The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.― Lao Tzu
What follows is my story and an account of how I stopped drinking alcohol 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.