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
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Thank you Andy for saying it how it is.
Alcohol takes far more than it gives.
More than three months for me, and at a later stage of my career, I’m so grateful to have stopped drinking.
If I knew what the peace and place would feel like , I would have embraced this new being sooner.
Thank you so much for this blog. It ALL resinated with me.
I am nearing 6 months AF this month. I have changed jobs into a leadership position and earning significantly more money. None of this would have been possible for me if alcohol was still in my life everyday. I struggle with dealing with my emotions daily but feel I’m getting a little better are talking about it & hopefully will continue to improve. Thank you for sharing 🤘🏼
I am not a CEO and have no desire to be one, King perhaps?
I identify strongly with the bottled up emotions and hiding from life.
I have only been off the booze for 1 month and now weaning off the anti-depressants. I am just starting to feel feelings, good and bad, The booze took me to places I never wanted to go but today is a new and beautifully sober clear day. Thank you Andy for your honesty.
Thanks so much for your story, I’ve been trying to stop drinking alcohol for sometime now. Recently, I have come to the same realisation, I’m a nicer person when I am not drinking. It has bolstered my efforts to stop, so to read your blog this morning gives me greater encouragement and evidence that I am on the right track, at last. Thank you. Ann
Thanks Andy. You are so inspirational. I have just begun my alcohol free journey as I’m finally ready to commit. My son is my buddy to turn to. Your comments are so true. I look forward to a better me.
I liked your story. I’m trying to quit Alcohol it’s hard but I’m going to do it. Alcohol takes away a lot of good things in life. I want to be a better person and father in life.
I love how you authentically wrote this, as a leader and as a human…
Thanks For speaking your truth Andy and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
It takes practice but being authentic with our selves is the best gift to the ones we love also.
Two weeks again for me.I’m so inspired and relieved to know there are others like myself on the planet with the courage and conviction to address their issues,I’m not alone. I want to be a great leader too one day,
Thanks for sharing.
What a great read! I wish you success in every area of your life.
Great read and thank you for sharing Andy. I moved away from working in leadership roles a few years ago because I thought I couldn’t handle it and that having to meaningfully be there for my team was too much for me. Now that I’m almost a year alcohol free, and having done a 300+ day block AF prior to my current stint – mixed in with lots of self-reflection – I’ve realised what I was having trouble with wasn’t being a good leader – it was trying to minimise the impact of anxiety and self-doubt on me every single day. Me without alcohol sounds similar to you Andy – I’m so much calmer and more able to take on complex issues and work my way through them without the impact of anxiety and self-doubt. I’m in the process of looking for work in a leadership role again – it won’t be easy – I’ll still have to handle me in amongst the responsibilities but I feel up for the challenge!
Thank you fir your share Andy. We all learn from others stories. What resonated for me in your story is the anxiety of being in a senior role. I thought my difficulties in a senior role was due to me not liking the responsibly and anxiety that came with it. Looking back and being AF fir almost 4 months and 200 days for the year, I see alcohol was a huge contributor to my anxiety. I am currently working through all of the emotions that I stuffed down throughout my life and how you use my agency and ability to choose how to react to situations. It’s a long and rewarding journey. I salute you fir sharing your story. I have started telling people in my circle that I’m AF or that I don’t drink at events etc. it feels right. I’m so excited for new beginnings.
Hi Andy, I understand and resonate your feelings, very glad to see your openness and resilience to share your past experiences with Alcohol. I am still to overcome it yet, completely see the difference on my good stints so I keep trying to put it away. Thanks for sharing 😉
As I’m reading this, Andy, I can’t help but think how courageous you are in sharing this journey with us. Thank you! We aren’t encouraged to share our inner thoughts and feelings in mainstream society. My journey AF hasn’t yet started, but it feels exciting to think there will be a lot of positive change in my life when it does. Thank you, Andy, for sharing! #inspiring
Thank you so much for this post. I can really relate to the sensitivity thing.. I think my drinking totally covered that up. I also think it kept me in a perpetual child state.. never really facing any past demons or really ‘adulting.’ I have an amazing team of over 30 people I manage and I have to say no way would I be the leader I think I’m growing into if I’d kept drinking. And like you, still very much a work in progress but I never regret not drinking.
Thanks for sharing! I feel totally identified with your story. For me it was like everything was so perfect in the first 7 or 8 months, I was feeling the so called ¨pink cloud¨, and then out of the blue anxiety and depression hit me, and it hit me hard. I spend 1 year and a half trying to cope with these awful feelings, I couldn´t work, I totally isolated myself and was feeling lost in life. I tried everything in terms of medical treatments for depression and anxiety and was even thinking I had TRD (treatment resistant depression). I was sober, but felt miserable, they called it ¨dry drunk¨. I checked myself into a rehab center and spend 3 months away from my country and my family. Being away I started to understand that I had a real problem with myself. Alcohol was just a mean to cover up all my emptiness and unsolved mental issues. It wasn´t until I started meeting with people that had the same problem, that I started feeling better with myself. Today I am feeling in a much happier state of mind that I had been in years, and I am so thankful for all the lessons learned and all the hardship that I went through. All these bad things that happened to me I understand today that are blessings, because they made me a much better version of myself. It´s been a tough road, but it has been worth it going through it. I have been AF for 2 years, 4 months, 10 days, 23 hours, 53 minutes, 15 seconds……. and I am planning on keeping it that way, one day at a time.