It’s coming up to two years since I decided to break up with booze. I remember my last drink very clearly. I was in Apollo Bay, in the Otways in Victoria. Staying at the hostel together with neighbours, old friends, and new friends. We were there for a big birthday bash where the whole hostel was booked out just for us. I hope to do the same next year, but that’s for another blog post, I think.
Tomorrow marks the 700th day since I stopped drinking, and I feel like reflecting on, and documenting, it somehow so I don’t forget what it’s been like.
The first thing that struck me first about the cold turkey, was that it was easy. I think because I was ready, emotionally, to cut alcohol out of my life, it wasn’t difficult. I wondered if I would have any physical withdrawals, and I worried I would. Fortunately I didn’t.
I avoided drinking situations early on, because I was worried I would be tempted to “just have one”. I, honestly, don’t think I had a drinking problem when I stopped, and it wasn’t why I decided to give it all up. I struggle with moderation. My attitude is (or was, more accurately) that everything should be taken in moderation, even moderation. So sometimes I’d go overboard. And then the anxiety with a dose of self loathing would set in the next day. I knew that cold turkey would be the way to go.
Then I started to put myself into drinking situations. Go to the pub. Hang out with my most boozehoundy friends. Just to make sure I could. And I could. It was easy, even.
My most boozehoundy friends thought it was boring that I didn’t drink. Or thought it was “extreme”. I initially thought that they were threatened by my decision, but I think in the end I think I’ve settled on that suddenly the friendship changed, because we couldn’t do the same thing we’ve done since high school together any more. But in the end, this was what I needed, and I feel good for having done it.
I feel better for not drinking. There’s no doubt about it. Emotionally, and physically.
My cardiologist thinks it’s highly unfair that I stopped drinking 2 years ago and 6 months after that had an issue with my heart, that is usually caused by drinking. It’s annoying that I developed this heart thing, but that it happened even though I’d stopped drinking doesn’t bother me. I assume it would have been much worse had I still been drinking, so, I see it as a win.
I love not having hangovers. They’re the pits and I’m super pleased I don’t have them any more. Even that dusty feeling after drinking even sensibly.
I haven’t lost weight. I hoped I would. But I must have replaced the calories with something else. Oh well.
For a while I missed the idea that you would have a few drinks to let your hair down. To relax. Unwind. Suppress those inhibitions. But since then I’ve found other ways to relax and unwind, and I quickly realised that I’m comfortable enough in myself to not need a social lubricant.
I miss the experience of trying new beers and wines. And talking to people about them.
I like that my actions are mine. At all times. Even the worse decisions.
Would I recommend cutting booze out of your life? Yes, if you think you should. Then absolutely give it a go. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. Society puts some weird pressure on us about alcohol. That you gave quitting a go is an achievement in itself.
I wish I could cold turkey some other things in life. I need to figure out what the exact trigger was for alcohol and see if I can apply them to something else. Like sugar.
Thanks for reading. This is a bit more rambly than I initially expected, but that’s ok. I think I’ve managed to convey what I wanted.