As you may have noticed, this blog has been a lot less active in recent times. I’ve still been eating out a lot, but for various reasons I have not been writing about it, largely because my workload elsewhere has gone up a notch, and my priorities shifted a bit to other areas of my life, away from writing.
Well, I am back. And I am pivoting the blog somewhat, to be less about food (although pics and short reviews will still be a regular feature, Kalo 50 and Burger & Beyond due in the coming days!), and more about me.
That sounds a bit conceited, so let me explain.
On May 9th 2018 I took my last drink of alcohol, at roughly 5am, at a friend’s pub. I didn’t realise that when I drank it. My initial intention was a short break, and then to moderate my drinking. I only decided to commit to doing a year a few months in, after not drinking at my own 40th birthday party. And now, the idea of ever going back to it again seems absurd. I’ve found that this one major decision has enabled and helped a whole cascade of positive things to enter my life. More on the concept of keystone habits later…
This may have you concerned that this will be some sort of sobriety-bore-blog.
It won’t be.
I personally think that a lot of people in the UK would benefit from sobriety (or, if they can, moderation), but it’s a very personal thing, and it is not for me to tell anyone else what they need, least of all people I don’t even know.
What I have managed to do in the time since that last drink is, to paraphrase the name of a book I read last year, unfuck myself. I was 39, and in the grip of various negative habits, which over time had just become The Way Things Are And Always Shall Be.
I am a reasonably successful DJ. I have played something in the region of 150-250 gigs a year for a long time. A bottomless, free pit of booze is available at almost all my gigs. You can see how that could lead to issues! My self image was built around being Party Boy, and I was actually quite shy without drink inside me, and stagecraft didn’t come naturally to me, so 1 or 2 (or 10) drinks helped me loosen up in front of an audience.
Anyway. Roll forward 15 months and I am a transformed man. Physically, there’s a LOT less of me, and the me that is left runs faster and lifts much heavier weights. I have a 6-pack for the first time since the mid 1990s! I didn’t see that coming a couple of years back!
My debts are cleared, substantial savings in their place (the difference is quite scary tbh, I’m still not sure where that money was going). My diet is vastly improved. I sleep miles better, and need less sleep to be properly rested. I have the energy and time to take on new projects such as this podcast for Getahead, and my DJ schedule has gone up a level, as has my level of performance – I am undoubtedly a better DJ now. I have discovered that it’s entirely possible to live as a DJ and get up in the mornings and be productive. Who knew?!?
Perhaps most crucially, my mental health has been a revelation.
I had become used to life being a certain way, and part of the furniture of that life was suicidal ideation, on an almost daily basis. I understand that this is probably not something most people have going on. But the bigger picture for me is that I spent 20+ years thinking something pretty awful was normal, then when I started improving how I lived, I realised that I had the power to choose if I wanted that in my life or not. This may be the case for many of you – things you just accept as inevitable reality might not be so. I thought alcohol and drugs gave me respite from my demons – in fact it created and fed them.
This gives you some idea of why I feel that my life took a very good turn back in May 2018. I have learnt a lot about myself, my job, the world around me, and have some ideas and insights I’m looking forward to sharing, and I’m hoping that in turn I can learn more from others who get in touch to discuss their experiences. Big shout out to the brilliant record pool Heavy Hits for inspiring me to make this shift in emphasis for this blog, and these posts will be also posted over on their site.