Time and time again, it turns out to be so incredibly difficult to break out of the social spiral of alcohol at gatherings. Parties, birthdays, births, work drinks, receptions, funerals: alcohol is always there, and after a while it can become quite difficult to disconnect those worlds from each other. But it is possible, with good will, the right approach and above all a good dose of perseverance. The author of this weeks quitting story does just that, and can heartily recommend it:
What do you do in everyday life?
I am a nurse in care for the disabled and a mother of 4 children.
What did you mainly drink and how much/often?
Hugo, gin, whiskey, desperados. I also drank at parties when I was very young. Always too much, up until I lost my boundaries. In my mid-twenties I sometimes drank to feel better. More cheerful, stronger. I drank when no one knew I was drinking. In my “wine-periods” I used to drink a bottle a day, and sometimes even more. I sought my happiness in alcohol. Then I started drinking during the day, purely to hope for that peace and to feel better.
How long have you stopped drinking alcohol?
Three months now.
Was this your first attempt?
No, I’ve made several attempts over the past few months. This worked well, until there always came a time to drink another one. And then, of course, one always became more.
What stopped you from giving up alcohol sooner?
My environment and stress situations. Deep inside I knew I had a drinking problem, but didn’t want to admit it. I fought it like that. Then I paused again. But then you go out again or to a birthday party where everyone is always drinking. People even told me at parties that I shouldn’t be so lame. There was always alcohol in my environment, and then I find it difficult to say no. Then I started drinking again, often secretly in the kitchen again or already before guests started drinking, just to make me feel better again.
What made you finally flip the switch by stopping anyway?
To persevere. I wanted to fulfill other needs that I really needed. I wanted to address the cause of why I wanted to drink. Alcohol is just poison to me.
What have you experienced as the greatest benefits so far?
I don’t have to fight the question to drink or not anymore. I don’t act behavior that doesn’t belong to me anymore. Seeing in myself that I can make the choice not to drink, regardless of what others think of it. And I like the conversations with people and explaining my attitude to alcohol now. From their reactions I can see now that a lot of people have an alcohol problem. Even if they recognize it or not.
And what do you miss the most?
Nothing, I really don’t miss anything. I often told myself that I was a calmer person when I drank, but I was always searching for myself in my life. I am happy that I now experience the benefits and can look at myself and dare to admit that I have an alcohol problem. I may not be physically addicted, but I definitely have a connection to alcohol mentally. I now carry on, even though I am having a hard time.
So: what do you miss least about alcohol?
The feeling of the hangovers. Not having to fight with myself anymore asking whether or not I should drink or not. That is really a relief. To drink alcohol is taught to all of us, at parties, births, funerals. Alcohol is always there, but we don’t need it. On the contrary. It often destroys much more than necessary.
What do you do when you have a hard time and still want to drink again?
I pronounce it, I declare it. And thus, I am aware of what is happening in my mind and body. And remind myself again of the agreements I made with myself and for myself. Afterwards I am glad that I didn’t drink anything.
What do you drink as an alternative if you no longer drink alcohol?
Ice tea in a nice glass with mango.
How do you plan to deal with alcohol in the future?
I would prefer never to drink again, but I also know that this is a difficult thought for me. I let the thought go without putting a limit on myself. And then I believe in my own strength and mind. That we don’t go wrong anymore.
Do you have any tips or advice for people who also quit alcohol?
Listen to yourself and don’t give up.
Finally, what do you want to say to anyone who still doubts whether they should stop drinking or not?
Nobody drinks pure alcohol, because if we do, we simply die. But we always drink it mixed. But in essence, it’s still just really bad for everyone. We don’t need it. Choose for yourself and stop with alcohol. Find other activities that make you happy for a longer period of time. Be honest with yourself. Make the most of life. Meditate, walk, read, exercise, eat healthy and set goals for yourself that you want to achieve.
And then be proud. You are not alone!
And that’s o so true: you are certainly not alone! Ever since I started my Alcoholfreedom-project, I started to realize more and more how many people have trouble quitting. But stories like yours may also help those people make the first step towards a sober life. And hopefully they remember your beautiful example: “make the most of life”. You can’t give a person any better advice!
Thank you so much for your wonderful contribution to Alcoholfreedom! And if someone else, after reading this story, would like to write down his or her experiences with quitting alcohol: please let me know and I’ll be glad to share your story here. If you fill in your e-mail on this page, I will contact you as soon as possible.
Have a nice day everyone!