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4. Change Your Life – A new start can really help

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.― Charles Darwin

Do you realise how much your life is about to change?

I didn’t!

When I gave up drink my confidence was at an all time low. I wanted to do something new, something different, something to get my mind off what I was doing.

Your comfort zone

I realised I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone and do something different. I’d have to find new challenges and things to get interested in.

I then saw an ad for salsa classes in my local village hall. I decided I didn’t have much to lose. It was the first weeks of January and I joined a group on a wet Tuesday night to do my first ever dance class. I nearly gave up there and then. I couldn’t believe I was about to go into a class to learn how to dance and with no wing-man, no friend by my side to help. I’d turned up on my own so that no-one could witness my humiliation if it ended that way…

My new interest in salsa

I needn’t have worried. I wasn’t the only one. There were many others. And what began that night went on to last for about 3 years. I went each week and learnt the steps. Soon I found myself with a group of other ‘youngsters’ and we found a new class in town in one of the nightclubs, which was more fun. The group was more or less non-drinking and they were accepting of me. I enjoyed it.

Do something different

By pushing myself out of my comfort zone I was tackling my challenge head on. I was determined I wouldn’t stay home watching TV, becoming bitter and frustrated that I’d had to give up drinking unnecessarily. I was prepared to go out and do something new.

Before this, I relied on alcohol. My formative years were built on the stuff. So it is very strange to go out and find that it isn’t there for you.

Don’t stay home dwelling on the decision to give up. If you dwell on things, you’ll return to your old ways. It’s really important that you find a new hobby, especially one that is outside your home and with new people. Join a language class and learn French, or Japanese – whatever it is!

The success of this step is all about change. Finding something new gives us a chance to see life from a different perspective. Never underestimate the opportunity to see things differently.

Learning to salsa was for me a chance to have some fun. Being able to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously is really important. It helps build our character and shows a good amount of humility.

Use this new found energy and freedom to sort the rest of your life out. Don’t be afraid to take some risks, because the risks of making these improvements to your life are nothing compared to the risks of continuing to drink. You really have nothing to lose.

My life needed to pivot and this was it. This whole experience has been about the pivot. It has changed me. I was aware that I needed to change and I helped enable this change to take place. It was at this point that things in my life started to blossom.

New family is my reward

I met my future wife. My first relationship without drink involved. She has never seen the ugly side of me. We now have kids and family life has taken over. I love it!

Now life is all about planning the future, enjoying the present.

Read more now on the last step in my series – 5. Get all the benefits of Giving Up Drink.

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. goin 2 follow ur footsteps….

  2. I’m on day 3 and I am already planning to go to my first swing dancing class next wednesday night. Was great reading this post of yours, and I’m very inspired by your progress.
    I’m 35 years old, and have had a love/hate relationship with alcohol for the last 17 years. In the last few years I’ve had a couple of ‘breaks’ from drinking (many of which were attempts to quit for good.) Hoping this time will be the real one, and it’ll stick.

  3. Hi James. I am a 34 yr old mother of two and I am quitting wine. My learning something new is embarking on a new career by going back to university to get my masters. When I did my first degree, I was not a boozy student out at bars or nightclubs. I only became a drinker once I had two small children driving me crazy every day. Wine was my daily wind down, my relaxant, my reward at the end of a long day filled with tears tantrums and endless cooking cleaning and childcare. And I was a nasty drunk too. My poor husband and babies (now aged 4 and 7). They deserve a new and better mum without the wineglass in her hand every night.

  4. So I am going well with quitting, but I haven’t lost any weight! Grrrr!!!

    • Hi Stephanie,
      Great to hear again from you. It took me a few weeks before i noticed any changes. I started walking and doing salsa classes to help me get out of my comfort zone. I imagine they helped speed things up as well!

      Keep it up though and feel free to post regularly to this blog, telling us how you are getting on.
      Regards,
      James

  5. I have been there- you feel like you deserve to relax- like it is a reward. But now, I am tired of feeling sick the next day, regretting things I said, hurting myself and others. It is time to change. I feel inspired by the comments here and to know I am not alone. I will start today to feel better because my body has changed and “just one glass” feels terrible the next day! The first 100 days starts today. Help me to make it stick!

    • Go for it Jane. 100 days is a great goal to aim for. Take it a day at a time and you’ll get there!
      Keep us posted how you get on, on your new journey.

      Regards,
      James
      P.s. You’re definitely not on your own…

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