It was easy for me to make the decision. I’d been making it every weekend for most of my adult life, whilst throwing up for the millionth time or wandering around in a fog. I was going to give up drinking.
The hard bit was actually seeing it through. We are all guilty, the sober ones or the drinking ones, of uttering the phrase ‘I’m never drinking again’ time and again, but it’s the actual going through with the statement, that’s the hard bit.
When I think back over the years, there were many warning signs that alcohol was just not good for me. There was the sickness, the memory loss, the inability to stop once I’d started, the nights that turned into mornings, the sheer volume I could consume. All normalised because ‘that’s what we do’.
The decision to actually quit was cemented by the destruction of the relationshit. I knew that for as long as I was drinking, I would keep returning for more heartache and that I was the only one with the power to break the cycle. For as long as I let him back in, he would keep coming. I had also started seeing more articles about quitting (coincidence?) and the urge to be sober started to outweigh the urge to be hammered.
So I created the plan. The aim was to give up at midnight on New Years Eve 2016. This gave me roughly 2 months to get my head around the idea, to get the wheels in motion for the blog and, well, get as much booze in me as physically possible before I gave up.
The reality is that the relationshit sent me pretty crazy well before the Christmas period began, I started a new job and then got struck down with flu. I’m not religious but it did feel like something out there was definitely making the decision for me.
The deed was done. My last sip was on 27 November 2016, at approximately 2am. Vodka. Large. Shudder. I’d been drinking all day so the hangover the next day was pretty grim. Little did I know it was my final one or how much my life would change from that day onwards.
Month 1 was tough. It was the festive season but I was determined. I had ruined a previous Christmas by getting so drunk and not being unable to keep down water, let alone turkey & all the trimmings. I wanted to be present and I wanted to be clean.
In month 2, I started Slimming World and so the weight started coming off and the butterfly started emerging. The blog was also becoming popular and taking my mind away from any temptation. I also had a whole army of Dry January warriors so I didn’t feel quite so alone in my quest.
In month 3, many Dry January warriors had jumped off my wagon with a vengeance. But my determination was peaking. The weight was falling off, I had lots of support from various online forums and from my faithful followers who had not abandoned my cause.
Month 4, and I celebrated 100 days. Life was starting to feel more normal. It was like I’d got a new pair of glasses, everything started to feel brighter and clearer. People were also getting used to me, believing I was serious in my alcohol free journey.
Now, I’m hurtling towards month 5. It still seems kind of unreal. Alcohol has been such a massive part of my life and it’s been hard to unravel those ties, to break down the association with something I thought was my crutch but actually was my silent killer.
It has, without doubt, been the best thing I have ever done for myself and I’m so pleased that I took action when I did. I urge anyone who wants to give up to do it today. It’s not easy but it is more than worth it. If you have the will, you can find the power. Promise.