In the vast tapestry of life's challenges, each thread of hardship is interwoven with potential for transformation and growth. "Voices of Resilience" is a series dedicated to sharing those profound journeys, illuminating the path from the shadows of struggle to the brightness of renewal. Today, we bring you a story of remarkable resilience, a testament to the strength found in sobriety, the power of community, and the guiding principle of taking life One Day At A Time. This narrative is not just a beacon of hope but a roadmap for anyone navigating the turbulent waters of personal transformation.

The Sober Chef

Q: Can you share a brief overview of your journey and what led you to seek a path of recovery or personal transformation?

A: I was so small I couldn’t get served legally anywhere so didn’t start drinking till I was 18.  I believe I was an alcoholic by the age of 21. For the next 6 years I drank essentially all day every day. I built things up and then took a match to them. I ended up in hospital at 27 and was emotionally and physically beaten. 

Q: What does the mantra 'One Day At A Time' mean to you, and how has it influenced your approach to challenges and growth?

A: It is a superb mantra to have, there are times when focusing on the day ahead is really all we have. When darkness and obstacles are around us and you’re new to sober living, keeping it one day at a time allows you to gain traction in your daily life, you get through 4 bad days one day at a time after 3 good days, well that’s a week, then it’s a month,  then it’s six months. Once you have completed this cycle a few times you learn to exercise the mantra when the tough times are on like a muscle you’ve strengthened. It’s a superb phrase that is as relevant today as it’s always been. 

Q: Can you describe a pivotal moment in your journey that significantly impacted your path toward healing and resilience?

A: After one year of sobriety but not working any form of program or personal development I was suicidal, it just would not clear. The only stone left to turn over was AA. I had been to one meeting and had got a number from a man. It was New Years Eve 2006 I was 14 months sober and floundering. I called this man and he left the party he was at to come and meet me. That commitment to helping others to get sober blew my mind as well as Inspired me. I walked home that morning  through the chaos of NYE and felt peace for the first time in my life.  

Q: How have your experiences shaped your understanding of resilience, and what does being resilient mean to you personally?

A: Resilience can be misinterpreted as a fight, a battle if you so choose. Resilience for me means the willingness to grow and to develop, accepting change and challenges.  All sober time is valid, however what kept you sober for year 1 will not keep you sober in year 3, your mentality will change as will how you see yourself in the world in that time. So for myself that soul deep commitment I made 18 years ago has been to remain resilient but not with a battleground approach to my sobriety, life will throw up enough difficulties as it is without my head adding to the pressure. 

Q: What role has community played in your journey? How do you connect with others who are walking similar paths?

A:  I have always found the online community to be a superb place for support, information and ideas. I was in AA for 15 years but was struggling with the program, Covid came along and I had to find other ways to connect with people. I didn’t have an Instagram or Facebook account so it was all brand new and really exciting for me. Most people in the community are open books and I’ve messaged various people privately and they’ve always replied.  There is very little toxicity and  lots of different paths and mindsets on display so it’s a bit like a sober candy shop in that sense, you can really hand pick who you do and don’t want to see. 

Q: In moments of doubt or hardship, what practices, beliefs, or mantras help you find strength and continue moving forward?

A:  Like many I believe in my “ WHY” why am I sober, for me it’s remembering those last few months when I was so ill i was hospitalised. It was frightening and I was all alone, I’d always thought I’d welcome death as some form of release, but actually when my health got really bad because of drinking it made me stop. I tell myself these two things regularly, - there is nothing alcohol will make better or change, and all the  negative conversations that I have with  myself have often turned out to be wholly untrue.

Q: What advice would you give to someone at the beginning of their journey of recovery or self.

A: Reach out, it’s daunting to do at  first, but most sober people want to help other sober people. Immerse yourself in getting sober and using all the resources you can see. If you give it just 1/3rd of the energy you gave your drinking you’ll be fine. Peer2peer support, a sober app, facebook groups, there’s lots of avenues . Also sober coaches, choose wisely though as there are some absolute charlatans out there, however a good sober coach is a game changer. 

Q: What message of hope or encouragement would you like to share with the ODAAT Apparel community?

A: Engage with ODAAT, I’m 18 years sober which doesn’t mean I’m right but it does mean I’ve seen a lot, the clothes, the openness of the community and general message of hope is I feel groundbreaking and being a part of the community as it grows will help you, then help you to help others in turn, that’s the glue holding sobriety together for all of us. 

*Thank you, Oliver!

Q: Looking forward, what aspirations or goals are you working towards, and how do you plan to achieve them?

A: I am looking forward to watching my son grow and to engage in activities, I will be by his side as he is my gift. Also I am looking to keep volunteering for an organization that supports survivors of sexual abuse. 

Q: How has your definition of success evolved throughout your journey?

A: So when I got sober in 2005 my priorities were to get fit, make money, get back to my career and build up my sex life, in all honesty I hadn’t changed anything other than my drinking, my life was a towering inferno in no time. I would say for the first 5 years I focused on building my business and trying to evolve through AA's 12 steps and make friends. One of my biggest changes was realizing I hadn’t had a verbal or physical fight with anyone for a few years, that was major for me.

I’m in my mid 40s now and success for the last 8 years has been a productive marriage, being a present father and keeping an open mind to getting better. I’m very much a quiet man these days and it feels like the best version of myself to present to the world. 

The Sober Chef

The journey of recovery is as diverse as the individuals who walk its path, yet a common thread binds them all: the unwavering pursuit of resilience. As we reflect on this powerful story, let us carry forward the lessons of growth, the value of community, and the indispensable mantra of living One Day At A Time. Whether you're taking the first steps toward sobriety or seeking new ways to strengthen your resolve, remember, you're not alone. The ODAAT Apparel community is here to support you, inspire you, and walk with you, every step of the way. Together, we can turn our struggles into our greatest strengths and our stories into beacons of hope for others. Here's to wearing our resilience, not just on our sleeves, but in our hearts, as we continue on this journey together.

Join us next time as we explore more Voices of Resilience, each story a reminder of the enduring spirit within us all, capable of overcoming, evolving, and thriving, against all odds.