My whole life I’d been desperate to know my life’s purpose. At 26, I took a step that would bring me closer to that purpose – I got sober.
This was something I desperately needed to do after growing up in an alcoholic home which led me to my own struggles with the bottle. All I can remember from my childhood was I really wanted to fit in. Playing sport helped me do this to a degree but the sense of belonging with my sport was sporadic at best. Once the game was over I went back to feeling out of place.
That all changed the first time I got drunk. It was my Dad’s 40th and I was 15 years old. The stars aligned that night. Now I knew why Mum and Dad drank so much! For the first time in my life the world made sense and I became instantly charming and confident.
Alcohol was to become the answer to ALL my problems. Well, so I thought. For the next 10 years all I wanted to do was chase the feeling that alcohol and later drugs gave me. All my focus on sport, school, family and friendships started to wane as I became more obsessed with getting wasted. There was one problem though. The booze wasn’t working as it once did and it now brought me to my knees very quickly. I remember watching as all my friends moved forward with their lives in good jobs, relationships and most importantly with a purpose.
I was living in my dad’s study after a 12 month soul-searching backpacking mission where all I did was get drunk. I went to Israel and didn’t even make it to the Dead Sea. Back home in Australia I was delivering beds for Captain Snooze three days a week and would often crash the truck given my unmanageable state. What was worse – I didn’t care. I was running out of hope.
My rock bottom came in April 2010 when after promising myself I wasn’t going to drink that weekend I found myself at a party which would of normally been my ‘pet event’. There were 200 people, great music, pretty girls, all my mates were there and I ended up having a skin-full – but I felt like a shell. I was dead emotionally and spiritually. I sat next to my best mate wishing something would change. He turned to me and said, “mate are you okay?” For the first time in my life I was honest and I said, “no, no I’m not. I have to go home.”
Alcohol was to become the answer to ALL my problems. Well so I thought.
I got up and walked out of the party, not really knowing where I was going. I went to get in my car (as I was planning not to drink) and drive home. As I opened my door a taxi rocked up … I got in that taxi and haven’t had a drink or drug since.
Almost four years later, I’d made many improvements in my life, but I found myself yearning for something bigger. On the outside, things had improved. I was now functioning in society, earning money, paying bills and even making my bed from time to time.
It was another Friday afternoon and my mate Jon and I thought it would be nice to grab a steak sandwich. As I tucked in to the sandwich, I asked Jon a question. No answer. Moments passed as I gazed back at Jon. I saw a sight I never want to see again – my mate was going purple and a drool of vomit trickled down his face.
Realising that Jon was choking, I handed him a glass of water. A piece of steak was so firmly lodged in his throat that all the water did was fill up over it like a plug, causing a drowning feeling.
Jon stood up, smashing glass and plates as he went and staggered out the back door of the café. The staff looked at me with absolute panic and I had absolutely no idea what was about to happen next. Quickly I resolved that no mate of mine was going to choke to death in a crowded café.
I followed Jon out the back and without fully understanding what I was doing, I turned him around, grabbed him around the waist Mrs Doubtfire-style, lifted him up and dropped him on the floor.
I knew that my purpose would be to help people … but how?
The next 10 seconds were in slow motion as we all watched this piece of steak dislodge from Jon’s throat and land on the floor. My friend was on his haunches trying to regain his breath and then we hugged, relieved.
In typical bloke-style, we shrugged it off and actually went back to the table and finished our meals. Yet everything had changed – a seed had been planted. I felt a rush that no drug, no beer, no girlfriend, no new car had ever given me before. I knew that my purpose would be to help people … but how?
Since then I’ve thrown myself into a journey of self-discovery and have been lucky enough to learn some incredible coping methods to move forward in my life. I know that a lot of people share the same doubts, fears, anxieties and as I did and still do, so I decided to start InsideOut.
InsideOut is social growth hub for people to gather and hang out with people who have navigated their way through life and are following their dreams. We run events and workshops covering self-improvement, business and career direction, health and fitness, relationships and more.
Helping people break free and live a life they love is now my drug. And it’s much better than having to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre every day.