It’s not you, it’s me

Yes, I have been guilty of ignoring you.

I didn’t mean to.

I’m sorry.

You might think it’s the classic ‘person has friends. person falls in love. person ignores friends’ – often followed by ‘person is dumped. person goes back to friends with tail between legs’ (but thankfully not in this case – at least not yet…) 😉

Partly it is that. Since meeting Bea I’ve been busy getting engaged, looking for a new house, planning our future, and generally having a great time.

But it’s other things too.

Work has been busy – very busy. The Christmas period has been intense. And we’ve had our busiest year ever, shipping more orders to more customers than ever before (following the same pattern of growth we’ve had every year since we started).

And our plans for the business in 2016 – our 10th anniversary of The Alcohol-Free Shop – are both ambitious (good) and realistic (even better). It seems to be one of those times that happen now and again when years of hard-work culminate in ‘good luck’…

The biggest problem I’ve faced personally though is my lack of sleep. I’ve been under the hospital for ‘suspected’ sleep apnea for months.

Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing for several seconds and then, when your body finally realises, you gasp for air. This can happen many times an hour through the night. The upshot is you don’t get any real sleep and your brain is starved of oxygen.

The health consequences are serious. Heart-failure, brain damage, other organ failure, and even early death… It’s not just ‘being a bit tired’.

I know I have it, Bea has witnessed it, but without hard data the hospital won’t do anything. And because I don’t fit the ‘usual pattern’ – I’m not obese, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink etc – they have even claimed it’s unlikely I have it… Not that they have any data to back that up…

I’ve taken two overnight sleep tests and both times the hospital’s equipment has failed to record any data. That’s bad enough, but after each failure the next appointment is at least 6 weeks later. My next appointment is February.

They even wrote on my next appointment ‘use machine number 4’ – and told me it’s because this was the most reliable machine… Seriously. They are giving out machines they know don’t work properly.

I’ve been averaging 2 or 3 hours sleep a day for months at least (since I started monitoring it with my Fitbit HR) and probably at least 2 years, based on thinking back to how tired I’ve been in recent years and how I started randomly falling asleep during the day.

Quite honestly I’m amazed I’ve managed to have such a great year considering the sleep I’ve had.

I’ve given up on the hospital and bought myself an automatic CPAP machine. This means sleeping with a mask on and having air forced into my lungs.

It’s not going to look pretty, but – fingers crossed – it will solve my sleep problem.

I should have it in a week or so. And hopefully I’ll finally get a good night’s sleep for the first time in years.

So, 2015…

In a nutshell, it started badly and it’s ended wonderfully.


Who knows. But all indications are it’s going to be fantastic.

After I get some sleep again and get my energy back, I’m looking forward to a very fun, very hard, year of work – and pleasure.

And hopefully I’ll find more time to write properly – both here and the book on alcoholism I’ve been ‘writing’ for 2 years.

I really hope you’ve had as much success this year as I feel I’ve had. If not, please stay positive. This time last year I wasn’t in a great place but it’s amazing what a difference a year can make.

The secret? I doubt there is one but certainly letting go of the past has been key. Once I did that, my year – and life – changed.

So whether you’ve had a good year, a bad year, or just one of those ‘normal’ years – 2016 is, to a large extent, in your hands. You owe it to yourself to try your best to make it a good one.

Finally, I want to point you to an article by my friend Dom Conlon about his Year Of Trying.

This is the week of the year I spend reviewing the last 12 months, planning the year ahead, and reading lots of inspirational articles and books (often several books in the week) to refresh my enthusiasm.

And Dom’s article has been inspirational. It really shows you what you can do if you put your mind to it.

You can read about Dom’s Year of Trying at

Wishing you the best for 2016 – and I promise I won’t leave it so long next time.