Today marks the three-year anniversary since I stopped drinking.

Three years ago I was struggling to come to terms with the loss of my wife and son, the physical and emotional damage from living in a derelict house that was literally falling down around me, and a dead-end job. I had lost most of my friends and the ones I still had, I felt alienated from, because I no longer drank and they “didn’t get it”.

Today I am writing this in a different country where I now live as part of my new job. I will be returning ‘home’ tonight to my new home in a new country where I still don’t have many friends, yet, but I don’t have a past I have to hide from. People generally never ask me why I don’t drink. I can go for a run up into the mountains and regularly run over 10 miles at the weekend through the woods and fields, and now the weather has warmed it won’t be long before I am able to walk from my apartment to the lake for a swim.

I have seen my son more in the last 3 months than I did in the of the last 6 months of 2016. He has his own room in my flat and has been to stay with me this month and more trips are planned this year. My ex has remarried and has a new husband, and a new baby; yet I will be going to their house for a meal to celebrate my sons first day at school.

I have money in the bank, my health is good for my age, and any damage to my body done by the drinking should now be repaired, or at worst, stabilized.

I have deep scars, physical and mental, but the past; whilst not forgotten; is reconciled and in perspective.

So this is a good day, a day to celebrate, a day to reflect on how far I have come and to be proud of having been able to turn things around from the dark place I was in before.

The monkey is still in the room, but it is off my back.