At this age I did not have enough respect for myself, I was too concerned what people thought of me and was easily persuaded into doing things and going places that I in didn't want to. After reading some of the books as mentioned above I realised this and asked myself a question: Am I boring? I have lots of interests, theatre, cinema, eating out, chess, football, snooker, golf, horse racing, tennis, music to name a few. By this age I was becoming bored of going out drinking alcohol. I decided to be strong and stated to my friends that I was now only going out drinking once a month. Originally, every Friday and Saturday night people would phone asking me if I was going out, if I declined I was criticised, your so boring for example. My new found attitude, though hard at first to adopt and follow through meant that I didn't really care and I certainly didn't bow to pressure. One particular friend, Phil, was particularly verbally aggressive and demanding, calling me different names. He was seemingly in shock that someone was standing up to him. On one afternoon I fought back and said to him: Whatever you say, whatever you call me, I am not going out tonight, however I will go out with you on Tuesday night if you want to? He agreed to this so I asked him if he wanted a game of snooker, or golf, or a trip to the cinema or theatre. He thought all of these options were boring? I mentioned other interests of mine such as chess, again all of the options I mentioned he didn't find interesting. I said to him: OK, where would you like to go??What about the pub for a few beers?? I laughed at Phil and said: I’m sorry mate you’re the one who is boring not me? I then put the phone down on him for a change.

My attitude was beginning to change for the better. I was becoming harder and stronger mentally. A few years later I met my present fiancee and I soon realised I was a long way off the level I wanted to be. Her name is Sharron and a couple of weeks after we had met she invited me to a night out with some of her friends who she said wanted to meet me. I knew I had to go even though in reality it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was worried what her friends might think of me etc. I did attend and managed to cope, however I was very quiet, felt uncomfortable throughout the evening and felt very nervous. I was glad to get back to the safety of my own home! A couple of weeks later I was invited to meet her parents and immediately I had the same feelings as above and the night passed in a similar way with me having a distinct lack of confidence etc. About a month later Sharron agreed to accompany me to a wedding in Birmingham where I was born. On this day she would meet most of my friends and family for the first time. As we were driving on the motorway I thought she must be a bit nervous. I asked her if she was OK and if she was slightly nervous. She replied: What have I got to be nervous about??Well your meeting my family and friends later. Are you not concerned what they will think of you?? Steve, I don’t care what they think of me. It’s what you think that counts and I know you like me!? This was not a front she was putting on. Suddenly I realised how far I was away from the attitude to life and attitude to people I wanted to have. Sharron has helped me to reach that level. Being around positive people at this stage was very beneficial to me.

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