Giving up alcohol for good

In September I signed up for the dryathlon challenge which is to give up alcohol for a month to raise money for cancer research. I managed it and I have decided to give up for good. I am now that strange phenomenon: a teetotaller.

I have been a regular drinker for as long as I can remember, having a drink most days though never quite dipping into alcoholism. I suppose I come from a Viking culture, first in the north-east of England and then in Scotland. Everyone drank. I started with cider and black in the local pubs underage, the blackcurrant masking the taste of the alcohol which I didn’t even like back then. Then in Scotland I moved on to beer. Sometimes the local heavy or guinness and sometimes more trendy bottled beers like Furstenberg. Special occasions would bring out the whisky. I often drank until unconsciousness, getting myself into sticky situations as a result. I lost whole days with awful hangovers which immobilised me completely. I didn’t give my drinking a second thought. Didn’t everyone do it? It never occurred to me to give up. It was part of who I was: a go out a lot good time girl.

When work started in earnest I became more sophisticated so I thought. I moved to Manchester and gave up beer for wine. I would kid myself it was classy. I drank wine with my dinner and afterwards in the evenings, most evenings. Hey I was virtually French. I am far from a wine snob but I enjoyed the taste and started to get more discerning. The rich reds were my favourite from Spain and the new world. In reality I was self medicating, using the wine to relieve the stress from my almost impossible job. It numbed me, reduced the full horror of actually existing and trying to make my way in the world. I needed it. I rarely drank spirits and I didn’t drink during the day. So I didn’t think I had a problem with it. I wasn’t an alcoholic.

Later I moved south and the wine drinking continued though I stopped going out so much. It was just glasses of wine in the evening. In times of stress it would get worse. I would drink whole bottles to myself on occasion. It was a way of blotting things out. I would give up for months at a time and then go back to it.

This time I decided it would be different. I have given up for a whole month and I plan to continue. Something has changed in me. I don’t see the need for it any more. I want to overcome the addiction, to really beat it. I need to explore the reasons I drink in the first place. I need to get to the root of things.

I have read all the websites and blogs on the subject. Everyone promised me I would lose weight. As yet I haven’t. I was told I would have bags of energy but I don’t. I still wake up feeling groggy in the mornings. My dream of leaping out of bed like I am in a yoghurt advert has yet to transpire. Though I really wish it would happen. I have eaten healthily and slept like a log. I have done lots of walking and yoga and meditation. I am dosed up to the max with vitamins, iron water, B2 powder, B12 spray, St John’s wort. I have been kind to myself. I didn’t want to put myself under any pressure. Giving up alcohol was the goal and other things would have to wait. I have noticed my mind is clearer. I can finally think straight. I am making better decisions. I am losing ridiculous obsessions and self-sabotaging behaviours. I still don’t really know why I used to drink so much but I am finding out about myself. I read somewhere it takes a a year for the mind to really heal and re-porogram itself. I am hoping the good feelings will continue.

At the moment I have a feeling of well being and the dog tiredness is starting to fade. I hope I can continue the good work and rediscover myself.