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2. Getting Support – The Help That Gets you Through

It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end― Leonardo Da Vinci

A journey of a thousand miles beings with one step, so said Lao Tzu the ancient Chinese philosopher. And so it is true on this journey you are about to make, or may already be on. I’d started the same journey many times before but until now I easily gave up and would find myself back out with friends, binge drinking again.

Find support to help you

But, this time I told my family and friends as soon as I’d made the decision to give up drinking and this time was different. I told them that no matter what had happened before, I was going to succeed.

Why was it going to be different this time? I’d got to that point where I deep down knew that I really didn’t want to drink anymore. I’d accepted I had a problem and faced up to my denial and surrendered. This was a first, I’d not done that before!

Commit yourself to making this change

I wrote down my goal and without thinking, I emailed it to my family and friends. It seemed the right thing to do. As soon as I’d done it and made it public in a way, I felt that I had to go through with it. I could feel my resolve strengthening. The decision seemed totally natural and the right thing to do.

My parents could see that I meant it this time and supported me, the same with friends, though not all friends. I had some that resented me giving up drinking, that somehow I was letting them down. I felt I had to be prepared to possibly lose some friends over my choice not to drink again.

I found support in these places:

  • A sponsor
  • Keeping a diary/journal
  • The Internet
  • Self help books
  • Drinking sparkling water with ice & lemon – (telling everyone it was a Gin Tonic)

Early on I found someone to be my buddy, someone who I could call even if it was 4am on a weekday. My cousin had stopped drinking a few years before me and he was more than happy to help. Though I never called him at 4am, knowing that he’d pick up the phone if I called was a great help.

Keep a journal

I started to write up a diary and post notes every couple of days about how I felt and what was happening in my life. Reading back at that point about the first couple of weeks, the fact that I hadn’t hit the bottle again gave me inspiration to continue. Writing a diary for me was so important, if I hadn’t written it I might have easily lapsed back into the life of drinking.

Help and support is more easily available these days. The Internet is a huge resource, with blogs like mine, Twitter feeds, websites and charities all of which have free advice to help. The Internet is a great anonymous resource. You don’t have to be public and attend Alcohol Anonymous meetings, but you can still read about them and get information that helps and empowers you.

But you could start with your doctor who should be able to refer you to various Alcohol Support Groups in your neighbourhood. If you go to church, then you could speak to your priest or pastor for advice and help. There are also residential rehabilitation (Rehab) centres, not always for celebrities. However a week in Rehab probably won’t cure you. This process is a long and difficult one. But with the right attitude you can do it. It takes a lot of work and you should think of the phrase used in Alcoholics Anonymous, ‘one step at a time’. Because I found that it is the best way to tackle it.

Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholsupport.aspx

Self-help books really help

I found self-help books most useful and in particular the book ‘Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway’, which I read it in a couple of days straight. It gave me tons of ideas and support. I’ve listed a number of other books that helped – see them in the right hand column on my blog under ‘These ‘Self-Help’ Books Helped Me…’

Find your new self

Going out to pubs and clubs in the early days was hard as I could feel the pull to join in and revert back to my old ways. But I bought sparkling water with ice and lemon and told those that asked that it was gin & tonic. I arrived late and kept out of rounds, I was deliberately selfish and made excuses why I couldn’t drink much. In the end I developed a taste for sparkling water, in particular the San Pellegrino. It had a nice bottle and plus I was saving a lot now I wasn’t drinking!

Avoid triggers

Learn how to say no, especially to people, who with the best of intentions (but often selfish), might suggest they can buy you a drink and look after you so you don’t drink too much. This doesn’t work. You have to learn to say no. This gets easier as the days and weeks pass. Be firm and people will soon respect that you are serious about this new journey you find yourself on.

Support will mean different things to all of us. Find the things that help support you and stay true to your aims and goals.

Don’t give up, the hardest bit is at the start, then it gets easier and easier. It’s true.

Read more now on the next step, Reward Yourself. – Step Three.

Quick jump to the other steps:

  1. Overcome Denial
  2. Getting Support
  3. Rewarding Yourself
  4. Change Your Life
  5. Reap The Benefits

Comments

  1. Hi there!! I’ve finally come to the point where I know I have to give up. I want to give up. I’m scared to give up though! Alcohol has been part of my life for so long that I don’t know what life will be like without it. I’m scared I’ll fail again. I’m scared of telling people i’m giving up as if I fail it will be the same as all the other times. It’s been great to find your site and although it’s only day 1 I’m sure it will be a great help going from day to day.

    Wish me luck!!
    Chris

  2. Hi Chris – good luck!! you can DO IT! I am on Day 2 — don’t think about giving it up forever…think of just not doing FOR TODAY. SOOOO much easier that way for me anyway. I may have a glass of wine tomorrow…but for TODAY, I am choosing NOT to 🙂

  3. Thanks Bridget!! I think I’ll just do the same. Each day as it comes and if I’m sober today that will be just fine!! Day 2 today and don’t feel too bad. Bit of a headache but I can cope with that

    Stick with it and enjoy the fact we will be free from alcohol!

    Chris

  4. Hi Chris – Hope you’re hanging in there – Day 3 for me! Feel great – and, I have to say, my eyes looked a LOT less puffy this morning! I have more energy…and, believe it or not, I’m more CHEERFUL – odd, but true! LOL

  5. Day 3!!! That’s the longest I’ve gone for AGES!

    The big test will be Day 4 with it being Friday!! But let’s tackle that one when we get to it!!

    Thanks for the support

    C

  6. Hi Chris – day 4 here! Feeling GREAT! Longest for me in a while too! Hang in there my friend!

  7. I feel so light and happy – that “blanket lifted” feeling!! I’m just bouncing around my office – it’s hilarious. I had forgotten how good this felt!!! WEEEEEE-HA! and the odd thing is…I really didn’t think I was drinking all THAT much…lol…until I started feeling like crud and wondering….”hmmm…wonder what would happen if I just didn’t drink for a while”…guess what happened? I feel better! DUH.

    • Hi Bridget, It’s the best feeling in the world! You’re taking back control of your life, a really liberating feeling.

      JB

  8. Thanks, James!! Day 5 and I feel TERRIFIC!! It’s funny…a friend asked me to help her pick out some champagne for Thanksgiving dinner and suggested we meet up for a glass of wine this Sunday and shop for it. I said “let’s hook up for lunch instead and I’ll just email you the bubbly suggestions!” MUCH easier to order a Pellagrino that way 🙂

    It’s just a matter of THINKING THINGS THROUGH sometimes so that in the early stages of this new way of living? You avoid the spots where you KNOW you’re already setting things up to be difficult – not impossible, but why make it harder than it has to be?? I chose a restaurant where I know for SURE there will be ZERO temptation for me to drink!

  9. Hi… I just came across your Website while searching for ppl who have decided to give up drinking… as I am one 🙂 It has been 7 Weeks now since I last had a drink… and I have never felt better 🙂 Reading this reminds me of exactly how I feel… It is really hard work… but is getting easier… I like the Idea of a Diary, I should have started it when I first decided to stop… But Never too late 🙂

    It feels good knowing there are others out there doing the same thing 🙂 Congrats, and Good Luck in staying alcohol free… it a hard road… but it is worth doing 🙂

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