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. Peter says

    I didn’t consider myself a heavy drinker, more a regular one and my main interest in giving up alcohol was to lose weight.
    I calculated that drinking typically 3 bottles of average strength wine per week equated to around 2,000 calories, which sounds bad enough but on an annual basis that’s more than 100,000 calories ….. yeeks!

    So far I’m on day 12 and have found it relatively easy in simply substituting mineral water for wine with my evening meal. My aim is to lose 4kg over the first 6 weeks, 6 kg over the first 3 months, 8 kg over the first 6 months and 12kg over the first year. Fingers crossed, we shall see.

    • says

      Hi Peter, Thanks for your comment. As you noted, drinking beer can easily add to the calorie intake. It was one of the first things i noticed when I stopped drinking, simply losing weight without any extra effort. Well done for getting to day 12. Keep in touch and let us know about you achieving your goals!

  2. Bruce says

    Hey everyone! I meant to drop in after getting to day 60 but it was a busy week, so I forgot, but I guess it’s better that I can check in at day 77 instead!! Things are well and I have to say it’s getting easier as the days pass. Since my last post I have experienced a lot of events that in the past would’ve been accompanied with drinking. These included a send off party for a former co-worker and an annual trip to a major league baseball game. Have to say I felt perfectly comfortable at both and was offered on more than one occasion to have ” just one drink” but honestly never felt tempted to do so and found just politely declining was all it took. I had mentioned about going out to eat last time and I’ve since done that as well ( including dinner after the baseball game ) and as I thought, my wife has been presently surprised with the bills at dinners end, now that there’s not a charge for 2-3 beers on them anymore! ( even though she enjoys a glass of wine now and then when we go ) For those of you not in the USA beers at a baseball game can set you back a lot of $, so that whole day was a lot less expensive than in the past too. Throw in that driving home from both the send off party and the game, I didn’t have to worry about what kind of shape I was in to drive is priceless! I look forward to checking back in at day 90!!

    • says

      HI Bruce, great to hear your progress. It’s funny how occasions, like parties and baseball matches are not as bad as we might have feared before when we drank. It is possible to cope and live well sober as you’re finding out!

  3. Robert says

    Hi, just been looking at this site, on day 6 now, I am feeling better without alcohol although I’m finding it hard to sleep and having strange dreams! My birthdays coming up and having a small party in the next few weeks, just hope I don’t drink!!

    • says

      Congratulations on day 6 Robert, hopefully you’ve kept at it and are well into your 3rd week. Get us posted with your progress, it’s the best journey you can take.

      • Rob says

        Hi James. I am well into my 3rd week now, feels great apart from developing a terrible cold but I’m sure that will pass soon enough!THe 3 weeks has seen a long time to be honest but there is one thing I don’t miss and that’s those terrible hangovers, plus my skin seems to look a lot fresher and brighter!my days are much longer now as I’m up first thing in the morning, I get so much more done!Not long now and it will be a full month, some of my friends thought I would never do it, how wrong they were! to be honest though they have been very supportive and I know a lot envy me now!Looking forward to so many sober days and years!

  4. Jim says

    Well day 16 and all is well. Had a big weekend away that is historically a big drinkfest from the time we get there until we leave…..and I did not drink…I kept thinking I could have a beer and be fine, then I thought about it and decided I would rather wake up Monday morning happy than disapointed in myself. I know it is only 16 days…………..(p.s. wife was much happier too not having to babysit my drunk ass!)

  5. Mon says

    Decided to quit once and for all yesterday. No binging so far but I do drink every single day. Wine, beer, a glass of brandy, a shot of vodka. Or three. If I don’t go cold turkey, it’ll never stop. Life falling apart. Am becoming cold and mean, hating it. Tried to quit many times, dates marked in calendars, Never worked, always too weak. Hoping this’ll work this time. Time running out.

    • Rob says

      Hi the mon, just keep going! I’m now on day 10, I know how hard it is to stop! I’m doing lots of exercise at the moment, it not only makes me feel good but it fills in the gaps in the evening! Try drinking lots of fizzy drinks when you feel the need or get something sweet down you, read a book. I seemed to get bored staying in the house which gets me down and makes me think to much, that’s never good!get out of the house! Go for a long walk, call somebody. Hope this helps you as it has done for me.

    • says

      Hi Mon,
      Apologies for the late reply, I’ve just got back from a vacation and there was little wifi to check my blog. Well done for choosing to stop, it’s a great step. Take it a day at a time and keep in touch for support.

  6. Rob says

    Well done jim! I’m on day 9 now, still feels weird and I’m a little out of sorts! Still dealing with the fact I will never drink again! Hopefully this will pass!

  7. Tim says

    Hey James,
    Wow, I am blown away. I was here a few times before, I quitted drinking to improve my Seborrheic Dermatiti (scalp, T-zone flakes dry skin redness), I suffered from it almost 5 years or so, and it got worse and worse every year.
    So I decided first to quit drinking which I am still not doing, 3,5 month now. Very happy with that!
    But recently I tried something else, I stopped using shampoos, toothpaste, soaps that contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate/Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl &/or Parabens. I avoid them all.
    I use a natural soap without all that to wash my hands and I use Dead Sea salt every morning and evening. Just a few days have past and the flakes on my T-zone are gone… My hair still a little and my nose was a bit dry. But I didn’t have to use any moisturizer or body butter to hydrate my skin anymore. And because I think I have found what my problem was, I want to share this with as many people as possible, who might be still suffering from it. It could also be a food allergy, I am going to get a blood test soon. But this is already amazing.

    Greetings from Holland

    • says

      Hi Tim,
      Thanks for your comment, great to hear your experience. I’ve found so many benefits from giving up, it might also have something to do with a much reduced sugar intake. Keep us posted with your progress.

      • Julie says

        Hi. I am a 1st time reader of this blog. I have a long distance relationship with a man in England, I’m from America, and most times when I visit I wind up doing something I regret. It’s too predictable. I feel as though I don’t fit in therefore I just lose myself. I’m on day 2 of not drinking and it really encourages me in reading these posts that I’m on the right path. I at times feel so lost in this.

        • Jim says

          Keep with it Julie! It seems like forever but the time flies and when you look back you will realize you are in a better place!

      • Ciara says

        Day one, have failed a few times before, feel like crap today, to be honest I would probably drink to calm my nerves, but had too much yesterday and I know it will literally make me sick. I have to stop before my husband really does have enough of it. I go through phases of being good , that meaning just a few beers a day, then think I’m cured and buy vodka. I hope I can post in a couple of days with good news, not feeling good now…

        • says

          Hi Ciara,
          Thanks for posting your comment. It sounds like you really want to give up and that’s great to hear. Take it a step at a time, and at the beginning it could mean from one hour to the next. Keep posting and feel free to write here whenever you want. I found writing really helped. Stay in touch and good luck on your new journey!
          James

  8. dave says

    Hello all. will be a month with no alcohol in 3 days. Have drank since i was 16. Sometimes i controled it well , and sometimes i didn’t. The last 2 years i have not controled it well at all. Was hurting my health considertably. Developed a condition call gynaconmastia, where my left breast was getting bigger and painful. My ankles started to swell, my skin was awful, i forgot half of my life, was hurting my family relationships, and i got fat. Was worried about health,,,diatbetis 2 ,stroke, heart attack and the like. I feel much better and has not been too hard. I also have trouble with depression, sometimes i struggle there but each day i do better. Hope to continue this forever.

    • says

      Great to hear from you Dave and that you’ve almost reached the first month stage. At this point you might find that you’re well on your way, which is the feeling I had at this point. Keep at it, and keep in touch! James

  9. Beaufort says

    It’s been extremely tough to admit that I have an alcohol problem. I have been drinking since my late teens/early 20s. I can go for days without drinking and then I go on ‘weekend’ binges, etc. I am a female nearing 55. I’ve been seeing the negative results of my drinking in recent medical lab results, elevated triglycerides, blood sugar, etc. I have long been in denial as to all the bad things in my life that can be attributed to alcohol. I’ve decided to seek professional help through the VA. I can’t seem to moderate my drinking so I figure it’s best that I just quit altogether. Today is my first day. So far, so good.

    • says

      Hi Beaufort, great to hear that you’ve made the decision to give up. It’s amazing when you can finally see you’ve been in denial for that long, I found it a turning point when I realised i was in denial. Just by giving up drinking should really help your health issues. If it’s any consolation stopping drinking alcohol completely was the only way it worked for me. I’d tried many times before to moderate but I never managed to make it work. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. You can’t post enough, so feel free to write each day if it helps. :o) James

  10. Jas says

    Hi all
    I felt I had to post after reading some of the struggles a few of you seem to be going through…particularly those who feel they are missing something or are ‘taking one day at a time’. I too felt that I would be missing something and the thought of never drinking again literally made my body go cold and I felt like I was falling down a black hole! I realised that I need to change my attitude because as long as I felt like I was denying myself something I knew I’d inevitably go back to it as hey – life’s too short to deny yourself such simple pleasures, right? Well, life IS too short to deny yourself pleasure, and for me pleasure is being in complete control of all my faculties, not turning into an emotional sap, waking up feeling fresh and ready for the day etcetc. Once you realise that alcohol actually does nothing for you (you think it gives you confidence, makes you relax and happy etc but it’s just an illusion; a very clever marketing concept pushed by alcohol companies throughout the world) you won’t miss it as there will be nothing to miss. If you could get your hands on some literature that exposes the reality behind the myths of alcohol I think you may be surprised at how your eyes and mind are opened and how you come to view alcohol differently. I read Jason Vale’s How To Kick The Drink Easily but there are many excellent books out there that lift the veil on one of the oldest and most successful cons in the entire world.
    Good luck to you all :)

  11. 709ja says

    I have started a few years ago with a ex. I was never a drinker. Always worked , but was in a new place and had no friends. So after a year of non stop working, I enjoyed the company. The relationship evolved quickly, all my hard earned money I saved was gone helping to pay for “relationship” things, like dinners & other expenses (also, I’m female and not to be a double standard here but that’s his job to help pay)

    Anyways. Ended up pregnant at 19. And the relationship turned bad, I had only his family and we always faught, his go to problem solver was to relax and have a drink together. Eventually it was every week.

    After 5 years in a toxic abusive relationship, (physically and verbally) I left and moved home with family with my son, and was getting life on track. But then my nan & father passed within months of each other & I quit work, and school & started drinking. Everything caught up to me I guess, having reality all at once hit you & never really dealing with it. It’s only been 8months. But I’m not proud of myself. Drinking 2/3 and sometimes 4x a week.

    Long story short.
    I’m turning 26 next week And I’ve only been a few days without a drink.. I feel great & I know I can do this! I know the first week is the hardest and the second will be also. The first month is my goal. Day by day.

    And I’d like to thank you for this blog! I also kept journals through my abusive relationship to help remind me what I truest deserve in life. And I know it’s so much more than what I’ve been through.

    Thanks again! Keep up the good work:)

  12. Justin says

    Hi all,

    Just wanting your thoughts on what withdrawel symptoms you experienced when you stopped and how long it took to feel better again? I stopped for 6 days last week felt anxious but panic y, weird spacy dizzy feelung. On first 2 to 3 days then I xalmed down days 3 to 6 but was staying up late and goung to work with 3 hours sleep so felt tired. Then I relapsed drank heavily for 3 days had a whopping panuc atrack after a big night. Onky had 5.5 drinks yesterday, no drink today takung ut easy on the bed watching telly. Not anxious but still feel a but tired and groggy afrer 9 hours sleep last nigh! Anyone relate? Thanks

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