Guest blog: Scott Thomas on finding the joy of the middle ground

Date Published

28th March 2024


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I'll be honest - my relationship with alcohol started at a young age, probably around 14. Back then, it was all about fitting in, being one of the "cool kids,” and it seemed more culturally accepted because that’s how people socialised. I'd come home from school on a Friday night, and my friends and I would sneak out to the local shop and ask someone to get us a bottle of vodka, which we’d mix with Fanta. From those early days, alcohol became intertwined with my social life, my confidence and my self-esteem.

As I grew older, I was drawn deeper into the nightlife scene. For about 10 years, I was a professional party boy throwing glamorous high-end parties for a living in Manchester, Ibiza, and Marbella. At first, it felt exhilarating, and I lived the life of a rock star rubbing shoulders with celebrities and high-profile figures. But beneath the surface, I was losing control. Alcohol became my crutch; it gave me confidence, but it was masking who I was.

Knowing when to make a change

Often on nights out, I'd find myself turning into a completely different person. It got to a point where I'd go on a night out, I'd cut myself off for days after, upsetting friends and family. I was giving people the wrong impression of me, I wasn’t showing them the real me. And sometimes I'd wake up in tears because that's not who I am or what I wanted to be known for.

The turning point for me came when I was escorted out of a work event for being too drunk. It was embarrassing. I nearly lost everything, and it made me realise that I needed to change. So, I decided I would give up drinking for an entire year. And let me tell you, it was like taking a limitless pill. I achieved more in that year than I had in the past decade – professionally, personally, and physically. I focused more on my business, launched a wellness brand and got in the best shape of my life.

The challenge of moderation

Reducing how much you drink or not drinking at all is not all glamorous. There’s a lot of self-development you need to do. You have to be alone with yourself and your thoughts that you may have been masking in the past – which can be confronting.

After a successful year of not drinking, I tried to reintroduce alcohol in moderation. I didn’t drink often and started off slowly, but it was clear I wasn’t quite ready. There were times when I’d go out and have a couple of glasses of wine and go home, but other times I’d go out for dinner and end up in a situation I shouldn’t have been in.

I realised I’d initially given up alcohol for that year to prove a point, to myself and to others, but I hadn’t necessarily been doing the work on myself or going to the same social events. I was living a bit of a sheltered life and it was clear I drank for escapism. I knew if I committed to another long-term period, that would force me to acquire social skills and allow me to learn how to live life without relying on alcohol to relax and switch off.

I’m not ruling out drinking again; you never know what will happen in the future. But for me now, taking another break feels right. I’m not against people drinking – if you can drink in moderation, great. But for people like me, who lack control and become obnoxious or overbearing, it’s a different story.

I embraced the “sesh” culture wholeheartedly with negative consequences, and I know there are countless others who can relate. Sure, some may view drinking less as dull or uneventful. But from my experience, when I was drinking, I was constantly chasing extreme highs and plummeting into extreme lows. It was a rollercoaster ride.

I think that’s the message we need to champion, focusing on finding long-term balanced happiness over short-term quick fixes.

I think the misconception is that you’re boring if you cut back or take a break from drinking. But I'm just a different version of me that I'm more in control of. In fact, people actually prefer me when I’m not drunk; they get to have a conversation with me, and a lot of us are more exciting, interesting, and intriguing when we're just being our authentic selves.

Now, I'm finding joy and comfort in residing in the middle ground and sharing that journey to help others find theirs.

Scott’s top five tips for reducing drinking:

  1. Own your decision: be honest and transparent with your friends and family about why you’re drinking less or have decided to take a break from alcohol. It can feel empowering, sets clear boundaries, and may avoid any unwanted awkward conversations.
  2. Practice self-awareness: try journaling and self-reflection to understand your relationship with alcohol and how it might be impacting your life. Write down how you feel on a day-to-day basis, why you drink and identify any triggers or cues you may have.
  3. Choose your allies: surround yourself with supportive people who respect your choices and are positive influences. Avoid situations where you may feel pressure or triggers. Catch up with friends in the gym or over a coffee instead of down the pub or in a club.
  4. Find new ways to unwind: if you use alcohol as an escape or a way to unwind, explore alternative ways to relax. Whether it’s sports, mindfulness practices, or new hobbies, there are plenty of options to try.
  5. Set realistic goals: allow yourself the time and space to adapt to a new lifestyle. Set a realistic goal and aim for: 30, 60 or 90 days drink-free to give you time to see tangible changes.


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