It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.― Edmund Hillary
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.
Losing weight without trying
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.
More health benefits
Other health benefits started to become more obvious. First off 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. What I didn’t fully appreciate were the significant health benefits when giving up drink.
The following are all reduced when you give up drinking for just one month:
- Liver fat
I went to the doctor and got my cholesterol levels checked out. Great, they were low (3 mmol/L). Unfortunately I had never checked them before, when I used to drink, so I can’t say for definite what the change was. But I’ve since read that giving up drink can drastically lower your cholesterol levels.
Better sleep, more energy levels
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.
New family life keeps me busy
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.
The process of writing up about it after all these 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 was lucky that I wasn’t more reliant on alcohol. Some people are and they experience withdrawal symptoms when coming off alcohol. It’s important that you talk to your doctor if you’re in this position.
My diary still helps me
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.
My blog is here to help you too
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 this book, ‘Feel the Fear and do it Anyway, by Susan Jeffers’, as it has helped to further develop my inspiration to succeed.
Don’t forget, it’s never too late to make a start on the next chapter of your life.
Quick jump to the other steps:
…and these are the book references that have helped me write this blog:
- Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins – Buy on Amazon US/GB
- Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential, Carol Dweck – Buy on Amazon US/GB
- Feel The Fear, Susan Jeffers – Buy on Amazon US/GB
- Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl – Buy on Amazon US/GB
- S.U.M.O (Shut Up, Move On), Paul McGee – Buy on Amazon US/GB