Andy Moore, our CEO of Hello Sunday Morning, updates us on his alcohol journey so far, and explains why alcohol issues and leadership don’t mix .
It’s been over nine months since I last had a drink. And today is the first time I have publicly gone out and said so. I had almost stopped since 2017, but still had a drink or two at social events. At the end of last year, I decided that I still had triggers I needed to work through, so I stopped entirely.
I’ve had a love hate relationship with alcohol since the age of since. Loved it when I drank, hated it when I didn’t. That carried on through my life until 2017. I won’t go into detail about that journey, because it has been covered in a previous blog.
What I want to talk about is the benefits and challenges I’ve had since changing my relationship with alcohol, and how now I can tackle most things I would never been able to with drink in my life.
My biggest challenge (and I’m still working through this today) is once the cloud of alcohol disappeared, I noticed a) what an anxious person I am b) I had no emotional dictionary to call upon when I was feeling something and c) I was super sensitive. I had no idea how to label how I was feeling. It all felt the same to me, anxiety. Anxiety was easily triggered because everything felt personal. I realised I had not moved on from my childhood issues. I had just pushed them down.
I know now that most people struggle with this, whether they have alcohol in their life or not. For me though, the anxiety, the emotional immaturity and the sensitivity hit me like a bolt from the blue. I wasn’t prepared for it at all, and feelings rose to the surface that I’ve been keeping down for years.
I also learnt my default coping mechanism was to hide away when things got too much.
Working through these initial challenges has been hard. I don’t want to play it down. It was hard. But the work has been so worth it. It has enriched my life way beyond what I thought it could. I am more resilient, more compassionate, have so much more patience and I am (still) learning how to communicate how I am feeling. My anxiety has subsided, and I am nowhere near as sensitive anymore. I do think some level of sensitivity can be a superpower when used well. I don’t want to lose that sensitivity completely.
It sounds like a tough journey. Why go through the pain?
Good question. I sometimes ask myself the same thing. But one thing I know for sure. I am a better leader, a better husband and a better father without alcohol in my life.
There is no way on this earth I could have moved into executive leadership and then as a CEO if drink was still in my life. The pangs of anxiety, the huge self-doubt, the procrastination – these are crippling on any day of the week but as a leader, I need to be present, I need to make difficult decisions and I need energy to do that. Alcohol robs you of these things.
Don’t get me wrong, I have got a long way to go. My natural default is to crawl into a ball and hide in a corner when things get too much. I still find it hard to work through my emotions.
But to feel things and appreciate things is a gift. Surely that’s something worth fighting for, right?
CEO, Hello Sunday Morning