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. Bob says

    Well today is 6.5 months with out a drop! Hang in there folks. The time will go by fast and faster and you will feel so good you will never go back to that old life! Just keep it up!

  2. Keith says

    Just wanted to drop by and say hi. I stumbled across this blog over 2 years ago and used it almost daily for a number of weeks.. It’s great to pop back and read the comments now and again. It’s even better to see many new names starting their journey as well as a startling reminder of the damage that alcohol can do to people’s lives.

    I have gone well over the 2 year mark (823 days) without a single drop of booze. It does get easier but the temptation remains and at times actually forgetting that I don’t drink anymore!

    So hang there folks. It’s a rough ride but still remains one of the greatest positive risks I’ve ever taken in my life.

    ….and keep up the great work James.

    Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year (be it sober or not).

    Keith

    • says

      Great to hear from you Keith. I remember those days when you used to post daily, how the time flies. I’m glad you got so much support here. Great to hear that you’re well into your 2nd year, it’s definitely a life changing thing to give up drink. I had no idea if i’d survive, but I did and like yours, life is indeed so much better now.

      Well you have a great Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. Let’s wish for a prosperous New Year all round! :o)

      James

  3. nancy says

    Was 10 months sober …thought I had it under control went back drinking was okay for few months was controlling it but as of how just recovering after losing 4 days of my life binge drinking…so going to make a go of it again

  4. Paul says

    Coming up to 80 days free of alcohol, feeling not bad, and really want to never drink again

    Realise it’s going be hard journey as thr temptation and I think loneliness kicks in at times when you feel your all alone and the only one not drinking

    Paul

  5. Mary says

    Thanks so much for such inspiring words and such a success story. I’ve just embarked on my own alcohol free lifestyle. Following 34 years of habitual drinking, I’ve decided that for the benefit of my health and for the sake of my family to bin the alcohol. I’m one month off it today and feel great. As you’ve stated, writing a daily diary is very beneficial and has kept me on track with my goal of keeping away from the booze.
    I’m feeling clearer and happier. No hangovers or guilt from drinking too much. No conflict in my mind over drinking. The positives of being alcohol free far out weigh the negatives of being caught in a downward spiral of negativity that drinking too much brings.
    Sure, in my twenties and thirties when I had a flourishing career and a social life to go with it, drink was an intrinsic part of that. Now I’m 53 and trying my best to raise a teenage son and be a good wife and drinking alcohol in a habitual way is only taking from my life.
    So thank you for all the tips and although I’m at the beginning of my journey into an alcohol free life, I have gained great inspiration from your story. So thanks

    Mary
    Ireland

    • says

      You’re welcome Mary – thanks for taking the time to leave such a nice comment. Lifting the guilt and removing the hangovers is one of the best advantages of giving up drinking. I wish you luck on your journey and hope that you keep in touch and let us know how you get on. :o)

      James

  6. James says

    Thanks for your well written experience. Im 32 and a little tired of drinking and what the unproductive long term lifestyle it leads to though while drinking temporarily it feels like a lot of fun. We do things like drinking smoking etc even though it might be common sense not to. So I took a resolution on 1st January after drinking heavily on New year’s eve to go on a detox. At a party recently I was almost tempted to grab a beer but controlled myself. I get tempted to tell myself I don’t need to quit drinking completely since I enjoy it I can drink moderately though deep inside I know that moderation doesn’t work in most occasions with me! This big debate about moderate drinking keeps haunting me. But I have decided to at least be off drinking for 2 more months and then decide.

  7. Janet says

    Took my last glass of my favorite Austrailian Chardonnay on January 3rd. It wasn’t a planned thing but my 20 year old son noticed my drinking was getting out of hand and told me so. That was 48 days ago!

  8. Oli says

    Hi James and All,

    Firstly wanted to say I am greatfull to come across your blog. Your story very much resonates with my own.

    I am 31 and Like you have mentioned I am at a stage in my life where my friend are all married and beginning to have children. Going out alone because I no longer have a circle of friends that enjoy that so much is a habit I feel very ashamed of. What used to seem like adventure’s is now just looking a bit sad!

    In honesty Iam scared that to continure down this path things will become very bleak. On then other hand as a single bloke I’m worried about how I will meet someone being alchol free. Having that conversation with someone whist dating.. I can’t see how it will play out at the moment. (Daft I know!) thoughts welcome!

    This is the first time I have posted on a blog like this but just getting some thoughts down feels like a positive thing to do!

    As I’m writting this I feel this could be day one.

    Thanks again

  9. 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.

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