Updated: Apr 2, 2021
Daniel Kay is a poet from West Bromwich who has Cerebral Palsy. He is passionate about equality and healthy eating. He also plays powerchair football. He spends his spare time writing and listening to audiobooks. I caught Daniel for an interview about his personal experiences with alcoholism, recovery, what it's like to be three years sober and how he has coped through the tough times.
1) Hey Daniel, how are you?
A) Hi Jemima, I'm good thanks.
2) How are you really?
A) I’m doing ok thanks, I’m going with the flow.
3) What is it like to be you?
A) I think it’s amazing to be me, I’m so lucky to be alive, to have met some wonderful people and to have an amazing family around me.
4) How has alcoholism affected your life?
A) Alcoholism for me affected me when I was drinking. I would do things I would never do sober, I thought it was making me sociable but it was masking the feelings I had to deal with.
5) Did drinking have an affect on your mental health?
A) Yes, drinking definitely affected my mental health. I would get drunk, wake up with a massive hangover and feel guilt stricken and remorseful for what I couldn’t remember doing the night before.
6) Did you know you were an alcoholic right from the start of the alcoholism or did it take time for you to realise what was going on?
A) I worked it out comparatively quickly that I would need to stop at some point, I did enjoy it at the time though.
7) What triggered you to start getting sober?
A) I had diverticulitis, and the doctors say they don’t know what causes it ( it can be a number of things) but I lay in hospital thinking “I don’t want to drink anymore.” It took me a couple of attempts but I did it.
8) Can you tell me more about what diverticulitis is and what having it is like?
A) Diverticulitis is small bulges or pockets in the large intestine, they can cause constipation or how it was in my case, pain just under my stomach. It was painful to have and I wouldn’t like to have it again.
9) Congratulations on being three years sober! What has the last three years been like for you?
A) Thanks so much!! The last three years was hard at the start, I have to admit, but they’ve been amazing. I’ve got so much more energy, I’m doing more things, and I’m playing better powerchair football.
10) Wow, tell me more about powerchair football and what that brings to your life?
A) I’ve been playing powerchair football for 13 years now, and the last 3 years have been my favourite. I’ve loved every minute of it because it’s an amazing game and I’ve played all over Europe, but the last 3 years have been amazing because my new team are great players and great personalities.
11) How have you stayed sober for three years? Do you have any coping mechanisms to get you through each day?
A) I’ve stayed sober because I’ve been writing. When I was drinking it would be from 7:00pm until 12:00am, now I’ve got more time to write, so basically poetry has really helped me.
12) Did alcoholism ever affect your relationships with other people?
A) Alcoholism did affect my relationships because it was like I was 2 people. Sober, nice Daniel. Drunk, still nice, but flirtatious Daniel.
13) If someone is reading this and is struggling with alcoholism, what advice could you give to them?
A) I would say there will be times when all you can think about is having a drink, never lose hope, because your life is valuable, irreplaceable, and precious. Take each day as it comes.
14) How important is it that someone who is struggling reaches out for help?
A) It’s so important, that saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” is so true!! If you’re thinking no one cares, that’s not true, there are people who really care about you.
15) Tell me more about your poetry...
A) I’ve been writing properly for three years, I had written some stuff before but when I stopped drinking was when I really started writing.
16) Having struggled with an alcohol addiction, does it make it easy to empathise with people who experience other kinds of addiction?
A) Yes, it does make it easier to understand other people’s addiction, because you hear stuff on the news and they haven’t got the full facts so people don’t know what’s actually going on with people.
17) Why would you say it's important that people try to understand what it's like to experience addiction even if they never have one themselves?
A) It’s important because we can get addicted to anything, even running, or playing computer games. And like I said before, we don’t know what goes on with people because we’re not them.
18) Why did you feel it was important to share your story today?
A) I’ve never actually thought people would want to hear my story, but I thought it would help others in a similar situation as me.
19) Can you tell me how important it is to feel heard?
A) It’s so important to be heard, because people can understand me and why I do what I do.
20) How do you feel after answering these questions today?
A) I feel happy. I’m glad I did this, it was nice to write about what happened. Thanks so much!!!
Daniel, thank you so much for answering these questions so honestly today. You're making a difference. I'm proud of you and I hope you are too. You're important and so is what you just did in sharing your experiences. I'll catch you soon friend.
Daniel's brilliant debut poetry book View from a wheelchair is available to buy through Amazon, go and check it out!
If you're struggling with alcohol addiction please reach out for help, you're worth it!
For support with your mental health, visit the 'support' page on this website.