Mat Docherty is a long-time listener and prevalent in the SHAIR recovery network. He’s just a common bloke with a common addiction and was inspired by one of our previous guests, Sam Mooney, another regular guy who shared his story. Mat hopes that by sharing his own experience, he can inspire someone too. His journey to recovery from alcoholism is not the typical one. He didn’t hit a rock bottom. He didn’t go to AA meetings. His recovery began by listening to podcasts like SHAIR!
Learn how he finally stopped drinking and is thriving in life using fitness, spirituality, and recovery resources online.
CLEAN DATE: APRIL 25TH, 2016
Listen to Mat’s Story
Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!
The first time Mat went out to get drunk was when he was thirteen. He was celebrating the birthday of an older friend. They drank a beer called Special Brew because it has the strongest alcohol content. It tasted so horrible, they had put mints in their bottles just so they could stomach the flavor. After a couple of those, Mat was given a small bottle of rum. He drank the whole thing, threw up everywhere, and got ejected from the party. Mat’s friends found a cab that would take him home despite the vomit. When they got to his house, they left him on his front door, rang the bell, and ran.
Drinking is a rite of passage.
As a young man. Mat worked abroad as a service engineer. He traveled around the world for the next five years, living in hotels and eating at restaurants every night. It was a high-pressure job. They worked hard and played hard. It was expected to drink every night, and he admits, he couldn’t have done that job any other way.
His drinking continued from there as an acceptable habit. It wasn’t a problem until it was. Like when he received 400 bottles of wine that were out of date. Mat jokes that it was hard work, but he managed to drink all of them.
I didn’t drink it all. I think I gave twelve bottles to someone.
But he was functioning and going to work in the morning. He wasn’t an unemployed bum on the street. He wasn’t an alcoholic.
But in reality, he wasn’t just addicted to drinking. He was addicted to thinking about it. He thought about alcohol all the time. It stole his mental capacity for anything else, taking over every moment of every day.
Mat never hit a rock bottom, but he did have an experience while home in England on vacation that scared him into rethinking his life. He was going to stay for three days on the coast in a little town. He spent most of his time at the local bar. One day, walking with a bottle of wine, he passed through a graveyard. He wanted to take a shortcut back, but there was a ten-foot-high wall. In his drunken state, it seemed like a safe height. He jumped to the bottom, wine bottle in hand.
Mat doesn’t remember clearly what happened, but he woke up the next morning with his leg horrendously swollen. It hit him that he couldn’t be trusted, and he got to the point of thinking that this couldn’t be the way to move forward in his life.
I can’t trust myself with myself. You wouldn’t do this to someone you love, yet this was what I did to myself.
From then on, Mat started working on himself, eliminating all his problems … except alcohol. He was overweight and looked ten years older than he really was. He started running. He changed his diet. He was getting healthier, but he still wasn’t making the progress one would expect. It wasn’t the wine. He joked that wine fueled his running.
At some point, after changing everything about his life, he began to think about the alcohol. He stopped before several times, white-knuckling it. He was in a horrible mood the whole time, and it never lasted. Mat got frustrated because he could always do things on his own, but he could not get sober alone. He needed help.
So Mat went to the internet searching for answers. That’s when he came across podcasts of other alcoholics went through the same battle. He listened to SHAIR and Recovery Elevator, and when he heard the normal peoples’ stories, he felt hope. Mat did 90 in 90—not in meetings, but in podcasts.
There was a way out of the torture I was putting myself through.
Mat got an online sponsor with whom he’s still working today. As he worked the steps, he felt himself changing within. Now he’s gone from surviving to thriving. He got his Master’s degree. He just returned from a spiritual retreat to Nepal. Alcohol was the chain that kept him from being able to fly. Now he channels his inherent power as an addict into positive things that help him grow as a human.
What kept Mat from getting clean?
Before I entered this bubble of recovery, no one ever told me that not drinking was an option.
That aha moment
When Mat began listening to addiction recovery podcasts and interacting online, he realized there was a community of people who managed to get over their addictions and live a happy and fruitful life without white knuckling it.
Enjoy recovery. You are doing it. Stop beating yourself up and enjoy what you’ve worked for.
Suggestion for Newcomers
You don’t have to drink. You don’t have to use. You can choose to stop if you want to. You’ll find a way.
See you then!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.