Tag Archives: sobriety

Recovery Rocks – Mark Hardwicke

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This weeks interview is with Mark Hardwicke who has been sober for 8 years. His story is truly extraordinary, a homeless, desperate drunk who got sober and now runs his own business.

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

Although there had been a number of mini-rock bottoms during my life, the rock bottom that finally brought me to my knees came the day before my sobriety birthday. Although I was about 9 stone (126 pounds) and was in the worse physical shape of my life, having existed on the street for the preceding 2 years, it was what was happening in my mind that finally got me.

I am an intelligent person and so I know that people who drank like I drank do not die quietly in their sleep at 80 years old surrounded by the grandkids. People who drank like I drank go out sad, lonely, painfully and early.

I was so scared to death of dying that I knew I had to stop drinking. The problem was that in the same moment and the same though I was also so scared to death of living without alcohol that I knew I could not stop drinking.

This was a tortuous mental crossroads the likes of which I had never experienced.

2) What was your ‘moment of truth’ or ‘clarity’ that prompted you to get sober/clean?’

It was the realization that the tortuous mental crossroads in my head left me with no more options. I could not go on and I could not go back. I was done. I no longer had the power to fight. The ability to lie to myself and those around me. I no longer believed I was ‘fine’. I just gave up. I was beaten in to a state of reasonableness. I just cried.

3) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

The first 30 days of my sobriety were a blur. I met some amazing people who offered me so much unconditional love and support that it was somewhat overwhelming.

4) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

Being restored to sanity and being introduced to a power greater than me that enable me to handle absolutely anything that life throws at me irrespective of what it is. There is nothing that can happen in my life today that God and I can’t deal with together.

The stand out thing that has happened since being clean and sober is to have been present to see my wonderful son William James born on the 4th of August 2011. Nothing could have prepared me for how magical that moment was going to be and for just how much love it is possible to feel for someone else.

5) If you could go back in time to you when you were dinking/using what would you tell yourself?

I would not tell myself to stop drinking or point our the error of my ways. Because I would not listen to the future me any more then I listened to those around me who gave their opinions and advice. I was only ever going to stop when I had reach my rock bottom and so the most helpful thing that I could have said to myself was “Drink more, drink faster, use more and get to your rock bottom quicker”.

6) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?

I am now and always have been a worthwhile human being. I have never been a bad person just a sick person. I am decent, genuine, kind, generous and loving. I sometimes allow myself to be taken advantage of and so there are parts of me that still need work. I am perfectly imperfect and am completely fine with that.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?

To be honest I am not really a big fan of slogans. It is just a personal thing. The one phrase that I keep in my is “to the precise extent that we permit it….” I find that I can fit to so many areas of my life and it makes me responsible for anything that happens in my life and not other people.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’

Recovery is the foundation upon which every other aspect of my life has been built. I have a wonderful life today. It is vastly different from the life that I thought that I was going to have, but I would not swap it for anything.

In addition to this I am blessed to observe and take part in seeing other people come in to recovery as broken as I was and then over time watch as the light returns to their eyes, the color to their skin and the smiles to their faces.

I’ve been sober longer than I drank for.

Me at 15

Me at 15

Me at 40

Me at 40

Today is my birthday.
I’m 13 years sober. It’s a big deal for me because I’ve now been sober longer than I actually drank for.
I drank from the ages of 15 to 27.
That might seem weird, that if it’s been that long then surely the problem has gone away.
Unfortunately not. Because as an alcoholic my drinking was only actually a symptom, it wasn’t the real problem.
The problem was deep in my soul, I was dying on the inside and alcohol just relieved the pain.
When I stopped drinking I had to heal my soul and learn how to live as my problem has always been living not drinking.
I found tools, I got help, I worked hard and I found freedom. It hasn’t always been easy but there was no other way for me. What drinking taught me was that I didn’t want to die, that I wanted to live. I just didn’t know how.
Sobriety has been the biggest and most rewarding adventure I could possibly imagine. It has been more fun, more exciting, more fulfilling, more rewarding, more, well just more…
And I wouldn’t change a thing, not even the drinking and the horror that came with it. Because without that I wouldn’t have this, and this is better than anything I could ever have imagined.