Delighted to say I got to sit down with Stephen James Smith and chat about poetry, Dublin, life and the drink. It is humbling to sit and shoot the breeze with a man whose star is shining bright right now. Have a look and listen when you get the chance and let me know what you think.
One of the most common things people ask me is “How did I get sober?” There is no short answer. It was a long and painstaking process. It took me many years to realise I had a problem. It took me many more to ease off and transition to sobriety. I will break it down step by step.
How bad was my drinking?”
I would drink most days. I would end up in fights. I would lose things. I would wake up in places I had no idea how I got to. I would black out. I would be abusive. I would put myself in seriously harmful situations. I would gamble excessively. I would end up on drugs. I would miss days from work. [Read more…]
What a difference a year makes. This time twelve months ago I was landing in Phuket, Thailand and embarking on seven months of travel in Asia. I spent two months on the island of Phuket, living as well as I could. The day to day life was enjoyable.
I was working on the final edits of Dub Sub Confidential. I was building websites and making videos for people. Life was sunny and full of potential. [Read more…]
I’m delighted to be back in the interviewing chair this week. And this time I am asking the questions 🙂 I connected with Patrick a few weeks ago online and really enjoyed reading what he had to say in his compelling blog The Irish Introvert. If you are interested in being interviewed or have any other thoughts be sure to get in touch. Enjoy!
1. Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Patrick Hyland. I am a native of Co. Laois. I have played sports all my life and have been reasonably successful in both rugby and Gaelic football.
Despite having a degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, I wouldn’t be able to so much as fix the toaster if it was on the blink, nor would I have any interest in doing so. I currently reside in Seoul, South Korea where I have been teaching English for almost 3 years. I love it.
I started my blog- The Irish Introvert– this time last year, which coincidentally was also the last time I have touched a drop of alcohol.
2. Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
My parents- Shem and Trish. They have always been there for me, and their unwavering support and encouragement have helped get me where I am today. All the values that I hold dear have been deeply ingrained in me through my mother and father. They inspire me every day to do what it is that makes me happy. I owe them absolutely everything.
3. What has been the most significant learning experience you can recall having?
I’ve had quite a few, but I guess I would have to wind the clocks back to the summer after my second attempt at first year of college. I had just completed my first year of engineering in WIT, after having dropped out of a ‘mickey mouse’ interactive multimedia course in IT Tralee. I was facing into two repeats that summer, and was feeling pretty worthless.
I broke down in front of my father, while driving home from the train station. I can’t ever remember feeling more anxious and afraid. I was convinced that I was the biggest failure in the world. I didn’t know if I was coming or going, I was a mess. Shem managed to calm me down, before putting a simple question to me.
If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?
I started to think about it. I never really knew for sure what career path I wanted to take when I was younger, in fact I still don’t know for sure, but I always remembered the teachers in school that had a positive influence on me. It was something that always stuck. If I could pursue a career whereby I could be a positive influence on someone, in any small way, that’s what I would do.
Ever since that day, I have been working towards a career as a teacher.
From that experience I learned that it’s OK to fail, so long as you get back up and keep moving forward. I also learned that it’s OK to not know.
4. What made you change your habits, and your relationship with alcohol?
I simply grew tired of it, and I didn’t see any benefit of continuing along that self-destructive path. I wanted to take back some control in my life. I wanted to feel better about myself. I wanted to find out more about myself- my true self- because that person was a stranger to me.
5. What are the benefits of stopping drinking?
I’ve found that I have a greater awareness of who I am. I am no longer restricted. I am living, rather than merely existing. My mind and my body operate as one, and I feel more in tune with my soul. I am aware. I am free. I am in control.
6. What advice would you give to someone who may find themselves on the wrong path?
I would say to listen carefully to your inner voice; that inner compass which will steer you unerringly in the direction of the path that you are supposed to be travelling along, your intuition. Ask yourself some difficult questions, and answer them truthfully. Don’t fear change, pursue it. Avoid at all costs, that little cozy place of restrictive refuge which we all know as, the comfort zone.
7. What does being successful in life mean to you?
I am always looking for ways to grow, and to develop. If I can wake up every morning with a certain level of excitement for the day ahead, content in the knowing that I am feeding my soul, pursuing my passion, and constantly learning and improving along the way, that is success in my eyes.
8. What goals do you have for the future?
I will always look to challenge myself. If I find that I have grown somewhat comfortable in my situation, or if I sense that opportunities for growth have diminished, I will look to make a change. I think reflection is a very worthwhile and important practice. It’s crucial to appreciate the journey, rather than get caught up on the destination, and to celebrate progress along a particular path.
I wish to constantly learn, improve, and develop in ways which bring me joy and fulfilment. My goal for the future is to be able to reflect, and see progress.
9. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
There is so much that I could say that I would do differently if I could, but I don’t see the point. I don’t believe in having regrets. Everything that has happened in my life has happened for a specific reason. Every decision I have made along the way- good, bad, or indifferent- has brought me to where I am today, and for that I am extremely grateful.
I can’t change what has gone, but I can decide to take control of that which I can control, and dictate to a certain degree the direction in which I am headed.
10. What are your favourite hobbies?
I am a bit of a movie fanatic. I enjoy the process of bringing my inner world to light through writing. I enjoy working out, and relaxing the mind through meditation in many forms. Sport has been an amazing outlet for me down through the years, and I owe a lot to it.
11. What is the meaning of life?
I can’t believe I’m even attempting to answer this; to try and equate it is almost inconceivable. In my 28 and a-good-bit years, I suppose what I’ve learned so far is that life is about connection, and growth. We are all on our own path towards our personal treasure.
Life is about seeking out ways to constantly grow and develop along the path that we have created for ourselves, and the connections that we make will help us along the way.
12. I am happiest when…
Hearing the flick of the kettle after a productive day, and spending quality time with my nearest and dearest.
The rain is battering down outside. The wind is howling and gooshing down the chimney. Old creaky bones and planks of wood are snarling and snippin’. There is a nasty bitter edge to the cold that sets in with the dark. It gets dark before it gets bright. It is the Irish winter. Hibernating time. [Read more…]
I have been blown away by the response to Dub Sub Confidential. To top off an incredible reaction to the book, I was awarded the inaugural Setanta Sports Book of The Year award. I want to say thank you for all text messages, phone calls, emails, likes, tweets, hugs, handshakes and kisses from all over the world. I am truly humbled.