Julian Kirkman-Page, works in the City of London, is a keen member of Club Soda, and gave up alcohol forever two and half years ago. In his book ‘I Don’t Drink!’ he tells why and describes how he managed to quit drinking, and details the phenomenal difference it has made to his life since. We continue to follow Julian’s journey with this second blog, during the course of the week for Men’s Health Week 2015 (you can read the first part here).
It might sound daunting giving up drink forever, and now I am in my third non-drinking year people who want to do the same ask me what they can drink instead, and what they will do with themselves to stay focused away from booze. I had the same concerns but what I know now is that if you are determined, giving up alcohol is so much easier than you think, and giving up forever is a breeze compared to doing a ‘Dry January’. Ask anyone who has done or is doing a dry month and they will most likely tell you they are focusing not on not drinking, but when they will be able to drink again. ‘Not long to go,’ they might say, ‘then I will go out and get smashed!’ when you give up forever there is no countdown. You simply don’t drink anymore and that is that.
What you do need is a good methodology to help you. Something that will help you celebrate your success every day and realise just how much you are achieving and what a massive difference you are making to your life and those around you. I didn’t have my book to help me, but I created the methodology that has become my book. With so much extra time on my hands (you will be amazed) I took up new interests and regular daily exercise, which is something we can all do even if we are chair based.
My routine was to swim either a kilometre or a mile a day and both my wife and I greatly increased the amount we walked. It is far easier to walk to and from the local shops not having to carry heavy cans and bottles of drink! I also had a star chart ready to add to, and I still start every day by adding a new star to my latest chart.
I also had a talisman to help remind me why I don’t drink. But most importantly I gave myself a ‘been there – done that’ attitude to alcohol. In my book I talk about how I achieved this and talk about how readers can do the same. And whenever I felt I was missing out on a drinking experience in the early days, I would look back on the notes and stories I had made, know I had already ‘done that’, remember why I had made this change to my life and the desire would simply melt away.
It pays to have a good list of the ‘why’ you are giving up, and keep a diary of your experiences as the new you. You will be staggered how much change takes place, not only physically but in your general life experience and relationships to others.
Of course, your life does involve others and you will need to consider to let them in on your decision. You won’t need to turn your back on pubs, wine bars and the like, but you will need to have a handy excuse for not drinking so others do not tempt you, and you will need to explore new non-alcoholic drinks. This will be a pleasure in itself as your taste buds take on a new life as well.
Finally if you have tried or given up smoking you will know the craving lasts for simply ages. It is different with alcohol. Within two days every trace has left your system, there will be or should be minimal physical reaction to giving up, instead it is all in the mind. You may tell yourself you need that relaxing glass of wine or beer, but you don’t, and very soon you won’t!
Julian concludes his story here.