Small Reminder to Self about Why I Don’t Drink Anymore

First off, what’s happened to my good intentions? I was going to blog more regularly, really I was. I was intending to read other blogs, make comments and generally be a more responsible, committed blogger. Sounds very much like my approach to giving up drinking; a good idea that just took me a bit of time to get round to. At least with blogging it’s only been just over two weeks. My decision to finally give up alcohol took slightly longer; maybe 30 years give or take.

The reason it took me so long to finally quit booze was down to one main reason, DENIAL. Good old denial, it keeps us following the same tired old path regardless of the evidence in front of us. Denial is sneaky though. It concedes a tiny little bit. In my case I knew that drinking excessively was bad for me, I knew I didn’t want hangovers that lasted two days and the wasted days that entailed. I knew that dependency creeps up on you. Despite that , denial is a strong adversary to our good intentions. Here are some of my favourite denial soundbites; a top ten” Jim’s favourite denial tracks” if you like:

  • You’re doing a demanding day time job- you can’t be too dependent
  • Jim, it’s OK you don’t drink in the mornings
  • You only lost your licence once and that was 30 years ago
  • Your liver function test was fine, you’re fine!
  • That homeless guy clutching his cheap cider- now that’s a guy with a drink problem
  • You’re overthinking it, just enjoy life
  • If your’e worried just moderate a bit
  • Everybody has one too many occasionally
  • You deserve a treat
  • Churchill drank far more than you Jim and he won a war and was a national hero

You get the picture. I could add another twenty justifications for my drinking and one of the “sobering” aspects of being sober is the stark realisation of how much denial there was in my relation to booze. Had someone confronted me at the time however Mr Denial and Ms Protect would have emerged to defend my drinking at any costs.

I was thinking about this in relation to a little trip I have planned. Next weekend I’m off to see my son and his girlfriend for an outdoor meal at a pub near where they live. I’m not seeing them at Christmas as I am not keen on catching Coronavirus by sitting for hours in a heated enclosed room with several people in close proximity to me. So outdoor pre Christmas meet ups is my preferred option. No problem… except, in my drinking days this would have put me in a highly agitated state. Driving somewhere like a pub and not being able to drink alcohol was my personal nightmare. I hated it. I couldn’t envisage sitting down, seeing drink all around me and not having a drink. Here’s another list. Jim’s “What I used to do when invited for a meal/pub/party/ far away”

  • Work out cost in terms of time and money of trains and taxis (not always feasible or desirable)
  • Find some way of manipulating someone else to give me a lift
  • Find some way of manipulating other parties to come nearer to where I live
  • Work out how many units I could drink and still legally drive and how much time that would necessitate me being at the venue
  • Arrange to drive, get a lift back and get someone else to drive me to venue to pick up car next day
  • Consider the horror of going and not drinking alcohol at all (very rare)
  • Decline the invitation rather than the hassle and torture of any the above

The scary thing is I was thinking this last week that the last option of declining invitations rather than not being able to drink was quite a common one. Just consider that in all its sad truth- I actually occasionally used to make decisions not to see family or friends if it meant I couldn’t drink. Drink before relationships. There it is in black and white. No denying that one and I may well have done that this weekend. I know I would have probably not gone, or tried to get them to meet me somewhere else or have driven and not drank but spent most of the time thinking about the fact that I couldn’t have a drink rather than enjoying their company.

Reading that back it’s horrendous the grip that alcohol had over me, preferring it at times over spending time with family. Wow. Next time I feel tempted to drink, this will be one of the scenarios I will remind myself of. To be free of that power and grip that alcohol had over me, that I often denied to myself, is the gift I gave to myself 15 months ago and it keeps giving. People mean more than drink. Obvious really when the fog of denial has lifted. I just need to remind myself of it now and then. Sober batteries fully recharged!

Jim X

13 thoughts on “Small Reminder to Self about Why I Don’t Drink Anymore

  1. jacquelyn3534

    I swear you have read my brain! My current thinking is that I have made so much progress with drinking. I still drink here and there but have totally gotten away from everyday drinking and absolutely love my sober mornings. However I notice with every time I do drink it takes days after to recalibrate the brain to not want alcohol. So that’s my cycle thus far. I push through and don’t drink on those days but as time passes on I am growing tired of the push. I think that may be my next blog. I haven’t been good on blogging lately. Glad to hear from you, you’re always an inspiration!! Have a kick ass day!!

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      I can relate to your comment Jacquelyn. When I thought I was fairly successfully moderating, I’d stop during the week , go for it at weekends then as you say, recalibrate. It’s was exhausting! Get that blog post out there! 😀 x

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. clairei47

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I was exactly the same and everything centred around booze. Even our family days out with the kids always had to be planned around a drink somehow. That sounds terrible now but it is sadly the truth. The organisational nightmares of getting to and from places because I wanted a drink. The excuses I told myself. It goes on and on. Exhausting really. Nice post Jim. I hope you have a lovely time with your son x

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Claire, the odd thing is despite the 15 months not drinking, just the thought of driving and not drinking at the pub takes me right back to those days. Anxious about not drinking when I’m not drinking shows the power of association and old patterns of behaviour I guess. X

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  3. ceponatia

    I remember when your blog began, and you said you weren’t an alcoholic but you were giving it up for a month just to see if you could. I remember thinking “okay, but if you’re not an alcoholic…” lol. That was judgmental of me but it was also quite some time ago and I’ve grown since then. Time changes all of us. I didn’t think I was an alcoholic until I seriously tried to quit the first time. Even then, I didn’t really understand what that meant. It took almost three years of sobriety for me to fully come to grips with what kind of person I was for most of my life. More and more revelations will reveal (woah I just realized those two words are related) themselves to you in the future and I’m excited for you.

    Anyway, just an anecdote that might hopefully make you smile.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Yes interesting. I understand what your saying but I have a problem with the term alcoholic – at what point is someone an alcoholic or not? Dependency to me seems more apt. It suggests a continuum- a line that all drinkers are upon.
      But absolutely as time passes I get a different more read tic perspective of where I was on that dependency continuum.

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      1. ceponatia

        It’s a meaningless term and one attached to lots of negative connotations that generally aren’t true, I suppose. I use it out of habit. Even alcohol dependence doesn’t betray any meaningful insight. To me, the problem is more a lack of hope and purpose than anything involving a substance but that’s something that took me years to realize so saying that to someone who is still drinking a gallon of rum a day is useless.

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  4. debby3768

    There is nothing that rings truer to someone fighting a battle than words from someone who has fought that same battle successfully. Glad to see you speaking that truth.

    Liked by 1 person

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