#MyProjectRehab - 5 Years Sober
I was approached by an ambassador for Miss Mykie and asked to write about my journey with Sobriety. Just a summary and overview to show that to both young and old, living life sober is achievable and extremely worth it
Obviously my close friends will recollect how my life was whilst I suffered with alcohol dependancy and others saw what I endured in order to get clean. There are dark elements to my story no doubt, but every coin has a flip side, I can't just project a story of love and light, it wouldn't be authentic and it wouldn't be the full picture, that said becoming sober is the greatest thing i've done, but it didn't come without its challenges...
On Miss Mykie's site there are lots of testimonials that others have written, I ask you to please check some of the accounts out... A bunch of incredible and inspirational human beings have written about the hurdles they've overcome with addiction.
To read the article and others please go to: 'For your convenience i've attached my article to this blog'
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Project Rehab Testimonial
Written by: Darryl Kempster
Instagram: lefthandedvegan ( primary ) & dragonclinic ( work )
My journey into sobriety has categorically been one of the greatest achievements in my life, along with having my daughter Isabelle and getting married to Hayley… that said it was not the easiest at times.
On July 29th 2017 I celebrated 5 years of sobriety, a huge milestone for me. I’m never one to really celebrate my life achievements, but I actually found myself giving a reach-around pat on the back for this one, especially when I think back to the dawn of my sobriety - the feeling of being struck with absolute fear and overwhelming panic when faced with the realisation that, in order to save myself, I needed never to drink again…
I guess to some degree I was always aware that I had a drink problem and for years I maintained I was in control. A spiritual friend of mine announced one day that her book had been published with Hay House Media ( for those of you who don’t know Hay House Media, it was started by Louise Hay who is widely regarded as the High Goddess of self-help and personal development ). This was amazing news for my friend; suddenly her Facebook timeline was filled with photos of her touring the US doing book signings. To show support I bought her book, and faced with a somewhat quiet night shift, I opted for the Kindle edition so it would instantly arrive on my iPad. The book was entitled, ‘A Strand of Pearls: One Women's Journey to Light & Peace’. Sounds spiritual AF right? As I began reading her story, I experienced a chilling realisation that, if names of people and places were different, I was reading so many scenarios from my own life… it dawned on me that my friend Debbie was an alcoholic, which I didn’t know till this time. Of course, in comparison ( I tried to rationalise it in my head ) I was different, I was in control. I pulled out my diary, I was a busy guy and found myself meticulously living by the big black book. I started to point to days, working late there, so I can have a cheeky drink but not much, oh! and I have to be up early the next day, day off here, I’ll get on it… early start here, hmmm, possibly could have a cheeky one there too. Suddenly it hit me, I wasn't in control and I was still being held to ransom by my diary and my schedule, which were dictating when I could and couldn’t drink.
The only way I could take control, to have total control of myself, was to stop…
Now I just want to digress and paint a picture for you; from 2001 until I retired from the industry in 2014 I was a specialist Close Protection Officer ( a Bodyguard ) for many celebrities from all around the world and elite businessmen and women. What I’m trying to say is, I have often been faced with danger and I don’t scare easily . . . but that instant, realising I could never drink again, suddenly struck me to the core with fear. I began to shake, I felt sick . . . then I actually did vomit, tears streamed soon after… I was a wreck. I was in so much pain about the prospect of going to a BBQ or party and not drinking. I mean, who would do that?
I continued reading the book . . . stories about groups of friends moving on, because you were the issue; group nights ending with the realisation, ‘whoa, we drank four bottles of wine tonight’, then the two drivers pipe up saying they didn't have any and the other two there claim to only have had 1-2 glasses each, suddenly everyone peering at you like you’re the one that’s just put away three bottles… I lived this time and time again. The end of my friend’s book and start of her new journey results in her overcoming her addiction, abstaining from alcohol and repairing her relationships with her family. I was still on the fence. This was April 2012; I still had three months drinking in me yet before I had my awakening and hit rock bottom.
I went out one last night, I began drinking from waking up - it was a day off after all. The night ended in chaos, a horrific fight taking place between myself and Hayley, rendering us separated and a once beautiful house lay in ruin. In that instant I hated who I was, who I had become, in short a monster. It was now time to take action. I read Debbie’s book once again, looking for insight and tips.
I was about 5 days into being sober and I was flaking… I was at work, the enormity of what I was undertaking was too much. I started to rationalise and clutch at straws, like . . . it’s in my make-up, it’s my destiny, it was in my contract coming into this very incarnation. Why fight it? It’s who I am, I should just accept who I am. Hayley and I were working things out but my mind spiralled out of control, thinking, if I were single I would not be accountable to anyone, I wouldn't hurt anyone. I felt desperate and thoughts of ending it clattered about in my mind . . . but what about Isabelle? Hmmm, good point, I began to write her a suicide letter, but understood that it needed to be a letter enabling her to totally understand, so that in reading it she’d know in an instant why I took my own life and would minimise her pain… but mere words could never express the magnitude of what I was feeling.
I had absolutely convinced myself that suicide was my only option now. I was at work and I walked out to the nature reserve at the rear of the building… the sun was shining… I sat on the decked pier of the pond looking up to the sun. Within moments, seriously a matter of minutes, the sky had turned black and rain started to pour down. I know that rain is cleansing, an emotional release, but given my state of mind it pissed me off… I jumped up and started screaming to the sky, blaming the God/ the Universe for all my downfalls in life, my voice becoming hoarse from the effort. The rain intensified, harder and harder it fell… the rain drops became bigger and bigger… it was apocalyptic and almost biblical, the rain soon transitioned to hail… the stones becoming larger and larger and larger. The only reason my outburst stopped was because I had to shelter my face - the hail was starting to hurt. Thunder crashed and lightning illuminated the deep black sky. The hail got so intense it broke my state and I collapsed to my knees on the decking of the pier. I looked up and screamed, “I surrender, please help me.” What happened next was amazing, I couldn't believe my eyes, the hail stopped almost instantly, the dark clouds parted and within minutes the sun was shining down on me. I was drenched- my shirt, trousers, everything practically stuck to me. As I walked back into the building I felt empowered, renewed with a powerful strength.
I started to attend AA meetings but found some people there were still trapped by their addiction. One gentleman told me that at 17:00 on a Friday evening he turned his phone off and didn’t put it back on until 09:00 Monday morning, thus avoiding his friends and the possibility of temptation. He’d done this for 15 years! I thought to myself, bro that’s not freedom! In fact two others I spoke with gave similar accounts of their weekends. I know I met these people for a reason. Immediately, I started to integrate myself into pub life and social scenes with friends. I wanted freedom! What transpired was actually hilarious in hindsight… announce you’re sober and you’ll see who your true friends are. I didn’t have to worry about turning off my phone… my so called friends stopped calling me. It’s very funny to watch how people act around you when you don’t drink, it makes them more uncomfortable than you!
I remember being so stricken with fear about how my life would look without alcohol and its funny because I’m socially more active now and do so many varied things around the world. I’ve found that alcohol isn’t even a factor in my daily life - there really is a vast expanse of living to explore. Alcoholism is like the box room of a 8 bedroom mansion and there’s so much more in life to live, do and experience.
From my personal experience, I’d say the first 60 days were mentally the toughest. Firstly, you have to overcome the physical addiction and then tackle the psychological re-programming of your mind, which can take between 21-40 days to re-wire the neurones in your brain and create a new habit or behaviour. I attended AA meetings as and when I I needed the support. I created a morning ritual that I have continued every day to this day; it’s like brushing my teeth… automatic.
One thing I’ve learned is that my ego will not allow me to say I’ll never drink again, its clearly too big a commitment! We have only this one moment, this second… this second. In my morning ritual I honour myself by affirming that I will abstain from alcohol today. My ego lays low with this intention.
Sometimes, however, my ego will try to rear up. I remember one time, I was cruising, I was about 18 months in, at the point that I’d all but forgotten about alcohol from my conscious brain… my ego rises up… ‘You know you can have a drink right?’ I ignore it … my ego starts again, ‘there is no way you’d ever take it to where you were before and you know that!’ . . . ‘think of the people you hurt, but you’re mature now, you see the world with a new insight’ . . . ‘I’ll tell you what… have one drink now and then don't have one for three weeks just to prove you’re no longer addicted.’ My head started to spin! I looked for the closest AA meeting in the area taking place day. Perfect, I had a few hours to endure before it started. I got to the meeting proud that I’d made it that far.
The story told that day was one from the Big Book. A gentleman, who throughout his 20’s was a bit of a wide boy and a jack the lad, at 30 admitted he was a full blown alcoholic. He spent 35 years sober, retired, house paid off, had grandchildren of his own. Then his inner voice got a grip, saying, ‘you’re not a young lad any more, look at all this responsibility you have.’ The gentleman decided to have that drink and, within the space of 4-6 weeks, his habit and thirst had returned to how it was in his 20’s. Sadly, within 6 months the gentleman had passed away with liver complications.
Now… I know I can never drink again, but for now it’s one step at a time… one day… one hour… one minute… one second…
The positive side to this story is I’ve found life far exceeding my expectations of what I ever thought it could be. Addiction puts a limitation veil on life and sobriety can hoist that veil far out of sight.
There are so many rewards in sobriety. I know some parts of my story read quite dark, but everyone is different. I’m not saying you’ll encounter the same, the thing to remember is we are never given more than we can handle. If you feel like there’s too much on your plate, reach out, my handle for Instagram is being provided with this article, I am willing to share and impart any tools I used myself. Focus on your steps, write your letters to people apologising. Forgiving yourself is the biggest advise I can give you. Shame and guilt serve no place in your future; these two emotions are amongst the lowest vibrations our bodies can experience. The highest is joy… surrender… surrender your addiction to a higher source and power, be it God, the Divine, the Universe, the Holy Spirit. Surrender and forgiveness are the keys to ensure your success.
Surround yourself with positive people; flood your conscious mind with inspiring media such as YouTube or Gaia.
I wish you all the very best in your path to sobriety.
Love, Light & Blessings Always