shy to share publicly. I thought I had overcome it at one point in my life and I found myself relapsing while battling depression and it’s been a struggle ever since. So, this is good for people like me. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. Amen. The world is magical when you can truly experience without the sharp edges being blunted. The good, the bad and the ugly. It’s life and I spent too much time numbing myself out, I missed so many things in all their splendour. But not today, today my life is enriched by all experience and I’m a grateful person in recovery. Great post x

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  11. This is such an honest raw post. I’m a new blogger and still not brave enough to reveal much about myself. When you do, you help people. And you open up a dialogue about things people aren’t comfortable saying. Thank you

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      1. I read blogging tips from a very successful blogger saying not to “whine” about your problems or day to day stuff because it’s not helpful to anyone. He suggests you do top 10 lists and use bullet points. Lol. I think that’s bologna! You keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve got a huge following so you’re obviously doing something right!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your story. I was diagnosed in July with a lung disease and stopped drinking then. Before that, I regularly messed up my life with alcohol. Your post encourages me and reminds me of how good it is to wake up in the mornings with a clear mind.

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