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.