I lost it all to drink - but now I’m happier than ever


​Sean O'Dere lost practically everything he owned through alcohol. But he's now happier than ever. 

18th February 2015 by TFN 1 Comment

When I worked in London I remember thinking I had the perfect life: the wife, the family, the job, the house, the car and the salary.

Ten short years later I remember the moment I thought my life was over - having lost the lot.

The reason was alcohol. I was always a drinker and drink has always been a part of everything I had achieved. So I got into the way of thinking it was a recipe for success when in actual fact it was the reason my world collapsed.

Now I run an Alcoholics Anonymous spin-off group in Tollcross, Glasgow, called The Spiritless Gap. I’m four years sober and I’m driven by a desire to help others battle the illness of alcohol.

My own story I hear all the time in others – a successful life lost to the bottle.

The 12 Step Programme, advocated by AA, is the starting point, except our meetings take out the spiritual side of things. Many people going to AA can’t quite grasp the spiritual element – that we have to give in to a “power greater than ourselves”. I couldn’t so I decided to leave AA and start a group where people were free from any religious doctrine.

It’s just an alternative approach but is essentially same as the AA programme. We hold meetings every night either facilitated by myself or others from the group and we also run a weekend and night time helpline staffed by volunteers.

The one difference we try and promote is getting away from the notion alcohol pervades your entire life. It may be reason behind your past problems but we advocate the past is the past. In our meetings we promote the future – what individuals can do to avoid drink and live a fulfilled life.

I found the big issue with AA was the fact everything centred round your past. It was about atoning and this constant idea of recovery. We don’t use the term “recovering alcoholic”; neither do we come from the angle you’re always an alcoholic. We see progress instead – a series of coping stages with each one an advance on the last. It works for many.

And we’re not entirely anonymous either. A lot of AA rules hark back to the post-war period when Bill and Bob first founded the organisation. But people today are far more open about alcohol and, I feel, unless more people realise the extent of the issue it will always remain a problem that doesn’t get the support it deserves.

Recently we’ve joined with NHS Greater Glasgow Addiction Services to inform health workers, GPs and hospital workers on alcoholism. The partnership also mean they will signpost people to our group if they think it’ll will help them.

People do recover from alcohol. It doesn’t characterise you and it doesn’t need to be who you are. It can be life-threatening it can be life-ending but many, with support, can life a full life without it and without any adverse effects.

I’d like to think I bear testimony to that. I might not have what I used to have but I’m in a good place. I'm still in touch with my family, we have a good relationship and I'm back working. 

And I always say to myself people have lost a lot more than me without drink being involved.  

24th July 2015 by David Babcook

I would like to share a song I wrote years ago with you.About a tormented drunk holding a shot glass all alone.Its on video you tube song is Another Shot Of Jack thanks Dave