I stopped drinking over 3 years ago and just these past few days I’ve been asked a few times for advice. I kept some of my old blog posts and was reading through them to see if any of them might be helpful…..It’s been quite an experience! Reading back through reminded me of what life used to be like when I was drinking, when I first stopped and how that journey unfolded. Life is so very different now…. Nobody ever comments on me not drinking and I don’t think about it! So I thought I’d share a few of those old posts that might be helpful, especially as I’m free and loving life !
Day 37 Alcohol-Free :
I am not thinking about drinking. In fact the only thoughts I am a aware of having about drinking are ‘thank God I don’t drink anymore!’. Even on Saturday night at a ball where I was surrounded by wine I was GLAD not to be drinking. This is a place I have dreamed of but never thought I would get to because I’m an alcoholic and we’re meant to want to drink right? Also even when I stopped drinking for four years the wine witch visited, albeit rarely, hence me ever having that first drink that led back to my drinking. Now she may have been very clever and worded her ‘of course you can moderate now’ argument well, but it was the wine witch!
What is different this time? Well I’ve been thinking about that as I believe mindset is where it is all at. Firstly I struggled to get day one for several months. I desperately wanted to stop drinking. Every morning when I woke up I promised myself ‘today is the day’ and then had a glass of wine in my hand by 6pm latest. If it was a weekend then probably lunchtime! But I kept stopping and one day it stuck.
These are the things I have done differently this time around.
1. I’ve been totally honest about my drinking, with myself. It had reached a point where I was never sated, in the true sense. I was always about the next drink. When I’d had my lot (what I could get away with without starting a row!) I didn’t feel euphoric and like I was having the time of my life! Being drunk is a bit shit.
2. I stopped drinking. By which I mean yes of course I stopped drinking but actually stopped. For ever!
3. Only one rule. No drinking. I didn’t change my diet. Or at least not in a good way! I did whatever I needed to to get through those first days and weeks. This did include peanut M&M’s for breakfast but I’m sure that’s not essential! In the past I have always stopped drinking and started a new diet and fitness regime at the same time. Nope! This time only one rule! No drinking!
4. I had a new go to drink of hot chocolate every night. A really nice one with full fat milk. I even took it to friends houses if I was out for the evening! I love my hot chocolate! Something I never drank before I stopped drinking.
5. In the early days I only told people who I knew would be supportive. I made sure I told everyone who I knew would be supportive!
6. Thought ahead. I always had a plan for all my socialising and I’ve done plenty! What I am going to drink, what I will say to people, what I will do if I am uncomfortable etc.
7. Had fancy drinks in the house so if when cooking for example I ‘missed’ my wine I had a sparkling juice in my champagne flute.
8. This perhaps should have been no 1. But it doesn’t matter. I used the mentality I learned from Allen Carr Easyway. I actually read this years ago but used his approach so as not to feel deprived.
9. In those early days I listened to video blogs, things on YouTube, anything I could get my hands on about sobriety, getting and staying sober. I lived in my online community and I still spend time each day on here. This is an amazing place with great people!!
10. I did whatever my body wanted. Ate, slept, was grumpy whatever.
11. I promised myself I would never drink again because I don’t want that life anymore. I promised myself whatever it took, losing friendships, leaving parties, rowing with my husband even booking myself into a clinic if needs be. None of this has actually happened but that is my level of commitment.
12. My sobriety is my no 1 priority. Basically because without that it doesn’t matter what wonderful things I do. Not drinking is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING!! Everything else stems from that.
Through doing all these things I have somehow reached the point I am at. I thought drinking was my pleasure. Actually I only enjoyed things because I could drink there, or because I could drink when I got home. The truth is it drained my life of pleasure. Now I don’t drink everything is more fun! It’s like a blackand white TV has been given Dolby surround sound and glorious technicolor!!! I am excited about so many things and look forward to so many things. I used to look forward to wine.Now I look forward to hot chocolate, soup, pretty much everything!!!
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― E. O. Wilson