5. Get all the Benefits of Giving Up Drinking Alcohol

An image of Big Ben and Fireworks

After the initial month during which I wasn’t totally convinced if I was going to succeed in giving up drinking alcohol, I’d started to notice how much healthier I felt. I noticed that I’d started losing weight was down from 82kg to about 78.5g without really doing anything other than cutting alcohol out of my diet and going to a weekly salsa class. In the first month I lost 3-4kg. Now this was a bonus and one I hadn’t expected, so was yet another positive to add to my increasing list of positive reasons for giving up drink.

The weight kept dropping off until I reached a point where I’d lost 7kg by just stopping drinking. I felt the fittest in years, I hadn’t needed a weight loss plan, and I didn’t even anticipate that I would lose weight.

My skin started to feel fresher and more alive, was certainly pinker and healthier looking. I suffered from teenage acne and for the last 15 years had always suffered a bit of dry skin and eczema. Within 2 months of stopping my eczema had shrunk completely, so I was left with a tiny bit on my hands and leg, instead of all over my lower legs and wrists.

This natural detox and cleansing of my system was amazing. I felt as if a blanket had been lifted off of me. I felt I could do anything. With the salsa classes I’d gained loads of confidence and was now starting to believe that more or less anything was possible.

I’ve always been reasonably good at getting up in the morning. I enjoy going to bed late, but I like to get up early, the afternoons are something else. That is siesta time. Without the drink though, there were no hangovers, no days wasted lying in bed trying to shift a hangover. Those days were behind me, long gone. Now I hop out of bed at 6 on a week day and much the same on the weekend. My body is used to it now. Energy levels are so much higher – if I could bottle it and sell it, I’d be a millionaire. Although in my life now I feel I have made it already. Not financially, but in terms of the quality of my life.

Learning from this experience has taught me one thing: to believe in myself. I knew in my heart that I could do it, but making that jump and actually doing it, is the thing that I thought I could never do.

Now I have a wife and child and we’re in a fabulous relationship that just couldn’t have existed before. I was the most argumentative person in the world with just a couple of beers inside me. I was unreasonable and hard to live with, to say the least.

I sometimes wonder what I could have done had I given up alcohol earlier. I had a lot of adventures and life would have turned out differently. Who knows? I wake at night and sometimes smile, because I managed to break a habit and everything has turned out so much for the better.

I couldn’t be happier

My 5 steps were more like 5 phases of my life as I went through the process of detox and stopping drinking. For me they worked, they helped me to think about the process, why I was doing it and what did I hope to achieve at the end of it. By writing up about it now nearly 6 years later I find myself happier than ever that I went through the process and weaned myself off alcohol. For me now, life is so much fuller more fun and happier without alcohol. I’m glad I was able to break free.

I still keep my diary and sometimes take time to read through notes I made years ago. The notes I made then help put things into perspective. I could see at times I really struggled to break the habit and on occasions I was close to relapsing, though I never did. Something I’m really proud of and something that continues to push me into the future knowing that I won’t need alcohol to get me where I’m heading to.

I really hope that if you’ve found my blog about giving up drinking useful and inspiring! If you’re in a similar position then I hope you gain something positive from my own experience. If you do and you’d like to write a comment then please do, your positive comments will add a richness that others will benefit from too.

Thank you for reading this today – please add your comment to the growing list, so that others can benefit from your experiences too! I recommend buying this book, ‘Feel the Fear and do it Anyway, by Susan Jeffers’, as it has helped to further develop my inspiration to succeed.

Comments

  1. Bruce says

    Just wanted to drop in because today marks 30 days for me and I’m feeling good!! Funny how you can get a mind set where you think you couldn’t do certain things without ( in my case ) having a beer while doing it. I really enjoy grilling out during the summer and that and drinking a beer always went hand in hand. Well truth is, it is just in your mind! I have grilled out numerous times in the 30 days since I gave up drinking and have found I enjoy it no less without the beer. Find that on the weekends ( I primarily drank more on the weekends ) I have more time and energy in the afternoon and early evenings and get more accomplished. We’ve yet to go out to eat, so that will be interesting when that time comes, because it was usually based on not only the food choices but the beer choices as well ( one place of choice is a brew pub ) but again, it’s just a mind set and that can be changed. I figure the smaller bill because of no alcohol at the end of the meal will be reward enough!! Also I’ve started working out again and have kept a pretty consistent schedule at this point, can’t say whether I’ve lost any weight as I don’t weigh myself, but it appears that I have lost some.

    So to everyone else who’s also on this journey, I commend you and just want to encourage you to keep going strong!!

    • says

      Hi Bruce, great to hear from you again. Giving up drinking is giving up a habit really, nothing more. You’re right about that. It doesnt take long before you start to realise that everything about drinking is having this one long series of habits. I remember breaking into a beer when I got home from work, like i didn’t even think about it. I just did it. Shortly after giving up I noticed how i’d be almost impulsively moving toward the fridge..!
      Keep up the good work, and let us know how you get on.
      James

  2. Tony Roche says

    I’m. Into. My. 3rd. Week. Alchol. Free. After. Binge. Drinking. For. 40. Years after. A very. Bad. Bout. Of. Gout I’m. Finally. Going. To. Give. It. My. Best. Shot. I used. To. Be. A happy. Drunk. But. Now. I’m. Argumentative. In. Drink. So. Hope. For. Some. Of. Yr.SSupport. Guys. On. My. Long. Journey. Without. Booz

    • says

      Good luck Tony, great to have your comment and hear that you’re into your 3rd week. It’s possible, you just need to put your mind and all your energy into giving up.
      Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. :o)

  3. Donna says

    Hi guys.

    I am day 3 and struggling but hoping against hope I won’t pick up that first drink. I am simply fed up and sick and tired of drinking and can’t do it anymore. I turn into a horrible person, put myself at risk, blackouts.. Intense shame the next day every time. Hurting people that live me every time I drink, I do not have a stop switch and drank at least 5 out of 7 days…

    Good luck to anyone trying to give up

    • says

      Donna–just remember what you said in your comment…1) horrible person 2) blackouts 3) shame. Anytime I even think about reaching for a drink, I remember who I became once my alcoholism reached its peak. I became a different person–one in which was incapable of healthy relationships, and didn’t even notice the important aspects of my life I was ruining. The first week for me was horrible–had elevated blood pressure, urges to drink, guilt and shame. Once we realize the problems that alcohol can create, and realize our health and well being is jeopardized, that is when we realize it’s time to quit. It takes hard work–but it’s worth it. Trust me, you are getting through the toughest parts of alcoholism right now–make today another day you don’t drink. Remember: things only get better once you stop drinking. I have not met one alcoholic where things have gotten worse after they stopped.

      • Donna says

        Hi,

        Thank you. I haven’t picked up a drink today so another day free. Thank god.

        Feel rough though, my body is aching and head very sore but better then waking up and wondering what the hell I did last night!

      • says

        Great advice Leif. It only takes a minute to think about all the reasons you wanted to give up drinking in the first place. Thinking of those help straighten your thinking and stop you reaching for another drink again.
        ;o)

    • says

      Hi Donna, good luck with your new journey…you can do it, just remember to take it a day at a time. Leif gave some sound advice, you’ve listed all the reasons why you want to give up drinking. Use these reasons to keep you motivated to stop. You can do it.
      Keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

  4. helen says

    I stopped for 7 days felt really well and positive .I had a row with my fella and took a drink which led to disruption and carryed on drinking into the nxt day .totally felt crap and dissapointed with myself . It never gets better that one drink is all it takes .a cunning nasty disease .im trying again now and am back to day 1 .good luck to you all and keep safe

  5. Bob says

    Well 11 weeks (77 days) today for me—-My cravings did sub-side a lot. just about totally gone. Entergy levels way up. I’m feeling great!

  6. dprovan says

    Hi

    just found the site and have been reading through many of the articles. Had to post as I so recognised what Bruce wrote. I have developed a ‘habit’ where i have just drunk more and more and drinking has become my norm. I wouldn’t define myself as an alcoholic- alcohol has never significantly impacted on my work, lifestyle but it has become increasingly important to me and i recognise the danger in this. Like you Bruce- more and more past-times, days or events had an association with a beer. Even cutting the grass I felt I was due a beer, its Friday so i deserve a beer, im watching the match so i deserve a beer.

    Tonight marks the end of day 3 without a beer- have to say it has been realitvely straightforward and i have rewarded myself in other ways- had a diet coke instead and i have enjoyed this just as much. Not sure just yet how long i will not drink for but think i should just stop for a bit to break this habit.

    cheers for some great and inspiring posts.

    • says

      Congratulations DP on choosing to give up. 3 days in and you’re on your way. There are so many inspirational people who have left comments over the last couple of years on my blog. Take comfort that you’re not on your own. Plenty of support from all here.

  7. Tim says

    Hey, me again.
    I am two days away from two months without drinking alcohol, after 1 month I also stopped smoking (which is bad anyway), still after these two months I don’t see any change.
    It’s still a mild eczema (seborrheic dermatitis) but it’s still there.
    But I feel better without alcohol and cigarettes anyway, so there’s no going back to that!
    I recently found out that an other possible problem is: Gluten.
    I hear a lot of stories from people who benefit from cutting out their Wheat, gluten and/or dairy products. So I will give that a try, have to sacrifice a lot. But if it works, I’m happy.
    And for people with the same problem, (psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis) many stories I read link to celiac disease.
    If it can help someone, give it a try. I am starting with this right away.
    But your story was very inspiring and helpful, I am now more in control of myself.
    So thanks again!

    • says

      Glad you found inspiration here Tim. I found that the drink aggravated eczema and since stopping, it has really improved. I think not going to smokey bars as much also helps. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

  8. Megan says

    We have a choice on the 1st drink. After that, it’s no longer a drink, but a disease. You never know where it will take you. Stay in the solution. :)

  9. Bob says

    Robin Williams Talking to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, also in 2010, Williams explained his return to drinking in 2003 had been the result of generalized “fearfulness and anxiety.” He explained, “It’s just literally being afraid. And you think, oh, this will ease the fear. And it doesn’t. It’s just a general all-round arggghhh”
    Tomorrow it will be three month sober for me and after reading this I now know it will be there with me all my life! I know I must do it, and no matter what I will not give in!

  10. scarlett says

    Its been a couple of months since i wrote here, I keep getting emails of people doing really well, and trying hard. Ive just failed. Its so hard. So frustrating, wish i had some bloody will power,

    • says

      Hi Scarlett, great to hear from you again…don’t beat yourself up, sadly we’ve all done it. Keep positive, as times like these make you want it more. They help you. It is frustrating though, but the will power does get stronger! :o))

  11. Tony Roche says

    Going on. Holiday. To. Greece in. A few. Weeks to. Meet. Friends. I haven’t. Seen. For. 20 years they. Own. A pub. In. Greece. How. Do. I get. Through. The. Holiday. Without. A drink. I’m. Dreading. It

    • says

      Hi Tony, catching up with friends is always great, most of us change so much, especially in 20 years. You can tell them how you’ve this great new sober life now. Try not to think about how bad it might be…they might have changed as well. I remember reading a similar comment here where they had similar fears and found that his friends all supported what he was doing and he ended up having a great time. It can happen..!

    • says

      Congratulations Bob! 104 days rocks! The first 100 days is a huge milestone. I remember passing mine and for the first time I really thought that living life without drinking was something I could actually do.
      James

  12. Jim says

    Well I am on day 5….been a binge drinker for over 30 years…..I never needed it to get up or work but weekends and some nights during the week look out. I just have no off switch. I never though it would come down to this. I woke up last Sunday and found a text from my wife telling me she is worried about me and my drinking…We were at a party and I had started around 10 am…don’t remember a thing…that is my wake up call. I embarrassed her again, acted like an ass. I hope I can stay on course

      • jim says

        THanks for the kind words….day 8 still sober. It is encouraging. I have a calender that I mark off the days and that seems to be like a reward. I am just taking it one day….like my buddy told me.. before you drink remember…if its a good idea today it will be a better one tommorrow…just wait for tomorrow

        • says

          You’re welcome Jim – keep the calendar going – it’s great motivation to tick off the days as they pass. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. James

  13. Peter says

    I didn’t consider myself a heavy drinker, more a regular one and my main interest in giving up alcohol was to lose weight.
    I calculated that drinking typically 3 bottles of average strength wine per week equated to around 2,000 calories, which sounds bad enough but on an annual basis that’s more than 100,000 calories ….. yeeks!

    So far I’m on day 12 and have found it relatively easy in simply substituting mineral water for wine with my evening meal. My aim is to lose 4kg over the first 6 weeks, 6 kg over the first 3 months, 8 kg over the first 6 months and 12kg over the first year. Fingers crossed, we shall see.

    • says

      Hi Peter, Thanks for your comment. As you noted, drinking beer can easily add to the calorie intake. It was one of the first things i noticed when I stopped drinking, simply losing weight without any extra effort. Well done for getting to day 12. Keep in touch and let us know about you achieving your goals!

  14. Bruce says

    Hey everyone! I meant to drop in after getting to day 60 but it was a busy week, so I forgot, but I guess it’s better that I can check in at day 77 instead!! Things are well and I have to say it’s getting easier as the days pass. Since my last post I have experienced a lot of events that in the past would’ve been accompanied with drinking. These included a send off party for a former co-worker and an annual trip to a major league baseball game. Have to say I felt perfectly comfortable at both and was offered on more than one occasion to have ” just one drink” but honestly never felt tempted to do so and found just politely declining was all it took. I had mentioned about going out to eat last time and I’ve since done that as well ( including dinner after the baseball game ) and as I thought, my wife has been presently surprised with the bills at dinners end, now that there’s not a charge for 2-3 beers on them anymore! ( even though she enjoys a glass of wine now and then when we go ) For those of you not in the USA beers at a baseball game can set you back a lot of $, so that whole day was a lot less expensive than in the past too. Throw in that driving home from both the send off party and the game, I didn’t have to worry about what kind of shape I was in to drive is priceless! I look forward to checking back in at day 90!!

    • says

      HI Bruce, great to hear your progress. It’s funny how occasions, like parties and baseball matches are not as bad as we might have feared before when we drank. It is possible to cope and live well sober as you’re finding out!

  15. Robert says

    Hi, just been looking at this site, on day 6 now, I am feeling better without alcohol although I’m finding it hard to sleep and having strange dreams! My birthdays coming up and having a small party in the next few weeks, just hope I don’t drink!!

    • says

      Congratulations on day 6 Robert, hopefully you’ve kept at it and are well into your 3rd week. Get us posted with your progress, it’s the best journey you can take.

      • Rob says

        Hi James. I am well into my 3rd week now, feels great apart from developing a terrible cold but I’m sure that will pass soon enough!THe 3 weeks has seen a long time to be honest but there is one thing I don’t miss and that’s those terrible hangovers, plus my skin seems to look a lot fresher and brighter!my days are much longer now as I’m up first thing in the morning, I get so much more done!Not long now and it will be a full month, some of my friends thought I would never do it, how wrong they were! to be honest though they have been very supportive and I know a lot envy me now!Looking forward to so many sober days and years!

  16. Jim says

    Well day 16 and all is well. Had a big weekend away that is historically a big drinkfest from the time we get there until we leave…..and I did not drink…I kept thinking I could have a beer and be fine, then I thought about it and decided I would rather wake up Monday morning happy than disapointed in myself. I know it is only 16 days…………..(p.s. wife was much happier too not having to babysit my drunk ass!)

  17. Mon says

    Decided to quit once and for all yesterday. No binging so far but I do drink every single day. Wine, beer, a glass of brandy, a shot of vodka. Or three. If I don’t go cold turkey, it’ll never stop. Life falling apart. Am becoming cold and mean, hating it. Tried to quit many times, dates marked in calendars, Never worked, always too weak. Hoping this’ll work this time. Time running out.

    • Rob says

      Hi the mon, just keep going! I’m now on day 10, I know how hard it is to stop! I’m doing lots of exercise at the moment, it not only makes me feel good but it fills in the gaps in the evening! Try drinking lots of fizzy drinks when you feel the need or get something sweet down you, read a book. I seemed to get bored staying in the house which gets me down and makes me think to much, that’s never good!get out of the house! Go for a long walk, call somebody. Hope this helps you as it has done for me.

    • says

      Hi Mon,
      Apologies for the late reply, I’ve just got back from a vacation and there was little wifi to check my blog. Well done for choosing to stop, it’s a great step. Take it a day at a time and keep in touch for support.

  18. Rob says

    Well done jim! I’m on day 9 now, still feels weird and I’m a little out of sorts! Still dealing with the fact I will never drink again! Hopefully this will pass!

  19. Tim says

    Hey James,
    Wow, I am blown away. I was here a few times before, I quitted drinking to improve my Seborrheic Dermatiti (scalp, T-zone flakes dry skin redness), I suffered from it almost 5 years or so, and it got worse and worse every year.
    So I decided first to quit drinking which I am still not doing, 3,5 month now. Very happy with that!
    But recently I tried something else, I stopped using shampoos, toothpaste, soaps that contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate/Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl &/or Parabens. I avoid them all.
    I use a natural soap without all that to wash my hands and I use Dead Sea salt every morning and evening. Just a few days have past and the flakes on my T-zone are gone… My hair still a little and my nose was a bit dry. But I didn’t have to use any moisturizer or body butter to hydrate my skin anymore. And because I think I have found what my problem was, I want to share this with as many people as possible, who might be still suffering from it. It could also be a food allergy, I am going to get a blood test soon. But this is already amazing.

    Greetings from Holland

    • says

      Hi Tim,
      Thanks for your comment, great to hear your experience. I’ve found so many benefits from giving up, it might also have something to do with a much reduced sugar intake. Keep us posted with your progress.

      • Julie says

        Hi. I am a 1st time reader of this blog. I have a long distance relationship with a man in England, I’m from America, and most times when I visit I wind up doing something I regret. It’s too predictable. I feel as though I don’t fit in therefore I just lose myself. I’m on day 2 of not drinking and it really encourages me in reading these posts that I’m on the right path. I at times feel so lost in this.

        • Jim says

          Keep with it Julie! It seems like forever but the time flies and when you look back you will realize you are in a better place!

      • Ciara says

        Day one, have failed a few times before, feel like crap today, to be honest I would probably drink to calm my nerves, but had too much yesterday and I know it will literally make me sick. I have to stop before my husband really does have enough of it. I go through phases of being good , that meaning just a few beers a day, then think I’m cured and buy vodka. I hope I can post in a couple of days with good news, not feeling good now…

        • says

          Hi Ciara,
          Thanks for posting your comment. It sounds like you really want to give up and that’s great to hear. Take it a step at a time, and at the beginning it could mean from one hour to the next. Keep posting and feel free to write here whenever you want. I found writing really helped. Stay in touch and good luck on your new journey!
          James

  20. dave says

    Hello all. will be a month with no alcohol in 3 days. Have drank since i was 16. Sometimes i controled it well , and sometimes i didn’t. The last 2 years i have not controled it well at all. Was hurting my health considertably. Developed a condition call gynaconmastia, where my left breast was getting bigger and painful. My ankles started to swell, my skin was awful, i forgot half of my life, was hurting my family relationships, and i got fat. Was worried about health,,,diatbetis 2 ,stroke, heart attack and the like. I feel much better and has not been too hard. I also have trouble with depression, sometimes i struggle there but each day i do better. Hope to continue this forever.

    • says

      Great to hear from you Dave and that you’ve almost reached the first month stage. At this point you might find that you’re well on your way, which is the feeling I had at this point. Keep at it, and keep in touch! James

  21. Beaufort says

    It’s been extremely tough to admit that I have an alcohol problem. I have been drinking since my late teens/early 20s. I can go for days without drinking and then I go on ‘weekend’ binges, etc. I am a female nearing 55. I’ve been seeing the negative results of my drinking in recent medical lab results, elevated triglycerides, blood sugar, etc. I have long been in denial as to all the bad things in my life that can be attributed to alcohol. I’ve decided to seek professional help through the VA. I can’t seem to moderate my drinking so I figure it’s best that I just quit altogether. Today is my first day. So far, so good.

    • says

      Hi Beaufort, great to hear that you’ve made the decision to give up. It’s amazing when you can finally see you’ve been in denial for that long, I found it a turning point when I realised i was in denial. Just by giving up drinking should really help your health issues. If it’s any consolation stopping drinking alcohol completely was the only way it worked for me. I’d tried many times before to moderate but I never managed to make it work. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. You can’t post enough, so feel free to write each day if it helps. :o) James

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