Men’s Week - Alcohol & Me

I bloody love drinking or perhaps I should say I used to bloody love drinking.

My early years were often spent in a private sports club where drinking was prolific. From the age of 14, thanks to a private licence, we were allowed to drink the odd cider and shandy once we'd finished our games. You can guess which one I picked?!

I then continued to drink nearly every day for the next 30 years, except for a few odd weeks here and there when I would try to be healthy. My excuse for drinking alcohol was that I played sport and attended the gym on a regular basis so I deserved that pint right? Sadly, it rarely stopped at one.

After a heavy session, I would become highly anxious. The anxiety would stop me from eating and sleeping properly and the only viable solution would be to drink more alcohol to make it go away. This set my vicious cycle in full swing.

In November 2016, I read that Dawn was planning to give up alcohol for a year, I thought 'Christ! How the hell could anyone do that?! Especially Dawn!' I'd known her for more than 20 years and thought if she could do it, perhaps I could too. I was intrigued.

Christmas and New Year came and went in an alcohol sodden blur and I realised I needed to do something. I set myself the challenge of doing Dry January, giving it everything I had, and was ecstatic to achieve over 2 months sobriety.

During this period, my regular drinking buddies did give me grief but somehow I managed to stay strong. It was really hard not to crack with the constant social pressure to have 'just the one'. It was even harder because I now own the bar where my teenage drinking had first begun!

During my sober time, I felt fantastic! In fact, I felt so fantastic that I stupidly thought a couple of ciders wouldn't hurt as I was now back in control. I could handle it. I was tough. I could moderate right?

Two weeks later, I realised that despite all my hard work, I was drinking daily again. I couldn't believe how quickly I'd slipped back into my old routine that had been so hard to change. Annoyed with myself, I stopped again for another month. But after that month, the same voice was back, telling me I was in control and that I could moderate. So once again, I climbed back onto the merry-go-round with a couple of pints here and there. But once again, I was back to square one.

In April/May 2017, I managed to stop again for just over 6 weeks, but on 13 May 2017, I suffered a TIA (Transient Isochemic Attack). This was a massive shock but doctors could find no obvious reason for it. Tests were conducted but all came back clear. So, I decided to jump to my own conclusion. It had to be sobriety that caused it! After all, I'd been perfectly fine before I'd stopped drinking. Before long, I was back to daily drinking again.

Since last summer, I've tried several times to give up but never really cracked it. I didn't have the right mental attitude. I had too many events to attend, was scared to fail again and couldn’t deal with all the negative comments from my buddies. If I'm honest, I was making any excuse to avoid the inevitable.

A couple of weeks ago, I turned 48 and after 4/5 days of solid boozing, decided enough was enough.

So here I am, day 14, series 6, episode 1! I must admit that I'm not totally feeling it yet, but I’m getting there slowly and feel a whole lot better than I did two weeks ago. I know from previous experience, that I will start feeling fantastic again soon. For me, exercise is the key; cycling, tennis, gym.

I will always love drinking but have come to the conclusion that sadly it doesn’t love me! There’s nothing I like more than watching my friends & family having a few drinks and enjoying the sun .. but I know they have an off switch and unfortunately I haven't.

I’ve wasted too many days, lost too much work, suffered too much anxiety and missed too much time with my kids.

I am done. It ain't happening again! The love affair is over. This time is for good.

Written by Dave 2018

Edited by Sober Fish

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