6 Months Detox and Abstinence.
December sees my sixth-month of total alcohol abstinence. I can’t believe where the time has gone.
I remember clearly the day before I started my detox. It was a Sunday, a lovely summers day in June and we were sat in the garden drinking wine (because it was my last day of alcohol and I felt I needed to go out in style) and cooking on the BBQ.
It felt strange because I loved drinking wine in the garden. To be honest I loved drinking wine anywhere, even in the bath, but this was going to be my last day and it was a mix of apprehension, a tinge of sadness, uncertainty, yet strangely exciting.
It was exciting because it was like the start of a new adventure, one that I’d somehow been thinking about and planning for some 15 years or more. That’s how long I’d been wanting to cut back or quit completely.
How have I managed to get to 6-months?
To achieve anything in life, whether it be giving up something, creating more of something or learning a new skill, you need a WHY.
Why do you want to do it? It’s no good saying I’ll do such-and-such because the doctor says it will be good for me, or I’ll learn a new skill because it might come in handy. You’ll never achieve anything long-term with a hazy mind-set. You need to know why you’re going to do something, what the benefit will be and how it’s going to change your life.
This is especially important when it comes down to something you need or want to do for yourself. It’s always easier to get something done when somebody is holding you accountable, like your boss breathing down your neck to get a project completed, or a report delivered on time. But when it comes to doing something to benefit ourselves, it’s always harder to get it done. It’s probably down to a combination of procrastination, laziness and accountability. But I believe for most people it’s because they don’t have a strong enough reason WHY.
For any level of success, WHY has to be clearly defined in our own mind so that the subconscious gets on board and carries the instruction through. Without the subconscious having a clearly defined reason why, then anything you want to do or achieve will be like pushing an elastic band uphill.
In fact, think of the subconscious as a 3-year-old child. You can’t reason or give a conflicting instruction to a 3-year-old child. It will just get confused, ignore what you say, wander off and go and do its own thing.
Well your subconscious is the same. If in your conscious thoughts you haven’t got a clearly defined reason why you want to achieve something then your subconscious will also wander off and do its own thing, which will always be the opposite of what the conscious mind thinks it wants to do.
That’s the reason I’ve been trying to cut down my wine intake for 15 years. I’ve been giving myself woolly confusing messages without a clearly defined reason why I should tackle my ever-increasing wine consumption.
This time it was different. I found my reason WHY. This time I had a clear definition in my thoughts and in my mind why I wanted to quit drinking wine. This clearly defined purpose then banished my lackadaisical thoughts, pushed me out of my comfort zone, gave me motivation, propelled me past the objections and disbelief of others, and carried me forward to seek help and through the tough times.
Now, 6 months on I haven’t had a single alcoholic drink since that Sunday in the garden, I’ve achieved my reasons WHY and I’m continuing to build on the strength of that achievement every single day to reach greater goals.
So has it been worth it?
Too bloody right it has!…
If you want to know more about my WHY and the successful outcome that is now spurring me even further then you can read about it here >>>
If you want to start at the beginning of my detox experience then you can get the full story starting here >>>
So what’s happened recently?
Well October saw the promotion of Alcohol Awareness Week at CGL (Change grow Live). In case you’re not aware, CGL is the organisation I worked with to detox and abstain. Without their help my journey would have been much tougher and far less informed.
For example, I knew nothing about the process of detoxing safely prior to abstinence. Like most people who embark on this journey, I thought I could simply stop drinking with the aid of a tablet to quell the cravings (a bit like people who stop smoking and chew gum, or wear a nicotine patch).
As it happens, there is a tablet to assist in quelling the cravings, but it only works once you’ve safely detoxed your body of alcohol. One common medication is Acamprosate or Campral, and like many other people I thought this would be the answer to helping me cut back to a point where I could simply drink wine at a moderate level – like deciding whether to have a second cup of tea or not.
However, this is not the case, and anybody who thinks they can achieve their goal without going through the due process is simply wasting their time and putting themselves in harms way.
But getting back to Change, Grow, Live, they are the inspiration for this website. I wanted to make myself accountable for my success or failure, and wanted to share it so that hopefully others might find the information helpful.
I’ve had the pleasure of sharing ZOOM meetings with them and hosting MY STORY to tell others of my experience. And to coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week, I was pleased to share my experience so far in an interview article on their website.
You can read it here >>>
Another little win is that the weight loss is still moving in the right direction, which can only be good for my general health including blood pressure and cholesterol.
As revealed in Month 3, my threat of diabetes has gone and my liver function test revealed a massive improvement to that of a much younger person who hardly drinks alcohol…
How am I going to cope with Christmas?
So at the time of writing this update it’s just 11 days until Christmas.
Ordinarily I would have been stocking up on the wine and beer and getting into the swing of it with works parties and other festive functions. This year is different of course due to the pandemic and lock-down, so technically I’m saved from all that temptation this year.
However, I strongly and wholeheartedly believe that if things were “normal” it actually wouldn’t have made a difference to me because I’ve got past temptation and have developed coping mechanisms that are pretty robust now.
In fact, the desire for alcohol is no longer an issue. The main thing I have to cope with is the association of kicking back and chilling out with a nice bottle of wine or a beer.
The fear or feeling of missing out is still very strong, and to be honest it still feels (almost) boring not to have the thrill and absolute pleasure of opening that nice chilled bottle of wine in the evening.
It’s a difficult one to explain, but it’s definitely not the pull or hit of the alcohol. That’s long gone. It’s the association of the pleasure I received from opening the bottle, pouring it into a nice sparkling glass and sharing the experience with friends or loved ones.
That said, I have developed a coping mechanism so that I don’t miss out, and it’s definitely helping.
In recent years there seems to have been a slow but steady growth in the popularity of alcohol abstinence and sobriety, particularly among celebrities and a new energetic breed of business entrepreneurs.
These people have realised that they are only working and achieving at half capacity when alcohol is present in their lives. And of course when you live in the spotlight it’s only too easy to find yourself paraded across social media making a fool of yourself.
These people are social influencers and a result have attracted a lot of ordinary folk to follow in their footsteps.
As a result of this, many of the mainstream alcoholic beverage manufacturers have realised that there is a growing and relatively untapped market available for non-alcoholic versions of their most popular drinks.
Previously non-alcoholic wine was really nothing short of re-packaged grape juice, and alcohol free beers were simply tasteless.
However, recently I’ve discovered some amazing wines and beers from mainstream manufacturers that are virtually like the real thing, and for me it’s brought back the pleasure of opening and sharing a nice cold one while celebrating my new-found lifestyle of sobriety and regained health.
Happy days, and here’s looking forward towards a merry sober Christmas and a life changing 2021.