Quitting alcohol sometimes seems like such a huge task, that it’s easier not to start at all out of fear. To never drink again is unimaginable, isn’t it? But you can make it easier for yourself if you try to think about it like the author of this week’s story: “Today I don’t drink and tomorrow will become today again. One day at a time!” And before you know it, your sober counter will also be at 268 days 🙂
What do you do in everyday life?
I am a teacher and recently retired early. In addition, I have my own company to stay active. I love photography and make music.
What did you mainly drink and how much/often?
I mainly drank wine, but also beer and liquors. Before I stopped drinking it was at least 1 or 2 glasses every day. But I never drank before 4pm so I felt I had no problem. That glass of wine at the end of the afternoon gave me the relaxation I needed. But at the weekend or during an outing and party it became more. Beer beforehand, wine with dinner and always a drink afterwards. After one came two and often three and four until the bottle was empty.
How long have you stopped drinking alcohol?
I quit January 1st and the AlcoholFreedom-app says 268 days at this point.
Was this your first attempt?
No, I’ve been quitting and starting again for 10 years. I wanted to drink less, but I never managed to do that in these 10 years.
What stopped you from giving up alcohol sooner?
I liked it so much and was afraid that I would miss something: the intoxication, the relaxation…
What made you finally flip the switch by stopping anyway?
I saw the Dry January promotions and thought I could try it again for a month. I had succeeded a number of times before and I wanted to be sober for a month after the December holiday.
What have you experienced as the biggest benefits so far?
I wake up every morning happy that I don’t have a hangover. I feel fit and fresh and have much more energy. When I look at people who drink a lot, I think to myself: “I never want to go back to that again”. And I am more stable, I no longer have mood swings and I no longer feel guilty about my drinking. I know what I’m doing, I don’t lose a lot of time and I don’t have to wonder if I behaved myself yesterday 😊
And what do you miss most?
Nothing at the moment.
So: what do you miss the least about alcohol?
The hangovers. Missing half the day after a party. The guilt and regret. I always regretted drinking again. The confusion. Not being able to remember what I said.
What do you do when you have a hard time and still want to drink or have drunk again?
Then I take a leap forward in time and think about tomorrow, when I will wake up fit again. And how happy I am with this result so far.
What do you drink as an alternative if you no longer drink alcohol?
At the old drinking moment, around 5 pm, I take one non-alcoholic beer and then a mix of Ginger Cordial with cranberry juice and sparkling water. The latter gives just that same “bite” as wine does. I also drink plenty of water and herbal tea. I bought a tea bottle and I’m very happy with it, it’s really my tea ritual: boil water, put loose herbs in, pour water on and let it steep. My Zen moment.
How do you plan to deal with alcohol in the future?
I’m not going to drink anymore, I’m not going to start any more. But I never say never again, because I stopped so many times in those 10 years. Now I say: today I don’t drink and tomorrow will become today again. One day at a time!
Do you have any tips or advice for people who also want to quit alcohol?
Look at the benefits. Reward yourself. Be proud of yourself. Seek support from others who don’t drink. Sober is the future. You only have one life and live it!
Finally: what do you want to say to anyone who is still in doubt whether they should stop drinking or not?
Just stop and don’t think about it anymore. You give yourself happiness in life. Every day.
And congratulations for that! A fresh morning and without regrets: it’s beautiful to be able to give yourself that present every day!
Thank you so much for this story! And if somebody else would like to share his or her experiences with quitting alcohol after reading this story: please do! Just leave your e-mail in the form on this page and I’ll contact you as soon as possible.