Living Without Alcohol – A diary of life outside the pitcher plant

LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL – A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.
Guest Post by Steve. G

Although I have given up drinking many times in the past (I guess that statement alone tells me that I had a drink problem) the longest being for just short of six months, somewhere along the way I always manage to convince myself that I am missing out on something, that I am denying myself something, that I am bored, and from there it is just a short step to having a drink again, with the intention of it just being the occasional evening, or just on weekends, which then within a couple of weeks turns into a nightly ritual, and shortly afterwards to wondering why the hell I started again at all.

I am fed up of feeling like shit for several hours when I get out of bed, and of all the other negatives that alcohol brings, physically, mentally emotionally and socially.

I have also experienced the benefits of sobriety, the feelings of improved physical and mental well-being, and know that life as a non-drinker is far, far better than that of a drinker.

This time I intend to stop drinking forever. I am beginning this diary on Day 8, I actually gave up the booze on March 1st 2016, but only decided today that I would keep a diary, something I have never done before, but I think it may be an interesting change to write down any thoughts or feelings I have along the journey.

My first major milestone is September 1st. That will be 6 calendar months without alcohol, the longest I will ever have gone since the age of 16, 47 years ago.

March 8th 2016.
Eight days in and I have gone through the initial annoyances. I always have nightmares when I first stop drinking, those vivid ones that seem to hold you just on the threshold of sleep so when you wake up you feel like you haven’t been to bed at all. I’ve gone past that now, last night I had a good night’s sleep for the first time since I quit. I was feeling a bit irritable too, and tending to be a bit snappy with people but I think that I’m through that stage too as I am feeling much calmer today.

The almost constant heartburn and acid reflux I suffer from have almost become non-existant,and should disappear altogether soon. I have noticed my bowel movements are less runny, and I don’t need to go as often as before.

Already I feel slightly more self confident, never being a very self confident person in my life I find that every little helps.
On Day 1 I started exercising again, 90 semi sit-ups a day with feet off the floor, 3 sets of 30 with a 10 second hold at the end of each set. This will tone my stomach muscles, and the exercise will just improve my physical and mental well-being in general.

I have been through all these stages several times before, and so know what to expect, but this time I am keeping a diary and so will have a history of how it unfolds and progresses.

Just a few observations that I learnt from my sober times before:-
Drunks are boring, noisy, repetitive, and quite often obnoxious people.
Neither drinking, nor drunk people have any endearing qualities.
Being drunk never solved any problems, or brought true happiness to anyone in any situation.
Alcohol is a liar and a sham, and any benefits people think it brings are illusory.
(These are only my opinions, other people may disagree with them.)

Dr Allen Carr who wrote the books “The easy way to stop smoking” (Buy on Amazon US/GB) and “No more hangovers” (Buy on Amazon US/GB) likened the addiction of alcohol to being a fly trapped inside a Pitcher plant, a very good comparison in my opinion, and so I am going to use this as one of my catchphrases…

I GOT OUT OF THE PITCHER PLANT, AND I’M STAYING OUT !!

Onwards and upwards…

Author: James

Sharing stories of recovery and strategies to help you keep sober. Visit my blog today - https://stopping-drinking.com/

52 thoughts on “Living Without Alcohol – A diary of life outside the pitcher plant”

  1. When I quit smoking just over a year ago and quitting alcohol 2 weeks ago I noticed following health benefits:
    1. I have a lot more time for other things in life (wife, kids, home, fishing). Alcohol and smokes robbed me blind of the biggest treasure – TIME
    2. I smell better and nicer
    3. I have a lot more money in my pocket for other things
    4. No guilt in the morning
    5. More smiling, more happy, more content with life
    6. My teeth are healthier
    7. My vision improved; I can read again without reading glasses
    8. My leg cramps disappeared
    9. I got a huge appetite for food and not gaining any weight
    10. I got rid of alcohol buddies ( I have much better friends)
    11. No mood swings
    12. Now I can jog for 10 miles
    13. No driving under influence of alcohol
    14. Less worry; Not afraid of anything
    15. Better person, fathers, husband, friend, co worker

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    1. I totally agree with all those points, Wally, the benefits of sobriety are numerous, and life-changing in the best possible way. I think the only regret most ex-drinkers have is that they didn’t see the light sooner.

      Best wishes.
      Steve.

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  2. LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    August 27th 2016
    5 ¾ months sober.

    There is something that I have been thinking about lately, something important enough to me to prompt me to write this post.

    There are references of this on the pages of this blog, and also on several other websites, also I have come across it many times over the years too.

    Picture this scenario, at a function, in a pub, party, barbecue…
    A Non-drinker, whether just a few days, or many years after quitting…

    Drinker:- “Why are you drinking orange juice? Is it because you have the car with you?”
    Non-Drinker:- “No, it’s because I don’t drink.”
    Drinker:- “Why not? Do you have a drink problem?”
    Non-Drinker:- No. I used to have a drink problem, now I don’t drink.”
    Drinker:- “Oh, so you’re an alcoholic?”
    Non-Drinker:- “No, I’m a Non-Drinker.”
    Drinker:- “Well, if you had a drink problem, then that makes you an alcoholic.”
    Non-Drinker:- “Answer me this, when you were a small child did you wet the bed?”
    Drinker:- “Well… yes, of course I did.”
    Non-Drinker:- “And do you still wet the bed?”
    Drinker:- “No, of course not!”
    Non-Drinker:- “And do you, or anyone else still refer to you as a Bed wetter?”
    Drinker:- “No! Why on earth should they?”
    Non-Drinker:- “Exactly…”

    I find it strange, totally negative, and completely counter-productive, for someone to be stigmatised with the label “Alcoholic” or even “Recovering Alcoholic” when they no longer drink. Many people who haven’t drunk alcohol in years still call themselves an alcoholic.

    The way I look at it…
    Alcoholics drink alcohol, and have alcohol-related problems because of this.
    Non-drinkers don’t drink alcohol, and certainly don’t have alcohol-related problems.

    I gave up smoking 11 years ago, and became a non-smoker, I didn’t continue to see myself, or be seen by others as a nicotine addict, I became a non-smoker the very first day I quit.

    For someone to take the decision to remove alcohol from their life is a step to change their life, to move forward, and for many people it is a hard-fought battle too, and in my opinion it seems very negative to label themselves, or allow others to label them with such a term that is no longer a part of their life.

    They way I see it, I became a Non-Drinker on March 1st, the first day I started this diary, and I refuse to be stigmatised or labelled for the rest of my life.

    I am NOT an alcoholic.
    I am NOT a recovering alcoholic.
    I am a Non-Drinker.

    Best wishes to all you Non-Drinkers out there. 😀
    Steve.

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    1. Hear, hear Steve. You’ve hit the nail on the head..! I’ve had a few conversations like that and it (sometimes, though less now) they always wound me up as I don’t consider myself ever being an alcoholic, just someone who occasionally drank too much and didn’t know when to stop. I think that 90% of those who do drink would find it very difficult to stop even for a short period despite proudly announcing to all that they could, “give up anytime they wanted”. Alcohol does that, it gives you unrealistic horizons, but you only really get to find this out when you go through the stages of giving it up.

      Great that you’re still keeping in touch Steve and offering your support here :o)

      James

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      1. Hi James, I never really considered myself to be an alcoholic either, at least not in the sense that most people think of as an alcoholic, but I knew that I had a problem because the alcohol was such a beckoning siren to me. Many of the people I know have a bigger alcohol problem than I had, but they don’t see it as a problem, leastways not yet anyway.
        I count myself lucky that I saw through the alcohol trap, and was able to do something about it.

        Best wishes.
        Steve.

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  3. Hi Steve! Thanks again for the response and idea about making a pro and con list. This definitely helped. I am on day 13 and going strong. I have decided to check out AA this week and have met some great women. Planning to keep moving forward!
    Hope you are well!

    Sue

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    1. Hi Sue, I’m very well, thank you, and it certainly sounds like you are too. 🙂
      It’s really good to hear that you are doing so well, you seem totally positive about what you are doing. Getting involved with the AA can only be a good thing, they will give good advice and support, and put you in touch with others taking the same steps.

      About two hours ago I arrived home from my daughter’s wedding reception, I had a brilliant afternoon and evening, laughing, joking, dancing, I certainly had as much fun as anyone else there, and possibly more than many others.

      I was drinking J2O orange juices, and one of my brothers-in-law who I haven’t seen for quite a while asked me if it was because I was driving, he was a little surprised when I told him I had quit drinking completely, because in the past my wife and I have had a great many boozy weekends over at their house, his next reply was to immediately defend his own drinking by saying “Well, I could stop any time I like, but I don’t want to.”
      Now, this is quite a common response, and you will probably come across it yourself sometimes.
      Some people quite aggressively defend their own drinking habits without them even being mentioned in the first place.
      the strange thing about this type of response is, why does someone feel the need to defend themselves for doing something that they profess to be a genuine pleasure?

      When faced with this reaction I usually tell them that I have quit drinking for my own benefit, and don’t expect anyone else to do the same, then get on with enjoying the occasion.
      I don’t feel the need to defend myself for being a non-drinker.

      Funny thing later, the same man fell on his bum on the dance floor, dunno why. 🙂

      I just thought I’d mention this incident because you are almost certain to come across the same reaction yourself sometimes, and being ready with a shielding response is always handy.

      Once again, well done on your progress, positivity, and determination.

      Best wishes.
      Steve.

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  4. Steve-
    Thank you for your kind and honest words. I am on day 7 and starting to feel a bit better. Was struggling with headaches in the evening the first few days but those seem to have subsided. I even went to a wedding yesterday and drank club soda and lime! I lied to my friends telling them I wasn’t drinking because I was taking an antibiotic but I stayed sober!!!!!!
    My social circle is one that consists mainly of heavy social drinkers so I justify it by thinking I am no different however, I have had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol since I left for college and I am now 39. I can moderate for a bit but it eventually creeps up and gets out of hand again. I’m over waking up with regret, shame and anxiety. I really want to keep on keeping on with sobriety. I am grateful to have found this supportive outlet. Thank you again!!!

    Sue

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    1. Hi again Sue.

      It sounds like you are doing really well. Like myself you may find you go through several physical changes over the first few weeks, probably some emotional and psychological ones too. Some of them may seem like a mountain to climb, or you may get doubts about what you have started, but these soon pass, and soon you will probably look back and realize just how much you have gained, and just how little you have lost.

      Absolutely bravo to you on enjoying a social function without alcohol so early on in your journey, that was probably the hardest one you will ever need to take on. If it makes it easier you can always tell your friends in a few weeks time that after a few weeks without alcohol due to the antibiotics, you felt so much better that you decided to give it up for good. Apart from close family I didn’t tell anyone else that I had quit permanently for quite a while, I just told them I was having a detox, or I was having a lot of heartburn (which I was) and so was having a rest from alcohol for a while, then eventually I started telling people that I was quitting for good. I think each person has to go with what works for them personally.

      I have mentioned to others the value of writing down the reasons that made you take the decision to quit drinking in the first place, those reasons will still be there next week, next month, next year, and if you begin to have doubts about what you are doing, or why, just take a look at that list and ask yourself if anything has changed enough to make you want to go back to how you were before.

      Also a valuable tool is writing a list of the disadvantages of drinking, and the advantages, the minuses that alcohol brings seems to far outweigh any supposed benefits.

      I think that, like yourself, most people’s social circle consists of heavy social drinkers, but if they are true friends they will accept that you are making a lifestyle change for your own benefit, and not as any kind of threat to theirs.

      Next Saturday I shall be giving my youngest daughter away at her wedding, and I have already told some of the close family that I will drive them home at the end of the night. I always feel very good inside at the end of a social function nowadays when I think back to the states I used to get in at functions in the past.

      Once again, well done on how you have progressed so far, I think you have done marvellously.

      I do hope you will continue posting to say how you are getting on on the future.

      My very best wishes.
      Steve.

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  5. I have given up alcohol in the past for 30 days at a time the but always end up back where I started. This time I’m hoping for a real change. I have drank (not necessarily to the point of being drunk) just about everyday this summer. I have gained weight and feel miserable. I am currently on day 4 of no alcohol. Thanks for all of the inspiration!

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    1. Hi Sue, I have been on the same merry-go-round myself in the past, and so can understand the way you feel.

      One of the big problems with giving up drinking is getting past the myth that alcohol gives us fun and happiness and confidence, it really is a falsehood, it brings far more problems than anything else. And most people, if they are honest with themselves, know this, but still convince themselves otherwise.

      A drunk amongst drunks feels at home, but a drunk amongst sober people feels stupid, the same sober people will feel just the same given the same two scenarios.

      I know quitting alcohol seems difficult at the start, we have so many years of programming to overcome, but it does get easier, and the end result is well worth the journey.
      It takes a little while, probably varies from person to person, but after a while of being sober, it dawns on you that life is so much better without alcohol, you begin to feel so liberated. Improved physical and emotional health, and weight loss too are further benefits.

      Stay with it Sue, it is a lifestyle choice that really is worth making.

      Please stay in touch to say how you are getting on.

      Best wishes.
      Steve.

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  6. loved reading your diary, have decided to try to give up wine drinking but I know its going to be hard, family get togethers always include bottles of vino, a wedding to go to, confidence in a bottle, I get so nervous as I don’t go out often but I’m going to give it a try. It is lovely to hear that you have done so well and we are about the same age, so after years of drinking more or less every night I am on day 2.

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    1. Hi Anita, thank you for stopping by, and for taking the time to leave a comment, it is heartening to know that others are finding my diary beneficial to themselves. It makes the writing of it so much more worthwhile.

      Well done on taking the decision to quit drinking. As the days go by you will find that you begin to wonder what you were getting from alcohol in the first place. Like many others I thought that it brought me “Fun” but when I stood back and took a good look at my life I realized that alcohol brought many problems, and virtually nothing in the way of benefits.

      You may find also that when you tell people you no longer drink, that some of them seem envious, and also many will immediately leap to defend their own drinking habits, which seems such a strange thing to do if they genuinely believe that it is a pleasure, and not an addiction.

      Please stick by your decision Anita, write a diary as I and others have, it really does help, you don’t have to do it online, just do it for yourself. Write down the reasons that brought you to the decision to quit, and also list the disadvantages, and advantages of drinking.
      (You may find that you struggle to write much in the way of advantages)
      And especially over the first few weeks look at it often, it will reinforce in your mind the reasons why you wanted to quit in the first place.

      I know you may find this hard to believe at this stage, but you really can stay sober and still have fun, a genuine fun, not the false type brought on by drunkenness. And if your friends are true friends, they will respect your decision, and be on your side.

      Stay with it Anita, and before long you will realize just how many life-enhancing benefits you have gained through quitting drinking.

      Please keep in touch and let us know how you are getting on.
      My very best wishes.
      Steve.

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  7. .LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    May 5th 2016
    14 weeks sober.

    Once again, last night I had one of those really vivid dreams that seem to go on forever, and that I can recall almost blow by blow.
    I won’t bore any readers with the surreal details, but throughout almost all of the dream the situation kept arising where I was on my way to buy myself a bottle of Bacardi.
    And throughout the dream my inner voice was constantly telling me that it was not a good idea, that I would really regret doing so if I did. And I’m happy to say that in the dream my inner voice won out every time, I never got to that shop, the Bacardi was never bought.

    I know this may seem like a strange post, but I just thought it was worth the mention.
    I believe that just now I am going through what I would class as a dangerous period on my journey without alcohol, and my subconscious mind is successfully dealing with those insidious negative thoughts concerning alcohol.

    The fact that even when asleep my subconscious mind is confronting, and beating those thoughts is a sure sign that deep down I know that I really do not want to be a drinker again, ever.

    This reinforces in my mind that I am doing the right thing, something that is right for me, and that I made the right decision to remove alcohol from my life.

    Another item worthy of a mention too. Several of my work colleagues now know that I have quit drinking completely, and to my pleasant surprise not one of them have treated the news with the scorn or derision I expected. They just seem to accept the fact. This is a good thing as it makes the beginning stages of the journey so much easier.

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    1. Hi Steve,
      It’s almost 2 months since you last wrote, how are you getting on? It would be great to hear from you and your journey so far.
      Best,
      James

      Like

      1. Hi James, everything is good with me thank you, I hope all is well with you too. 🙂

        Tomorrow marks the four month anniversary of my alcohol-free life, and I know beyond any doubt that I will not be going back to my old ways. My original goal of six months, which I mentioned in my first post, is on the horizon now, and will soon be passed. I made my original aim of six months because the longest I have ever gone without a drink since being a teenager is one week short of six months, and so I feel that it is a psychological milestone as well as a physical one.

        I also mentioned in an earlier post that my life is easier now than before, in a sense that I find any problems that arise easier to deal with. I am a calmer person than I used to be, oh, I still have my occasional rants and senior moments too, but in general I approach life in a more relaxed and measured manner.

        I feel much healthier than I used to do also. The acid reflux and indigestion that was an almost constant annoyance for me is now gone completely, my sleep pattern is better, and I just feel physically better in general.

        Another small thing, I’m probably somewhere in the region of £200 a month better off too.

        I don’t regret making the decision to remove alcohol from my life at all, and I do believe that keeping this diary has helped me too, especially through the earlier weeks of withdrawal and denial.

        Best wishes.
        Steve.

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        1. Hi Steve,
          Great to hear from you and to hear that you’re still progressing. It’s funny, but once you start to hit big milestones like 6months you tend to think less and less about the drink and more about how life is just improving in many aspects. For sure a diary helps record your feelings through this period. I’m sure i wouldn’t have made it without writing in it. Especially when you can read back on periods you found hard and can see the strategies you used to overcome them.

          Keep in touch. All the best,
          James

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  8. LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    May 21st 2016
    12 weeks sober.

    My wife and I have just returned from a Shearings 5 day coach holiday to Torquay. We had a really enjoyable and relaxing few days away. Although mornings are not really my best time of the day, I was up early to enjoy breakfast and set out on the excursions, even the showery weather didn’t put a dent in my enthusiasm.
    Each evening the hotel had a cabaret act on. In years gone by, in fact for almost all of my adult life, I have believed that I needed alcohol to relax and enjoy such occasions, yet I found myself singing along with the songs, laughing along at the jokes, and thoroughly enjoying the evenings’ entertainment, and also the company of the other guests. And all of this on nothing stronger than diet Coke.
    Just to mention too, that the bar bill over the course of a weeks holiday usually turns out to be one of the biggest expenditures of the week, sometimes costing more than the holiday itself, and I estimate that we must have saved at least £200 over the holiday through not getting splurged on beer, and Barcardi and Cokes every night. Money that will do nicely towards the next holiday.

    It seems that nowadays every thing I do that used to include alcohol but no longer does, just reinforces my belief that I never needed it in the first place, and that I absolutely made the right decision to remove it from my life.

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    1. Congratulations Steve, wonderful to hear that you’ve hit the 3 month mark and are still super positive about giving up drink.

      Great that you’re keeping in touch and offering your inspiration to others as well.

      James

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      1. Thank you James.
        The truth is, I actually enjoy being a non-drinker now that I have gone past the initial withdrawal.
        I sometimes sit and have a think about what I used to be like, and what I am like now, and there is no way that I am going back to what I used to be.
        I find life itself so much easier and more enjoyable now, I find decision-making so much easier, and I now tackle problems as opposed to hiding from them.

        If my posts help and inspire even just one more person into creating a better life for themselves then it will make the writing of them so much more worthwhile.

        Best wishes.
        Steve.

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  9. LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    April 15th 2016.
    6 weeks sober.

    I’ve had yesterday and today as holidays from work to give me a long weekend. I got up this morning and my wife and I drove over to Skipton, had a bite to eat on the High Street, then took a pleasant, leisurely stroll round Skipton Castle.
    This is another one of those days that just wouldn’t have happened when I was drinking. I wouldn’t have been fit to drive at the time we set off for one thing, and even if I was it would have been very unlikely that I would have drummed up the enthusiasm to bother going at all.

    It’s interesting to note, that there has been alcohol in our house every day throughout my abstention, there has always been a bottle of Bacardi sitting on the shelf in the kitchen, my wife enjoys a glass of Bacardi and Coke a couple of times a week, hers is a very moderate way of drinking that I found impossible to adhere to, and just now there is a four pack of beer in the fridge as my Granddaughter and her family are coming for the afternoon on Sunday, and her partner enjoys a couple of beers while they are here.

    Although this alcohol has always been there, I have never felt the urge to use it. I also do not mind being in the company of people who are drinking either. I have settled quite comfortably into my new way of life, and tend to view alcohol with indifference now, it is my own choice to not drink, just as it is the choice of others to drink if they wish to.

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      1. Hi James.
        Yeah, everything is good with me, thank you. I’ve been sober for just over two months now and feel really good with myself, My sleep pattern is much better than it used to be, and I’m feeling the benefits in just about every area of my life. Nowadays I find it hard to understand what attraction alcohol had for me in the past, and I just don’t miss the stuff at all.

        I hope all is good with you too.
        Best wishes.
        Steve.

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        1. Hi steve, i think that sums up how most of us feel after giving up. When you look back you can’t believe how much time you spent on that part of your life.

          Congratulations on reaching this stage!

          James

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  10. LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL.
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    April 1st 2016.
    One month sober.

    Well, that’s the first month gone by. I have passed this milestone before, but know now that I will never need to pass it by again.

    I like the person I have become much more than the one I used to be, and life, and the way I view it, is improving more with each passing day, and I am totally determined to continue this life-enhancing journey.

    I don’t expect my life to be perfect, or without its challenges and ups-and-downs, it would be a rather boring life if it was, but now I feel as though I face those challenges in a more positive way. I feel less afraid to face them, and feel that I now make decisions based on what is right for me and those that matter to me, rather than based on what irrational emotions or moods were dominating my thoughts at the time.

    I am in essence now a much more positive and decisive person. For instance, at one time I would look out the window and think “Hmmm… the grass needs cutting.” and then would proceed to spend the next two hours mulling over whether I could be bothered doing it. Now I look out the window and think “Hmmm… the grass needs cutting.” and before I realise it I am in the garden pushing the lawn mower around. A helluva change for the better.

    Over the past month life has changed for me in many positive ways, and I can’t think of a single thing that has changed for the worse through not drinking alcohol.

    It’s quite amazing really just how much difference one short month has made to the way I feel and the way I am, both inside and outside.

    Like

    1. Hi Steve,
      It’s a great feeling to hit one month. I can see that you’re finding life more positive. It is amazing the difference that you can make in such a short space of time.

      Congratulations! Keep it up.

      It looks like it has really helped you writing a post, and replying to others?

      Would you like to write another post?

      James

      Like

      1. Hiya James, yes I am certainly feeling the benefits, I even get up earlier now as I no longer need the recovery time on a morning that I used to do.
        I work strange hours, starting at 5.15pm and getting home any time between midnight and 4 am, and before I used to cling to my bed until after noon or later, and still felt hung over when I got up, I get up at 10am now, and even if I just use the extra time catching up on TV watching it is still time I can use rather than just wasted dozing nursing a thick head.

        I’m not sure that I could write a different post, I’m not sure that I could find anything to say, I never expected this diary to turn into what it has online as I thought it would be just the one post on your blog, though I am really pleased with the way it has developed. Also I am enjoying replying to the comments, and am very happy to offer what support I can to others following the same path.

        I am quite happy to add to this post though, and write up anything that happens on my journey through life with the new “Me”
        Many of the immediate benefits of sobriety have already been mentioned, but I have some up and coming challenges to enjoy. We are going on holiday to the south coast in May, and down to visit relatives in Norfolk the first week in August, I shall be giving my daughter away later in August too as she is getting married, and I shall be enjoying all of these occasions without the negative effects of alcohol. I do expect some interesting comments from various people at these venues too.

        At the very least my next post would be about how I got on without alcohol during the May holiday, but am hoping that something interesting may occur before then.

        Once again, James, thank you for giving me the the opportunity to write this diary on your blog.
        Best wishes.
        Steve.

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  11. LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOLIC
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    March 27th 2016.
    27 days sober.

    I have noticed that a time or two over the last couple of days I have caught myself thinking about drinking in moderation. These are the thoughts that in the past have led me slowly down the path to starting drinking again, and from there quickly back to my old habits. I feel strong enough, in fact more than strong enough to be able to cope with, and dismiss these thoughts, to see them for what they truly are. They are a sly and sneaky old enemy, which I now find easy to recognise and see their true colours regardless of what disguise they may be wearing.

    A couple of times too I have dreamt that I have started drinking again, and also in my dream to feeling disappointed with myself, that in itself is a good sign, and a solid reminder that deep inside my subconscious mind I definitely do NOT want to return back to what I used to be.

    I gave up smoking over 10 years ago, I was a very heavy smoker for 36 years and after many failed attempts finally conquered that demon, and even to this day I still occasionally dream that I have started smoking again, but as Allen Carr quoted “People who have been rescued from kidnappers sometimes dream that they are back with their captors, but it certainly doesn’t mean that they want to BE back there.”

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    1. Hi Steve,
      I understand your moderation comment. I have tried the last two years to give up the alcohol and I reach a certain period whereI convince myself “I can handle it this time”……the longest I have gone has been 5 months, well now I am back to day 1. I really like this blog and definitly relate. Going to start to journal daily. Day 1-feel like a failure today and a disappointment to my family. blah blah blah….I did it to myself.

      Like

      1. Hi Meri, Believe me when I say that I have been where you are oh so many times, I once went 25 weeks and had a beer thinking “Yeah, I can do this, I know I can go long periods without, so I’ll just have an occasional beer.”
        Hah!! within 2 weeks I was back to drinking Bacardi and Cokes almost every night, or cans of lager. It’s taken me a lot of years, and a lot of failures for it to sink into my head that I CANNOT do moderation when it comes to alcohol.
        Do not blame yourself for failing, sometimes we need to fail several times while we acquire the knowledge and skills to succeed.
        Writing a list of the reasons you want to stop, and reading it often, especially during the first few months is a great help.
        Another great tool is the journal, or blog, it helps to keep you focused on what you are doing, and why.
        Get involved with as many online sites and blogs as you can, it really does help.
        And always bear in mind, that you are not a failure, just a success story waiting to happen.
        Know also that you are not alone, there is lots of help and encouragement to be found out there to make your journey easier.
        Alcohol is a powerfully addictive drug, it is the addiction that keeps us going back, but know that it can be beaten.
        My very best wishes for the future Meri, be kind to yourself, and get all the help you can along the way.
        Steve.

        Like

      2. Hi Meri,
        I think all of us here failed many times before making it to the point where walking away from alcohol was the only option left. I didn’t realise that all these failures were just part of the build up. I’m at a point now where I’d never want to go back, i’ve managed to build a life around me now that doesn’t need alcohol. I’m in a better place, but it took many attempts. Stick with it, remember always that it takes a day at a time! As Steve says, writing down why you want to give up is key – it makes your desire to stop concrete.

        Keep in touch, James

        Like

  12. LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    March 25th 2016
    25 days sober.

    Yesterday I celebrated my 63rd birthday, and I feel rather proud to say that I did it with nothing stronger than green tea. Something of a landmark in my journey, and the first sober birthday I have had for 47 years. No hangover today either, and that makes quite a change for the day following my birthday too.

    I work late shifts, 5:15 pm start, and usually get finished between 11pm and 1am, and in years gone by I have booked my birthday off work so I can get started on the drinkies in the late afternoon or early evening. This year I decided to work instead, and save the day for later in the year when the weather is warmer, possibly for a day’s fishing on the local lake.

    Usually on my birthday some of the presents given to me are bottles of wine or Bacardi, all my family now know that I have quit drinking alcohol, and so this year I was happy to receive lots of chocolate instead.
    I’m not a chocolate binge eater or anything like that, but my wife and I usually treat ourselves to a 200g bar each when we do the weekly shop, I usually enjoy mine while watching telly over Saturday and Sunday evenings, and I now have a supply that should last me a good few weeks. 🙂
    I also received a beautifully carved wooden chess board and pieces from my wife.

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  13. Last night I went out with my husband and 3 kids for Mexican, and I ordered … drumroll … A virgin peach daquiri. I’ve always snubbed my nose at drinks like this. But last night I was able to share my drink with my daughter. And when it was gone, I felt REFRESHED. The great myth about alcohol is that it is so refreshing. The cold icy beers and the sparkling glasses of wine just look so refreshing. But they never are. At the bottom of the glass is only more thirst.
    Thanks for this great blog. You are right that it feels better to quit than to abstain for x number of weeks. And my skin looks better!!!

    Like

    1. Hi Susie, thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment. 🙂
      It sounds as though you had a wonderful evening out too.
      Beers and such DO look refreshing, don’t they? But as you say, they just cause more thirst, that’s why some people can drink ten pints of beer in a night, I think it would be very difficult trying to drink ten pints of water instead.
      Alcohol has so many false myths attached to it though, doesn’t it? And these myths will never be exposed by the taxman or the manufacturers.
      You discover so many positives and benefits once you take the decision to quit using alcohol, don’t you? Better skin being just one of them.

      I agree with you that this is indeed a great blog, it belongs to James, who gave up alcohol a long time ago, and continues to use these pages to offer help and encouragement to others who wish to give up alcohol too.
      My own posts are part of my ongoing diary that James has kindly allowed me to put on here.

      Best wishes.
      Steve.

      .

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      1. Steve,
        You’ve done a great job with your guest post, it’s triggered a lot of comments. It does amaze me how many people there are in the same situation, all looking to give up drink and wanting to make better lives for themselves, which is all good.

        How is this ongoing diary working for you, have you found more strength from it to help continue your sobriety? It’s great to see the blog being used as a forum with everyone pitching in and helping each other out. Very rewarding to see.

        James

        Like

        1. HI James, thank you for the compliment.
          Thank you also for allowing me to post my diary on here, I didn’t intend this to happen when I started out, but I’m glad that it turned out this way.
          I’m glad that you’re pleased that it has turned into a forum-like thread too. hopefully it will reach, and help more people along the way.

          I find that it does help to keep this diary. I read it almost every day, and it helps to reinforce in my mind the good changes that are happening to me, and the reasons I decided to quit drinking in the first place.

          It’s absolutely wonderful to read all these supportive comments too, it makes what could have been a difficult journey, a far easier one.

          Best wishes.
          Steve.

          Like

    2. Thanks for your comment Susie. Yes, since giving up completely life has been much better. It never worked for me when i tried to stop for just a few weeks at a time. I’ve kept away from zero alcohol beer etc, preferring to stick with tonic or sparkling water. Not had a virgin daiquiri yet, but there’s always a first time for everything!

      Keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

      Like

  14. LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    March 18th 2016
    18 days sober.
    A couple more physical changes that I noticed since I quit drinking are that the sweats I have been having for the first few hours after getting up (these sweats tend to soak the area in the small of my back for some reason) are much less severe than they have been.
    I have been getting these sweats for several years now, and would be really glad to see the end of them.

    Another condition I have had for many years now, usually after being in the cold at work all day, my face burns very red when I get home into the warmth. It seems over the last few nights the burning hasn’t been quite so severe. I have always put this condition down to something caused by being in the cold all day. I am now beginning to believe that this too may be either partly, or wholly related to alcohol abuse.
    Many alcoholics have purple cheeks and noses, so it may be possible for this to be the early years of that condition, which hopefully I will now avoid by having quit drinking.

    Two more positive benefits to add to the ever-growing list. 🙂

    Like

  15. Reading these posts is really encouraging. I am almost at three weeks sober and I’m loving it so far. I can’t believe I have attached so much importance to alcohol. I am worried I feel too good!

    Like

    1. Hi Celina, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am so glad that you find my posts encouraging, it is heartening to know that I am helping more than just myself by doing this diary.
      It really is quite amazing just how much difference a few weeks without alcohol can make to the way you feel, and in so many different ways, isn’t it?.

      Well done on your decision to take this journey Celina. We are more or less at the same stage as each other, and will be passing the milestones and anniversaries together too.
      Onwards and upwards. . . .
      Best wishes.
      Steve.

      Like

    2. Hi Celina,
      Many thanks for leaving your comment. It’s true that many people have found the same thing, looking back they cannot believe they relied on drink as much as they did. Giving up drink certainly gives you a chance to look at life in a different perspective!

      James

      P.s. Never worry about feeling too good! :o))

      Like

  16. Steve (and James), I really appreciated this post. I giggled when I read the “Day 8.” One of my pages is titled “Day 8 of Sobriety.” Whenever I get thinking I’m missing out I re-read that page and remember I am not missing out on anything but misery. Steve, congrats on tackling this adventure. The dividends are huge. I just celebrated another sober anniversary myself and it just keeps getting better. Not perfect, but better, because I know me better and express me better. In short, I love who I am today. I’ll be following along and commenting as time allows. Blessings, Lisa

    Like

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Great to hear from you again and congratulations on another sober anniversary! I’m in my 10th year now – the time has gone so fast! I would’t have changed anything. Likewise, the whole process has made me a more complete, wholesome person and one with a much happier outlook on life.

      Keep in touch.
      James

      Like

    2. Hi Lisa, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I’m glad that it gave you a giggle. 🙂
      Yes, the “Missing out” bit can take a lot of getting past, can’t it? We have been programmed for most of our lives to believe that alcohol is some kind of magic fun producer, and without it we will be just miserable. Funnily enough, the more days I go without it, the happier I feel.

      Best wishes.
      Steve.

      Like

  17. LIVING WITHOUT ALCOHOL
    A diary of life outside the pitcher plant.

    March 13th 2016
    13 days sober.
    When James asked me to post as often as I wished, I never really expected to post as often as I have started to, but something wonderful happened today, well… several things really, and I didn’t want them to pass without a mention.

    I went for a walk in Roundhay Park with my wife Debbie, now, many may think that that in itself is not so wonderful, but for me it was, because I have changed so much in the last 13 days that the whole afternoon was an absolute pleasure.

    We set of at 1:30pm. Now, usually on a Sunday I am totally disinclined or incapable of doing anything worthwhile before 3 or 4 in the afternoon due to the amount of alcohol consumed on Saturday night, and usually at around 4pm on a Sunday I am cracking open my first beer, followed by two or three more, then into the Bacardi and Coke until the early hours of Monday morning.
    (I work evening shifts and so luckily never needed to get up early to go to work.)
    But today I actually WANTED to get out into the fresh air. That is a wonder in itself
    .
    A couple of weeks ago being out and about I would have felt anxious, self conscious, and all the time just wanting to get back in the car and go home.

    Today I walked through the crowds feeling calm and relaxed and completely at ease. I am smiling and laughing more readily than I can ever remember. What for me would have been an ordeal just a few short weeks ago has now become something to enjoy, I find that I am beginning to appreciate the small pleasures in life again, and that is truly a wonderful thing.

    Like

    1. To be relaxed and feeling at ease – one of the main plus points when you give up drink. Suddenly it’s like an overcoat, a heavy one, is lifted off your shoulders. It is indeed a ‘wonderful thing’.

      Keep writing Steve, it really helps.

      James

      Like

      1. Hi James, it is certainly amazing how much difference just two short weeks can make to a person’s inner well-being, isn’t it?
        I never seemed to feel this good when I have gone sober before, and I think the difference this time is that in my mind I have started a new life, whereas in the times before I knew in the back of my mind that I was just treading water until I decided to hit that drink again.

        Best wishes.
        Steve.

        Like

  18. A Diary of Life Outside The Pitcher Plant.

    March 12th 2016
    12 days sober.
    I have noticed that I seem to be “thinking” about alcohol a lot, not constantly, but quite a lot of the time. Strangely enough these thoughts aren’t “Cravings” for alcohol, if anything they seem to be the opposite, they feel more like positive thoughts of not wanting or needing alcohol. I think that maybe this is my subconscious mind setting its barriers and defences in place to counteract any negative thoughts or cravings should they come along.
    I know from experience that a dangerous period for me will be in the 2 to 3 month area, this is usually when I start to get those whispers that say things like “Go on, just have a drink on a weekend” or “Why the hell are you denying yourself ANYTHING at your time of life?”
    This time I believe my mind will be ready to meet those negative thoughts and deal with them.
    These type of negative thoughts are insidious, they come disguised as enticing offers of pleasures I am missing, the cream cakes that I “Know” I deserve to have, and I have crumbled to these seductive whispers several times in the past, this time I am determined they shall not get the better of me.

    Like

  19. I am “drink free ” now since 2nd of Jan 2012 so into my 4th year. I’m aged 57 and its just wonderful I was drinking from aged 24 to 53 and each year marked an increase in consumption until my late 40ts and fifty s found that i was drinking every day. Every aspect of my life has improved and dramatically. Only regret wish could roal back the years and have stopped earlier. But such is life and very pleased have had no slip up! But I take each day as it comes.

    Like

    1. Hi Pat, thank you for taking the time to read my post, and for leaving a comment. Congratulations too on your own success at taking control of your life, and the well-deserved benefits you have gained because of it.

      I guess I would call myself a very well functioning alcoholic, always worked, never drink and drive, or drink until I am falling down, but I think over the last few years it has slowly dawned on me that I either don’t drink at all or I drink every night, even if it is just a couple of beers., I find moderating to just a couple of nights a week is very difficult to do, and reluctant as I am to label myself as alcoholic, I feel I must be, otherwise the pull of the drink would not be as seductive.
      This is my own successful attempt at taking control of my own life, I say successful because I shall not allow failure to be an option this time.

      Once again, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      Best wishes.
      Steve Green

      Like

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