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  • Writer's picturePaul Burston

New year, new me?

First, the good news. Today marks my second anniversary of going sober. Earlier this year, for the first time since quitting, I came close to caving in and ordering a drink. But the moment soon passed and here we are, two whole years or 750 days without alcohol. And I won’t lie. It feels good. I prefer my life like this. I prefer me like this. So much so, I'm even more determined to stick with it.

Now for the not so good news. This time last year I resolved to be kinder and braver. I think I've done pretty well on the first, but the second quality has been in short supply. I’ve been in a state of limbo, fearing that if I step outside my comfort zone, things will fall apart. Some things have fallen apart and I haven’t been brave enough to face them and move forward. I’ve been like Helen in my novel The Black Path, hemmed in by fear. (As a side note, I’m often struck by how strangely prophetic my novels have been - but maybe that was just my subconscious telling me things I wasn’t able to see for myself at the time.)

Six months from today, my memoir will be published. It’s called We Can Be Heroes - and if ever there was an added incentive to be braver, this is it. We are, as the Pet Shop Boys once sang, fearless when we’re young. It’s time for me to reconnect with the brave young man I was - and take better care of the older, battle scarred one I’ve become. "Just for one day", if that's all I can manage. But preferably "forever and ever." Courage calls to courage, after all. Much like sobriety, it all starts with one small step.

Whatever your New Year’s resolutions, whether or not you even have them, I hope 2023 is a better, healthier, kinder year for us all.

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