Quitting Alcohol Was My Best Decision
By Steve Thompson
I took my final drink 5 years back. Quitting alcohol in the early hours of the morning on New Years Day. It was around about 2 am if my memory serves me correctly.
I would not have characterized myself as a drunk.
I might have admitted it when I ‘d had a couple of drinks, but I would refuse to admit I was actually ‘a drunk’. Male pride and all that.
But I was drunk.
If I had attempted to drive a vehicle, or write a letter, or talk nicely to a policeman, I ‘d have carried out these tasks horribly. Feeling neither glad nor sorry, I lifted the shot glass to my lips drank the fruity alcohol inside. It was some type of 40% proof berry shot – absolutely gross!
At that moment, I didn’t expect this might be my final drink. I believed it might be my last alcohol up until my birthday bash, in two months. For one whole decade, I ‘d enjoyed the initial 3 months of each year as a happy abstainer from alcohol.
I never liked giving up the drink but I didn’t exactly hate it either.
I frequently had extended stints at living alcohol-free. Not drinking that filth every day felt wonderful. I fell asleep quicker and slept soundly all night. I got rid of the excess weight. My complexion got more clear.
I absolutely felt healthier in every way.
My focus and passion for life strengthened; I could whiz through a novel in a couple of hours. My mental faculties were crisper. I felt less heavy, more satisfied. I no longer showed up to meetings running late (again), perspiring, stinking of booze.
Quitting alcohol meant I had more quality time in my life.
I recall one exchange after 17 teetotal weeks; the man I was speaking with claimed he could not believe how youthful I looked. He genuinely meant it, he wasn’t blowing smoke up my ass. Soberness invigorates and heals like absolutely nothing else.
My chance to return to drink
Then my birthday celebration came, my drinking moment would happen once again. I ‘d have a feeling of anxious apprehension, an uncomfortable sensation that I really did not wish to begin consuming alcohol once more. Mixed with a sick sensation that I did.
All the same, I felt obliged to begin drinking anew; that was part of the bargain I ‘d come up with, due to the fact that I genuinely needed to drink. I chose to drink for exactly the same rationale that I didn’t wish to drink, all because I had a drinking problem.
The drink appeared to have an unusual, brain-sucking force over me. On my birthday, I would get up feeling the kind of anxiousness you feel just before a job interview. I was going to begin drinking afresh. This evening, I would re-enter the crazy world of alcohol.
My drinking problem
When I attempt to describe my drinking problem, it goes like this: in my mind, I was a controlled drinker, but after I ‘d had a drink, I wasn’t. The heavier I knocked back the alcohol, the more I needed to drink. Consuming alcohol intensified my appetite for the stuff.
I desired the 2nd drink much more than the initial drink, and I yearned for the 5th a lot more than I ‘d needed the 4th. My appetite constantly grew throughout a night of drinking. But it also intensified, in a more understated style, throughout a calendar month, a year, even ten years.
Drink brought in something to my life, but it always appeared to take away a lot more than it brought. The only way I could get matters back to any sort of normal routine was to drink more. Plus all this drinking alcohol started to damage my brain. And after quitting alcohol, I ‘d be clean for 150 days.
Quitting alcohol felt fantastic.
So why did I constantly return to drinking alcohol?
The days after quitting alcohol offered a hint. On the first day, I ‘d get up with a hangover. The following morning I ‘d awaken with a mirage of a hangover, it felt real but it wasn’t. Theafterwardwards I ‘d awake, and put my head under the quilt, waiting on the ache and the sickness to come.
For a couple of moments, my thoughts would be galloping. What did I drink last evening? Just how much did I knock back?
And after that, I ‘d recall absolutely nothing. I drank absolutely nothing. And without the shadow of a headache, my thoughts would feel oddly defenseless; every feeling could just intrude and walk around for many hours. In those instances, I recognized one thing about why my drinking alcohol was an issue.
No desire to drink anymore
While I did not consume alcohol. I did not yearn for it or creep about and consume alcohol covertly. Being clean made me think about chain-smokers whose longing for a cig vanishes on long-haul airplane trips.
They understand they cannot possibly smoke cigarettes, so they merely put the entire matter out of their thoughts.
Each year, I still visited bars and clubs but sipped sparkling water. At nights I drank herbal tea. I found that the majority of people, almost everyone, as a matter of fact, did not mind whether I consumed alcohol at their get-togethers.
Several people do not even realize. I simply said: “I’ve gone dry.” To my surprise, my friends and family just said: “Great.”
On airplanes, I was glad not to partake of the tiny bottles of wine. Little benefits started to appear, like arriving at your destination relaxed and full of energy. Instead of feeling dreadful from all the alcohol.
I did not drink low-alcohol beverages.
There no little shots of this or that. I felt powerful.
However, I knew it wouldn’t last, how could it? My birthday was approaching – a huge trigger. There were these relentless daydreams that, the next time I started to drink, stuff would be better.
They never were. I could never consume alcohol in a sensible amount. Just one drink was impossible for me, I constantly yearned for more. I was never really in charge of the quantity I downed, as though my mind had been broken.
Quitting alcohol completely was becoming the only logical choice.
Something felt amiss, and this sensation of wrongness would become worse as the season wore on. Summertime even worse than springtime, fall even worse than summer months.
Throughout the periods when I drank, I had one more chronic dream, which would burst into my head every now and then: a huge, chubby tumbler of super-strength vodka, sparkling under a coating of frosted ice, so powerful it smelled like gasoline.
Quitting alcohol was the real dream.
That was my dream when I drank, and it was still my dream on the day I slammed my final drink, some type of berry shot, in the early hours of 1st January. In just 150 days, I assumed, that huge vodka would be there, in some elegant minimalist club, awaiting me.
In the 5 yrs since quitting alcohol, I have not partaken of a drink, and I have not needed to.
My drinking times feel distant, virtually like a different lifespan survived by someone else. To consume alcohol, the very concept of it, feels quite repugnant.
Downing rancid drinks so as to make yourself dumber?
I have the same emotions about drinking that I had when I was TEN years old. It’s toxic; it’s revolting; it causes cancer; it rips your liver apart and makes you look like a significantly more aged and worse off individual.
Nonetheless, I’ve never quit speculating why it got me so completely, and for such a long time. Why did I let it destroy a portion of my daily life, aspects of my life that I will never get back? What did booze offer me that was so much greater than teetotalism?
What, precisely, nothing that’s what!
My advice is don’t keep putting this off, it won’t get better until YOU do something.