Four Years!

Last week a lady was readmitted to the detox for the umpteenth time. My colleagues sighed great sighs and rolled their eyes. Here we go again. I just looked at the name. Unique. I knew that name. But could it be? It had to be. It was. Fifty years ago we played together in the street. Our homes were fifty meters apart and we lived our lives as kids in the streets as we did back then.

It took me a couple of days to muster up courage and approach her. Funny thing is she just heard from a colleague that I’m from Amsterdam too and sort of recognised me so actually we approached each other. We talked. It was fun. Shared memories, shared history, memories resurfaced.

As colleagues said it, she also said “how we were sitting on different sides talking to each other now, me the nurse, she the patient”. I answered I don’t see it like that at all. We’re in this together. We’re fighting this together. She started out drinking at about the same age (14) as I started smoking hash and weed. She kept up her heavy drinking till today, I quit all drugs and alcohol four years ago. She damaged her body more than I. That’s really all the difference I can see.

There’s synchronicity between this meeting and the psychotherapy I do. I feel I am ready to deal with this crucial early period in my life. Both in individual and in group therapy I’m exploring this time, I’m starting to gain some amazing insights, and I’m taking steps to learn and grow from what happened back then. I took me the better part of three years in therapy to get here. Not sure I would have started this process would I have known it was going to take this long. Probably that’s for the better for I am so grateful I did start. And I’m not done yet.

After four years of being sober and clean I am beginning to see real progress. Real growth within me occurring. I love my job. First time ever I can say that. I believe in what I do. Helping others and helping myself. I believe in my capabilities. For the first time ever I don’t feel like an imposter doing my job. People actually listen to me and believe in my expertise and even I myself believe in it at times. That’s an awesome feeling.

Personally there’s also growth. The opposite of addiction is connection. I’m slowly learning about that. Slowly breaking down the walls I build around me as a kid to protect me and replace them by healthy boundaries. Boundaries that are more flexible, able to bend to the ever changing tides of life. The avoidant part of me is being eroded. People are no longer afraid to approach me and I am no longer afraid to approach people. That is huge and it is amazing and I don’t know how it happened but it did.

I’m so f*cking grateful to be where I am and to do what I do. To be able to feel more than just a stone at the base of my gut and a a knot in my stomach. To be able to feel happiness and joy, just as I can feel sadness and grief. To actually feel alive. To live.

Who would have thought life can be fun. Life can be worthwhile. For the last four years I worked my ass off because I just knew I couldn’t live one day longer like I had for the 53 years before that. I was killing myself and now I am living my life. It’s totally incredible.

It wasn’t a crazy busy day at work today. I had time to talk longer talks to some patients. There were two ‘hopeless’ cases I talked to for a long time. One 30, heavy alcohol and opiates user, been here many times, serious life problems, seriously ill, seriously addicted.

All I could do is to implore him to seek out meetings, to find his peers as I see him dying pretty soon. The other guy an older alcoholic, lawyer, teacher, active in the community. Good guy. His body and brain ravaged by addiction. Both talks were really humbling. I’m humbled. I’m lucky. I get to do my utmost to make the best of my life. I’m sober and clean.

All we can do is turn up and do our best each and every day. Whatever our best that particular day may be. It can also be staying in bed and surviving. Just for today. One day at a time. We can’t see the outcome. Just work at being the best you can be.

I didn’t even mention Talking Sober until now. But this place is my fundament. This is my home. You are my family. We’re in this together. I’m not alone. You’re not alone. Love you all so much. I’m incredibly grateful. Onward and upward. Love from my bedroom window XOXO


Congratulations. Thank you for all that you do here


200w (2)


Wow Menno! :star_struck: Thank you for sharing! And a huge congratulations to you on 4 years of sobriety. Thats alot of solid time under ur belt. Your determination for a better life has really showed and im grateful for you and the wisdom you share here on TS :slight_smile: way to go!!!


Congratulations on your 4 years Mno!!! What a beautiful share and how synchronistic meeting your old friend. :people_hugging: We are definitely in this together and I am honored and so very grateful you are here on this path and we are friends. I respect and admire you so much. All my love and very big congratulations :confetti_ball:!!! Your friend, Sassy


A wonderful share from a wonderful friend. Congratulations


What an absolutely amazing share from one amazing human. I’m thankful to be on this ride with you, congratulations on your 4 years with many, many more to come.


Sitting here reading your share with foggy eyes and a heart that can really feel the distance you’ve come a little bit and the space you have created for yourself to finally finally be and become. You’ve turned your life around and you are still and will continue to turn the stones around that have kept you locked up for so long. You go deep cos you know that’s where it’s at, that’s the only way, that’s all there is, and it is enough. You are recovery and change and hope incarnate, my friend. Plus your connectability has added greatly to my own personal joy. Your friendship confirms for me that there never is nothing and that is huge. Thank you.

Congratulations and much much love.



What an awesome share! Your growth has been remarkable and it’s all due to the hard work you’ve done and continue to do.
Thank you for being so supportive to everyone you cross paths with here and in real life. Love you
Congratulations on 4 years! :partying_face: :tada:


11/10 Great read.
These perspective checks are really humbling and valuable.
Congratulations on all you’ve achieved in 4 short/long years.


Simply beautiful. You expressed the journey so poignantly and with so much heart. I’m so glad you got a chance to talk to your childhood friend and reminisce.

I love how you can turn your colleagues’ perspective of an “us and them” into the human truth that we are all connected and in this world and life together. It’s a mindset shift that I’m sure you will be spearheading at your job with those open to it. So much love, friend.


Wow beautiful share @Mno

Proof that the work doesnt stop after quitting drinking. That is merely the beginning to a wonderful shot at living, truely living.

Big congrats on 4 years!!! Yay!!! :balloon: :sparkler:


Congratulations on the Four Years!!
To the alive you!
Alcohol could have taken your life away and you saved yourself from that one step at a time and then going forward, each single step at a time, you have accomplished so much to learn about you and deal with it.
Your insights, and growth, seeking, finding, discovering, healing your self, and beginning to find peace, joy and satisfaction with so much of you and who you are, what you are doing.
I know a lot is hurtful and it is not easy, and there will be trials to come, but you are doing it. For your life.
Thanks for all you bring to so many, here at TS, your colleagues and clients at work, your world at large, those furry and chirping creatures.
You are a wonderful, wonderful person and need and deserve the good and the love that life has out there.
Wishing you happiness as you continue your recovery and discovery. Your dreams to come true.
Sent with love and many hugs xoxo


Congratulations on your 4 years Menno.


I’m grateful for all you do and have done here for me on TS. I’ve always find your morning check ins, as I’m checking out, very comforting. Knowing we are going to do our day/night sober. The best we can. You’ve been a beautiful consistent person on here that I look forward to seeing day in and day out. Thank you for that.
And I look forward to your pics each day.


This sober trip is Magic Eric. Thanks friend.



Aw Menno… this post, the four years of posts before it, their ending with the “Love” that you put into this place as much as you do your work and the world… …impossible to measure the impact you have.

I do know your journey, your words, your sobriety have all served to strengthen mine, and I am deeply grateful to you - for your place here and in my rediscovery story.

And I celebrate you! Huge congrats on 4 years!!!:birthday::man_biking:t2::cat:!

Love. :orange_heart:


Congratulations on your 4 years sober, Menno :tada:. You’ve been and still are such a reliable und relatable part of my journey into and through sobriety. Thank you for walking ahead and sharing. I am really grateful for your presence here.
And I second this :point_up_2: . Love to Amsterdam :orange_heart:


Wonderful post, so encouraging. Thank you @Mno Menno
Heartfelt congratulations on 4 years :hugs::sunflower::notes:


You are truly a gem Menno. Thank you for sharing yourself here. This particular share brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate you, your four sober years and the thoughts that you share here with us. :heart::clap:t3::gem:


Thanks so much all! Another first for me: I can take all this praise and congratiulations in and actually believe that A. you all mean it and B. I deserve it. Huge! Thanks! :innocent: :smiling_face_with_tear: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: