Here’s an excerpt from ‘the View Over the Wall’. It’s part of the chapter about quitting alcohol. Incidentally I do have the odd beer now, and thoroughly enjoy it too...
And that’s one of the things that I love about sobriety waking up clear headed in the morning. I often use it to diffuse a trigger when I want a drink the night before.
It has to be said that apart from the obvious haziness, which is great if you can control it, and as I’m finding out I’m not that good at that any more, I’m not actually seeing a downside to ‘not’ drinking. And I’ll spell it out.
- As I said waking up refreshed. And alive, really alive.
- Knowing exactly what I’ve done the night before. Even remembering the end of movies.
- Not talking rubbish or being abusive, or randomly repeated myself.
- Shedding loads of inherent anxiety, I never realised just how much of a depressant alcohol is.
- I’m waking up remembering dreams, you can’t live with part of your thinking being locked up in a box and not allowing you to reach anything like your full potential. My subconscious can now bolster my conscious mind. This is probably why so many of the worlds very successful people increasingly drink very little.
- Realising just how much society is driven by blocking out half our lives with haziness, to the point where not knowing what we’re doing is to be boasted about. Is it really about control? We had a client who had been ill for over a fortnight. We rocked up on site on a Saturday morning and when he appeared in a dressing gown at maybe tenish, when I asked him how he was he replied, ‘well enough to drink beer’. Inside I thought ‘really?!?’ with a frown.
- It’s possible I’ve lost half a stone.
- I’ve definitely saved a lot of money, definitely over £280.00 in the first month because that’s how much I had to pay for the last instalment to come here. As a ready reckoner, average a couple of bottles of beer and a bottle of wine between the two of us and possibly more at a weekend, that’s about £15.00 per night, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, say four times a month, so £60.00 a week and £240.00 A MONTH. Just think what you can do with that money…
- But the real pay off is watching my wife relax around me, and really relax. Not having to watch out for any mood changes or disappointments that might trigger me off, even sober. And that works both ways, because I haven’t let myself down, my guards down too, so I make better choices and when Gillian does the things that might have set me off I just grin, because I know I’ve not done anything to deserve a jibe. And we both enjoy intimate silliness that you just can’t have unless you’re totally comfortable with each other.
Do I seriously want to give up all this for a few hours of drunk enhanced ‘happiness’?
(Alcohol is a drug, so a little bit of me does, like having a cigarette, but…)
And there are some slightly daft advantages too…
- You don’t spend half your outings worried about who’s going to drive because you must have a beer, and the night won’t be fun if you can’t have one.
- You can have a real session and if you run out of beer the you can just drive to the supermarket and buy some more.
- No one wants to nick your beer at parties, although on the occasion they do, their horror when it is pointed out is priceless. Beer with no alcohol??? Rather drink acid.
I joined an online challenge group One Year No Beer. I enrolled in the ninety day challenge. They have a 28 day challenge, but I figured I’d be just waiting until I could start drinking again, a bit like dry January. That wasn’t going to change the relationship I had with alcohol. Ninety it had to be. You are supposed to set yourself a challenge, but my knees are rubbish and I’m not really a swimmer, but I did manage to find a reward for myself if I made it. IF? Not really an option, there are challenges to come but as I said ultimately I don’t want to drink. There’s a 365 day challenge too, not sure about that at the moment. Questions are, can I moderate? And do I want to?
To be fair, the challenge was mostly for other people. I knew I was going to stop drinking. The decision was made, but people don’t want others to stop drinking. The cajoling and provocation can be remorseless and unremitting.