Quit Alcohol

I’ve Quit Alcohol

Quit Alcohol

I’ve given up alcohol.

It is something I have thought about doing for a long time and although it has only been 5 months, I feel great!

Will I ever drink alcohol again?

Who knows? Maybe.

I haven’t resigned myself to never having a drink again, but at the moment I have no desire to drink, but let’s see.

Why have I stopped?

Well, a few reasons really, but mainly because I have come to the conclusion that the advantages of NOT drinking far outweigh the advantages of drinking.

Firstly, alcohol ruins my sleep. A glass or two of wine makes me drowsy and although I go to sleep quickly, I then find myself waking up at about 3 am feeling really hot and uncomfortable and unable to get back to sleep. Research has shown that alcohol prevents you from reaching a deep state of sleep.

Not only that, but It also dries out my skin, making my face look red and blotchy. So from a physical perspective, it really doesn’t agree with me.

Another reason is that I don’t actually like to get drunk anymore. I rarely drink more than 2 glasses of wine in an evening quite simply because I am not ‘myself’ when I am drunk and like most people after one too many, may act in a way that I feel embarrassed about the following day.

And so for the last few years, I have often asked myself why I do it?

And the answer seems to have boiled down to one thing and one thing only.

The false belief I am alcohol dependent.

‘Alcohol dependent’ is not the same as an ‘alcoholic’. In fact, I would class almost every adult I know who drinks alcohol as ‘alcohol dependent’, but I know very few who I would class as ‘alcoholics’.

So what’s the difference?

To me, alcohol-dependent means that you find it difficult not to drink when you are at a social function where other people around you are drinking.

If you go to the pub, a party or a dinner for example and everyone is drinking, you would find it difficult not to drink too.
Also, if you like a glass of wine most or every evening after work you are also alcohol dependent. Almost as though you depend on it to feel calm or relaxed after a day at work.

An alcoholic is something completely different. This is someone who experiences withdrawal symptoms when they do not have alcohol and craves it from the minute they wake up until the minute they go to bed.

Now I am not a big drinker by any means. I only drink once or twice a month when I am abroad which is 90% of the time. But when I am in England which is about 6 weeks of the year, I might drink 2-3 times a week. Only 1-2 glasses per night, but that’s still too much for me.

For the last few years, I have often found myself drinking alcohol when a large part of me was wishing that I wasn’t, knowing that I wouldn’t sleep well and wouldn’t look or feel great the following day.

This is particularly true when I am out with close friends or family members.

And at such events, although a part of me doesn’t want to drink, I have a compulsive urge to join in as though I am ‘missing out’ on something if I don’t.

I have tried to control this urge, but I always seem to give in and so stopping completely seemed to be the next option WHICH I have found far easier.

Do I miss it?

Well, having thought that I would, the truth is that I don’t at all. And the only reason I didn’t quit before is that I thought it would be difficult. But a conversation I had with my sister in law 3 months ago changed all of that.

She was always quite a ‘heavy set’ woman should we say and looked much older than she really was. She had a very wrinkled face, took little care of her physical appearance and was always a party girl who liked to take things to the extreme should we say.

But when she turned up to my mum’s birthday BBQ in May, she looked amazing. She had lost weight, started going to the gym, the lines on her face had almost disappeared and she looked about 10 years younger.

When I asked her what had caused the big changes in her appearance, she told me that she had stopped drinking alcohol.
“Was it difficult?” I asked, believing that she would reply that it was.

“No, not really. In the first year, it felt a bit odd at social occasions, but it wasn’t difficult. In fact, I feel so good about it now that I don’t even think about it”.

All of a sudden, the one thing that was preventing me from quitting alcohol, the thought that it would be difficult, suddenly got overturned and I started thinking about how amazing it would be to stop completely, forever.

I thought if she can do it, then why can’t I?

That was the moment I decided to quit even though it was the day of my mum’s birthday BBQ and a big family occasion where everyone would be drinking.

I drank sparkling water and all day and one alcohol-free lager. And you know what?? I had a great day and had no desire to drink any alcohol whatsoever.

Since then I have been to several big social occasions with close friends and family where I have been the only one not drinking alcohol and have thoroughly enjoyed myself.

And rather than feeling as though I am missing out, my attitude has changed to one of feeling mentally strong and in control and it is a great feeling.

And you know what the funny thing is?

When people notice that I am not drinking, they ask me why and I just tell them I don’t enjoy it anymore so have decided to stop.

And it is amazing how many people have turned around to me and said, “I wish I was like you and could stop. The only reason I do it is that I don’t think I would enjoy social occasions without it”.

Well, now I can safely say that you absolutely can!

So if you are thinking about quitting, try it and see for yourself! It could be the best decision you ever made.

Confused doctor

You are probably bored to tears reading about the coronavirus at present, but here is some new information that may just save your life if you do catch it.

It is amazing that the government completely fail to provide any information on what we can do to prevent coronavirus other than washing our hands.

The truth is that government officials and Medical Doctors know very little about maintaining health so it is not surprising that there is no information out there.

I have great respect for Medical Doctors, please do not misunderstand what I am saying. They train incredibly hard, save millions of lives every year and are essential for those times when we are experiencing health issues.

BUT, be very clear about one thing. They have spent their entire lives studying illness and disease, not how to maintain a healthy body and strengthen your immune system.

Medical Doctors often visit me asking for advice about losing weight, managing stress and to treat them for certain illnesses that western medicine cannot cure.

And sometimes when I have health concerns, I seek their advice too.

We are two sides to the same coin.

But back to the main point of this blog today, and that is providing you with some advice on how you can strengthen your immune system so that if you do catch the Coronavirus, you can brush it off like the common flu.

Now, be very clear about one thing. Eastern medicine has a different approach to western medicine.

When you are ill, western medicine will look at the symptoms and will provide you with medications to manage the symptoms or destroy the bacteria or microorganisms that are causing the problem.

Eastern medicine has a different approach. It will strengthen your immune system so that your body is strong and can fight the infection on its own.

Our bodies have survived millions of years of evolution and are strong enough to fight off almost any infection or illness when the internal environment is right.

But unfortunately, due to poor diet, lack of exercise, polluted cities and towns and an excessive amount of stress in our lives, our immune systems tend to be very weak. And it is, for this reason, we become susceptible to viruses, illness and disease.

So if you want to take care of yourself and prevent the Coronvirus from ravaging your body, follow these guidelines.

1) Eat healthily. 80% of illnesses are caused by poor diets and stress. Most of our diets provide inadequate vitamins and minerals to keep the body in a healthy condition as they often contain too much sugar and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables. Therefore, try and cut as much sugar out of your diet as possible as this reduces the efficacy of almost every internal organ. Also, increase your fruit and vegetable intake, especially green leafy vegetables that are full of phytochemicals that boost your immunity. Every time you eat a meal, try to make sure that 50% of everything that you consume is either vegetables, lightly cooked or steamed and eat the equivalent of 1 desert bowl of fresh fruit per day.

2) Take 1-2,000mg of Vitamin C every day.
Vitamin C is the most important vitamin you need to fight colds and flu. If you look at the government recommended daily dose for vitamin C, it is 65mg. A government recommended daily allowance is complete and absolute nonsense! It means that this is the very minimal amount of Vitamin C that your body needs every day just to function. It is not the amount of vitamin C you need to have a healthy immune system.
The only negative effect of overdosing on vitamin C is that it will give you Diarrhea and this is likely to happen if you take more than 3,000mg. But 2,000 mg is a perfectly safe level. I take 1,000 a day for maintenance, but increase this to 3,000 if I ever feel the symptoms of a cough, cold or flu coming along. The older you are, the more vitamin C you need, so for those over 50, I would recommend 2,000mg per day.

3) Exercise. Your body was designed to move. If you do not move your body, stagnation sets in and it becomes like a stagnant pond. As a result, it becomes like a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Exercising and drinking plenty of water flushes the toxins out from the body and keeps your internal organs functioning at their optimum level. Thirty minutes a day will maintain health, and an hour will improve it. Do not over-exercise as your body will not recover adequately to defend itself from the virus.
Qi Gong is especially good for maintaining a healthy body as each movement is designed to increase the blood and oxygen to the internal organs allowing them to function at their optimum level and therefore protect them from viruses and bacteria.

4) Reduce stress in your life. Stress takes an incredible toll on your body and is highly underestimated as the route cause of many diseases. When we experience stress our hormonal system that is responsible for all the communication systems in our body go completely wild. As a result, our immune systems are impaired and function poorly. Learn how to de-stress by learning some simple meditation or breathing techniques, available on my website here: Meditation for Beginners

Your health is your responsibility, not your medical doctors. Although the death rate for Coronvirus is low, you can prevent many of the symptoms by taking these simple steps to reduce its effects.


“With our thoughts, we create the universe”
Gautama Buddha

Whatever you wish to transform in your life, it should always start with the mind. When we learn how to change our thoughts patterns about something, we can change the choices we make with ease. This is called mind training and when you learn how to change the way you look at things, you can transform almost anything in your life, not just your body.

In order to do this, it is important to first understand that every decision we make in life is based on two things; gaining pleasure and avoiding pain. If we associate a particular action with pleasure, it will be very hard to stop. If we link an action to pain, we will do everything we can to avoid it. So, to change negative old habits into positive new ones, we need to associate pleasure with the new habits and pain with the old.

So how can this help us to transform our body?

The mind works by creating neural pathways in the brain that associate a feeling of pain or pleasure with our actions. For example, if you associate eating ice cream with a feeling of pleasure and then go on a diet and try to avoid it, every time you see ice cream, you will feel deprived and unhappy, because you are missing out on the pleasure that you believe it gives you.
However, if you associate the thought of an ice cream with an unpleasant feeling, you will create a neural pathway that will have negative associations with it and you will therefore have no desire to eat it.

So how do you change your positive and negative associations?

Find a quiet place to close your eyes and relax for 10 minutes. For the first five minutes, imagine the habit you wish to change, for example, eating an ice cream and link it to negative feelings and thoughts. For example, you may visualize an image of yourself sitting with a bowl of ice cream whilst looking overweight, unhappy, lacking in confidence with oily, dull looking skin or any other negative image that springs to mind. Visualise this in as much detail as you can and contemplate how negative you feel. After 5 minutes, allow the colours of the picture in your mind to change to black and white and slowly allow the image to disappear.

Then, for the next 5 minutes, visualise yourself eating something healthy and imagine yourself with a great body, looking happy, confident with clear, beautiful skin etc. or any other positive image of yourself that feels good. By continuously practicing this simple technique every day, over and over again, you will start to override your previous neural pathways of association and start to form new ones that will reflect the new behaviour you desire. As a result, you will be able to control the choices you make in your life.

Remember though that repetition is the key and even when you have achieved you goal of transforming your body, without continual maintenance of the mind, old habits can slowly sneak back in.

Transform your mind and everything else will simply fall into place

Nutrition Advice

Now, I have a sweet tooth and I love coffee. I used to eat biscuits, chocolate and drink at least four cups of coffee a day and thought nothing of it – until I started suffering from digestive disorders. On my road to recovery, I studied nutrition, decided to cut down on the sugar and coffee and the effects this had not only on my digestion but also on my energy levels, was staggering. That is why I so desperately want to share this information with you.

So why do we find ourselves craving after sugar and coffee? And why do we find ourselves becoming irritable and grumpy when we don’t have them? What is so bad about them anyway? And most of all – what the hell has it got to do with stress?!?!

Well, If you were like me when you were young and paid absolutely no attention to your biology teacher when you were young (or any other teacher for that matter), then I will give you a quick summary of what the different food types do to your body.

The three main food categories are Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. Proteins are the building blocks of the body, not only the structural elements such as muscle, tissue, bones etc but also enzymes and hormones. Carbohydrates are mainly responsible for providing our bodies with energy and natural fats have many functions that support the cardiovascular, sensory, brain and cell functioning amongst numerous other attributes.

But it is carbohydrates that we are going to focus on today.

Now the body needs energy which comes in the form of sugars (sucrose) that we get from sources such as honey, sugar, pasta, rice, bread, vegetables and fruit. Some of these are known as fast releasing sugars, the others as slow-releasing sugars.

The fast releasing sugars tend to be raw sugar (white and brown), and the processed carbohydrates such as white rice, white pasta and white bread. What happens is that when we consume these products, the sugars are released into the body very quickly. The result is a quick energy rush and the release of stress hormones into our bodies such as insulin and adrenaline. Basically, the effects of consuming these sugars are exactly the same as the stress “fight or flight” response. We experience the same anxiety, fear, lack of concentration and exhaustion when we feel that we are being threatened. Does this help us to perform at our full potential? No, no, no!

Also, as our organs work hard to keep up with the demands we place on the body through excess sugar intake, it also leaves us feeling tired and irritable. And what is the easiest answer to a lack of energy? More fast releasing sugars for that quick “pick me up”. So we reach out for another cookie, can of coke or a sweet cup of coffee to bring our energy levels back up. The stress levels have now increased even further and the vicious circle has begun.

So what is the answer?

The gradual introduction of more slow-releasing sugars into our diets! These come in the forms of vegetables, whole grains such as brown bread, brown pasta and brown rice which release the sugars into our bodies over a long period of time without overworking our internal organs. Introducing these foods to our diets will result in less anxiety and stress, better concentration, more energy, fewer sugar cravings and a more attractive waistline.

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Toby Author

About Toby Maguire

Hi, I'm Toby.

I’m a meditation teacher, life coach, speaker and retreat host who has spent more than 30 years studying Meditation and Eastern philosophy.

I have helped thousands of people struggling with stress, anxiety or depression to take back control of their minds and build more manageable, enjoyable and more meaningful lives.

From Olympic athletes and Billionaires to company executives and troubled teenagers, I help people from all walks of life achieve greater peace of mind, clarity of their goals and enjoy the process of achieving them