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  • Writer's pictureMark J. Keenan

A Better Man

Two weeks after giving up alcohol, I went for my first run. Three kilometres of running, walking, and nearly collapsing.

I had my last alcoholic drink on Saturday, 15th March 2014. Exactly five years ago today.

To say my life has changed since that day is a massive understatement. It’s altered incredibly, positively, in ways I never thought possible.

In every sense, I am a better man because of this one, simple, but not easy, decision.


Alcohol saps energy. Before you drink, while you drink, after you drink.

Empty calories replacing healthy ones.

Fitful nights, terrible sleep.

Long days operating at half capacity.

The incessant internal debate about whether you will, or won’t, drink today; a constant battle for moderation with the addictive fiend, who occupies your mind and consumes your soul.

Sobriety, on the other hand, creates a kind of self-energising vitality.

No hangovers, no lethargy, no excuses.

Clarity of mind leads to better habits.

Regular exercise, healthy eating and drinking, lead to small changes, which become big changes, and you feel good about yourself. Feeling good, without alcohol, makes you do more of the same; you are fueled, rather than emptied, by your new habits.

Training for a 50 mile trail race.


It’s hard to fully love others, when you don’t love yourself.

Shame, self-loathing, low self-esteem - alcohol thrives on these feelings.

How can you enjoy the people you are with, when it’s not really you at all?

When you are sober, you see who you are, you see where you are.

It can be shocking, it can hurt. But it’s just the fiend, playing tricks on you.

Be patient. Wait a little and you will see what’s below the surface.

Hope. Power. And the ability to transform into something incredible.

Just a few of the beautiful people in my life.


Drinking obscures reality. It’s why we do it.

To get over things. To forget. To become someone else. To deaden feelings.

Alcohol doesn’t solve problems, it just makes them less vivid for a short time.

But why be someone else? Why not be you, with all your imperfections, all your emotions, all of your challenges?

The best, and the worst, thing about sobriety is feeling everything.

Everything is not always great, but I’ve learned to accept this and to find other ways to be at ease.

Trail running. Daily meditation. Talking with family and friends. Writing and reading.

I’m living my life, in full colour and surround sound.

Download Festival, 2019

Converge & Code Orange

Frenzal Rhomb & High Tension

Luca Brasi & Polaris

Alien Weaponry & Ruins

Download Festival, 2019

Slayer & Judas Priest

Alice in Chains & Halestorm

Thy Art is Murder & Devilskin

Amity Affliction & Outright


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