The time has come: retirement! Finally you have all the time in the world to spend on your hobbies, and every day you can celebrate life with a nice drink. Why not? But without realizing it, you run the risk that alcohol will become more and more part of your daily routine, including all the negative consequences on your health and quality of life. Unless, like the writer of the experience story, you decide in time to change course. Fortunately she did, and I believe in doing so, she can be a good example for many:
What do you do in everyday life
I am retired so I spend my days pursuing my hobbies. I studied law at the time and I worked for thirty years at the court as a staff lawyer in the civil sector. A staff lawyer mainly writes judgments that are read by the judge. A staff lawyer also attends sessions, but only heavy sessions before the multiple chamber (three judges).
What did you mainly drink and how much/often?
I’ve been an “up and down drinker”. I grew up without alcohol. It wasn’t until I got my boyfriend (current husband) when I was 18 that I started drinking. My husband grew up with a lot of alcohol around him and has been drinking almost all his life. I drank because I considered myself a bit of a boring person. I was in high school and those girls weren’t the most popular because they were just boring college balls. When I went to college I continued to drink, that was the norm back then. Besides, I had a good friend who also liked to drink, so we spent many nights with a glass in our hands.
In addition to my studies, I started working as a summer stewardess. A unique combination, studying in the winter and flying to all kinds of wonderful places in the summer. There was, you guessed it, quite a lot of drink. I wanted to participate, but again I thought I was a bit of a dull (as one of the few flight attendants I studied) so the intake was considerable. After my studies I went to work and we had children. During that time I hardly drank anything. In addition to my work at the court, I was the editorial secretary of a magazine in the field of tenancy law. I did that work in the evenings, so I didn’t drink.
Seven years ago I retired at 63, and then the drinking curve climbed steeply again. I no longer had any reason not to drink. In the end I drank half a bottle of wine and two coffees with whiskey every evening. On weekends I drank a whole bottle of wine with whiskeys every night.
How long have you stopped drinking alcohol?
228 days, or 7 and a half months.
Was this your first attempt?
Yes, this is the first time I’ve stopped completely. Before that I made some half-hearted attempts such as drinking only on weekends, but they all failed.
What stopped you from giving up alcohol sooner?
I didn’t see the point in it.
What made you eventually flip the switch by stopping anyway?
I came to see that it was not healthy. I got this insight mainly through the hangovers and the lack of energy. What really pulled me over the threshold was the reading of some books about this topic. This really opened my eyes.
What have you experienced as the greatest benefits so far?
I’m no longer dependent on anything (that’s why I once quit smoking). Not that lack of self-esteem for reaching for the bottle again. No hangovers, a lot more energy and no more depressive feelings. And the biggest gain: I sleep infinitely better.
And what do you miss most?
I don’t miss the taste so much as the circumstances in which I drank. After a stressful day, kick back with a chilled glass of white wine. After a hard walk, a freshly tapped white beer. A visit to my mother who was still cozy by drinking wine. A lovely terrace, sun, warmth and a steamed glass of wine in your hand.
What do you do when you have a hard time and still want to drink again?
I then start thinking superficially so that I don’t think about alcohol. Fortunately, I can pretty much control my thoughts with my mind.
What do you drink as an alternative if you no longer drink alcohol
I started with non-alcoholic beer, but I don’t feel like it anymore. I think that’s because it’s winter. I drink (decaffeinated) coffee with oat milk all day long.
How do you plan to deal with alcohol in the future?
I won’t drink for at least a year and then I’ll see again.
Do you have any tips or advice for people who also quit alcohol?
Not really. I think everyone should make their own decision. I also have no problem with people drinking around me. What is annoying is that you can notice so well now that people drink alcohol and that it influences their behavior.
Finally: what do you want to say to anyone who is still in doubt whether they should stop drinking or not?
And that’s the way of it: everyone can only make the choice for themselves whether or not to stop drinking alcohol. It will only work if you want it yourself. It’s great that you have gained this insight and have steered your life into a different direction.
Thank you so much for your story and this nice contribution to the ever-growing collection of experience stories for AlcoholFreedom! If, after reading this story, someone else would like to share his or her experiences about quitting alcohol: please let me know! Just leave your e-mail on this page and I’ll contact you as soon as possible
Have a nice weekend everyone!