Make Today the 1st Day of the Rest of Your Life

OK, so the new year resolutions you set just a few weeks ago, seems like an age away. Maybe you got through January, just, and you’re beginning to think if living a sober life is actually for you.

It’s one of the hardest months of the year. Most people don’t have much money so in a sense giving up drink is made easier as there’s less people going out.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this with your friends. However, it whilst it makes it slightly easier to give up, there were probably tugs to get you to join in with drinks at the end of the month on pay day.

It doesn’t matter if you stumbled and had a drink. Why should that stop you from trying again? You know in your mind that you want to leave all the baggage that comes with drinking, behind, and that you know in your mind that giving up drink is what you really, really want to do.

Then, there’s nothing stopping you from making today the 1st day of the rest of your (new sober) life.

It’s all about keeping moving. Don’t dwell on making mistakes. If you had a drink, a sip even, don’t let it get into your head, move on.

The early days are hard.

Giving up drinking isn’t easy.

I found that the best thing to do was to go out for long walks. Just head out to the country, or to the park. Anything to get fresh air. Give your head some fresh oxygen, to help it make better decisions.

Always, after coming in from a long walk, I’d feel better and have a more positive outlook on life. I could almost leave all those worries behind me and kind of re-focus.

You can’t do this sitting on the sofa, watching TV.

Nope. If you try that, you’ll end up wanting a beer with it, and before you know it, you’ll be back to your old ways. To be honest, we’re all creatures of habit. This is why, when you give up drinking, you need to find new habits to do, in order to replace the old ones.

You’re never too old to start. I knew in my early 20s, that drinking wasn’t for me. But it took me another decade to get my act together. I gave up so many times in that period. Swore to myself I’d never have another drop. But it wouldn’t last. I’d give up. I didn’t have the drive and energy that I found in later life, to really go for it.

But, no matter what, we all have the ability to say to ourselves, go for it, do it, make this one count. Make it count today and use today as the springboard to get you heading in the direction it is you want to go.

Giving up drink has given me loads of confidence. Quietly, I know there are so many things I can do now I’ve climbed this particular mountain.

It’s a great feeling.

Have you found it too?

Not Too Late To Join Alcohol Concern’s Dry January Campaign

C1eIphhXUAAVu_0If you’re thinking of stopping drinking and are looking for inspiration have a look at Alcohol Concern as they are running the Dry January campaign. There’s still plenty of time to get involved. I can vouch for all three stats here – but according to Alcohol Concern, 79% of people who take part save money, 62% slept better and 49% lost weight.

There are loads of resources on their website, with stories from those who have taken part and gave up drinking, together with apps to help you control your drinking and information leaflets to help inspire you to do the same.

It’s not too late to join in, and if you think that it’s too late to make a start, it isn’t! :o)

No matter when you chose to give up drinking, especially binge drinking, you’ll find that you can totally transform the rest of your life.

Information Links:
Download the App
https://twitter.com/dryjanuary
https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january

Pre-Register for 2019

Pre-register and take part in Dry January, 2019

P.s. You don’t have to be in the UK to do this, use their resources to take part where you live!

Choosing Your New Year Resolutions

What Are Your New Year Resolutions Going to be?It’s New Year tomorrow and I’m still deciding on my New Year Resolutions. I’ve scoured the internet and found some of the top 10s, whittled down my list to one or two. Next year I’m definitely going to try to be fitter, happier and spend less time online and more offline.

After a quick Internet search, I’ve found some of the most popular resolutions from around the web:

  1. Lose weight, join a gym
  2. Eat more healthily, give up the snacks and take outs
  3. Improve confidence, and have a bigger smile
  4. Give up smoking, save your health
  5. Be more active, get more energy
  6. Meet more people, have a spring clean
  7. Change jobs, get out of the rut you’re in
  8. Drink less, even try to give up completely
  9. Lower stress, worry less, especially about work
  10. Get offline more, do a digital detox

[Source: 50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas And How To Achieve Each Of Them]

New Year Resolutions have been happening since the year dot. Like most of us, we use them to set goals, learn languages, to get us moving, stop procrastinating or for some, to make life changing changes.

10 years ago I started my New Year Resolution early. About 10 days early. I’d tried to give up drinking, or at least cut down, many, many times. I’d set myself New Year Resolutions, but somehow I could never really get passed the first week or two. This time though, I wrote it down and posted it on the shaving mirror. I told my family that I was giving up drink and was done with getting hangovers anymore.

I think writing it down was one of the things that helped me most.

Because it worked.

Apparently, according to the statisticsbrain.com website, you’re more than 10 times likely to succeed in your goal, by simply making it your New Year Resolution. Do yourself a favour and write it down, put it in a public place, let others see it and work towards your goal.

Other times motivation comes out of the blue. The sudden death if AA Gill, a journalist at The Times, from lung cancer two weeks ago reminds me once again that you can’t assume anything. Making it to retirement isn’t a right, or a guarantee. His diagnosis to his passing took just a few weeks. Some people don’t have as long as that even. He gave up drinking at 30, but continued as a smoker for a mother 15 years or so.

Life is too short.

If you’re thinking of giving up drinking, then why not join with Cancer Research UK or Alcohol Concern, both of whom are doing Dry January events at the same time as raising funds for their charities.

Joining in with an event will help motivate you and keep you on track.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck, write and let us know what you’ve chosen to do and tell us how you’re getting on.

Happy New Year!

December 21st Marks My 10 Year Anniversary

now-10-years-sober
Yesterday was my sobriety birthday. It was 2006 when I gave up. December 21st, 2006 was the last time I drank alcohol. A decade ago. It’s an achievement that I’m proud of, firstly because I never thought I’d make it, secondly I never imagined that I see me change as a person as much as I have.

10 years ago, I was single, with not much of a future. I wallowed in self-pity, blamed everyone else but me and realised that a life of drinking was making me feel depressed. It seemed that things were getting progressively worse, the older I was, more pronounced, especially the hangovers and headaches.

All that changed. Within months I’d got my life on a different path and things have worked out in so many positive ways since, that I count my blessings for giving up drink at that moment.

Though I don’t count the days anymore, (I’m only writing this to show you that it can be done), that it’s worth all the blood, sweat and tears. I’m married now with two young children. It’s wonderful, and I truly believe that it’s been possible because (Carpe Diem), I took the sober path, the path less travelled by and it, it has made all the difference.

So yesterday, December 21st, I raised a glass as I always do and said a silent prayer thanking God for giving me the strength to come through.

Some of you reading this might be thinking of embarking on the same journey. To you, I would say not to hesitate, not to waste a moment, to make the decision and go for it. And in doing so, maybe you will also discover the real you.

Please write your hopes and dreams in the comments box below and if you need inspiration to make the jump just ask for it.

Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

P.s. Thanks to Lisa Neumann who told me a few years back about this thing called ‘Sobriety Birthdays’ – not every one has a second birthday, it’s good to be part of a community that has!

Surviving the Holiday Season Newly Sober

Surviving the Holiday SeasonSure, we’re now in the holiday season. Thanksgiving has just passed and that’s the traditional count down to Christmas. To be sure, this is probably the hardest time of the year to give up drinking. What with office parties, drinks with friends, invitations to this and that, and the last thing you want to do is stand out and be the one not drinking.

But, help is indeed at hand. I gave up on the shortest day, December 21st and survived. I once enjoyed binge drinking with friends…but I made it through and with some tips, you can too.

Firstly, if you’ve decided you want to limit your drinking or finish completely, listen to your own thoughts. Well meaning advice from friends around you, that one drink will be fine, don’t listen to them. To be honest, i always thought that people were saying these kinds of things to help them, not you.

Have a couple of strategies on standby, after all every boy scout should be prepared, and so should you be. Have an excuse for not drinking, you’re on medication, you’re driving, or your other half is on a night shift and needs the car back. Whatever it takes, have a white lie at the ready.

Don’t be afraid to tell the barman that you’ve given up drinking, and that you’re drunk friends will try to buy you drinks, but tell him/her that you just want soda water with ice, lemon and an umbrella just like your friends – it’s just between you and him.

Act drunk. Most people on a night out who drink will be quite drunk after an hour or two and won’t remember the night’s events the following day. You will though! As they start to get loud, then do the same, as they start to sing, do the same. Mimicking might help you fit in more and be a boost to your confidence. Either way, so long as it helps you stick to your goal of not drinking that night, then anything goes.

Stay cool, stay sober, keep on track. That’s why we say, “Take it a day at a time.” Because at the start, that’s all you can really do and it’s the process that helps you pull yourself out of the rough and into the clear, and into the new you.

With some strategies and a game plan in your head before you go out over the Christmas period, surviving the holiday season will be easier than you can imagine.

If you are newly sober, or have abstained for a while, write up in the comments what your experiences of the holiday season are and what you did to keep on track.

Happy Christmas

James

P.s. If, you drink an alcoholic drink by mistake, don’t beat yourself up, start over and try again..!

UK Government Launches 50th Anniversary Drink Drive Campaign

uk-government-launches-50th-anniversary-drink-drive-campaign
The latest UK government drink drive campaign, THINK! is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. Times have changed greatly since the first film in released 1964 along with people’s attitudes to drinking and driving. Peer pressure, improved laws, highly visible enforcement and the fact that it is frowned upon by most people have helped the figures drop, though as this press release from the UK Department of Transport highlights there is still much work to do.

Latest campaign film on YouTube:

UK Department of Transport Press Release:

On the 50th anniversary of the first public information film, new research from THINK! shows how much attitudes have changed to drink driving in the last half century.

Of those surveyed, 91% agreed drink driving was unacceptable and 92% of people said they would feel ashamed if they were caught drinking and driving. This compares to over half of male drivers and nearly two thirds of young male drivers who admitted drink driving on a weekly basis in 1979.

The shift in attitudes is a stark contrast to the first drink drive public information film in 1964, which was set in an office Christmas party. The advert politely reminded people that “4 single whiskeys and the risk of accident can be twice as great… If he’s been drinking, don’t let him drive.”

Through a combination of road safety campaigning and better enforcement, road deaths due to drink driving have fallen from 1,640 in 1967 to 230 deaths in 2012. Today, the government is sending out a clear message there is still a long way to go. The new advert reminds people that 1 death on our roads is too many.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

The change in attitudes to drink driving over the last 50 years is a huge success story. It is hard to imagine now how shocking and ground-breaking the first drink drive campaigns were when they launched. Clearly THINK! has had a significant impact.

Most of us understand drink driving wrecks lives but there is further to go. In 2012, 230 people were killed in drink driving accidents – 230 too many. This makes the THINK! campaign as relevant as ever.

Today, over 88% of people say that they would think badly of someone who drinks and drives and almost half of respondents say they would prefer to tell their partner they watch pornography regularly than confess to being caught drink driving (45%). The survey also showed that (61%) would rather reveal their internet search history to their employer than admit to a drink drive conviction, with 24% rather tell their partner they’ve had a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Shaun Helman, Head of Transport Psychology at the Transport Research Laboratory says:

Compared with 50 years ago, drink-driving is now very much minority behaviour. This change has been achieved through firm laws, highly visible enforcement, and a sea-change in public attitudes; drink driving is now frowned upon by the vast majority of people.

No-one working in road safety is complacent though; through a commitment to catching drink-drivers, and through harnessing peer pressure, we will continue to reinforce the message that drink driving is completely unacceptable.

Find out more at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/92-of-people-feel-ashamed-to-drink-and-drive-as-50th-anniversary-think-campaign-is-launched