Hitting Rock Bottom

2019 is the 20th anniversary of me stopping drinking and gambling. Back in 1999, I was 25, newly married; I had a chronic gambling problem combined with memory loss and regular blackouts from the binge drinking.

My life was spiralling out of control. It was a new year, and I had just spent Christmas Day vomiting in my Mother Inlaws toilet after getting blind drunk on Christmas Eve. I knew, just how to make a good first impression!

I decided to stop drinking and gambling. I had known I needed to do this for about three years. But could never commit to it. So, my new wife and I spent a dry New Year’s Eve at home watching tv. I was miserable and bored. This feeling got worse and worse over the next three weeks, and by the end of January, I was back drunk, in the casino.

Will power was never going to be enough. If you want to create lasting change, you must change the way you see yourself.

Six months later I hit rock bottom, I was fired from my job, my wife had caught me cheating, and the debt collectors were closing in as my massive credit card debt exploded.

Around this time, I was lucky enough to read two books that helped me make a change. Beechy Colclough is a no-nonsense, straight-talking ex-alcoholic and his book is called the Effective Way To Stop Drinking. The other book was Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Control Alcohol.

The combined message of these two books, along with a lot of therapy, helped me change my outlook on myself and my addictions. It became about “choosing not to do something” rather than “giving something up”. This distinction was hugely important for me.

I felt I was no longer missing out. I began to feel empowered. My self-vision slowly changed.

I started to see myself as the kind of person who chose not to drink and gamble. It was liberating, and the change stuck.

Of course, some days are harder than others. Addiction is a coping response to emotional feelings. These didn’t go away, and I had to learn different coping strategies. But I’m happy to say I’m here, 20 years on, still choosing each day not to drink or gamble.

If you are seeking to make a change in your life, then focus your thoughts on changing the way you see yourself. The answer lies in changing your mental picture of yourself. You need to see yourself as the type of person you want to become.

I hope you will give this a go. It will help you reach your goals. Remember we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

Thanks For Reading!

Hi, I’m Luke Bream, the author of this blog, one of the co-founders of Valentte, hillwalker, cyclist, dreamer and an eternal optimist! My writing is focused on learning how we create the life we have always imagined, become the person we have always wanted to be in order to fulfill the dreams and goals we have set ourselves. I believe there is a power within each of us to achieve whatever we commit to mastering. Want to hear more? Read my full story. (coming soon…)

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Conversations are very boring if it’s all one-way. Don’t leave me talking to myself, wondering if what I’m writing resonates with you. Please be brave and share your own story in the comments section below. We can help each other by learning together. I read and respond to each one.

26 replies on “Hitting Rock Bottom

  • Kimberley

    Luke – Fabulous, honest message. You have stayed amazingly strong and sober throughout these past 20 years.
    Valentte benefits from your undivided and unswayed enthusiasm.
    Proud to call you my brother. Xx

    • Valentte

      Hi Kaz
      It’s very hard to help someone through this kind of thing. All you can do is be there for them. Tragically we usually need to hit rock bottom before we are able to accept any help from others. Best Regards Luke x

  • Cathie

    Wow so open and honest. Well done Luke. I’m enjoying reading your messages and can relate. You are obviously on a journey for the good off others. As well as making beautiful products you have a beautiful soul. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Sarah

    Luke You are incredibly brave and honest to share your story and the challenges you have faced.
    What great success you have achieved in choosing to change your life , from both a business and personal perspective , it’s so wonderful to hear this positive story.
    I find the blogs you send out each week a great source of inspiration,opening your eyes to see life so differently .
    You are making such a positive impact on people’s lives in so many ways in doing what you are doing – both by sharing your thoughts like this and selling your lovely products that smell so gorgeous and make others feel so good. Thank you

    • Valentte

      Thank you Sarah. I feel very nervous every time I click publish on one of these blog posts. It means a lot to hear your feedback and know that it has resonated with you.
      Best regards Luke x

  • Lorna Wheeler

    Luke you are an inspiration to all of us who are struggling with issues that seem insurmountable. Your latest blog was so searingly honest it made me gasp. I’m so pleased to have discovered your blog and become part of the Valentte community. Your products are as transformative as your musings and I always look forward to receiving both.
    Wanted you to know how much you are appreciated .

    • Valentte

      Hi Lorna
      Welcome to our community and thank you so very much for your kind encouraging words. I hope that you find the strength to face and overcome the challenges. Think only of today, you cannot change yesterday or tomorrow. Today you have the power to choose what you do and how you respond to life’s challenges. Take a small step today and then another one tomorrow. Best regards Luke x

      • Anne

        Oh my goodness, what can I say? You are so brave & inspirational. The hardest thing is admitting you have a problem and realising you are the only one who can change it! You have turned you’re life around and should be very proud as I’m sure you’re family & friends are of you! Well done Luke. I look forward to your next blog.

  • Susan Canning

    Wow! I have just read Hitting Rock Bottom and am so impressed with how you have turned your life around, admittedly not completely on your own but with the help of 2 books, but you had to read them and implement their advice plus the advice of the therapist which is the biggest step you could take. Long may you continue to be sober and able to stay away from gambling.

    • Valentte

      Hi Susan

      Thank you, I appreciate your message. I hope one day to be able to help others, in the way that I was helped in those early, dark days of sobriety. I worry so much about our younger generations growing up with gambling available at the click of a button on their mobile phones. Combine this with the gambling companies incredible sophistication and use of game theory to drive compulsive usage, I fear we have a hidden, but ticking time bomb. It saddens and scares me to death.

      Best Wishes and thank you

      Luke x

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