After a few months of successfully changing your drinking patterns, you might still find yourself plagued by that little voice of self-doubt that wonders why you did it in the first place. Club Soda member Helen wrote us a great piece that demonstrates a really useful exercise for times like this, and her “30 reasons why I quit” alcohol.
Such a simple statement to write, but with such life-changing ramifications. It remains something of a surprise that you find yourself in the position of being happy, relaxed and comfortable living an alcohol free lifestyle. That said, part of you lives with the gnawing fear that something or someone will come along and derail things. That is why you began to write a list of all the things that you hated about your drinking times. Gradually over the weeks and months, as you were reminded of the feelings you had and the things you once did, you added them to a list. It makes uncomfortable reading and you are ashamed that some of these things ever happened, but it does serve as a stark reminder to you of why you do this and why every sober day is a gift. This is what alcohol used to do to you, the memories will fade and dim over time, but remind yourself here if ever you need to.
1. Being entirely incapable of moderation. “I’ll just have one glass” does not work, it will never be enough.
2. Choosing wine by it’s % not it’s variety. Classy.
3. Buying 2 bottles of wine at a time, “one for tonight, one for another day” of course you were going to open the second bottle.
4. Buying wine boxes so you didn’t have the empty bottles to deal with. If you recycled the cardboard and threw the liner away then you didn’t have the reality of the empty bottles staring at you.
5. Hiding alcohol all over the house, in the car boot, playhouse, garden.
6. Finding empty bottles in random places like under the bed.
7. Wondering if you are safe to drive in morning, knowing you may well not be. Deliberately taking the back roads and breathing a huge sigh of relief when reaching your destination.
8. Running out of wine and getting a bit panicky and starting in on the vile liqueurs and spirits at the back of the cupboard e.g. the cooking brandy
9. Drinking even though you were not enjoying it. It didn’t even taste very nice sometimes, adding blackcurrant or lemonade to “help it down”
10. Finding excuses to go to the local shop so that you can buy alcohol.
11. Ignoring peoples’ comments about your drinking. Burying your head in the sand.
12. Focussing on pubs for meals out and on holiday so that you can drink.
13. Losing hobbies, what can you do when you are anaesthetising your brain?
14. Letting the house and garden get in a mess, to the point where you stop asking people in.
15. Waking in the early hours thirsty, with a mouth like a sewer. Tasting stale wine, head thumping, tummy a bit off. Trying to get back to sleep.
16. Not remembering getting to bed. Passing out instead of falling asleep.
17. Smelling of stale alcohol. You must have done, how could you not? Keeping mints in the glove box of the car, drinking strong coffee, hoping no-one notices.
18. Regular headaches even though you swore you didn’t get hangovers. Really? Only because you were almost permanently hungover so you got used to feeling like that all of the time.
19. Wetting yourself.
20. Mystery bruises. You were always covered in unexplained and sometimes spectacular bruises. You are clumsy when you are sober so you have no chance drunk.
21. Alcopoo – need I say more?
22. Spilling alcohol on yourself, the furnishings, the carpet, the furniture
23. Breaking things like glasses and crockery.
24. Overwhelming feelings of guilt. This was so very bad that it was almost paralysing, with daily sickening feelings that you should not be doing this to yourself, that you are useless and a failure.
25. Feeling ashamed. You should know better.
26. Waking in the morning with that familiar sinking feeling “Oh no, I did it again.”
27. Being short tempered and impatient with everyone and everything. Shouty school mornings were just awful.
28. Feeling depressed and hopeless.
29. Saying stupid stuff and either upsetting people or promising things you don’t believe and can’t remember.
30. Setting a really bad role model for your daughter. You are supposed to lead by example and you know she has seen you really drunk. That is not fair on her.
Writing down the reasons as to why you took up the challenge of reducing your drinking is a really great way to focus your energies a few months down the line. Listing the negative things about drinking not only reminds you why you took the decision, but also shows you just how far you have come. You will see that you are much better and happier than you were, and hopefully this will be enough to get you through those periods of weakening resolve and demoralisation. Try it – it can’t hurt!