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5. Get all the Benefits of Giving Up Drinking Alcohol

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:

  • Cholesterol
  • Liver fat
  • Weight
  • Glucose

Source: http://www.healthline.com/health/quit-drinking-alcohol-for-a-month#2

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:

  1. Overcome Denial
  2. Getting Support
  3. Rewarding Yourself
  4. Change Your Life
  5. Reap The Benefits

…and these are the book references that have helped me write this blog:

  1. Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins – Buy on Amazon US/GB
  2. Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential, Carol Dweck – Buy on Amazon US/GB
  3. Feel The Fear, Susan Jeffers – Buy on Amazon US/GB
  4. Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl – Buy on Amazon US/GB
  5. S.U.M.O (Shut Up, Move On), Paul McGee – Buy on Amazon US/GB

Comments

  1. These blogs are very helpful. Thankyou. I made the decision on Tuesday morning to abstain fom alcohol. I have been drinking way over recommended limits for a very long time. I love nice wines, and this is not going to be easy. Evening dinner is definitely not the same without a nice glass of savignon blanc. But a glass was always several 🙁 However fever tree natural tonic water is ok.
    I am only on D3 so I have a long way to go but D3 feels better than D2. I am not enjoying the feelings of over hydration and insomnia, but am enjoying being awake in the evening with my people and animal family long after what would previously have been my watershed. I have also started a diary, and added the DrinkControl app to my phone, so i can enjoy putting a tick next to ‘drink-free day’!!

    • Steve Green says:

      Hi Sara, well done on taking the first step, it does get easier before long, and the benefits gained are well worth it. The diary is an excellent idea, read it often during the first few weeks, and any time in the future when you have doubts about what you are doing, it will help remind you of why you decided to quit in the first place.
      Best wishes.
      Steve.

    • Hi Sara, How are you getting on – is the diary and the app helping you stick to your goal? Let us know how you’re getting on…James

  2. Lovely article and some useful insights. I decided for the bazillionth time to give up alcohol 23 days ago (who’s counting!!) I managed nine months a few years ago and started again for no good reason.
    Everything is already much better apart from feeling very tired some days, so much so that I fall asleep and don’t have the energy to lift a finger. But that’s a small price to pay for all the other benefits that are already in my life.

    Better sleep
    Improved relationship with my wife
    Much better moods
    No guilt in the morning
    Always being present

    These are just some of the positives so far. So just the wait to get back my energy and to be more productive as a result of that.
    It will be a month this coming weekend and already feeling proud. Onwards and upwards

    • Steve Green says:

      Hi Kam, the benefits of living without alcohol are well worth it, some of them may take a while to get noticed though. The tiredness you are experiencing should disappear before long, and your energy levels should start to improve. I believe the tiredness is caused by your body readjusting to your new lifestyle, I felt the same for the first few weeks too.
      best wishes.
      Steve.

  3. Sunil Maheshwari says:

    Hello Steve, very encouraging read. I am trying to be a social drinker like I used to be but I retired in 2013, still working part-time to keep myself active. Now I am a binge drinker but always thinking of next bingeing. My sleep is terrible. I am going to read your story everyday to fight the urge by thinking about all the benefits. Thanks

    • Hi Sunil, Sorry it’s taken so long to reply, but you’re in the right place to find inspiration to give up binge drinking. There are so many comments from others in the same situation. I set up a new page, all comments, which is literally all the comments ever posted. There’s tons of inspiration in there if you need. Keep in touch though and let us know how you get on. James

  4. Steve Green says:

    Hi Sunil, thank you for the comment.
    This blog actually belongs to James, who quit drinking over 10 years ago, my own story is a guest post on James’ blog entitled “Living without alcohol” and you can find it here if you want to read from the beginning.

    http://stopping-drinking.com/living-without-alcohol-a-diary-of-life-outside-the-pitcher-plant/comment-page-1/#comments

    Personally I found it impossible to moderate my drinking, I would start off with just weekends, but it always crept back up to seven nights a week, so eventually I decided to quit altogether as I found that a better choice than trying to moderate. Some people do manage to moderate their drinking, and I do realize that for some people this is a preferable path to follow, but there are probably more benefits to be gained by quitting altogether.

    If you decide that quitting altogether is the best choice for you, then your sleep pattern should start to improve within a few weeks, you may find that you feel more tired at first, but your body needs to adjust to your new way of life.

    Personally I have found the benefits of sobriety to be life changing, and will certainly never go back to my old way of life.

    Best wishes for the future Sunil.
    Steve.

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