Yes , It’s Bloody Hard , But It’s Worth It!

This giving up the booze, giving up a way of living that did, at various points give us some joy or relief otherwise we wouldn’t have done it, is difficult. Giving anything up that has become ingrained is hard but booze has so many components; it affects you physically and makes changes to your brain chemistry, it has social and cultural elements and creates a strong psychological attachment. Added to that, those that are seriously dependent on alcohol will suffer serious debilitating withdrawal symptoms and experience a changed brain chemistry that will often put having alcohol as a higher priority than their own survival!

So, fat chance of giving up then?

No is the answer, because people do give it up.  Some bloggers on here have been sober for years.  I’m a newby and luckily didn’t get to the point where stopping gave me terrible withdrawal symptoms, but I’m not stupid or naive.  I know that more people go back to booze within a year than stay off it.  I need to keep reminding myself it’s hard and that it can go wrong and the way I deal with that is threefold:

1  I look and constantly remind myself of all the positive aspects of being sober.  It’s a great state to aim for and maintain.

2  I will  treat the dreaded possible relapse as firstly a minor lapse if it’s literally one drink, one mistake, a “I fell off my bike so I’d better get back on quickly,” moment or regroup, learn and try again (definitely no self flagellation or recrimination) if it’s a full blown relapse.

3 I will bathe and luxuriate in the mutual support of other bloggers.  ( I have oddly come to think of a few of these,often anonymous, unseen bloggers as good friends.  Not surprising given their big hearts and openness). I hope those in a similar situation would agree that the support of other bloggers and reading their stories and their joys and frustrations makes an incredible difference in terms of maintaining sobriety. I would add though that some bloggers disappear and I’m assuming it’s because they are either confident in their alcohol free lives or they have started drinking again.  If the latter, that seems such a shame because their stories are more the norm and not everything goes the way we’d like.  In my view if someone has stopped drinking for a year, a month even a week, that’s a success that can never be taken away.  Going back to drinking is not some personal failing it’s what can happen to any of us, and hearing about it and what’s been learned could be useful for all concerned. After all this is a process not a fixed point.

Going back to point 1, let’s get positive, because giving up the booze should be less about what’s been given up, less about what we are not doing and more about how great and beneficial going alcohol free can be.

Tonight I’m going to join a bunch of people who are going to be attending a small music evening in a wood somewhere in Suffolk.  There will be folk singers, a sea shanty group, violin players and I’m going with my friend and we shall play a few songs.  It’s in a private wood and the owner has laid on a barbecue and loads of drink both alcoholic and soft. Should be a great, enjoyable night.

Here’s the thing. If this were two months ago I wouldn’t be going. Why? Well, it’s because I’m going alone meeting my playing companion there. I have to drive and I would not have been able to countenance a night like that in the past and not being able to have a drink. In other words I would rather NOT have gone than have gone and not be able to drink. That’s grim. Tha’s terrible. It puts drinking ahead of music and socialising, and that happened a lot.  What I probably would have done is I would have been manipulative and invited a friend who lives nearby and subtly persuaded him to give me a lift. Once there because I never drink before performing I would have persuaded the organiser to put me on first or second finished playing and then the evening would have truly began- I COULD DRINK.  I would have got pissed, probably tried to play again , embarrassed myself, think I’d had a good time, lose friends and spend two days nursing a hangover. What a fucking joke.

Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 09.15.38That’s the negative. Here’s the positive.

Instead tonight, I’ll drive, play whenever the organiser suggests, take my own interesting non alcoholic drinks, be prepared to tackle some cravings as I watch everyone drinking, remind myself of what I’m gaining, and enjoy the music and companionship instead of focussing on the next drink and getting drunk.  Why oh why did it take me so long to get to this place?

 

Jim X

14 thoughts on “Yes , It’s Bloody Hard , But It’s Worth It!

  1. Untipsyteacher

    What a joy to read this morning!
    Do you sing and/or play an instrument?
    My deepest loss was when I went deaf and could no longer make or hear music. My implants do not support music, either.
    So I am SO happy to hear that you are choosing to share your gift instead of drinking!
    Have fun! You will love being sober tonight!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Wendy and I do remember you mentioning your deafness before. That must have been a real blow. I play guitar and sing, not great but I enjoy it and I do practice hard so hopefully it’s not too awful for people to listen to. I will enjoy being sober tonight as I was this morning where instead of nursing a Saturday hangover I went and played table tennis. Enjoy rest of the weekend!
      Jim x

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  2. nomorebeer2019

    Yaaaaay ! I hope you had a smashing time ! And I want to know all about the cool stuff that caught your attention now that alcohol is off the table: the sounds of music, the connection with people, the lovely earthy smell of the woods, the taste of the soft drinks, the feeling of the breeze (or blizzard? not sure what the weather’s like in the U.K. these days^^), the sight/sounds of people laughing, or the rustling in the leaves ?? i.e. Everything I would ignore and miss out on when I would be obsessed by my next drink 🙂 We [used to] think that drinking helps/ed us “have a good time”, but more and more I can see how it actually cut us off from the world and the “good times” we wanted to have 🙂

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    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi Anne, I did have a good time thanks and I think i’ll Reflect the experience in a post but lovely setting, nice people, variable quality of music but zero cravings from me, probably because I was playing but also the chap I play with (known him about a year) is not a drinker. (don’t know his story yet as I know he used to be a drinker and a brewer). That took any social pressure off and we laughed and joked as though we had been drinking. It was definitely a better experience overall as a result of being sober. A bigger challenge comes this Monday – a trip to the pub!
      Jim x

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. nomorebeer2019

        yeeeeessss ! wow Im so glad for you ! I find spending time with non-drinkers REALLY helps. Oh wow, and good luck tonight at the pub, you will do great ! (especially if you plan ahead: what will you order, etc. but you knoooow this already!) xxx

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      1. Jim Simmonds Post author

        Thanks, I like pubs and that’s where I meet friends so am determined to go into them despite the temptations and more and more are doing alternatives to alcohol. The non alc beers are getting better and you can now get decent coffee in a few.

        Liked by 1 person

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