Clive’s Letter

24 April 2021


Dear alcohol,

It’s been 7 months since we’ve parted ways. And sometimes I still find myself missing you. You’ve been in my life for many years, so saying goodbye was hard, sometimes I think the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I had come to rely on you so much.

You helped me speak in front of people. You made me feel brave and confident. You gave me the courage to speak to strangers and dance like no one was watching. You helped me escape those lonely nights and disappear into a haze of forgetfulness and peace. At times you made me feel like the real me – the person I could be if I wasn’t so stuck in my head and worried what people were thinking. You made me fun. You made me laugh. You made me stop feeling.

Because feeling is hard. You know how rough things got. Especially in the last few years. I had tried to say goodbye to you before, but like a lover I can’t escape, you came back into my life, and made me forget the pain I was so desperate to ignore. 

Sometimes all I remember is what you gave me. I forget what you took away. And now I have to be honest about what you did to me. I’m not a victim to you. I chose to let you in and I chose to let you take control and I chose to let you claim me. But I have chosen to take my power back. 

Because I never realised how powerless you really made me. How fleeting your escape was. And like an abusive lover, you would hurt me and leave me craving you for more. 

I used you. 

And you let me. 

Almost two years ago, I gulped you down. And took handfuls of pills with you, to try to finally escape. I chose you as my last taste. As my final escape. You were my confidence to try to control my final act. To bow out and leave what I didn’t want to face. But it wasn’t meant to be. I tried to walk away, holding your hand, but by some miracle I stood up to face another day. And once again, chose to have you by my side.

Somehow I believed you made me feel more alive when I felt dead inside. 

I relied on you. I thought I loved you. I boasted how you were my longest relationship. You’ve been in my life since I was a child and I always struggled to go a week, and sometimes a few hours without you. I wrote about you. Encouraged people to taste you and held events where you were the hero. I let you be the hero. Instead of realising I had to man up, and choose to be my own hero.

And I forgive you and I forgive myself.

Because walking away from you has made me feel like the strongest man in the world.

God knows, I struggled to walk away. I’d go a few days, but you were like a child, sobbing for my attention and I’d give in and let you envelop me in your escape. I’d try my best to ignore you, but you were always there.

Even now you still are, as I count every day since I’ve parted ways. 

But those days are getting easier. And I’m seeing more and more of me and learning to love that me. And realising that you were wrong for me. You made me feel alive momentarily but left me crumbling the next day. Sick to my stomach with regret that I had let you in the door. Physically sick because I couldn’t get enough of you.

I now choose to remember those moments. Not the escape, not the fun, but the fear I woke up, with you lingering on my breath and in my head. With the regret I felt, and the weakness and shame I woke up to, knowing that you had won once again.

I choose to remember how you tried to control me. How you lied to me and told me I was okay and left me feeling worthless the next day. How I felt embarrassed about the way I acted when you were around, the things I said, the stumbling, the falling, and the not remembering. 

I choose to remember the days and nights you made me sick to my stomach. Lying on the bathroom floor in my own vomit.

I choose to remember the hitting and not the holding. 

I endured your abuse, not because of you, but because of me. I let you abuse me. I was lost without you and let you take control. You weren’t my strength. I was just too ashamed to see that I felt weak. I admit that. I take responsibility for it. I choose to see my foolishness and celebrate the strength I’ve shown to finally walk away. 

Because walking away from you is strength. I see you everyday. In the stores, on the screen, in my Instagram feed.

I think about you everyday as I log another day in triumph of the day I put you behind me. You were on almost every page in the last chapters of my life, and you still will be in the future. But the story will be different.

I will no longer remember what you made me feel like I could be, I will remember how walking away from you made me choose to be the person I want to be. To stand in my own strength and power, celebrate my flaws, sit with the pain of my past and remain determined to be the man I choose to be, rather than the man I let you make me believe I could be.

I thought you made me strong. I make me strong. And although you’re still very much a part of my life, you’re now on the pages of my strength. Of me claiming Clive back. You’re on the pages where leaving you behind reminds me daily of what I can really do. Just how strong I can be. 

You were significant, but you not being a part of my life is even more significant. 

So goodbye. And thank you for the lessons. I have no regrets, only a choice to walk in strength from here on. 

I choose a Clive of clarity. A Clive that sits with his feelings. A Clive that works hard not to escape. A Clive that no longer wants to run away. You helped me run away. I now choose to walk step by step, as scary as that is, with focus and a clear mind. I choose to be in control. I will no longer hand over control. I choose to walk in power.

And saying goodbye will continue to remind me just how strong I am. Because I am. Because of me. Because of a life that’s lived with a mind that wakes up fresh. That faces its demons. That chooses to live.

I choose to live.

So I’ve stopped choosing you.

Goodbye old pal.



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