Quitting alcohol is easy. It is, as long as you want to that is. And I mean really want to, right to the very core of your being. So much so that you cannot conceive of any other option. Not just know that you should, or do it because someone else wants you to, or because you want to for someone else.
I ‘gave up’ drinking many times when I knew that I should, generally these ‘givings up’ lasted 3 or 4 days, that is until my drinking habit started to kick back in and a I found a justification to drink again. I always found a reason to keep drinking. Well, I still wanted to drink and an addiction is well, addictive by nature. So, any justification would do and the journey downhill as we all know is stronger than any hangover. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have continued with it would we?
So, giving up alcohol is easy as long as you want to. It just took me 5 years to get from knowing I should give up, to actually wanting too. And then it was easy.
So, what did it take for me to really want too?
I was sick of the bad decisions I would make when drunk. I was offensive with those I loved on many occasions. We’ve all been there, but one that sticks out in my mind was when paranoia kicked in on the night before my wedding. I called my wife…
She is amazing and just took me in her stride and brought me back down to earth, even though she was having a sleepover with friends.
On the morning of my wedding day I was so scared she wouldn’t be there. The consequences of that call could have been catastrophic.
Another example of reasons to quit didn’t involve drinking to excess but happened when I was walking the South Downs Way with my son. He would never have more than one beer when we stopped each evening which I found odd as he can drink as well as anyone, although he has the skill to drink heavily and then not drink again until whenever. It was in a conversation a week or so later that he let go of the reason, ‘Dad, I never know what you will do when you’ve had several beers and so I have to stay sober enough that if your drinking I can make sure you’re OK.’
THAT, stopped me in my tracks.
It wasn’t enough to make me stop there and then, but it came close.
There was the incident with Scruffy the dog, that’s in my book, ‘the View Over the Wall’, and many others, but the one that pushed me over the edge was the morning my granddaughter was born. I’d been drinking the night before, and as often happened had kicked off and gone to sleep very unpopular again when we got the call, at 5am the next morning, that she had been born. I answered still drunk, was in no fit state to drive and we went to the hospital in an uneasy silence. I was pretty good at appearing sober, even when I wasn’t (I believe), but wasn’t able to celebrate a new member to the family as I should have been able too.
That day I stopped drinking.
It was easy, I really wanted too. REALLY wanted too. There was no question in my mind that it was the end. No doubt at all.
I still went on a 90 day alcohol free challenge, just to make sure; but that was mainly to stop anyone else trying to encourage me to drink, because lets face it, most people who drink don’t want anyone to stop.
I also had a tattoo planned for the end of the challenge. I wanted some kind of reward for dealing with that kind of challenge, after all I didn’t know then, how hard, or not, it might be.
I know it’s not the same for everybody. But quitting alcohol is easy if you want to, it’s just wanting to that is hard.