Colin H. Clark shares his journey with alcohol

About 10 years ago, Colin came to stay with my flatmates and I in London (I was living there for university at the time). He was passing through on his travels and we all spent a few days going skating throughout the day and then to house parties at night.

This was a really fun week. Skating, partying, what more do skaters want?

But for Colin, alcohol started to become a problem over the years, causing issues in his life that he has courageously had to confront and work through to get himself to where he is today – sober, and with his life back on track!

For information and resources about Alcohol, including ways to gain support, click here. And for Mental Health resources for the UK & EU, click here

Could you give me a quick overview of what you do for work?

I'm a filmmaker and have gone through multiple different genres. I worked in professional skateboarding for 10 years, shot/edited for Tony Hawk's production company, lived overseas and covered the world skateboarding contests. I later moved in to food, working in high end pastries at Four Seasons Hotel with Christopher Ford in Beverly Hills, then gaining a corporate position at California Pizza Kitchen headquarters which is an international restaurant chain. Most recently I opened a coffee shop/coffee roaster with a couple of friends called Push & Pour over 3 years ago. We currently have two locations.

Colin (bottom right) on a video set

When did you start to realise you needed some support with alcohol?

I had a lot of complications from my drinking before I ever got help, and as an alcoholic, I don't think I ever truly realised I needed help. It was difficult, and perhaps impossible for me to truly

understand there was another way to live. Near the end I was drinking daily, it didn't matter morning, noon or night. I think I just accepted that the physical, emotional, mental, and social complications that come from that abuse was just a part of life. Eventually, I was given an ultimatum by my girlfriend at the time to either get sober or break-up.

How do you feel now that you've been sober for a while?

I have four and half years of sobriety, and it's by far the best thing that has ever happened in my life. Like I said, my drinking affected every aspect of my life, inside and out, so my sobriety had the reverse effect. The physical results are great and occur pretty fast. Lowering anxiety, depression, going back to a normal weight (I had lost about 70 pounds), but the relationships I gained are the most important.. renewing old friendships, business connections, my family... and most importantly building a strong connection with my parents.

Animal Chin 30 Years - Produced by Colin for Ride Channel

What advice would you give to others who feel they may need some support with alcohol?

Open up to someone you trust. Whether it's a relationship partner, family member, therapist, co-worker, teacher, recovery centre etc. There are a lot of amazing online organisations too that are free and offer 24/7 support. It's so easy to feel alone, even though a large amount of the population has some sort of issue with addiction. Also, try some controlled drinking. Go a few days without a drink, then see if you can have a beer or two and stop. That could be informative and show you some issues you may have never noticed.

Do you think alcohol awareness should be more available to skateboarders? If so, what do you think would be a good way to educate skaters on the topic?

Alcohol/addiction/mental health awareness has come leaps and bounds in skateboarding over the last few years and that's so amazing to see. From addiction interviews in Thrasher, the biggest skateboarding media outlet, to foundations being started to promote addiction/mental health awareness. It can obviously go so much further, but I'm really happy to see it growing. I am currently working on a documentary that focuses on the connection between skateboarders & alcoholism/addiction. It seems there is a higher percentage of addiction issues in skateboarding than the general public, and I'm interested in exploring different reasons why that is.

Check out this rad clip by Colin for the Ride Channel

Is there anything you do now that helps you to prevent going down a similar path with alcohol in the future?

I changed my diet, started working out, other physical adjustments to my lifestyle. However, even with years of sobriety, the urges still come. And when they do, it's not like I want a beer and chill. I want 20 and to pass out... which I used to call an average Tuesday. I've heard the saying "the further I am from my last drink, the closer I am to my next", which I resonate with. Recovery isn't easy, but is available and open to anyone with a willingness to have it... one day at a time. Keeping in touch with those who are going through a similar journey with alcohol really helps me to stay on track.

Thank you Colin, I'm sure people will benefit from hearing a little about your story. Keep up the amazing work!

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