I was walking down the street the other day when I passed one of those blackboards on which someone writes 'motivational thoughts' for the day.
I usually find that sort of think a bit sick making, but this one made me stop and think, and I'm still thinking about it days later.
It said: When did you last do something for the first time?
One of the main reasons I knew I had to quit drinking was because I was completely stuck in a rut.
My life was on a loop - doing the same things with the same people in the same places, over and over again, and I was pretty sure the booze was to blame.
We get so used to turning to alcohol for any celebration and whenever we want to wind down and relax, that we stop searching out new experiences, new ways of having fun or of chilling out.
Plus, regular drinking causes a rumbling depression and a sense of what's the point anyway?
Doing something for the first time can be scary, and years of self medicating fear and anxiety with booze makes us really bad at dealing with those uncomfortable emotions sober, so we tend to avoid unknown scenarios.
When you quit, you have to deal with 'firsts' all the time. First party sober. First holiday sober. First Christmas or birthday sober. Which is really hard. BUT you start to get pretty good at it.
You get used to facing fear and anxiety head on and begin to feel fairly invincible.
You have loads of extra time, energy and money. You actively seek out new ways of celebrating, relaxing and de-stressing which don't involve drinking.
Then you look back at the previous few months and realise that, suddenly, your life is filled with things you've recently done for the first time (or, at least, the first time in ages).
My readers have done all sorts of amazing new things after quitting the booze: yoga, meditation, setting up a business, making new friendships, raising money for a charity, finding love.
As have I. I started this blog. I finished my first novel and was short listed for an award. I found an agent, then a publisher and have nearly finished my non-fictional book.
None of these things would have happened if I'd still been drinking.
I had some horrible first times too. First time getting cancer, doing radiotherapy, getting through all the endless tests and dealing with the idea of death and motherless children.
None of which I'd have been able to cope with if I'd still been drinking.
One thing the cancer experience taught me (it's a cliché, but it's true) is that we only have one life, and we have no idea how long it's going to be.
So we really have to make the most of it by constantly seeking out new experiences and doing things for the first time, because, like a shark, if we stop moving forward, we die.
(Is that really true about sharks, or is it just a maritime myth?)
So, ask yourself when did I last do something for the first time? Then go do something new.
I'm off to find myself a toyboy.