Friday, December 20, 2013

Removing the Mask

I have had many a defining moment in my life; driving overland back from India on my 1965 Enfield, crashing into the sea in a helicopter whilst filming in Dubai and last week going to my great mates Joseph’s 40th and being sober!

For those who don’t drink this is not a big issue, but for those that do, big social occasions such as these, are so much easier to cope with ‘armed and dangerous’.


I guess, because it offers an opportunity to put on a mask, and escape from the rigmarole of daily life. We can conjure up a new fa├žade that makes us feel more special, beautiful, confident, but invariably has the opposite effect. The mask fills the void - that uncomfortable place where our emotions are real and raw, and present themselves as; fear, insecurity, loneliness, abandonment etc. And it is precisely those emotions that need to be acknowledged and nurtured because they are real and who we are. The mask just helps us hide from these.

The reason why this is so prevalent for me right now is because the man behind the mask I know so well. He is my shadow - the ‘party man’, and we are great friends and have been on many journeys together. But my challenge right now is how much does this ‘mask’ serve me and more importantly who am I without it? The honest answer is I don’t have a clue, but I am willing to find out.

Anyway, back to the party………

We had hired a house down on the coast where the sea lapped at our feet. It was really good friends from far and wide coming together to bless and honour one man’s birthday. We had the band, the dj’s, the kegs of beer, cases of wine, and of course my favourite – fine tequila.

It is precisely this scene that warrants the mask. How am I going to get through this without some assistance? Under normal circumstances, it is precisely at this stage that the most over whelming feeling takes over and I decide to have a drink. There is a  little gremlin which sits behind my right ear and is better known as the ‘fuck it switch’, whereby I instinctively go against my better judgment and invariably have a drink or roll a smoke.

But something changed for me this night and when that gremlin showed itself, I took myself down to the sea and took a few deep breaths, felt my feet on the ground and the wind in my hair and gave myself a little talking to.

It went something along the lines of, ‘if you want to go back up there and pour yourself a pint and get stuck in it is entirely your choice and no body is stopping you. But the challenge is that you will fall back down the rabbit hole, which is exactly where you do not want to be. Why would you consciously do that?

So I guess that is where the self-sabotage comes in. 99% of the time, the urge to put on the mask is so strong and very often sub-conscious, and I end up getting fairly smashed, waking up with a hang over from hell and regretting the night before.

So it felt good to have broken the habit,  I was in bed by midnight and woke up clear as a bell feeling like I had a real break through.

I have said from the beginning that this is an experiment and what I noticed just from that night alone is that I was much more present, grounded, interested and the impact was that I talked to people that I would normally have given a wide berth, and consequently were enriched by their stories. I woke up clear as a bell and was able to engage with my four kids fully rather than nursing a hang over and best of all I followed my heart and it felt good.

Wishing everyone a wild wacky Christmas, ‘pissed as a fart,’ ‘high as a kite’ or  ‘sober as a judge’ - we are all on our own journeys !


Monday, November 11, 2013

Stop Being a fucking Pussy

Although this blog has a theme around sobriety, in doing so it brings up so much more and in this particular post it’s around commitment.

My last blog post was 1st October when I started ‘Falling Down the Rabbit Hole’. From that moment I committed writing my blog on a regular basis. Well a month on, and I am still firmly at the starting blocks.

Like so many commitments in my life, I was there ready and willing. Shouting from the hill tops that this was my moment and not only had I set myself a challenge to give up drinking for a year, but I was also going to blog about it! 

But, like an all too familiar story in my life, like giving up smoking, getting fit, learning an instrument; I have decided to sabotage the aforementioned commitment, and keep myself firmly down the same hole. 

Why do I do it? Because facing your fears head on is far more terrifying than carrying on as normal, and the only reason I am posting this blog today is because my sweet bro (Si) gave me a piece of his mind. Having procrastinated to him about writing this blog, he sent me a little inspiration and the message is in the title. Thanks dude!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Falling down the rabbit hole

Ok so I have never written a blog before and set myself a challenge to start. The subject is around drinking and at the right old age of 43 I have had enough. Wow, there it is, I have had enough of drinking. The irony is I am not an alcoholic, nor a massive drinker, and I would even add that I enjoy it.   Fuck it, nothing beats a cold beer on a hot summers day.

So why all the fuss? Well its this; I look at the pattern of what is holding me back in life and it is a subtle combination of lethargy, procrastination and often self doubt. I have so many dreams and aspirations around my family, vocation, creativity, music, health, environment etc, which are consistently being sabotaged,  and I know that this somewhat toxic combination has a catalyst at its source and for me it is alcohol.

I also know that I am not alone. The amount of friends who have said, 'I won't be far behind you; lets do it together or are just about to hit rehab!'

So this blog is really a documentation of me giving up alcohol. It is also a social experiment! Who am I without the mask? That is my big question. It will be raw, unedited and although off piste at times, I trust by the end I will be in a position to be living my truth, rather than wishing I was! And in doing so, maybe inspire one or two souls along the way to do the same.

So the driving force behind the challenge is I am fed up of falling down the same old familiar hole and the following analogy fits really well. So as of October 1st 2013, I Jono Ekin here by solemnly declare that I will not drink any alcohol for 1 year! How terrifying can it be :)


I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost .... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

And it feels GOOD!