When it comes to sport, nothing quite holds our attention like a gay diver, and Matthew Mitcham from Australia is one of the best gay divers that the world has ever seen.
Mitcham may no longer be competing, but we’re still following his every move very closely.
In early January, Mitcham took to Instagram to share an update on his sobriety journey – celebrating his 7-year anniversary since he was able to leave his issues with substance abuse behind him.
“Today I am SEVEN YEARS clean and sober…” wrote Mitcham, posting on 2 January. “It has been seven years since I put anything stronger than a Panadol in my body, and I am without a shred of doubt the happiest and healthiest I have ever been. Not everyone needs sobriety, but I did because I was dependent on external things to solve internal issues. And though I still have internal issues, I now have internal solutions. I hope everyone has had (or is still having) a fun-filled festive season, and if one day you wake up and think “enough’s enough” like I did seven years ago, just know that there is lots of help available if you ask for it.”
“It’s not about bragging or asking anyone to congratulate me for sticking with it for seven years…” explains Matthew. “I’m sharing my story to try to help motivate others who may be struggling with similar issues."
Mitcham - an ambassador with the charity Controlling Chemsex - has now followed that up with a post on Blue Monday.
"Monday 16th January is unofficially Blue Monday - known as the most depressing day of the year and a real crunch-point in sticking to New Year's resolutions and positive behaviour changes..." wrote Mitcham. "For anyone whose resolution is to reduce or stop using chems, writing down your reasons and obstacles can be really helpful:
1. Why do you want to stop using? To avoid the negative consequences, sure, but try to include some positive reasons so that stopping is leading to a positive outcome rather than just avoiding a negative outcome. Is it for better mental health, less isolation, more connected to your social world? Make sure they’re reasons for you, not for someone else.
2. Obstacles are inevitable, but listing them can help you prepare ways to navigate them or prevent them altogether. Common obstacles are difficulties with cravings, loneliness, problems enjoying sober sex, boredom and stress. Come up with as many ways to avoid or respond to each of your specific obstacles, and always remember that people want to help! When it comes to chems, there is free professional support from fabulous organisations like Controlling Chemsex.
TL;DR to stop using chems, list your motivations and obstacles, and remember you are not alone, we know it's hard, but we are here to help."