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My Tips for Staying Sober

When you make a choice, you change the future.― Deepak Chopra

Here are some of the tips I’ve developed over the years of not drinking, to keep at bay any feelings that may develop to risk taking a drink and dealing with those who want you to drink in their company.

Keeping a social life, while sober

It’s tough trying to give up drinking and maintain your social life with your friends and family. There were so many times that you felt you had to go along with the crowd and drink even when you didn’t feel like it, but felt you had to, to appease them.

Inventing an excuse and arriving late. I’d arrive so late that I not only missed out on the early beers, but I’d had to drive otherwise I would have missed the evening. This gave me the perfect excuse not to drink at all.

Tips that can help you

My Tips to avoid drinking alcohol when you go out

  • Avoid rounds at all costs because you can control what you buy and drink
  • Try and drink with friends who don’t drink so much to reduce your exposure to bars and clubs
  • Find new hobbies, people to hang out with who don’t drink
  • Learn how to dance because you won’t need ‘Dutch Courage’ to hit the dance-floor
  • Say you’re on medication and cannot drink
  • You’ve given it up for lent or Dry January or Sober October

Before I successfully gave up drink, when I did go out with the lads, I’d try to avoid getting into rounds and try to form a smaller group with those who like me didn’t want to drink so much, or were maybe out for just part of the evening and didn’t want to be in the main round.

Rounds are basically the worst place to be. You have to move at the pace of the fastest drinker, which often meant I’d be holding several drinks. I just couldn’t keep up and the more I drank the more completely drunk I became.

I’d also alternate drinks with water and this helped. I’d quench my thirst on iced water rather than on beer, which just went to my head. Also it would fill me up and dilute the alcohol in my system further.

I used to binge drink, which basically means drinking a large number of beers on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday night, often to excess and end up in a drunken stupor. In the early days it was OK, but as I got older I got bored of this and wanted a new direction for my life.

Gradually finding a new group of friends who drank less or not at all helped even more.

Comments

  1. I finally stopped after 30 years of drinking heavily. Finally my pancreas gave up the fight and i had a decision to make. I chose to stop which is why i’m able to put in my two cents. I would say to anyone who wants to quit, it is worth it and you want be sorry. I drink tons of soda water mixed with lime on the rocks and i joined the gym. I have learned alot about myself since i quit. I’m not so grumpy any longer, I stopped shaking and i comprehend what i read much better. It has been three months and i don’t regret it one bit. Oh and i took the drinking money and bought myself a BMW 330 convertible (no DUI worries). Anyone who wants to email me feel free. My story is long and i want bore anyone with them but I can say I am glad to be on the winning end of the battle. I still go to the bar and hang with my friends, I still laugh and tell jokes. You will lose weight and never have to deal with the embarrassment of being drunk again. Just do it and don’t look back. Barry

    • Congratulations on giving up drinking Barry, it’s great to hear another success story. For me it took many, many attempts, then I finally managed to give up. Life is better all round when u do!

      JB

    • Hi

      I have a good job and great life style and a beautiful family , we have a good social life and enjoy a drink! We don’t go stupid or cause any problems , the thing is I love my wine and like many blokes drink it to fast! Before we go out I will have a few glasses and the same when we come back , I drink a few glasses of wine every night

      I want to cut down for my health reasons ! But I am not sure what the best approach is to do this! As tomorrow is always another day and it never happens!
      I am in my late 40s and I want to be arround for my grandchild

      Regards

    • Great going Barry, I need major help quitting now else I loose all my relationships..would motivate me to hear ur story too, tarikarrao02@gmail.com,many thanks

  2. binge drinker says:

    I can’t think of anything I want more in life than to give up drinking…..but it feels impossible. I rarely drink more than once a week but when I do I really do! It feels like its just part of my personality but really I know I am a much better person when I don’t drink.

    I don’t want to start not seeing my friends but these are the times I’m tempted to drink. I think I might just have to do whatever it takes this time…even if I become a hermit and never go out!

    Exercise and healthy eating have always been important to me and in the end I think this will help me to give up for good.

    Its such a waste of energy! I admire anyone who have left it behind them

    • Your story sounds so similar to mine, I am such a binge drinker. The first drink feels good but then I can’t stop until I’m in oblivion. All my friends drink and I feel like I would be a bit of a social outcast if I didn’t but I really want to stop now and stop ruining my life. Stopping drinking would give me back my self-respect and make me a better parent as I wouldn’t be wasting weekend days hungover. I just wanted to know how you’re getting on and if you have managed to give up? This is my day 4 only, but went to a party on Saturday without drinking and had a lovely time and felt proud of myself. I would love to get to day 100 and beyond!

    • I am just like you. I drink probaly once a week and i mean drink. When I go out and drink I dont know when to stop. I have done this for yrs and am now 44. Today is day 1 for me… join me?

      • A Binging 55 yo old myself here. Day two for me. About once a week (or more) I wake up hungover. I’ve tried to control my drinking with no luck. I seem to go 5 or 6 days then a craving for beer starts and just gnaws on me. I resist but then relent. I get a six (or two) and then I wake up hungover the next day. Repeat about once per week but seems lately its now 4 or 5 days between episodes.

        Yesterday morning, waking up hangover, I had a mental meltdown. A couple minor incidents that were a wake-up call! Enough is enough! I finally admitted I really do have a problem. Even though nothing bad has happened to me…yet. Yesterday was a different day after than all the ones before. This time I really want out of the cycle and I feel I’m finally ready to do it.

        My neighbor went through AA 20+ yrs ago and still to this day remains clean. I confided in him today of my problem. I think I can be successful, but the next few days will test me.

        • Courts711 says:

          Thank you for your blog. I am going on 37 this year. For me it was different never drank anything in my 20’s was always the sober DD but then I was in my home state close to my friends when we went out all the time didn’t need to drink. It was until our 3rd state we moved to that I drink more and more. Last year was really bad for the drinking more binge once a week. Anytime we went out to eat, I’d get a drink. Now to the point if there is wine in the house, I’d want it. A lot is my anxiety and constant over worrying. That has gotten so much better w counseling,etc. It’s just avoiding the places where I could be tempted to drink. I’m always thinking of excuses like last year was a family wedding,this year already a friend asked me to wine tasting birthday party. I need to stop due to my health as well. Staying busy is hard due to working afternoons, hoping to work day shift as I can get up earlier then have evenings to cook dinner, go to non alcohol meet up functions. Don’t know anyone in the area and that does make it really hard.

          • Thanks for writing your comment. I spent some time worrying about trying to avoid places where you might be tempted to drink, it does get easier in time :o). Why not think about taking up a night class, learn a new language or a new hobby – it gets you out the house and gets your mind thinking about something else? Just a thought. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

  3. this is my first Saturday night in alone and I have resisted the texts of “where are you” and “are you coming out” Its 10pm now and although I’m only on day 2 I have realised after 17 years of trying to quit I need different friends. I have surrounded myself with pissheads. As I’ve been on my own journey of wanting to quit when I met a friend this morning who asked me how we got home last night? I was completely sober and I said you weren’t even with me last night???????????????? but I got your stuff and took it home for you. My life flashed before me and I know I need new friends. I have nearly 30 years of stories of black outs missed jobs, ruined relationships putting myself in danger, making an idiot of myself, loosing friends, loosing respect. The list is endless. I hope I am strong enough. the stories here have been inspiring. I can go all week and even 2 without a drink but I am the ultimate binge drinker. Even jail stories.

    • Hi Sandra, thanks for posting your comment – it’s great to hear from you and hear that you made the decision to give up drinking. You seem completely aware of your situation and understand that you’ve got the wrong friends around you. Maybe on this journey you will find friends that make you feel more comfortable – don’t be surprised if some of those friends want to join you. I think i lost count the number of people who said to me that they’d also like to give up, but just couldn’t do it. It takes a lot of courage to step out.
      Keep in touch and let us know how you get on.
      James

  4. I am 27 and have spent the majority of my teens and twenties binge drinking. But what I hate more than this, is the social smoking that comes with it. Every Sunday is the same old story “I will stop smoking this week, I will cut down on my booze”.
    I have recently come out of a long term relationship, that ended badly. Having never actually been single, I am now at a stage in my life where I am having to face up to the person I am. And this isn’t always such a positive thing! While most of my friends are settling down and having children, I am still at the pub on the weekends. Now although this may seem harmless, it goes against everything I believe in. I work in healthcare, in cardio thoracics to be specific, which is then so ironic that I continue to poison myself every weekend. On a Monday I return to my sick and dying patients that I am sure would love to have a healthy heart and lungs! I also LOVE fitness and generally anything that gets me out the house. Running, walking, ballet, cycling! Anything! So why I continue to carry out the same routine each weekend is beyond me. (I am sure a psychologist will tell me its because I am not happy subconsciously- maybe thats true)
    I have read your blog and found it so helpful, so motivational to know I am not alone in wanting a life that doesn’t have alcohol in it. I am ready to make a positive change. I
    am under no illusion that it is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. But I am willing to give it a go!
    Maybe I will even start a blog!

    • Hi Ami,
      Your story mirrors mine to a certain extent and really glad you found my blog inspirational, it’s one of the reasons I wrote it. If you start a blog, be sure to share the link with us. Giving up drink certainly helps to end the shame of monday mornings and breaks your routine. The best thing about making such a big change is that you don’t really know what that change will have in store for you! Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. James

      • Courts711 says:

        Ami,

        Thank you for sharing! Your story reminds me of mine a bit too. Just my husband and I here. I work in the healthcare too. All my friends have kids now, and we are trying to adopt so adding more stress :)) I really need to be more active but due to certain health issues its hard to get to hard core in exercising. I love the computer but even that can be depressing sometimes w social media like Facebook etc. I try to find blogs like this that are helpful. Good luck to you in this new year!

  5. i want to confess.. even though i have a hangover at the moment, and i know that tomorrow taking a glass will again knock into my head, still i feel that i need to change this, this habit, this addiction. I am 28 years old, and for last 8 of these i’ve been drinking, especially last two or three years heavily. I am a surgeon, and a smart boy, and i know that i must have a successful carier in the future. But this addiction brings problems in my life, in fact this is the only reason because they appear in it. Hangovers, different dangerous situations and especially the pain it gives to my parents and some people who love me more than life. I see a diffucult road ahead, i must take it over. In some way it is easier for me at this moment because i live and continue studiyng apart from my hometown and surroundings at the moment. I know, that the more free time i have the more temptation to get drunk…. so i already started to lern a new language, i also want to start some exersises or fitness at least 2 or three times a week. This time i must not fail, i consider it to be my chance, mistakes are good sometimes, because they make you think… and i am tired of this continually falt inside. May God help me.

  6. I am 29 and have been trying to cut back on my drinking. I am so proud when I have a sober day and I feel so much better. I have a chance to fix this now, before I hurt my health or my marriage. I have committed to not binge drink and to not drink on weeknights so many times…even though I am 100% sure I know that I don’t want to drink I don’t trust myself a whit. As the day progresses I am going to think, “well, I won’t drink a TON, I’ll just have a glass of wine or whatever…” I almost negotiate with myself that it’s totally normal and as long as I don’t get DRUNK it’s fine. I have two problems, one I love that warm fuzzy one-drink-feeling and two I never stop at one. It’s almost easier to not drink at all. I’ll stop and think about my husband or how I will feel tomorrow and I won’t pour the shot, but once I’ve had one I don’t stop and think. I keep to the “safe drinking guidelines” for the most part – unless there’s a wedding or a party. Most weeks I will have 10 or less drinks, maybe once a week I will have 3 or more drinks and every week has a sober day. But most days I have 2 or 3 drinks. That doesn’t even sound that bad. See?! I’m doing it again! Regardless of how bad my problem is, I think the fact that it bothers me so much shows that I have a problem. I know I’m strong and smart but I absolutely cannot hold myself accountable. For anything, even if I think of it as committing for my husband, I just cannot rely on myself. I would commit in a second if anyone I love asked me to, but how do I make that commitment to myself? How do I learn self-control?

    • Hi Sarah…thank you for your comment and congratulations on trying to cut back!

      The ‘safe drinking guidelines’, yes i too know all about these. This is like my ‘4 pint rule’, which never worked, no matter how well i was doing on the 3rd, by the time i’d finished the 4th I was on a roll and nothing was going to stop me! I recognise just about everything you wrote…your beer brain just does that to you, talks you into another drink.

      But it is possible to get some self-control. You say you’d commit if someone who loved you asked you, but then…why don’t you ask yourself not to drink anymore? Why not get involved with this month’s Dry October and use that as your springboard into action?

      What do you think…could you do that?

      James

      P.s. It’s all about one step at a time.

  7. I have struggled quite sometime to gain self control in this area. What has happened instead is more lack of control. I am not alcohol dependant however once I begin I binge until I am very inebriated. I embarrass those close to me. I’ve caused pain to those I love the most. I’ve tried numerous times with the help of my wife to take control and stay in control but instead I lose control and now it’s to the point that some don’t want to be around me and causing major marital problems. Now is the time for me to take total control of this situation by quitting the drink all together and staying committed to doing so. My binge drinking has at this point only affected my personal life and not my career/job. It does cause a great deal of mental anguish, depression, anxiety, after a night of binging so much I don’t even want to face the world and the ones I’ve embarrassed or hurt. I don’t want to ever have another episode of waking up the next day not remembering most of the night. People think I’m not being honest when I tell them I don’t remember the stupid or hurtful things I’ve done or said in a drunken state. Today marks day one and counting. Thanks for this blog. I think writing things down like this can be helpful, therapeutic. I will overcome

  8. Stumbled across this site and have been reading for a few hours.63 years old and have been alcohol dependant all my life. I need to stop drinking for myself. I am sure that my life will be better without drink

    • Hi David – life improved immeasurably when i finally decided to give up drinking…I’m sure you’ll feel the same benefits as well!
      Let us know how you get on. Glad the site has given you plenty to read. For that, i am thankful for all the people who have visited and left messages about their own stories of giving up drink. They all benefit us alike!
      James

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