30 Years Sober – Paul’s Story

30 Years Sober

In May 1992, I was a resident in Tabor Lodge and I can honestly say, looking back now, it completely transformed my life for the better. At 64 years of age, I am proud to say this year I am now 30 years sober, and it’s all thanks to the amazing people and counsellors at Tabor Group.

I had my first drink at 11 years of age – and although I couldn’t say I had an addiction back then, alcohol was already playing a huge part in my life. That first night drinking, I remember sneaking some of my Dad’s whiskey into a plastic bottle before going out to meet friends. From the bits of that night which I can remember, it was mostly spent vomiting and I ended up making a fool of myself.

It wasn’t long after my first experience with alcohol that I tried it again and it felt like more of a success the next time and most of the other times after. As I progressed into my teenage years, I felt like I had found my thing – alcohol. It gave me more confidence with girls, the ability to stand up for myself, and I felt it made me more fun to be around. I never gave a second thought to what was going on at home or in school or life in general really.

As I drank more and more, my life then started going from bad to worse, and ended up on a complete downward spiral. I was constantly in and out of the prison system and when I wasn’t in prison, I was homeless. This went on for at least 14 years.

Prior to my admission to Tabor Lodge, on this occasion, I had been in prison for over a year. One day something just hit me, and I realised I had to turn my life, that it was now or never. I don’t know what happened that day, and why it was this time I was in prison as opposed to any other time, but I guess you could say I had a spiritual experience. My eyes were opened for the first time, and I knew I needed help.

When I finally got to treatment at Tabor Lodge it felt like a relief. Once I settled in a bit, I realised everyone in there had similar issues and stories to me, which really helped. At the time, I was never planning on stopping drinking completely, but knew I needed help and I was happy to just escape my normal life. I started to come around to it after a week or so, I got hope from fellow residents and other members that came in to speak and I got educated on this disease to a certain extent.

Education on its own wasn’t enough though. I learned a lot about myself during my time in Tabor Lodge. I learnt how to live again, not only how to get up early, eat regularly, be productive and be a good person, but how to live with the fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, anger and all those things I lived with day in, day out for years.

It wasn’t until I was 34 years old that I eventually stopped drinking following my treatment in Tabor Lodge, and my recovery journey began. Since then, over the last 30 years, I have gone to AA meetings regularly, and am involved in my local group here in East Cork. Service is a big part of getting sober, as well as the steps, and I’m still working on them on a daily basis 3 decades later, taking all my learnings with me from Tabor Lodge and the amazing Tabor Group counsellors.

My life has changed so much over the last 30 years, and I will be forever grateful to all those at Tabor Group who helped me along my journey.


Tabor Group provides residential & community-based addiction treatment programmes to men and woman over 18 years of age, who are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Do not hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information by calling +353 (21) 488 7710 for Cork or +353 (1) 639 2962 for Dublin, or alternatively you can email us at info@taborgroup.ie. We can help you.