The first step towards change is admitting you have a problem.
So if you’ve read the MY STORY page you’ll know a little about me, my relationship with alcohol and why I’ve finally decided to carry out an alcohol detox at home.
Preparing for Detox Day
Monday is D-Day (detox start day) and I’m writing this post on a day by day basis so that I can capture the feelings moment by moment.
It may be a bit factual and possibly not the most riveting post you will ever read, but it will be the truth about my week long alcohol detox at home.
There may be low points, anxiety, mood swings, times of temptation or even total failure. Or I might just sail through it without a problem. Who knows? – but I’m about to find out.
I’d like to point out that I have elected to carry out a detox under medical supervision. Because of the length of time my body and mind have been used to receiving alcohol on a daily basis it would be dangerous to suddenly stop or go cold turkey.
For one it could cause all sorts of complications such as seizures, hallucinations, anxiety, hearing voices, fits etc. And for two it would be bloody hard work and I’d probably give up by the second day.
To get to this point I’ve worked closely with some wonderful counsellors and clinicians at an organisation called CGL (Change, Grow, Live). I’m sure wherever you are based there are similar organisations that can assist.
Together we’ve discussed various options to cut back, and over the last few months with their help, support and patience I’ve been on a journey of discovery to establish the best way to control my alcohol intake and reclaim my overall health.
I might be what you could describe as a functioning alcoholic. I don’t crave or drink alcohol during the day. I drink white wine at night time. Not beer nor spirits, just white wine. I’m not violent or abusive to anybody when I’m drinking and I never miss a day’s work or negate my obligations (mostly I work 60 hours a week). The only thing my alcohol consumption affects is me.
It’s starting to affect my liver, it’s certainly had an impact on my weight and general fitness which in turns has affected my blood pressure and caused the oncoming threat of type 2 diabetes. But most annoyingly of all it steals 5 hours from my day, every single day. These are hours between 6 and 11.00 pm when I could be doing things. Learning new hobbies going to the gym or swimming, going out of an evening without waiting for a taxi so that I don’t have to drive.
Simple stuff after work, or even productive stuff could be enjoyed, but it’s lost to the seductive and sedative effect of the damned Pinot or Chardonnay grape in a sexy bottle!
For some people in a far worse state of alcoholism, my relationship with white wine might seem an easy one to get over, but everybody’s journey and demons are different, and I know when I get that 6 O’clock wine time craving and experience the joy of popping the cork from a nice crisp cold bottle then it’s got me.
For me the decision in the end was to stop alcohol consumption completely, detox my body of all the poisonous and harmful chemicals and start a regime of healthy living. And if I’m being honest I’m really looking forward to the health benefits including weight loss, a clear mind, reversal of early diabetes, lower blood pressure, more energy and generally achieving more out of life that currently wine o’ clock time is stealing from me.
For some people changing what they drink or slowly reducing their consumption is the answer, there is no pathway that’s suits everybody. For me the low or zero alcohol options didn’t cut the mustard, and neither did a controlled reduction. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy when it comes to drink, and once I had my first glass of wine I was taking no prisoners.
Just to be clear on this, I didn’t drink until I was falling down, I knew my limitation and managed to spread it out until I retreated to bed satisfied. The main issue was that it was severely damaging my health, and to anybody else it would be a volume of wine that would make most people sick during the night.
Finally the realisation dawned (once I’d come out of denial) that I had no control over this, and that made me come to the decision that a detox and program of abstinence was the only course of action.
In the end it was my decision, I wasn’t coerced or pushed into it, but finally my brain came out of denial and the reality dawned that it was my pathway and a journey I needed to take. Nobody else could do it for me, and no amount of reading self help articles would change my habit.
So if you’re considering abstinence and you’ve been drinking for a long time or on a daily basis then I urge you to seek medical or counselling advice first rather than going cold turkey on your own. It will be a whole lot safer, you will save weeks, months or even years of agonising procrastination, and your success rate will be so much greater.
I wish you the best of luck and a safe journey.
If you wish to comment or share your experience on this or any of the articles, please feel free and join in the conversation. I will respond to all comments as quickly as possible once moderated.
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