Faster Reaction Times Since Giving up Drink

It’s 5 years since I last drank.

In that time I’ve noticed two things happen. I’ve got more energy and secondly, my reaction times are much quicker.

Like most people, I used to find it so hard to get up in the mornings. Especially after a big night out. I’d spend as long as i could under the sheets waiting for my hangover to pass. I’d lost count of the Saturday and Sunday mornings I’d slept through in my drinking days.

But giving up drinking gives you so much energy. You no longer feel tired, because you’re now getting better quality sleep at night. With this extra sleep you find that you can do much more.

I find that I wake up 6am every day of the week. I see more of the day, and it’s one of the best side effects of giving up alcohol!

Not just extra waking hours, I find that my reaction times also changed.

Before, when I drank, I’d drop things on the floor, try to catch things and I’d miss them. Almost within a couple of weeks of giving up, I found that I would catch, almost instinctively, things as they fell to the floor. I only really started to notice this when people around me watch me catch things that was a forgone conclusion that it would hit the floor.

I was passed a hot cup of coffee and the cup slipped in the saucer. Almost in slow motion I recovered it and steadied it without spilling a drop. It should have slipped off and all over the floor.

In both cases, I’ve found that drink simply dulls the senses. For me, it held me back. It’s as though I didn’t feel things around me, that i was somehow insulated from my surroundings. I bumped my way through life and felt as though I was reaching the limit of what I could do both physically and intellectually.

But, since giving up drinking I’ve rediscovered how much you can do with your life, how much there is to gain. And since finding this out, I’ve not looked back.

There are so many benefits of giving up drinking. These were two unexpected ones that I get to use and benefit from on a daily basis.

If you’re thinking about giving up or are int he early days of doing so, then take comfort. It is life changing. Be prepared and enjoy.

Break Your Habit and Successfully Give up Drinking Today

The hardest part of giving up drinking is breaking a lifetime’s habit. If, like me, you always went for beers after work on a Friday. Or came home from a hard training session at the gym and before anything else, cracked open a beer. If, like me, you needed drink for most social occasions and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night out with the lads then the habit can look like a mountain to climb and you’ve been given flip flops to climb it in.

But once you’ve decided that you want or have to give up drinking then the habit is the first thing you need to strike against. I started to meet up with the lads a little later than I would normally and have a list of ready excuses why I was going to be late. Getting to the bar late worked in two ways, I’d drink less and I’d avoid the round. If I was in a round then I was going to always end up drinking at the pace of the fastest drinker, which made me an early casualty. Then I decided to drive one night. This worked the best, my excuses were always varied but I’d show that there was a benefit to the group because I could drive out of town or to bars we wouldn’t normally go to. I became the driver.

Facing a lifetime of habits to break takes time. No different to climbing a mountain or planning a project. It can’t all be done in a day, Rome wasn’t built in a day and giving up drinking will take a bit longer than that. I decided that I couldn’t touch another drop of beer once I’d made the decision that I had to give up. The hardest part was then avoiding all drinking from that point on. I drove everywhere, giving me the perfect excuse not to drink at all.

I wanted to drink, but I kept returning to the vision I’d created of imagining my own funeral. Dead from a lifetime’s drink and the worst part of this vision, being the only person to attend my funeral. It was this horrible vision that kept me focused. No different to climbing the mountain where you see the peak you are climbing, and visualising the view at the top when you reach it.

For me I kept visualising what it would be like not to have to worry about going to any social occasions without the need to drink. What would it be like at my own wedding without getting drunk, or saying my groom’s speech whilst completely sober and no interest to get drunk? These were completely unusual feelings, since there hadn’t been many occasions that I hadn’t been drunk at over the years.

Oh but once the habit is broken, is like a day of only sunshine, unbroken cloud and birds tweeting in the sky. It’s like all your Christmases’ coming at once. Just the same as reaching the mountain peak, the view over all the other mountain tops is a view to take your breath away. The effort you put into reach the top of the mountain is no less than finally managing without drink. A day to celebrate for sure.

Should you cut Down or Give up Drinking Completely?

Is it really possible to cut down your intake of alcohol? Or are you kidding yourself that you can actually do it…maybe you can for a couple of weeks, but back to your old ways and habits you will surely go?

Looking at the tips list on DrinkAware reminds me of my own experiences, which weren’t very successful. I kept out of rounds, drank smaller beers, tried leaving my credit cards at home and going out with just £10 only to spend it, get home drunk find my card, go to the cash point and continue drinking till the early morning.

I set myself a 4 pint limits, but at pint 3 I felt like I was flying and the 4th went down so well that I figured a 5th would be ok. It wasn’t, then I hit 6 and probably a 7, before I was a wreck and only good for my bed.

Life only got easier when I did the hardest possible thing, giving up entirely!

Abstaining From Drinking Takes Lifelong Effort

As Robin Williams’ story shows, giving up drink and going sober for 20 years is not always a guarantee that a return to the bottle won’t happen. Sadly for Robin Williams, this shows how easy it is to return to old ways. He states that after 20 years he thought that it wouldn’t hurt to have a drink. He quickly realised that the brain only remembers too well the rush that alcohol gives it, and soon he was back on for more.

Many others,not all in such high profile cases have found exactly the same. It is as if that long period of abstinence just never happened. For me I’ve been dry for 5 years. this summer I was at a wedding and the pudding was a champagne fruit jelly. I don’t know how much champagne was in there, but I could feel the glow of alcohol. luckily I was able to stop then and there as the memory is still too recent for me to fall into that trap. But had I been sober 20 years I might have fallen head first into it.

Keeping on your guard is something that all of us who are trying their best to keep off alcohol, have to continue doing long into the future. the human brain is just too clever enough to remember the rush of abandon that is alcohol. We have to watch out for the pitfalls everywhere and ensure that we don’t fall into them.

Inspiration From Cupcake Brown to Help you Give up Drinking

Soon after I made the decision to give up, I came across a book called A Piece Of Cake by Cupcake Brown (Buy on Amazon US/GB). I bought it on the spur of the moment, but wasn’t really convinced that I was going to get much from it. How wrong was I. For 2 days I sat and read the book, not able to put it down. The weekend flew by and as I came to the final chapter late Sunday night, I realised that maybe I had been nudged from up above to buy the book.

Despite being a million miles removed from her upbringing, I could completely relate to Cupcake. She talked about the highs of drinking, the way it takes you from your problems. The lows of drinking, how reality would strike the following day.

I got strength from reading her plunge the lowest of lows, lows I’d never reached, but nevertheless I wanted to escape from and be a better person from giving up drink. She did that, she managed it, so I’m thinking, ‘Why can’t I just do the same?’. She went on to get qualified as a lawyer. For me it was absolutely the right moment to read this book.

I imagine, as with all good books this might be turned into a film one day. But I would recommend you reading this, because in reading it, you get completely drawn into it. You’ll compare her life to yours in a level of detail a film could never touch. I recommend it to you, especially if you are at the point where you have decided to give up drinking.

Do Beer Commercials Make You Drink More?

Alcohol advertising, really are you serious? Are you telling me we still advertise a product that is widely recognised by most Governments as one of the most addictive and damaging drugs available. And you’re really telling me that adverts from much of the alcohol industry aren’t impressionable, especially on the young. Watching ads from two of the industry’s most successful companies, Carlsberg and Heineken show that both ‘suggest’ alcohol as something that is inherently cool with ad after ad demonstrating this and absolutely leave an impression especially on the young. There is a fine line for making sure that the ads don’t overstep the mark, but I think forward thinking Governments around the world should take a lead and rein in the creatives and gradually remove all advertising from screens including TV and in cinemas.

Alcohol is recognised as being as harmful to health as tobacco and costs Governments directly or indirectly many millions of pounds through increased spend on health care or social issues that come about as a result of alcohol dependence. David Nutt, then adviser to the UK Government suggested in 2010 that alcohol was more dangerous than heroin and cocaine because it affected a wider community. But why do we put up with it? Is it the hold that lobbyists have over our Governments – is it because alcohol is so much more ingrained in our societies that smoking?

Just check out the following two ads from Heineken and Carlsberg, two companies well known for making clever and cool adverts. Who wouldn’t like a walk in fridge, or a flat with flatmates like in the Carlsberg ad. Yet who are we kidding that children don’t see these ads at home, and formative impressions are made early on and when they get older they want to act out what they’ve seen on TV. You only need walk round most UK towns late on a Saturday night to see how many young people are overcome from binge drinking.

Take this ad from Heineken – the walk in fridge. Yes it’s a very funny ad and I can remember a time when I’d have laughed and probably later on that night order a Heineken beer because of the happy connotations. But I used to switch off the TV in the early days of giving up drink because I didn’t want to see things like this as it isn’t real life and represented something that I’d chosen to give up.

And this one from Carlsberg is equally funny, but both hint that drinking is cool and somehow sexy, but is it really?

So when will alcohol follow the footsteps of tobacco advertising and be banned across Europe and elsewhere. No one seems to be seriously talking about bans so it’s safe to assume it is going to be with us a while yet.

Links:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/nov/01/alcohol-more-harmful-than-heroin-crack