Monthly Archives: August 2019

SuperBooze me- The last day in a month of excess

It’s 2 in the morning here in the UK and I’m awake writing this because I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because I’m a bloated whale washed up on the shore of my own excess; eat, drink,shit,drink ,eat. I feel sick.

It’s officially, according to my own rules, my last full day of drinking before what I’m hoping will be a lifetime of sobriety and I’m beginning to have doubts. What if I fail? What if all this is some elaborate joke I’ve played on myself just so I can have a month of unrestrained excess?

I wanted to have a month of allowing myself to drink whatever I wanted before giving up and part of the thinking was to see what it would be like if I took the brakes off, not apply the normal limited restraint I put on my drinking and eating. No alcohol free days necessary this month Jim, just go for it, enjoy it! In Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock consumes only McDonalds everyday for a month to see how that would affect him physically and psychologically. The results were fairly predictable. My month has been similar in allowing myself to drink and eat without any of my normal constraints.

The results of this unrestrained food and booze fest:

  • terrible sleep
  • 10lbs weight gain
  • constant feeling of being bloated
  • night sweats
  • lethargy
  • lack of motivation (with the exceptions of doing this blog and music)
  • bouts of nausea
  • self loathing
  • reduced level of physical activity and exercise

Basically I feel and look like shit!

The month of excess is thankfully coming to an end. Without normal internal constraints I become a creature of excess. I consume, I stuff myself,I devour, cramming it all in hoping for what? Happiness? Contentment? Sensual gratification? Relaxation? Satiation? Maybe that was the intention but after a month I feel the opposite. I feel worn down, miserable, sick, tired, out of touch with my body. I feel like I’m dying, slowly.

This month has not really been an experiment, it’s been me saying, hopefully, goodbye to a way of life. For years I have had to apply discipline and self scrutiny in order to stop the impulse to over- consume. At times it worked and other times it didn’t. But, take that discipline away and my default position is this mad desire to consume and cram in as much as I can and it’s not just the drink. When I drink more, I eat more. Trying to satisy something maybe, appease it, whatever “it” is, but I know there’s never enough food and drink to satisfy this intangible hunger. Instead of feeding this hunger I need to look at it, listen to it, understand it,confront it.

Alternative futures – Jim as an explosive fartball of excess

I guess all this means I should be looking forward to Sunday, giving up the booze and doing some work on myself. I am. I want to get well. But I’m also scared. Strip away the intellectualisation of this project; all the reasoning, arguments and plans and underneath is a frightened mess. If this doesn’t work, what then? Eat and drink myself into an explosive fartball of excess?

I’ll try and get some sleep now. I’ll go to a nice restaurant tonight and despite what I have said I’ll try and enjoy a good meal. I’ll be with my partner so no embarrassing excess. Then it’s home and tomorrow the real hard work begins. Everyone who embarks on this journey has their own reasons and demons and their own strategies and motivations. But there are many areas of commonality. Reading about how others have tackled this huge step into sobriety will hopefully help me reach that state. Strap in Jim, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Jim x

The final countdown

Maximising my chances of success at abstaining

Oh God it’s really going to happen. At the risk of demonstrating a huge amount of hubris, I have stated my intention on this blog that I will stop drinking alcohol in 4 days time. The thought has crossed my mind that maybe all I am doing via this blog is setting myself up for the most almighty fall. If that happens some may say,”well what did he expect, going on about giving up before he had even bloody started.” Others may think, “shit, that poor bloke, he’s building this thing up and he’s going to be emotionally and intellectually scarred when he inevitably fails.”

Those who are fans of Shadenfreude (the best German word ever and something I experience every time Manchester United lose a game) will say,”ha, ha, that’s so funny, prattling on about abstaining, sounding all high and mighty and he’s blown it after just 6 days, I must post that on Twitter, just brilliant.”

So, yeh I’m aware of the potential pitfalls but I am also someone who plans ahead and I have some good reasons to feel optimistic:

Reasons to be cheerful part 3: 

  • My rough and ready research tells me that when dependent drinkers try to give up, approximately 20% succeed. Another 18% manage to reduce their drinking to safe levels. I’ll take a one in 5 chance anyday.
  • I have managed 3 months earlier this year plus I have managed 2 dry Januarys. I know this is completely different to fully giving up but it is still an indicator that it can be done.
  • I want this! I know that change is difficult but I really want this. For change to truly come about you have to have maximum motivation and I have that. Four main drivers of my motivation: for my health, to avoid the grim logic of where dependence usually leads, my desire to do more with my life and to hopefully set a good example to my sons.
  • Planning, planning, planning. Real change usually needs careful planning; thinking ahead, goal setting, preparing for most eventualities. I have done lots of that and will share some of my ideas in the next post.
  • Evidence. Ah this is where this wonderful blogging community comes in. So many people have shared their stories of moving towards or achieving sobriety. I guess sobriety is never fully achieved as there’s always a danger of relapse but many people who blog have been sober for 3,4,10,20+ years. Evidence that people can overcome the inevitable difficulties and find a more satisfying way of being. In other words it can be done and the results are worth the struggle and commitment.
  • Support. Support is vital. I have chosen not to share this with family or friends (bar 1) but I know there is a lot of support in this blogging community. I started this blog before giving up alcohol because I wanted to see if that support was there. It is. Generous, open, honest and constructive support. Invaluable.
  • In a nutshell: I want this sobriety, I have the desire and motivation to make it happen, it is realistic and feasible and I have plans and strategies to help me succeed. In addition I now have a network of bloggers from whom I can gain inspiration and support.
My last meal with alcohol may look like this
Then again it could look like this
The wine I would like to have as my last drink but at £275 a bottle it aint gonna happen

Sunday 1st is nearly upon me. I feel strangely like an inmate on death row. The orders have been taken. Saturday will be my last alcohol based meal. I will eat my favourite dishes and I will choose a fantastically expensive bottle of wine. I will savour that wine and drink it with gratitude and nostalgia, no bitterness or acrimony. Then I will bid my farewell. One life will have come to an end. My life with alcohol will have had a fitting finale, a funeral of sorts. There may even be tears. But this is not death row. It has been a different kind of prison that I have been in and on Sunday I will head from my cell not to face death but to confront life. I hope the sun will be shining.

Oh I do like a dramatic end to a blog post.

Jim x 

The World’s Gone Mad- And I wasn’t Going to Mention Brexit!

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum – although the original Tweedles were cute and cuddly

Nothing to do with alcohol this quick post except to say that if anything was going to drive one to drink it would be the antics of these two jokers.

The UK can now proudly say to our brothers and sisters in the USA that we have a leader that’s just as mad and dangerous as yours. Bonkers Boris is going to prorogue or suspend parliament just so he can get the crazy (excuse me, I just want to shoot myself in the foot) no deal Brexit through parliament without our elected politicians being able to have a say. Nice democratic work Boris!

Despite this I am still going to stop drinking on Sunday.

Should I keep politics out of this blog?

Nah. I want to be able to say to any grandkids I might have – no I didn’t take to the streets kids but at least I ranted against the madness on my sobriety blog!

Ok – I feel better now- I’ll go off and write a proper post now.

Oh and if I’ve upset any right wing, fascist, mysoginists out there- GOOD!

Music- My Salvation?

Now here’s a funny thing. A revelation. In this blogI’ve been going on about my alcohol dependence and the problems associated with it and getting ready to stop drinking from this coming Sunday. It has seemed to me that alcohol has dominated many areas of my life and I’ve relied too much on it. But this was the revelation I have just had- except when it comes to music. This fact only struck me this morning as I started practising for an open mic night which I agreed to yesterday and which takes place on Thursday evening. The first thing I did when I agreed to perform was cancel meeting up with a friend for lunch (another stop on my long goodbye to booze). I need to practice and when I play and sing I NEVER drink!

I need alcohol sometimes to quell nerves and anxiety but I never drink prior to or during a performance. Simple reasons- it affects my voice and I make mistakes if I drink so whenever I’ve had to do music or drama based activities I cut right back on my drinking. Over the years this must mean that I have drunk far less than I would have done without having music in my life. I also prefer listening to music without booze flowing through me firstly because being an older guy I’d be fighting to get to crowded toilets every 15 minutes and most importantly music just sounds so much better sober.

So thank you music. You have helped reduce my intake over the years and shown me that you can enjoy life without booze, I’m just amazed that I hadn’t really appreciated that until just now.

My cherished Epiphone – I love you man!

Jim x

Why the Delay Jim?

I said in earlier posts that I had set a start date of September 1st for my sobriety challenge because I knew I had some big social dates coming up. I also wanted to take leave from alcohol in a planned way; my long goodbye. Reading other blogs I can see that giving up alcohol when you’ve become alcohol dependent is a tough task and I wanted to have a “run in” so that I really understood what I was doing and making sure that this was the right decision for me. I’ve said before that having to give up alcohol completely for me is really an admission of failure. Whereas many people can enjoy alcohol in a responsible and moderate way, I cannot. From an early age I drank excessively and greedily. Having tried moderation and failed I can see that my only path is abstinence.

And yet…… I know I shall miss alcohol. It has been a source of pleasure and it is so entrenched in so many social activities that I enjoy. Convivial evenings down the pub with friends is something that will either go or have to change, trips to Dusseldorf visiting the big breweries in Altstadt with my German relatives likewise. I know that giving up is something I have to do for my health and wellbeing and there are many things I am looking forward to in my new sober life but there is also already a sense of loss and grieving for something that has been so integral to my life.

Having said all that one of the social events I wanted to enjoy without the struggle of not drinking was my big Bank Holiday BBQ. This was held on Sunday and was a big family occasion. I knew this was to be my last big booze up and very predictably, I got drunk. It was also a brilliant reminder to myself as to why I have to stop drinking. Every element of my problemmatic relationship to alcohol was present on that day.

At 1 o’ clock on Sunday I fired up the barbecue and had my first beer. From a drinker’s point of view outside barbecues are heaven; buckets of cold beer, opened bottles of wine, you can drink what you like without drawing too much attention to yourself. In pubs you have to drink at the same rate as the others, no such problems at barbecues especially ones you organise yourself. I was drinking to my heart’s content and cooking on coals which I love.

Do not cook and drink, that’s my advice. When I do something usually goes wrong and sure enough a couple of hours into the BBQ and several beers later (who’s counting), I lift the lid of the grill and pick up one of the metal skewers, only without gloves. Ouch. That was stupid. Just typing this is hurting my blistered fingers, but that’s the kind of thing that happens when you mix drinking and cooking.

Sitting down once the food is all cooked I chat to my two sons one of whom who I haven’t seen in 4 months. My sons are fairly heavy drinkers too (wonder where they got that from) and we are now trying different British ales together with some interesting wines. The brakes are off and my drinking has now taken on a life of its own. My partner asks me to slow down. I’m fine I say but I’m not. I know that now because one of my sons told me yesterday that when we played table tennis for the second time I was tripping over myself and unable to hit the ball with my bat. That’s not what usually happens because I play table tennis in a local league and I pride myself on being a fairly reasonable player. I cannot remember that spell of playing table tennis.

My partner yesterday tried to talk to me about my drinking. I had fallen asleep in the living room and woke about 3 in the morning unsure what I was doing there. She slept in a spare room saying that I was “completely pissed” Sunday night and had been very loud and my sons had been embarrased by my rambling, drunken monologue in the garden. I didn’t want to listen to that. Yesterday was the day after the BBQ. I went with my two sons their girlfriends and my ex wife (the mother of my sons) and her husband for a walk to a nearby village. We went to the pub. Most had soft drinks but I was straight onto the beers. Hair of the dog we call it. A few beers sorts out a hangover, what a joke.

It’s now 2 a.m. on Tuesday. My sons left to go home yesterday and I’m up in the middle of the night feeling sick, bloated and sweaty with blistered fingers and a two day hangover. I feel embarrassed by my drinking on Sunday and I purposely do not want to find out what I said and did. Nothing terrible or aggressive I know but I will have been ridiculous and embarrassing nonetheless.

That pattern of unrestrained drinking on Sunday is what I do when the drink is freely available. I have done it before at parties, weddings, funerals, the lot. If the drink is available I’ll go for it. Looking back to Sunday I’m so thankful it happened because it demonstrated to me that I really can’t control my drinking at such events. I did not really enjoy the day in all honesty after the first hour or so and it has left me feeling ill and embarrassed. Good. When I’m having doubts about my decision to give up the booze I shall remind myself of the Bank Holiday BBQ and that should help me fight any temptation. My partner is worried about my drinking and I was so close to telling her of my plan but I decided to keep quiet. I have told her that from Saturday I shall be starting a diet so when she sees me not drinking she will assume it’s because of the diet. I don’t want to make it a big deal, and she’s heard me talk of cutting back to no avail before so this time no fanfare but hopefully I shall show her in a few months that alcohol is disappearing from my life.

So yes, in 5 days time I shall be starting my new sober journey and saying goodbye to booze. I wish I could have been a sensible drinker but I cannot so that’s that. Once my start date arrives I need to start looking forward to all the benefits of being sober and once I experience some of those benefits (and I know there will be many having given up for three months earlier this year) I can give up on the grieving for my troublesome friend.

This period running up to giving up is proving invaluable to me. I have learned a lot about myself, my drinking habits, my reasons for wanting to quit. The blog is really helping to organise my thoughts and I am sure is going to be a great motivation in staying sober. Big changes like giving up the booze are notoriously difficult so knowing why I have to make the change is a very important part of the process. Knowing that others have been successful is also motivational and I thank all those that have shared their stories. Your stories help strugglers like me face up to reality and hopefully make the changes.

Jim x

Not All Drinkers Are the Same

I know it’s an obvious fact that not all drinkers are the same, but it needs restating, for me anyway, because I do not want to retreat into a black and white dichotomy where non drinkers are enlightened beings but drinkers are poor deluded souls needing to be shown the true path.

It’s just not that simple. Yesterday was a great example on a small scale of the complexities of why and how people drink. Me, yep I have a problem with drink. I also approach other things in life like I approach drink, I do them to excess. I used to smoke a lot, I eat a lot, I talk a lot, I drink a lot. Why? Who knows; pleasure, filling a void, social pressures, biology, trauma, they all play a part but I don’t see much point in trying to unpick those elements. Bottom line, I drink too much, I plan things around alcohol, It’s hard for me to moderate, I have to stop.

So back to yesterday, I went for lunch with a good friend who is about to start work as a headteacher in a new school in ten days time. I drove and took her and her children to the home of a mutual friend who lives in a beautiful thatched cottage. I was driving, so I arrived and had three small glasses of wine knowing that the amount I had drunk was about 4 units (the legal limit in the UK) and that when we left I should be completely alohol free (not perfect I admit but legal and I didn’t drive until 4 hours later). I envied the other two as they drank glass after glass of cold Italian wine. My headteacher friend drank a fair bit but had her children there so kept it under control. Now she is a controlled drinker who likes the ocassional binge. When she got home she told me that she wouldn’t have any more and that would be her last drink until she started her new job in ten days time. She has a lovely marriage, great kids, likes a drink but has it under control. She knows that alcohol is a potentially dangerous and powerful drug as her brother died 4 years ago from liver failure due to excessive drinking. She is fully aware of where uncontrolled drinking can lead.

My friend’s lovely thatched cottage and look, blue cloudless sky- and yes it’s England!

The friend who was hosting is a completely different type of drinker. She drinks by her own admission to subdue the pain of lonliness and grief. Her daughter died 20 years ago and around the same time her husband ran off with a younger woman. She lives on her own in the coutryside and drink and fags are her companions. She’s tried giving up but couldnt face what life was like without them. It was too bleak. They provided solace. She knows drinking and smoking will likely kill her but she is OK with that. Take them away and I’m not sure she would survive anyway.

I went home and to make up for having not been able to drink much in the afternoon, I opened a bottle and got to work. My partner joined me. Now she’s yet a completely different type of drinker to myself and the other two. She had one small glass of wine and stopped. Just like that. I don’t know how she does it. That is my hell, one glass and stop, I’d rather have nothing. But it’s what drinking should look like I suppose. A powerful drug and poison is something that if consumed should only be consumed sparingly and in moderation. She can do that effortlessly. She probably will not have another drink for weeks.

I on the other hand finished the bottle and had a couple more beers. I sat alone in the garden watching the sun set and despite the alcohol trying it’s best to relax me I could feel something I can only describe as unease and emptiness seeping into my soul.

Last night’s sunset at home

Two posts in one go is a bit excessive but it helps me clarify many things prior to giving up. I am so looking forward to being able to focus on things other than alcohol.

Thanks for stopping by

Jim x

Alcohol- A wolf in sheep’s clothing

That was a bit of fun in the last post, personifying Al Cahole, giving him a voice. Boy is he an up himself arsehole, but the serious side is it allows me to have a dialogue between different parts of me that are often contradictory and at loggerheads.

Take relationships for example. Al was perfectly correct, I was an awkward, stumbling bag of nerves around girls when I was a teenager. Alcohol changed everything, it gave me a confidence and release from anxiety that was literally intoxicating. So pattern established, you want to meet girls, get drinking. The downside is drinking hardly helps with Libido; as Skakespeare puts it:

Drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things . . . nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.

That’s the thing with alcohol, it promises much, delivers occasionally but always comes at a cost.

The part of me that likes alcohol remembers the good times with alcohol; the fun, the parties, doing crazy stuff you wouldn’t normally do, the feeling of abandoning the stifling restrictions of day to day life, the promise of the unexpected, dangerous liasions,excitement and unpredictability. Another side remembers the not so good times, all provided courtesy alcohol; arguments with friends, stealing a barrel of beer at University from a young Conservatives party and being set upon and by 10 big blokes, being driven home by a drunk driver, seeing a friend drink himself to death following a relationship breakdown, couples swearing and fighting in the street after a “Prosecco” night, embarrassing my kids, the list goes on and funny how you never see these scenes shown on any alcohol advertising.

I know that I am giving up alcohol in just over a week’s time but doing this blog and having the run up has really thrown up so many contradictory thoughts and feelings. I will be leaving something that has been very important to me and I know it’s going to be bloody hard to navigate certain situations without a drink, I’m excited at the prospect of feeling and being different without drink and I’m also terrified of feeling and being different without alcohol. For me, the relationship has broken down and something had to give, but already, even before stopping, I can sense the enormity of what lies ahead and boy do I now massively respect those who have managed to successfully travel this particular path. Soon it will be time for me to shear that sheep and confront the ferocious wolf in a final showdown.(sorry, unnecessarily dramatic language there).

Thanks for stopping by

Jim x

Newsflash – Angry Al Hacks Jim’s Blog!

Hello blog tarts or whatever you readers of blogs call yourself. I’m bloody angry. That Jim, he’s a bastard and a coward. I knew he would make off as soon as I came round. What a shifty two faced shit bag he is. This is his blog I suppose? “Life Beyond Booze” indeed. What a joke. The man has lost all sense and reason, and, he’s a snivelling traitor I’ll tell you that. You know he didn’t even have the courage to tell me face to face that our friendship was over. I heard about it on another “blog.” 45 years I’ve known Jim, stood by him, been with him through thick and thin and this is how he treats me, discarded like, well like an old beer can. That’s not how you treat your friends is it?

I’ll tell you something else, Jim won’t last 10 minutes without me. Nope. In fact he’s nothing without me and wouldn’t be the man he is today without my guiding influence. For one thing I reckon he’d still be a virgin but for me. I remember him as a shy, insecure nerd incapable of getting off with girls. Once I came along he’s suddenly Mr, “Hello there what’s your name,”rubbish lines, but said with a conviction and confidence. He actually got laid unbelievably but only because of me.

Maybe my new advertising campaign?

And I suppose he’s forgotten all the good times we had together. mad nights singing in the streets, telling rude jokes at fancy dinner parties, dancing as though he was a chicken on steroids. All down to me. Now he’s suddenly come over all self righteous and thinks he is going to improve his life and his health. What a joke. With me people laugh more, relax more, enjoy life more. That’s got to help people lead a longer life hasn’t it? What could be better for your health than gallons of wine. I tell you I am a gift from God, I’m loved around the world, you’ll see me on every street corner so why on earth would he throw all that away.

I blame you lot out there. Yes you, you smug bloggers, putting foolish ideas into Jim’s head. He’s going to end up throwing away the best friend he’s ever had. Girls have come and gone, friends have moved away , some have died. The only real constant in his life has beenme and now he wants to throw it all away. You’ve twisted his thinking. Well I hope you lot are happy separating a man from his best friend.

You know what though? I’m not going to go away. I know Jim must have been led astray. There’s no way he would suddenly reject me after all these years without someone, and yes, I mean you again, influencing, nay brainwashing him. Sober = Boring and Jim is going to find that out. I’ll stick around. I am calming down a bit now. I’ll stay on the sidelines, I won’t say anything but I’ll be there, always just in sight. he won’t be able to avoid me, always hovering with my tempting array of wines, beers and spirits. Eventually he will come to his senses, he won’t be the first to try and life without me and he won’t be the last. I’ll just bide my time and when the moment is right, I’ll plonk myself right at his side and offer him the comfort and pleasure that only I can provide. Then you lot will see who’s boss.

Yes, that’s it, I didn’t need to get so agitated. I’ll let Jim get this sobriety nonsense out of his system and he will come running back to me begging for forgiveness. You wait and see. If you see Jim, you can tell him I popped by. If you don’t no worries, I’m pretty sure he’ll be knocking on my door pretty soon anyway.

Cheers and salut

Al Cahole

(The man to see for some deadly serious fun!)

Why Moderation Has Not Worked For Me.

Oh Dear. Just summoned up the courage to look at my last post. What a sorry state to get into. I feel embarrassed by it’s juvenile, self indulgent melancholia. Part of me wants to delete the rambling, incoherent nonsense but I’ll keep it for the time being to remind myself of a state I do not want to revisit any time soon. Strip away the nonsense and bad language (apologies for that) and I suppose there is existential pain that I’m sure many people feel from time to time. I want to say to myself’ “Jim, get a grip.”

The most interesting thing about yesterday was how a perfectly innocent little Sunday turned into a fully fledged solo binge drinking session. It sums up why I need to stop. Yesterday was crying out for moderation, it shoukld have been the norm, there was no reason or excuse for excess.

Context. I went for a walk to get some groceries with my partner. Our village has no shop so we walked across the fields to a nearby village. It was sunny and by the river people were sitting outside the pub enjoying a convivial, lazy, family Sunday. I noticed the cold drinks, the creamy pints of Guiness, cold lagers, clinking glasses full of lemony G and Ts. I fancied a drink. I guess I’m not alone in the way I manipulate situations just to get a drink, but I am good at it. My partner just wanted to get the shopping so suggesting a drink probably wouldn’t work. Too obvious. Instead I spied an empty bench near the pub by the river. I became the wily fox disguised as gentleman, “Hey, why dont you sit down here and I’ll get the shopping, no need for two of us to go to the shop.”

I get to the shop, quickly buy the food and spy an offer- free beers with certain BBQ foods. Perfect. I put the beers in my basket. I also find a small can of beer but which is very strong in alcohol. Looks insignificant but packs a punch, again, perfect. The plan needs a really nice drink for my partner- an expensive smoothie. I top it off with some snacks. Hey we are having a picnic. I go back to the bench and say I bought some drinks and snacks.

It works, my partner thinks this is nice. I’ve had to turn my desire for a drink into a picnic but its succeeded. The small can does its trick. I feel at peace. I feel the love all around the place, people enjoying the sunshine. Ah this is great I think, only alcohol can give me this moment of blissful surrender. But of course I want more I open one of the bottles and then another. I know I can’t drink more without bringing attention to myself, but the damage is done. All I want to do now is drink more.

We get home and I start the BBQ as I want to try out some recipes prior to the big family BBQ this coming Sunday. Again this is an event I have organised mainly for the purpose of enabling me to have my last big drink with my sons although no one knows this is my plan. Back to the BBQ. I’m alone outside and the garage is full of beer and wine. No need to hide or disguise the bottles and I suddenly find myself opening beers, and, come time to eat, I open a fine bottle of cold rose.

My partner has a small amount of wine in her glass but doesn’t even finish that. I do finish it as well as the rest of the bottle. She says I am a bit squiffy. I already feel bad about drinking so much when there’s absolutely no call for it. We go to watch a film and I immediately fall asleep. Not fair on my partner but then drinking is a pretty selfish enterprise. Somewhere in all this , I must have gone upstairs and written last night’s post.

Today I had a hangover and met the guys I play football with. Within minutes I sprained my thigh and had to pull out of playing. What a wreck. What a mess.

Yesterday should have been perfect for moderation. A beer by the river and a glas of wine with the food would have been just right, but no, I had to drink by my reckoning around 20 units of alcohol or the equivalent of two bottles of wine. Now this isn’t a daily occurence but it does sometimes happen, too frequently. I spent two years trying moderation. I logged every drink, counted units. Moderation was hard work. I tried to make sure I had at least 2 or 3 alcohol free days every week and I managed to keep my drink down to an average of 45-50 units a week. (the UK guidelines say a safe level is no more than 14 units a week.) I was fairly happy with 50 units a week, the trouble was I’d drink those units over a few nights at the weekend. Sober during the week, pissed at weekends. Not really moderation is it?

And it is my fault. I chose to drink heavily from a young age. It’s caught up with me now and has started to control me which I hate. I regret letting this happen as I know I’m about to give up something that has been impotant in my life for a long time and it’s not just the alcohol, it’s all that goes with it; beer festivals, pints with mates, drinking and opening up to friends, cosy evenings in snug country pubs. Lot’s to miss. A way of life.

But there are moments where we have to make big choices and this, for me is one of those times.I’m more than just a drinker. This blog has a focus but it can distort. There is more to me than just my drinking. I tutor students, I run drama workshops , I play music; I’m a therapist and I volunteer for a national charity . These are the things that bring real meaning to my life and drink is beginning to sap my energy and take me away from these things, so stop it must.

In my next posts I want to start focussing on the positives of my decision. I’ll be losing some things but I’ll be gaining so much more, as my three months earlier this year without alcohol showed me. In my countdown to giving up there needs to be a shift from loss and regret to hope and anticipation. There will be massive benefits to giving up alcohol and that needs to become my focus.

Finally I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the bloggers out there who I have been following and whose stories are so inspirational. Reading them makes me realise that not only is sobriety possible, thepotential benefits makes it desirable.

Sorry for the long post today. I know there are a few readers and thanks for the helpful comments. This blog is helping me clarify a few things.

Thanks for stopping by.


why we drink

Ok Im giving up in two weeks. in the meantime Im drinking because I am giving up something important to me and I a am scared of giving it up.

I think I am drunk. probably purposely. a Sunday lunchtime seeing people enjoying themselves by the river. Ok I can drink, it’s what everyone else is doing. Ill just drink a bit more than everyone else. Back home. It’s OK Ill drink because. we are having and impromptu BBQ. Yeh. An excuse to get pissed.

~~~~here's the rub, the nub, the bloody reason why- I drink and the world seems suddenly nicer. I look at my partner, my house- what a lucky man I am. I see it now I'm drunk. Nice, I don't see it when I'm sober. that's shit, I don't know what I really feel. ~Is this the best of times, the worst of times? Fuck knows. But why do I feel the need to get into this state in order to feel alive. or is it dead. “““““““not sure. One thing I know in this inebriated state is – Not feeling good about myself.

I shouldn't post this and yet I must post this. This is how I am when drinking. Ive been euphoric and depressed, happy and fucked. not a great way to be.