João Franco is ready to make some changes in his life after a recent visit with loved ones. The Below Deck Mediterranean bosun expressed that he has been feeling introspective lately in a series of three posts on Instagram.
In the first post published on February 29, João reflected on his life after recently reuniting with his family in Africa. "As I sit in the airport, waiting for my next flight after spending time with my dad who I had not seen in 4 long years, I find my mind lost in thought," he shared in a post that featured photos of himself and his dad in Mozambique on February 29.
"I saw my brother last week for the first time in 2 and a half years! I saw my mom and sister recently after not seeing them for a year! I just spent a wonderful time with my beautiful girl, my family, and incredible friends this past month, and I am so overwhelmingly happy and filled with love!" he added.
Despite being surrounded by joy, João admitted that he felt "somewhat sad, too."
"I have been on holiday for two months now and that makes me so lucky! So why do I feel like I need a break? What is making me feel this way? I’ll tell you what... A hangover. One that’s lasted 3 days! Demons... Alcohol," João wrote. "I’ve decided I hate this feeling! I seriously hate it! I should be the happiest I have ever been, and yet I feel insecure, questioning my purpose, or more so, what I’m doing with my time that is important and how much of my time on this earth I am spending on unimportant things."
João said that he feels like he has "no off switch" when it comes to drinking and "no way of controlling" himself. "I’m literally a steam train firing at full taps on both cylinders and on the verge of derailing!" he said. "This is to say I’m done."
In a second post João shared on Instagram on March 1, he said that he believes there have been several signs of the negative impact of drinking on his life, such as experiencing consequences from a night out or watching his actions on Below Deck Med, "knowing very well that I would have handled situations very differently if I was sober."
"Some signs more subtle, maybe through other people like [Captain Sandy Yawn] giving me light on when and why she made her decision to quit alcohol," João explained. "The people close to me, telling me that I have so much potential to be great, I just need not f--k it up by going to jail or having a car accident."
João ended the post, which featured a photo of himself with his sister, Shae Talbert, and his girlfriend, Michelle Dicu, in his native Zimbabwe, by saying that he feels fortunate that he's been able to live the life that he has.
In the third and final post published on March 2, João recalled how it would have been so easy to drink socially as he caught up with family and friends for the first time in several years in his home country.
"It’s the first time in MANY years most of my mates, family, and I had been together in one place. We all came back to Zimbabwe at the same time, mostly unplanned. It would be the hardest time for me not to have a 'chilled bevy' as we all catch up. But when I thought I’d feel like I needed a drink to blend in, they instead thought about drastically slowing down as well!" he wrote. "As we catch up on old times, I paint a picture in my mind of all the ups and downs I have gone through in life. It’s an interesting picture to say the least! Besides the unforeseen circumstances life has thrown at me that I couldn’t have possibly predicted, I come to a hard conclusion. There is only one thing that I have had the power to control and have failed in most cases to do so and have still been lucky enough to tell the tales of my misfortunes and near misses afterwards. I am so thankful that nothing has been tragically irreversible. But one day it will be."
João then officially declared that he has decided to quit drinking. "So, I cut out what is pulling me down. Alcohol," he wrote. "Because alcohol is THE ONLY thing that makes me lose faith in myself and question my actions."
João said that by being sober, he hopes to not only improve his own life but also inspire others to be healthy. "I hope to change lives as I change my own. Not through telling people it can be done but showing them. Maybe save a life or two. Maybe hundreds! This is at least one of the reasons I believe I’m still here," he concluded the post. "And it’s certainly a reason worth living! I quit."
João has been open about his behavior while drinking on Below Deck Med, introducing us to Jezabob, his alter ego after partying a little too hard during the crew's nights out. "I got into a lot of trouble, but I just didn't realize the extent of it," João said of his drinking during the Below Deck Mediterranean Season 4 After Show, which you can view, above. "I'd always think, I couldn't have been that bad because I don't remember it."
Captain Sandy, who has been sober for nearly 30 years, applauded João's decision to stop drinking. "João, after reading this I realized that this has always been your struggle. I promise you, from experience, if you stay clean and do the next right thing, your life will be beyond your wildest dreams!" she wrote in the comments to one of his posts on Instagram. "I love you and I’m here for you @joaograntfranco."
Ashton Pienaar, who has also stopped drinking after seeing how alcohol affected his behavior in Season 7 of Below Deck, also showed his support for João's journey in his Instagram Story on March 2. "Keep strong on your decisions to live healthier [and] and stronger," Ashton, who said he is 56 days sober, wrote to João.
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