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 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.

88 thoughts on “My 5 Steps in Giving Up Drink”

    1. 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

      Like

  1. 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.

    Like

    1. 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

      Like

      1. 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

        Like

        1. 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

          Like

  2. 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

    Like

    1. 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.

      Like

  3. 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.

    Like

    1. 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

      Like

    2. 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.

      Like

Leave a Reply to Paul Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s