Julian has become a different person since quitting drinking. He has taken up many new hobbies at a time of life when he should be slowing down – and his new ambitions are high!
This week I met up with an old school chum I hadn’t seen for forty-three years. He and I used to get drunk at lunchtime and then fall asleep in class in the afternoon – we must have been about fifteen at the time!
The big surprise was that he now has his own Cessna airplane and as a treat he flew me along the South coast of England and over my house, it was fantastic and he even let me have a go at taking the controls.
I now have the flying bug!
Many years ago my brother also had his Private Pilot Licence and would take me flying, but he was a wreck-head and would insist on doing terrifying manoeuvres just to scare the hell out of his passengers. I was one of the few people who would fly with him but then I was usually drunk at the time. Unfortunately, drink got him and he died a few years ago age 56.
He was always trying to encourage me to take up flying so we could fly in squadron and do mad stuff together but I was never interested. The reasons?
- I couldn’t afford it.
- I couldn’t see the point of flying somewhere nice like Le Touquet or the Isle of Wight for the day and not being able to drink because I had to fly back. I simply couldn’t imagine life being the slightest bit enjoyable without drink.
- I couldn’t see how I would cope with all the studying to get the licence, especially as I spent all my spare time drinking and achieving little else.
- I didn’t think I would pass the medical as I had high blood pressure, I was overweight, I had recurring bouts of crippling gout and I felt too frail to be I charge of something so dangerous and complex.
- I used to get a headache when we flew and feel sick and exhausted.
That was all over ten years ago so what has changed and why do I suddenly feel like taking up this fabulous past-time now I am nearly sixty years of age?
I could not do this if I was still drinking!
- I save over £10.00 a day by not drinking. In the past three years I have already saved easily enough to pay for the training to get my licence, and after that even if I just spend what I used to spend on booze on flying instead, that is more than enough to fly a couple of times a month at least.
- Now drink is not an issue, I would be free to fly when and where I want, fly back when I want and enjoy every second of the experience free of all that ‘where is my next drink coming from’ stress I lived with for so long. The sense of freedom I now feel is staggering.
- Studying is no longer an issue as I have so much more free time now I don’t drink, I also have a clear head and my brain works a zillion times better that it ever did.
- Despite being a decade older than before, I now expect to pass any medical with ‘flying colours’.
- This time I didn’t feel the slightest bit queasy or headachy and I realise the problems I had before were due to massive dehydration and flying with a hangover. Something that will never happen again.
I am delighted to say my wife is fully supportive of my new resolve to learn to fly, and she is already looking forward to the years of fun we will have together, zooming around the planet in a light aircraft.
What a fabulous world of opportunity awaits when you finally ditch alcohol!
Those who know me from my books will know I didn’t expect to outlive the age my brother lived to as I was in a similar alcoholic mess to him, and if I was going to be flying with anyone by now it would have been with the angels. Who would have thought that instead of being dead, I would be looking to take on this exciting and rewarding new challenge? Certainly not me.