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My 5 Steps in Giving Up Drink

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.― Lao Tzu

What follows is my story and an account of how I overcame my daemons and finally stopped binge drinking alcohol.

History of Heavy drinking

I used to drink a lot. I drank like a fish. For a long time it didn’t worry me at all because it was what everyone around me was doing and it was totally normal.

My friends and I would start the weekend on a Thursday night and party on through till Sunday. Monday’s were always spent recovering from one long major hangover. Usually we’d have a couple of beers Tuesday and Wednesday before starting over again Thursday. This was our way of life, this is what we did and it was great. I was after all in my twenties and this was what we do, right?

I knew there was a better way

But, deep down I didn’t like this dependence on drink. I didn’t like the fact that I always needed that drink to start me off. Drink made me more talkative and confident, all I had to do was have a beer and there it was in bucket loads. I didn’t have to try, it just came naturally – just add alcohol and I was away.

As I got older, the hangovers lasted longer and took more effort to get over. Also I’d easily make a fool of myself if I drank way too much too soon. I’d be so obviously drunk to everyone in the room except me. It was now, in my easily thirties that I knew I’d have to overcome my drinking habit, before drinking would either ruin me, cause me to lose my job or would hurt me.

About a year before I gave up, I drunk drove a couple of times and realised straight away that drinking was encouraging me to take on risks that were just too high. I knew I’d reached the high point and I’d have to somehow actually live a life without drinking. This wasn’t driving home after 2-3 beers because I’d missed a bus. This was walking home and thinking that going for a drive would be a good idea, after drinking strong beers all night.

Guilt and shame

Guilt you experience the following mornings after either driving or acting a fool is all consuming. You don’t want to open the curtains and face the world. Much easier to keep under the duvet and let the day pass you by, before leaving the house the next day a different person as if it never happened.

That is the other thing about guilt, denial isn’t far away. You feel so much guilt that the only way to get over it is to believe that all is OK, since nothing really bad happened. That is I didn’t crash the car ever, I didn’t hit anyone, I didn’t harm anyone, so everything is OK, no? Denial is quite a useful thing to have, but it’s only short term at the end of the day denial that you have a problem was one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome in giving up drinking.

Represented a huge change in my life

I gave up in 2006, 10 years now without a drink or even a desire to drink or get drunk. My most proud achievement in life so far is successfully giving up alcohol. Overnight it made me a better person, forced me to believe in myself more and as a result made me happier and less stressed.

Writing this blog was like bringing my journal to life. When the comments started to come in I realised that I was not alone, what surprised me was how many people from all walks of life, from all corners of the globe have so far commented and shared their stories. I set it up in January 2011 to tell the world how I did it. In writing it all down I realised I gave up drinking by working through five fairly simple steps. By passing through each of these steps I managed to come out the other end a better person, with more resources, confidence and above all happiness.

If you think you’re in a similar situation to where I was, then why not take a risk and have a go. You might find that you too can stop drinking and find a new and better life at the end.

Please ask questions

If you have a question please ask. Please leave your comment and share your story. I really want to hear from people around the world about their struggles and successes!

If you want to comment on this or my 5 steps then please do. All genuine comments are welcomed and published for others to see.

I know that I’ve got to continue working hard to keep the belief in me that stopping drinking alcohol was the right thing to do. Occasionally I need encouragement to do so, don’t be afraid of telling me so.

I’m pledging to myself that I’m going to stay alcohol free for the rest of my life.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out Amazon’s latest Best Sellers List of self-help books. It’s never too late to make a start on the next chapter of your life.

Don’t delay, start your journey and begin your first step, overcoming Denial – Step One.

Comments

  1. today 11.04.2012 My first drink was at the age of 16 i.e 1965 now I am 64 started with a bottle of beer ended with brandy now I completly stopped from past two week. What precaution or medication I should take?

    • Hi and thanks for your comment. Congratulations on giving up drinking this past week. Firstly I’d say I’m not able to give u medical advice, but I’d definitely talk to your doctor. Secondly try to build up this week into a second week. Take small steps. As soon as I decided to stop I went to my drinks cabinet and emptied it. I poured everything down the sink. Even brand new bottles of wine and spirits. I did think about giving them away but I needed to get rid of them that minute. If I didn’t my mind would start to play tricks on me and I’d have continued drinking.

      There is a huge network and community on Twitter, look at some people I follow and keep in touch.
      Don’t feel alone because there are many, many more people out there like us who want to give up.

      All I can say is that it is hard to do, but it is so worth it.

      Good luck and please keep in touch.
      James

    • Yesterday I drank so much and danced that while returning home I started getting plenty of sweat my legs were crumbling as I had plenty of books in my bag. .at metro station a huge crowd of people was looking at me and I feel so ashamed now .a gentle man poured water on my head and I gained some sense but still it was crumbling that time many bad thoughts were coming in my mind and I feel today morning that if something would have went wrong my life would have totally wasted .i really feel shamed of myself that my actions gathered entire crows around me .I am a good student but been drinking since 18 .i may not be a daily drinker but I drink once in 10 days or even more but when I drink I certainly drink many .I feel this is the beginning and I need to stop it and I feel if you can do I can also do and live a happy life ahead. Anybody can drink earlier I used to feel yeah boy you drink he don’t .but now I feel if I will quit drinking It will be a huge success to me and I promise without telling to my mom and dad I swear both of you I will never touch any alcoholic drink from today

  2. Well Done you! I too gave it up in 2006 and after all the horrid withdrawals became a woman with more pride, self esteem and no longer would be walked over. I just need to warn you not to be complacent. I’m by no way knocking you but early May I fell and broke a rib, the pain immense and because I know there is nothing a doctor can do I didn’t bother going to see him. I suffered for a week and eventually went to the local and consumed a bottle of whiskey over 2 days. Well BIGGEST mistake I could have made but needed pain relief stronger. When I came down the guilt was huge as where the physical hangover effects. Anyway last week I did the same, autopilot kicked in and off I went again. I feel a bit better today but the mental work is huge. Try reading up as much as you can on the disease, go to therapy, the triggers and skills we learnt from back then where a blur. I do wish you well but just be FOREVER VIGILANT, triggers you forgot about sneak up on you. But relapse is part of it and can and should be used as a learning curb.. Good luck matey, I’m clean agin. It those damned cravings are there when you least expect them, great idea keeping a journal!

    • Hi Jo and thanks for leaving your comment here. I’m totally aware of being complacent with drink because I know how easy it would be for me to give all this sober life up and get back into drinking. I try to work on reminding myself why it is I stopped drinking and how much better my life is now that I don’t.
      I do hope that you have been able to put your relapse behind you and continue working on your steps one day at a time.
      The journal is the best thing that has kept me on the straight and narrow!
      All the best,
      JB

  3. PS try meditation as well and also Mindfulness, it’s helping me so far, don’t confuse a crave thought with the need to drink water or eating something, just another wee tip. God why did we even put the crap near our lips!

  4. Stay off it. I was diagnosed a suicidal alcoholic back in 1989 or there abouts nobody thought I’d see my 30th birthday (and somehow neither did I). Banned from every pub and off licence, friends all gone. Liver pains, shakes,blackouts, sleeping where I fell, hallucinations. Then one night, whilst vomitting I looked at a fly and looked real close. If God made that, what I doing this to myself for? I stopped drinking that very day, with the help of my Doctor and his vigilance and the correct medication to stop legs wobbling and ease the shakes and liver/Kidney pains.

    I don’t drink these days, haven’t been a drinker for 23 yrs but not counting. I just don’t drink. That is the mindset you have to keep. That you do not drink, admit to people why and be proud that you have the experience to know better than others how easy it is to become an alcoholic, and how damn hard it is to give it up; especially the 1st 6 months of paranoidal thoughts. There is not a single thing that I now think is worth having a drink over. I was a real down and out, now have beautiful wife and daughter a million pound business and own a couple of porsches, and no debts. Aim high stick to it and Live the dream not the nightmare. Any of us can have a drink, not many of us can say ‘i used to be an alcoholic, but I knew when to stop; Do you?’ trust me, nothing is worth having that one little drink for. Put the money towards your dream. These days it’s hard to convince anyone that I used be an alcoholic. I was and technically still am an alcoholic. So I’m a tea total alcoholic or should that be black coffee.

  5. Extra thought, if you try this one day at a time,it’ll never work, you’ll always crave a drink.

    You just have to keep striving to get healthy again, without counting days, minutes. I mean why are you counting? if you don’t drink any more what does it matter for how long you have not been a drinker. Thinking about drink means you still really crave for it. Don’t even talk about drink, it not part of your life any more [that’s the hardest bit to accept, like a death of a loved one]

    If drink is no longer part of your life, you must stop thinking about it.

    Above is my experience and belief,if something else does work for you, i wish you success.

  6. I gotta say, I love you website. Been reading it for some time now, but never left a comment. Re-visiting you site now, and now more then ever, I have to quit drinking. Your inspirational words helps a lot. Now to find a sponsor of some sort. Thanks a million!!!

  7. Excellent website, you are a great inspiration and so are the many people who have taken the time to write to you.

    Good luck and I wish a long and happy life to all of you 🙂

    • Thank you Guy. It is a real pleasure to read so many people find it inspiring and at the same time helping them. All I want to do is share how I beat binge drinking in the hope that it helps others too.
      :o)

  8. Hi,

    I just found your blog. Thanks for writing it, I found so many similarities in my own drinking habits.

    I have not had a drink for 28 days and despite tough times (I’m Scottish so there’s a big cultural aspect) I’m determined to stick with it and never drink again. I feel so much better without it.

    Anyway thanks for writing it. As many other posts have pointed out, it inspires and helps. Keep up the good work.

    Keith

    • I’m really glad you’ve found some inspiration here, there are many of us in the same boat so it’s good to share and help each other out.

      Congratulations on giving up drinking for 28 days, keep at it, one day at a time! It is so worth all the effort..!

  9. I am on day 24 of giving up drinking – I too found similarities with how drinking brought out the fun non shy person. But on the other side I look forward to the challange of being around all my friends and being sober. I have found that I am not as shy as I thought without drinking – I am looking forward to the future – not waking up feeling stupid for what I did – what I can’t remember that I did!!! Thanks for your story.

  10. Hi,

    um today its been 2 MONTHS since I stopped drinking and I am reaaally struggeling as all my mates are going out getting drunk tonight again. Thats why I googled stop drinking and found you. This article is literaly talking about me:-) I have felt the same! Its great to see that I am not a weirdo and that someone else has done it and actually feels good cause my mates just call me a boring idiot for not drinking.

    Just wanted to say I am glad I found this. Thanks. x

    • your mates are the idiots…good for you for taking a great step toward improving your health and life. Hang in there…I know how you feel 🙂

  11. Nina Bradshaw says:

    New Years Eve was the most awful time for me! I got falling down drunk, all my friends were laughing at me. I had a really bed argument with my 17-y-old daughter, and the police were called. I have not had a drink for 36 hours now. I am feeling very fragile, still have bruises from the falling down. I have been sleeping for 10-15 hours these past two days (taking time off sick from work). But I want to and need to do it, so I welcome any support. This blog
    seems to have been inactive for a few months, is anyone still there to offer support and advice? Nina

  12. Iv been sober for 16 days and it’s been the most hardest thing iv ever done in my life. The cravings are do strong iv been so u happy crying every day like list a soul mate. I use to drink nearly every day and finish a bottle of scotch in 2days, Id fight with my family my friends and my partner, I was very abusive and out of control. But the question is now that I’m sober I’m unhappy I don’t know what to do I cry and I’m depressed and I think alcohol use up block that out, I don’t know how long I will last but I’m trying

  13. disqus_c1A7TLfyUy says:

    I have never drank / been drunk in my life, and I’m 19. Reading this has given me so much support. It’s so sad to live in an age where so many people are dependent on alcohol, using it as a social crutch, an don;t understand you when you say you don’t drink. Be confident and hold your head high as a non-drinker, no matter what others say

  14. George Carman says:

    So true to life!. I’ve not had a drink now since May 2000, and I don’t regret it for a instant. But sadly it’s taken me all this time to write about it with a view to helping others. It’s only a small site http://www.alcoholhelper.org
    If you get chance, take a look or comment. Between us all if we can save one person, it’ll all be worthwhile.

  15. Hi Everyone, is this site active? Hoping to find some person/people to chat with as I recuperate from a broken foot AND my desire to stop drinking. I am 57…broke my foot walking my dogs and had to have surgery. So…I am on crutches and unable to drive for about 6 weeks. I am thinking this may be a good time to kick the alcohol..since i can’t go get it myself. I would have to ask my boyfriend to go buy it. Anyone out there wanting to stop drinking and need to chat about the pros and cons? Thanks! Karen

    • Hi Karen,
      Many thanks for your comment – yes the site is active despite me taking a couple of days to get back to you!
      It’s definitely always a good time to give up alcohol, so why not use this misfortune to kick start a new way.

      Good luck and let us know how you get on!

  16. Hi James,

    I admit, whatever wrong ever happened with me is because of alcohol. I am on verge of losing everything and will certainly lose everything if i do not quit alcohol today.. Why is it so difficult to stop. My mind says, its very easy but it never happens. Its been 6 years, i have been drinking huge amount of alcohol. The maximum time i stayed without alcohol was 22 days then again i started. I am a software engineer, working with one of worlds giant American IT company.. Please advise.

    Thanks in Advance.
    Vikram

  17. Hello everyone,

    This is like a confessional. I have been a heavy drinker on and off for over 35 years. I am now 56. I have a very successful career, a beautiful house, a new BMW 640d coupe, so what’s the problem?

    Simple, I also have two failed marriages. I have been in numerous fights, prison cells and hospital A&E departments over the years. I have a long history of abusive, violent behaviour. I have friends who avoid me. I can’t do normal things like the company Xmas party, because I get drunk. My partner is embarassed and afraid of me – I don’t blame her. Why? I am a binge drinker and alcoholic. I don’t know when to stop. I drink until I can’t drink anymore. The last incident was early August when I got into a fight with someone at a festival.

    Since then I haven’t drunk at all, and never will again.

    For the first time in my life, I am fully sober and see myself as others must see me. I admit to being afraid of the future, but I am built of strong stuff and will succeed.

    Wish me luck.

    • Hi Martyn,
      Welcome to my blog. Many thanks for your comment earlier – your story is so similar to so many here. We wish you luck and hope that you keep in touch and let us know how you get on.
      It’s a hard journey, but take it a day at a time!
      James

  18. Hi,
    Everyone,i’m really glad that we have good people in this world to help others in whatever the situation is…As for me,i got on to realise that alcohol wasn’t something ment for my type reason being is that i been into so many troubles that i couldn’t have ever imagined of causing to the public and my family as a whole…i have lost self respect,friends and even feel ashamed to attend certain events due to temptation alcohol makes me to get blacked out and act like an idiot in public….i’ve tried quiting it for about 6 months but felt back into its trap again thinking that i was able to control drunk state but i tripped and recently last weekend i got a problem on the streets and even at home with my younger brother and the following morning i could remember whether i guilty or not.
    On the other hand with the help of this blog it made buy a watch as i promise to this blog that i’m totally quiting from this wicked drug(alcohol)…
    special thanks,
    to all of you.

    • Good luck with giving up James and many thanks for posting your comment here. It just shows how easy it is to fall back into it’s clutches. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. James

  19. Chris topper says:

    Hi my problem is that i drink way to much when im out and dont no when to stop i dont drink at home. my father drank him self to death and i promised myself i would not ever end up like him. i thought that because i didnt ever drink at home or at work i was fine.but im not i drink way tomuch when im out. i am now sitting at my desk at work thinking this needs to stop. i don’t drink during the week unless its a Wednesday . will go out and then rush down as many drinks as i can . i don’t know why i do this , im guessing its got to do with the hole feeling of being invincible .and have so much courage and fun. This Friday i did the same thing and my own brother had to throw me out the bar because i was drunk and causing trouble. Today the 14 november 2014 is the start to my new life. i have to attend many meetings after work which are usually at bars . but i no i will get through it and not drink any alcohol. i am going to fix my life now because i am a total embarrassment to my now ex girl friend and my family and myself and company. This is not going to be easy but i will do this .I dont know how to have fun wen im out with being able to drink. please help me that . i dont know how i am going to enjoy myself with out drinking Thanks for this post .

    • Thanks Chris for your comment – it isn’t easy, but that’s what makes it so wonderful when you find you can live life well without drink in it..! Fake it till you make it, if you need to, act a bit drunk to feel less self conscious. Drink tonics or coke and tell people you’re in your own round (keep out of rounds, or people will buy you alcoholic drinks). It took me ages to get over the self conscious part, but now i don’t think twice about it. Let us know how you’re getting on, it would be great to hear back from you – apologies for the late reply! James

  20. Happy to have found you. After yet another night of starting out with what was to have been one glass of wine and ended up with one-and-a-half bottles being consumed, I realized that I don’t have it in me to be a social or moderate drinker. I can’t stop with one glass. In the interest of my mental & physical health, I’ve decided to abstain completely. I’ve made a list of things to do when the urge to drink strikes, so I won’t be scrambling for alternatives when I’m vulnerable.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    So glad you wrote this blog.

    My drinking started to become heavier over the past few years, started suffering black outs and hangovers from hell. I made a total arse of myself at Christmas and I’m determined never to touch a drop again. I’ve never felt so low or embarrassed in all my life. I was a binge drinker, couldn’t have just 1. I almost threw away my relationship. Luckily I have an amazing partner.

    It’s nice to feel I’m not alone. Take care everyone

    Liz x

    • Hi Liz, Many thanks for writing your comment and glad you found it to be useful! You’re not alone – there are so many of us wanting a life without beer or drink in it!

      Let us know how you get on.
      James

  22. Hi James & all,
    I just stumbled by this blog while trying to read about the benefits of giving up alcohol, and I can sympathise with every one of you.
    I have not had a drink for one week short of 6 months now, and not intending to have another one ever.
    I just wanted to say to Chris Topper that I felt exactly the same about the “fun” aspect of life, I thought life without alcohol would be rubbish. The first few months I avoided pubs and social events like the plague, however I am finally feeling that life is good and I even look forward to going out for meals etc. without having to get hammered, so please do try it and stick it out for a while – because the feeling of going out in the evening, being able to drive home, remembering conversations, and all this with no hangover is amazing,,, almost like having a new life (or your old one back!) and believe me if I can feel this, anyone can :-).. Oh, and Liz – I know how you feel, I have made an arse of myself at every Christmas for the last 25 years except the one just gone, where I managed to cook a cracking Christmas Dinner ! Good to have a partner that stands by you.
    Good luck everyone, Nikki x

    • Hi Nikki,
      Thanks for stopping by and adding your comment and words of encouragement. 6 months is a great achievement, don’t you find that it just gets better and better?! Write back and let us know how you get on. James

  23. Hal Maynor says:

    Thanks for all the testimonies. I am 12 hours out of alcohol. Yes, 12 hours. I woke about 3 am- as I usually do after drinking, feeling guilty, anxious, etc. I could not go back to sleep- which has been my normal pattern of late. God spoke clearly to me at 3 am ‘you’re an alcoholic’. I was drinking 2-3.5 liters of wine DAILY. I can’t tell you the last day I didn’t drink. I have been in denial for years. I have a loving girlfriend who has and will stand by me; so grateful I didn’t lose her.

    I know I drink to escape pain (have seen a 60% reduction in income from my business and buried my 30 year old son in the past 2.5 years). As God’s timing usually is, today was a wonderful time to finally reveal my denial and give me the grace to see my addiction. Today, I see my counselor at noon. Tomorrow I will be at an AA meeting at noon and next Tuesday I will be at my family doctor for an annual check up- good timing for help from various sources to begin what I hope and pray will be the first steps to never drinking again. I, too, can not have ‘just one’ drink.

    Praying people welcome- that I may surrender my will (drinking) to my God and savior Jesus Christ. I believe this will be the first day of the rest of my life- alcohol free. May God have mercy and bless each of as we endeavor to walk free of alcohol. Hal

  24. I recently just made the promise to myself to never drink again. I was never the one who needed a drink everyday. However, when I did drink I would binge drink. Causing short black outs in my memory, and always a next morning of embarrassment. Just could not understand why I never just stopped after a few drinks. I would feel so care free when I drank and felt so confident and happy that I just wanted more. But then that more would have to end at the end of the night and I would become sad and depressed. Even angry. Causing me to make unsafe choices. LIke not staying with my group of friends in New York City and just walking off by myself because my husband and I were fighting. He tried so hard to get me on the train back home. But all I could feel was sadness that he couldn’t understand me. This caused us to miss our train home. maxed credit cards to get a hotel room. We were both stranded without a phone because both phones died. All while his parents were taking care of our 8 month old baby. The next morning brought guilt and embarrassment. And confusion because I couldn’t understand why I just simply didn’t get on the train. It was a wake up call. If I don’t make a permanent change now and I continue to drink who knows how much worse next time could be? So here I am still wishing I could control my drinking. But I know for me that is not an option. I don’t know who said this but I say it too myself every day. ” one is too many and 1000 will never be enough. ” Life is full of happiness I just have to find it without alcohol. Because I don’t ever want to feel the type of regret I felt that next morning. And I don’t want to get hurt because I just simply couldn’t give up social drinking. It’s not worth it. My life and self respect is so much more. I’m glad there are blogs like this one bc feeling like I’m not alone helps. So thank you all and my prayer will be with all of you on your continued alcohol free success. God bless and in good health…
    kathy

    • Thank you Kathy.. Your message is me!

      • Hi there

        I really relate to your story. I myself have always had a binge drinking problem. In my 20’s in was never a problem i just thought thats what you did but now I’m 38. I try to tell myself it’s fine i don’t drink everyday gosh i’ve even cut down to just going out and drinking once a month but the sad truth is it takes me that long to get over the guilt and depression. I am married to a wonderful man who doesnt drink and have a beautiful baby boy ….i sometimes just wish i was pregnant again because for that whole time not once did I feel bad about myself because I wasnt drinking. But now with finally becoming a mother which had always been my dream my guilt is even worse the next day after going out drinking. Once I start I dont want to stop …it’s like this is the only chance I have to drink so thats it all or nothing….I’m scared of who the person I am when I’m drinking all of a sudden I’m 20 again flirting like I’m a single lady and I’m scared if I don’t stop I might cross that line and mess up my life and my poor baby boy the next day has a hungover mum who just wants to hide from the world if it wasnt for my husband being the caring understanding man he is I dont know what I would do . I have everything I have ever wanted so why do I feel the need to go out there…it’s like I am trying to prove something to myself. I scared if I am to stop drinking all of a sudden my friends will disappear and I wont be me but I’m not me when I’m drinking, I’m a version of myself that I am starting to hate and feel I am not a good person, friend, wife and mother. I know I just need to stop completely and we have got a drinking history in my family so I know what the effects are…it’s all I have ever known ….I have rung up the alcohol help line before, been to counseling have even thought about going to church but then I brush it aside thinking it’s not as bad as I make it out to be. I know what I need to do it’s just doing it so thank you for your stories it does make me feel I am not alone and it can be done.

        • You’re not alone Jane, and thanks so much for your comment.

          You’ll find so many people have written similar things here on these pages. A lot of us seem to struggle with moving away from young adulthood and into parenthood yet still wanting to party like a teenager!

          I found guilt stopping me from making my decision for many years, till i realised that the real friends i had would follow me, support me, no matter what. I had to do what was right for me. As soon as i made this decision, everything slotted into place and i didn’t look back.

          I’ve got a young family now, so I know how you feel, but if you asked me, i wouldn’t let anything get between me and my kids. Life is different now, more rewarding.

          It’s been a few weeks since you posted your comment, and apologies for taking so long to reply. But we’d love to hear back from you and hear where you’re at now.

          All the best, James

  25. James, Thank you for this blog, I am day one of stopping drinking and smoking, after 21 years of doing so. I am very excited that i have made the decision, but am aware of whats in front of me and have already had that voice in my head trying to tell me i’m doing the wrong thing. From day one i have drunk for social confidence and this after 21 years, is still my main concern ‘How can I go to a social function and not drink’ this is the main question playing on my mind. My whole social life has always revolved around alcohol. At school i was shy and unconfident after finding alcohol in year 11 aged 18 this all changed. But now aged 39 i have had enough and it is time to be more present for my wife and three beautiful girls. I don’t drink daily but once a week or fortnight when i have that first sip I instantly have a great feeling and find it very hard to stop several drinks latter. The past few years I have been drinking alone a lot more. I plan on keeping a diary of my journey and hope to become super fit and the best possible Dad i can. Good luck to all others. Regards, Andrew

  26. After years, Im finally gaining control. What a delight to awaken with no hangover, and to reflect on the money and brain cells Im saving. The “toxic” in” intoxication” really describes the poison we all used to crave to excess. Sobriety ( and what goes with it…the self respect, the respectfulness of others, control, and proper judgement) is a wonderful gift we give ourselves and those around us. I see now why it is a black or white concept of consumption. Millions can drink on occasion and in moderation; I cannot. But with sobriety, I lose nothing and gain everything.

  27. Hi everyone, hi James,

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I it seems to me as your feelings and thoughts came right out of my head as i just recovered from a real bloody hangover and I don’t want this anymore. Your thoughts have really inspired me and I want to achieve what you’ve already achieved. I don’t like myself when I’m drunk, and I think my friends don’t like me drunk, too. It’s the best decision for everyone. ^^

    But I don’t think that I am going to start Salsa dancing, I have to find something different. 😀

    Regards from Germany!

    • I’m glad you found it Patrick and that you left your comment! It’s great to hear from a like mind. I think it’s natural to reach a point in life when drinking no longer fits in. I’m in my 10th year now and it remains the best decision i ever made.

      Keep in touch and good luck!

  28. I am an atypical binge drinker with the episodes getting more severe as I get older. I am in a cycle where I give up for max a month and then return to drinking in a more controlled manner However over time I end up falling back into a pattern of severe binging once a week. My Mum is an alcoholic and I am estranged from her so I can’t believe I let so much of my life become consumed by alcohol and recovering from binging. I need to make this the last time or I stand to lose so much. How can I make this time different?

    • Great question Jemima.

      To be frank though, you have to want to give up.

      For me, i focused on a day at a time and kept repeating to myself how i had to find a life without booze and binge drinking – and how this life would be better.

      It seems as though you’re nearly there Jemima, so do stick with it.

      Write up comments here daily on how you are getting on, i’m happy to give encouraging support and there are others here who I am sure will also contribute!

      It’s nearly 10 years now, and i don’t regret giving up for a second. :o)

      • Thank so much for the encouragement. It’s so easy for me to get lulled into a false sense of security after a period of abstinence. Also I regularly get people normalising my behaviour or laughing it off….oh I’ve done that….yeh I drink to get drunk too! However I ended up in a&e on Friday after blacking out and being sick in a toilet cubicle in a bar. I was unresponsive for half an hour apparently. I also had an accident about 10 years ago which involved falling from the top to the bottom of the stairs. I could have died…. I have such a happy life and so much to lose its terrifying me. I will keep posting. I really really appreciate the advice on this blog and the support.

        • You’re welcome Jemima, write away…I found it all helped including setting up this blog. It’s great to see how much inspiration it gives people all over the world :o)

  29. Hi. I’m 29 years old with an amazing husband. We met ten years ago and I quickly got into his live style of drinking strong beers every night. We’re both good people but we got caught up and both realize we have a problem. My shame is so consuming and have hidden my addiction from all my friends and family and have begged my husband to help me get sober, but without fail our attempts fail and when one of falls of the wagon the other is right behind them. My husband doesn’t want to go to treatment but I know now we can’t don’t alone. I’m so scared I’m going to die.

    • Hi Maddy, thanks for your comment, its great to hear your story. Firstly you are not alone, and writing this is perhaps the most important first step on a long, but very worthwhile one. I would really recommend reaching out to people in your community that might be able to help, perhaps your doctor or priest would be a good, neutral starting point. For me when i realised i wanted to give up, i was anxious sbout being seen going to an AA meeting thinking id be stigmatised but i think differently now. But an AA meeting could be something you go to later. But you’ve at least identified the problem, denial is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. You can do it though. I hope you write back and tell us how you get on.
      Regards, james

  30. Hi James. Please don’t ever close this blog. Even reading older comments is sooooo inspirational!
    Well done and congratulations on giving up drinking ( you show it really can be done ) and starting this fantastic blog, best one I have come across, and really need it at the moment

    • Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for your feedback…it’s comments like yours that make me want to keep the blog going. I’m just grateful that I can share my experience and help others, like you, draw inspiration.

      Do keep in touch and let us know how you get on!
      James

  31. Love reading stories of sobriety. I am overwhelmed with guilt and shame bc of my drinking. I drink every other night now. I’m very functional even hungover but inside I am crumbling. I want to enjoy life like I used to and breath fresh air healthy and happy. Need support

    • Hi Amy,
      Take it a day at a time. We were all in the place you are in now at some point. It can be done, the stories and comments here are proof. Writing helped me and many others. Feel free to write comments here every day if it helps. James

  32. Thankyou for this blog,I really thought I was the only one. I am so disgusted with myself,when I start I can’t stop,I don’t know why I keep doing it. I have a wonderful partner who I love with all my life. Yesterday I made a vow NEVER to touch the poison called alcohol. Iam stirring here feeling sick and stomach pain after a binge. I can’t hurt the people I love anymore. Please keep posting so I can also read all the inspirational stories. Good luck everyone and god bless xxx

    • You’re welcome Karen – glad you found my blog as you’ll find with all the posts and comments so far, you’re not alone. Take it a day at a time, but always remember why it is you are giving up because that is what will help you succeed. Keep in touch and feel free to post comments as often as you like…, it does help.
      James

  33. Hi everyone. Great to read all the posts. Im a 43 year old mum of 2 very happily married, job I love, great friends, why do we risk all this for poison?! I went to see a therapist and am nearly there in accepting I’ll never be able to moderate and that abstinence is my only choice. When I drink I drink until I’m plasteted, flirting outrageously, kissing strangers, colleagues, friends! I can’t control it either. So after last therapy session I said I’d try to give up, I lasted a day BUT it was Christmas and now after 2 further unhappy drinking experiences (at home) I’m ready. I gave up last year two lots of 19 weeks with 4 week hiccup in between. During each spell I’ve never felt so happy with life, oprimustic, motivated. I want that all the time. I had hypnotherapy after that but it didn’t last, I simply can’t moderate. I just hope this time I can keep it up. Sorry to ramble.

    • Hi Gail,you are so like me,my only choice is to just stop completely,I can’t drink like my family or friends as I just can’t stop and I will continue the next day too. I only stop when the hangover appears and I have to go to bed. I am so happy and loved in my life and will never understand why I have continued to do these binges. I have vowed never to touch it again. I finally told my partner I have a problem and I am stopping for good. I never admitted it to him before but I think he knew. I feel vey positive this time as I mean it from my very sole. I do hope you continue to do do well Gail,all the luck in the world to you xx

      • Hi Gail & Karen,
        Great that you’re both offering support to each other already, this is what you need and it really helps to generate that desire to really do it this time.

        Gail – use the experience you already have of getting to 19 weeks, that’s a great boost as you know you can do it. Plus you know that going back to binge drinking brings such unhappiness.

        Karen – Telling your partner is one of the best moves as you’re making a commitment out loud, and will spur you on in a big way.

        Good luck to you both. Post comments as you begin your journeys, swap notes, do what it takes to keep on it, a day at a time! :o))

        James

  34. Hi,
    I have never left comments or shared my story before but reading everyone’s stories on your blog has encouraged me to reflect on my own experiences and why I need to act now & make a change in my life. I just turned 23 years old and began binge drinking 10 years ago at the beginning of high school. I have always been extremely shy and am diagnosed with clinical depression. It sounds cliché to say, but my first drink made me feel a way that was incomparable to any other feeling of happiness/confidence I had ever experienced. It filled the void of everything I didn’t feel sober…

    This comment now continues as a guest blog post – please continue reading here – The Social Butterfly…

    • MF,
      Thank you so much for your detailed comment. For someone who hasn’t really shared a story before, you made up for it here, so much so that i think it is worthy of turning into its own post. Let me know if you’re happy for this.

      I think for all of us there is a gradual awakening of our experiences and there comes a tipping point where most of us just want to make a 180 degree change and get onto a different path.

      Thank you so much for sharing.

      James

  35. Jose rivera says:

    Hey man I read your story and I’m in tears I am alcoholic and been so since I was 13 and now I’m 37 years old i know it’s not easy to quit but If you can do it I can also keep it up I’m happy for you it must be amazing in your life and that’s what I want is to be happy and successful for me and my kids I’m a day without drinking and im going to quit this habit today !!! My doctor precribe me librium for the withdrawals and today I started taking them it’s going to be a long road can you tell me how you did it man I will appreciate that …

    • Hi Jose, thanks for your comment! I tell u to take it a day at a time, focus on your family and why you want to give up drinking. Keep strong, especially in these early days. James

  36. I’m 57 recovering from my latest binge. Feel like hell. My back muscles and joints hurt so much. Yet another day calling in sick. Letting my daughter down who came to visit after promising I wouldn’t drink. This is an every other day binge cycle. Sick of feeling sick. Sick of the lies.

    • Hi Georgina,
      Many thanks for your comment. You sound at a low point. Have you thought about talking it through with your doctor, or joining a group in your area to get some support? In the very early days, when I gave up, i just focused on a day at a time. Tried not to think much beyond the next day, and built on that. Have you talked with your daughter, maybe you can talk through with her. Sometimes there are triggers, and becoming aware of what they are helps, so you can try to avoid them. Mine was coming home to a cold beer in the fridge.
      Feel free to write away on here, there’s loads of us who are or have been in your situation.
      James

  37. I think guilt and shame are two of the most difficult aspects of having a lonely alcohol problem. The impacts can be huge. In my clients I have seen anything from depression to severe self loathing which can trigger people just to drink more and hide in a haze of alcohol. However, I am continuously amazed at how so many brave people tackle the problem and then go on to help others. Keep up the good work. Kind regards, David Ferguson

  38. Steve Green says:

    Hi David, Like many people I found helpful advice, inspiration, and encouragement on these pages, and also James allowing me to post my own diary on here helped me enormously through the early stages. Even though when I quit this time I was absolutely determined that this time I would quit for good, I still had doubts and wobbly days, and I think where quitting alcohol is concerned there is no such thing as too much support.

    In my mind, and I am sure that this is the case for many who have made the same journey, giving helpful advice and encouragement to others trying to take the same steps is a way of paying it forward.

    Kind regards.
    Steve.

  39. Hello I’m Dana here’s my story I ended up in a mental hospital in January I stayed for 8 days I came home on top of the world I had this covered so I thought but that lasted 3 wks and this past wk I fainted and hit my face in front of my daughter ambulance and police I was transported to the hospital 4 times the legal limit and I’m 5″2 and 120 pds I’m scared because I don’t know how to be happy without it. It’s been a couple days and I’m just trying to happy thoughts it doesn’t help I have depression and I’m on meds I don’t wanna go on and on but any advice will help thanks for listening…. Sign scared And afraid but tired of the hassle of chasing my next drink

    • Steve Green says:

      Hi Dana, one of the big illusions about drinking alcohol is that most people believe that it brings them happiness, confidence etc. The actual fact is that the total opposite is true. Alcohol is a depressant, and is one of the main factors that causes depression in many people, and the sad fact is that these very same people use alcohol to try to alleviate that depression, which of course just makes the problem worse and continues the downward spiral.
      It may be difficult for you to believe just now, but quitting drinking alcohol, whilst it may not remove all the problems from your life, will certainly help to combat the depression, and give you a better, happier, and more confident outlook.
      It doesn’t take long after quitting drinking before you start to feel the benefits, physically and psychologically.
      As you are already using medication it may be better for you to seek medical help too to help you through the early stages. Get as much help and support as you can find, through online sources, friends and family, you may consider going to AA meetings too as these are the source of a wealth of help and support to so many people.

      Best wishes for the future.
      Steve.

    • HI Dana,
      Thanks for leaving your comment. Someone gave me advice right at the start, when I decided to quit, and that was to take a ‘day at a time’. That advice got me through the first days and weeks. I’ve used this when ever i feel i’m looking at a mountain that i’ve got to pass. Talk to your daughter and together work out how you can stop chasing that next drink. Keep in touch, James

  40. I am STILL “searching” your 5 STEPS….
    I have “read” your “story”… And totally understand “one day at a time”…
    BUT you based it on 5 steps…and I can’t seem to find THAT 😉

  41. Just someone who is realizing I have a problem I would like to fix. I have been counting on 3 25 ounce cans of strong beer to fall asleep for nearly four years now. It’s easy to deny to yourself that it isn’t a problem when you can still drink and manage to have a functioning work life and manage to still get high grades in college but, the depression and over exhaustion that comes from meeting all the goals that I chase lead me to believe that it’s my alcohol dependency making it more stressful than it needs to be. It will only get worse.

    • Hi Adam, Thanks for posting your comment about your relationship with alcohol. I found life totally stressed out when drinking. There’s a lot less stress in my life now, and it shows how easy we can develop dependencies that we later learn to completely rely on.

      Have you tried to give up before?
      James

    • Steve Green says:

      Hi Adam, one of the main reasons that many people are fooled into believing that they DON’T have a problem is the simple fact that they can still maintain their work and lifestyle around their drinking habit, for many years I was one of them.
      I am now over 15 months sober, and you can believe me when I say that your life will only be improved by quitting drinking alcohol. The rewards are tremendous.
      It takes a little while for your body (and mind) to adjust, but soon you begin to reap the benefits, a better sleeping pattern is just one of them, also stress and anxiety levels drop significantly too. There are many other benefits to be gained, physical, psychological, emotional, financial.
      Sadly, your prediction that “it will only get worse” will most likely turn out to be true if it is not addressed, and being at college you are at a stage in life where your achievements now will almost certainly have a large impact on your future career prospects and lifestyle.
      Best wishes for the future.
      Steve.

  42. Hi. 62 and been a barely functioning alcoholic since my 20s. I work but without a structure,i.e. Holidays I simply drink and sleep.i want to stop but it’s oh so difficult to take the first step. On a good week which is when I’m working I do 150 units. Any advice about the first step

    • Hi David, have you ever read ‘rational recovery’? I have just taken the first step after reading this book. I have been sober for a week now and am very positive that I will never drink again. Good luck.

      • Thanks Nina for your message and suggestion. I’ve not come across this book before, but it’s great to get the tip. James

  43. hello,
    i have been battling binge drinking for about 4 years now. i find that when ever i have any time off i use it being drunk. and when the time off is done and its back to work i regret not making better use of my time. But the cycle continues, i have quit for one month which was my longest stretch. it was the best time that i can remember however now with the stress of a new job and balancing life i find my self depending on alcohol to get through the days.

    • Fit like , im an alcoholic , I started drinking aged 13 , I need to stop drinking it’s been 27years now , I’ve tried different medication , I have to stop soon before I end up in prison or dead , any advice is welcome . Paul

      • Hi Paul, It sounds like you need to take some action, perhaps start with speaking to your doctor who will probably recommend finding a local AA group. Taking things a day at a time is key here. Use this blog as a board to post your feelings, don’t worry about how many posts you write. Get rid of all the drink in your house, talk to your close family and friends and try to get their support. James

        • Connie Lauro says:

          Try “Reformers Unanimous” program. It’s free, meet every week on Friday evenings. It’s for many addictions. La verne ca, long Beach ca and other cities. Call Lighthouse Baptist Church in La Verne, CA for more info. 909-392-4838

  44. I drink about 3 bottles of wine a day and beer I had pancreatitis have been to 8 rehab I’m struggling

    • Hi Hunter,
      Have you tried to call your doctor or go to your local church group. They might be able to point you in the direction of a local support group.
      Keep in touch Hunter and let us know how you get on.
      James

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