5. Get all the Benefits of Giving Up Drinking Alcohol

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. Vicki says

    I am 59 years old. I really started drinking when I left my alcoholic husband when my only child was 2. I lived through hell and it didn’t end there. 28 years later and I have paid off his debts and worked 6 to 7 days a week to keep a roof over our heads. I started drinking in earnest when I left because I could drown out the bad things and I didn’t feel so lonely. For the last couple of years my son has noticed how bad I am and said last weekend that if I didn’t stop I would die. My liver has been hurting lately and I am overweight by about 30kg, no energy to exercise and I sleep badly. I didn;t think I could give up because it was a habit I had for so, so long. I knew I had to stop otherwise my son would have no respect for me. I have drunk a litre of red wine a night, every night for the past 28 years!!!!!! I probably don’t have long to live but I hope I haven’t gone too far with no return. Haven’t had a wine for four nights now and feel good (no guilt). Thanks for reading.

    • James says

      Hi Vicki, Thanks for leaving your comment here, apologies for taking so long to reply. How are you getting on? Write and let us know or if you need support and encouragement.

  2. Lisa says

    Im going to check in with this site when I think of that chilled glass of presecco….
    I’m giving up drinking from today so all the encouragement will be welcome.
    Knowing I’m a great person with out the need for alcohol to enjoy life. :-))

    • Maisie says

      Dear Lisa
      I gave up one week ago. I have been drinking alcohol free lager – one can a night as there is a limit to how many teas, coffees or soft drinks (which I am not keen on) I can drink but 0% lager seems to satisfy me at a time when it has become a habit to have a drink.
      I have lost a couple of pounds in weight.
      Wishing you all the best.
      M

  3. says

    Dear James, your site has really helped keep me going! I’m on day 8 now after years of secretly drinking between one and three bottles of wine a day whilst – seemingly – keeping a ‘perfect’ family life together. I’ve found blogging really helps too, so started my own: http://www.mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot.com. Many thanks, and good luck to everyone else out there going on this journey…

    • James says

      Hi Sober Mummy,
      I’m really glad that the site has helped you so far. You’ve got a great blog too – you’re more than welcome to write a guest post and put it here. The first weeks are the hardest, but once you get past them it gets slightly easier each day. Keep at it and always feel free to come back here for support!
      James

      • says

        Hi James! Thanks so much for your reply. Really glad you like my blog. I’d love to write a guest post. Let me know how to go about it i.e. how many words and where to mail it to. Also, if there are any particular topics on my blog that you think your readers would be most interested in then I can expand on that specific area. Love SM

        • horse with no name says

          Not sure if I can be so optimistic, this is a killer disease and will play tricks with ur mind, counting days is a nonsensical exercise, the rest of ur life is out of bounds with alcohol. Every thing I am is alcoholic related, all the roads of my life brought me to this spot. I know all the trickery we use to fool ourselves. Having said my bit, I wish u well and remember for most of us in our final hour we will reast assured in the knowledge that we did not give up and did not give up trying. God bless us all.

    • James says

      Good luck on your journey – it’s totally ingrained into everything we do here in the UK…but there are plenty of new things to find to do, sober. Keep in touch.

  4. Sharon Harris says

    I need to start my first day today to stop drinking. I drink every other day and always drinking too much each time until I don’t want to go to work the next day. I get up anyway and suffer through the day. I don’t drink that night because I am so tired from not sleeping well the night before. So this is my first day all over again, just like every other day of my life. My hardest will be not to drink tomorrow or the next day. I dink mostly alone because I’m embarrassed by how much I really do drink. I’ve not done it to this extent all my life, but the past 5 or 6 years I have. Right now I can’t drive because I have a DUI and had my license revoked. I’ve tried walking as a means to getting exercise and thinking that would curb my craving, but I get home and decide now I’m bored and want to drink to fill the emptiness. Of course that doesn’t really work, but it feels good for a little while….at least until the next morning. I need help tomorrow and the next day and the next. Any suggestions as to how to stop this cycle will be greatly appreciated.

  5. Bob says

    This is a post I will put on my FB status!
    May 21, 2015 will be one year to the day I have stopped drinking alcohol.
    Not one drop! If I would have only known what would happen I would have stopped years ago. I’m back on planet earth. It was not at all easy at first. Very hard but I never gave up on myself. When I was drinking, drunk or sober I thought I was in control. I thought! I had no idea life was passing me by. I’m so much stronger now. emotionally and physically. See I understand my feelings,
    seems like for the first time. I was cocked and ready to go off, on edge all the time.
    See I was missing the important things in life, but I never knew it! Life is so
    wonderful now just to feel good and take my time and enjoy others and life.
    I was disconnected but did not have a clue. I wasn’t a hopeless drunk I did
    drink 3 times a week but not everyday. See alcohal had me by the short hairs and I always thought I had it by the balls! You know what I hated? It was to read something like I’m writting here. Those who have stopped know just what I’m talking about, those still drink may not like this post.
    In closing I did this on my own with out the help of a deity, so please
    don’t tell me it was Your God that did it! I frickin did it!
    So I posted this to help others if they want, not at all to put a feather in my hat!
    Your drinking has nothing to do with me and up to you. I will never look down at others for I know what it is like. I just wanted to share.
    Bob

  6. says

    NIce, just what i wanted to hear. I have been in what you called the “build up month” and wonder how to pack it in. I guess pick a date and go for it. I have been running for years and love how i feel after it but then hate how i feel after a night out. I often wonder if i am just barely in balance between running and beer and what would happen if i stopped the latter. I think i would be happier so think i will try.

  7. Sam says

    I’m giving up drinking from today after a horrible night last night where I yet again drank to the point of no memory and my poor boyfriend had to look after me. I’ve hidden away from my problem for 8 years. I am able to have one or two drinks with dinner or a bottle of wine with the boyfriend but as soon as I’m on a ‘night out’ or an event I quite frequently lose control of how much I’m drinking. It has got me in a hell of a lot of trouble over the years and I turn into a person I’m not. I never learn. I think the only way for me is to go tee total.

    Thank you for writing this blog and for everyone else’s comments it’s good to hear from people who are over the other side

    • James says

      HI Sam, you’re welcome. The comments from so many others in the same situation show how much support there is out there. I’ve turned my life around and prefer this new me, to the one who simply drank too much.

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