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..!

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