A Fianna Fáil senator has spoken of how he has battled with alcohol but is now in a better place and enjoying his life without drink.
Kerry senator Ned O’Sullivan, 64, says while he did not quite have to be dried out, he was drinking too much and found he was less effective at work because of it.
Mr O’Sullivan revealed to Radio Kerry’s Deirdre Walsh that he had made the decision to stop drinking at the start of this year because of the effect it was having on his health and his ability to do his work.
But he said it wasn’t easy to quit and he couldn’t have achieved it without the support of his wife Madeline and family, and the help of other people who had been through the same thing.
The Listowel native also suffered a setback this summer when he had to be hospitalised for five weeks and spent some time in intensive care at Cork University Hospital after a fall in the shower of a Killarney hotel left him with 12 broken ribs, a broken sternum and a punctured left lung.
He told the TalkAbout programme: “I decided to quit drinking because I found I was not getting as much enjoyment out of it as I used to and it wasn’t suiting me anymore.
“It’s easy to say you’re going to quit drinking but it’s not easy to do it and I had ups and downs during the year,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
“Thankfully, with the help of my family and friends and people who had been through that before and with their help and assistance I find I’m really in a good place now, certainly mentally and hopefully the body will follow,” he said.
Mr O’Sullivan also spoke about how harder the battle was because of the culture of drink in politics.
“I’m 64 now and I was a very happy drinker for 44 years and I suppose it’s an Irish thing, drink is so much part of our society and our daily life in politics, particularly in the Senate because you’re constantly meeting councillors.
“It’s convivial and I always liked a drink too and enjoyed my drinking but I find I’m enjoying my sobriety now just as much because I’ve got a handle on it.
“When people do give up drink, they tend to get depressed because they don’t see life thereafter and they’re enduring life without drink,” he said.
In his case, this was throwing himself into his work and volunteering for far more responsibility within Fianna Fáil to help renew the party.
Mr O’Sullivan said although he had his “small hiccups” during the year, he was now in a happy place and intended on enjoying what was left of his life, without alcohol.
He also said he did not think he would ever drink again now that he had got past that.
“There’s so much more outside of drink and politics, not that I have any notion of giving that up. Not just yet anyway,” he said.
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