Giving Up Drinking Alcohol (or Breaking Off the Love Affair)

If you’re reading this page, chances are you’re curious about giving up drinking alcohol, and exploring what your life would be like without its effects. Or at least breaking free from routinely drinking.

In this post I’ll share with you some of the reasons why you might enjoy life alcohol free, and why this is such a cool, liberating move. This post is to help others who share this desire but aren’t sure how to go forward.

So if you’re curious about saying goodbye to the red, cheerio to the white or adios to the beer . . . read on!

Two glasses of red wine in front of the fire
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

First Ask Yourself, What is Alcohol Giving You?

Have you ever sat back and thought about alcohol and questioned what role it plays in your life? What does it really do for you?

Is it nice for unwinding? Relaxing? De-stressing. On the sofa with a glass of wine/beer/vodka?

The Myths We Believe

There are many things which we think are ‘true’ around alcohol, but in fact, most of them are the exact opposite. It’s too deep a topic to go through all these beliefs here in this post, but here are three of the most common ones.

  • Alcohol makes me more sociable.
  • Alcohol relaxes me at the end of a long day.
  • When I drink alcohol, I have more fun.

1. Giving Up Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol Makes Me More Sociable

Alcohol does give you a boost initially as it suppresses your inhibitions (by reducing your ability to reason or think about consequences) and you begin to let your hair down.

The problem with this kind of truth though, is that’s just a momentary phase. Alcohol brings you up into a more sociable frame of mind and continues to affect your behaviour as you go from sociable to tipsy, to drunk.

In these states of being, we can hardly be described as being sociable – it’s when we say things that are insensitive or downright annoying or offensive. Or maybe we tell the same (boring) story over and over again and because everyone else is drunk with you, nobody notices! In fact, on the contrary everyone laughs at our stupid drunk behaviour!

And of course it’s better that way.

But ask yourself this: those sociable moments when you’re drunk, do they give you something, long term?

For sure they gave you an experience once, but now that you’ve lived them and you know what they hold, what do they give you now?

2. Giving Up Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol Relaxes Me at the End of Long Day

There are two points about this theory and the main point is to distinguish between one drink at the end of the day, or one drink followed by the rest of the bottle.

If you belong to the first group, then there probably isn’t much to discuss, but if like me, a bottle of wine in the evening was easy to drink, then it’s worth recognising that the first glass may well relax you and from there on in create the exact opposite effect. Among others.

Alcohol reduces the quality of your sleep so that what you thought was relaxing you is actually going to rob you of precious quality recuperation time. Also, as it is released into the blood stream your body has to work harder to eliminate it and all the while you’re thinking that you’re more relaxed because the suppressive effect has numbed your mind.

3.Giving Up Drinking Alcohol: When I Drink I Have More Fun

This is a big one. Probably the biggest. It’s such a multi-faceted issue that you could write a book just on this topic. But again, like the other two myths around alcohol, often the fun is at the beginning of the drinking session.

You then reach a point where you want to go on and on, drink more and more, never leave the party. It’s like a thirst overcomes you. But the brutal truth is that once you’re at that stage, you’re no longer really having fun. You’re just caught up in the grip of alcohol and craving more of the same.

You most probably don’t even remember much beyond that point in the evening.

Real fun is like when you were a child and you played with your friends: you enjoyed it because you did. You played because you could. No agenda.

Real fun can come back into your life! You can discover a whole range of fun, deeper and more fulfilling than any drunken session you’ve ever had.

But the point of this post isn’t to convince you to give up drinking – it’s just to support you to play with your life and play with your relationship with alcohol until you discover the truth of which you prefer, sober living or drinking living.

Alcohol is a Leash

Have you noticed that whatever you do, wherever you go, you have that little thought – it should fit in with your drinking hours. Let’s say for example, you’re going out for lunch with a friend: you wonder who will drive so that you can have a drink. And if you can’t drink, do you really want to go, you ask yourself?

Or maybe you’re working till 6 p.m. Anything productive which you need to do should be done before that time, because after that you’ll be opening a bottle in front of the fire, or cooking with a glass white in your hand.

And what about a romantic dinner for two, does it excite you more because of that bottle that goes with it?

Everything, or almost everything, is regulated by drinking, and we get so used to it, we become desensitised. We love everything about it, or so we think.

The Drinking Schedule in Your Mind

You may not realise it, but it gets tiring. Alcohol gives you a leash which controls you. It puts you on a leash because it conditions your brain to fit everything in around the stuff. It’s so liberating to be free of that inner timetable.

It creates a schedule in your mind, with alcohol as the highlights of the day, the point of the lunch, the goal of the social gathering, the romantic touch to the evening dinner or the activity to share with your friend.

And all along, there are so many untruths you tell yourself. Like you fancy a drink, and that magnet pulls you to open the bottle and taste the delicious stuff on your lips.

The problem is, the delicious flavour of the first drink becomes a thirst for another and another, and then it’s no longer the taste but the magnetic pull of alcohol. Not to mention the sugar addiction which you may well be experiencing as you pour yourself another glass.

And if you could only separate yourself from it, you might wonder what’s going on. But you don’t because you’re in it.

You are on the leash.

Woman drinking a glass of white wine
Me enjoying a glass of wine on my lunch date in Athens before I embarked on this AF/LA journey

Why Consider Giving Up Drinking Alcohol?

Giving up drinking alcohol has given me so many advantages so far, as well as some more generic benefits and long term ones too.

My ‘pinnacle’ (the actual moment I started AF doing the alcohol experiment with Annie Grace) was only 4 months ago, but my ‘mountain’ (the subconscious shift) started a few years before as I gradually changed my drinking habits . . . but more on that in another post.

Whether you’re a functioning alcoholic, heavy drinker, moderate drinker who’s had enough of its power over you, or whether you just feel it’s time to take control, there’s one factor uniting us: the benefits you can discover when you go at life predominantly or completely alcohol free.

I hope that by sharing the tactics which have created such an incredible shift in my subconscious mind and conscious approach to drinking that I want to scream it out to the skies, I’ll be able to help anyone who also wants this freedom.

Here’s a taster of what I’ve discovered since not drinking:

My Personal Highlights from Giving Up Drinking Alcohol

  • More confidence in myself.
  • No ‘lost’ days from feeling sick.
  • Almost no headaches except for the first month (I was getting LOTS of headaches).
  • The day has more time to do productive things which means more productivity and more downtime.
  • I spend the money I save on wonderful courses – which I love!
  • More yoga!
  • I know that my liver would eventually have been damaged if it wasn’t already after 35 years of almost daily drinking – but now I also know that it’s healing itself. Joy!
  • I’m on a fitness journey which I wouldn’t be on if I were still drinking.
  • I’m discovering so many things which I thought I liked because of the drink, but which I actually like sober too.

We Are Conditioned to Like Alcohol

It’s incredible but true that our society brainwashes us to accept things as base-line truths and one of those things is alcohol. For example, we live in houses, we wear clothes, we use cutlery etc. and we don’t question these behaviours, not least because we’re immersed in them from birth onwards.

Right up alongside them is the notion that alcohol is somehow cool. Alcohol has been glamourised, and presented as something fun people do. It’s in (almost) every advert, movie, TV series, newspaper, magazine, shop, bar, pub and restaurant out there.

We even have corner shops dedicated to nothing else but alcohol.

It’s not only branded for fun-lovers, it’s also for the successful businessmen, the elegant artist, the entrepreneur, the homemaker and the talented singer. We’ve been sold alcohol as a drink so versatile it fits every single profile that exists.

But we only take notice of the glamorous ones.

We disassociate with the people who are sick or dying as a result of alcohol, or the physical fights that occur just because of drinking. We turn a blind eye to our marital arguments or our heavy hangovers. We are so brainwashed that we just don’t open our eyes and call a spade a spade.

But what’s really going on? Why have we chosen to glamourise alcohol so much, when in reality it’s one of the most addictive drugs you can take and one of the most health-damaging substances out there?

Healthy is the New Sexy

I saw that title on a T-shirt on the internet the other day and I thought, wow, that’s so cool!

And yes, it’s true! Healthy is the new sexy!

Woman doing yoga on a rock, with sky as a backdrop
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

If you look around you, you’ll see that there’s a new cultural movement: one where healthy is the new sexy. You only have to start tuning into it. Start reading about changing your relationship with alcohol and you’ll find there are loads of hip, cool, fun, sexy people who don’t drink alcohol.

They aren’t boring, they’re rebels. Rebelling against the mainstream brainwashing. There’s nothing sexy or cool about being drunk. It’s an experience – and one which everyone who wants to can try out.

Laugh and have fun. Do it by all means.

And then move on.

Life is too short to miss it because your senses have been numbed. Live your life to the full. Be conscious! Be awake!

But only if you want to of course . . .

No Self Judgement Whether or Not You Give Up Drinking Alcohol

The most important thing is to keep an open mind. Don’t judge yourself, just start to explore the possibilities. Do the research, explore the results.

Just see this as an interesting journey. Keep asking yourself the questions and let the answers come on their own. Maybe you find yourself cutting down. Perhaps you do one month AF. Or maybe you decide to change your relationship entirely. Whatever your decision, go with it and enjoy.

But if you want to take this thing further, start with the question:

Is alcohol really all it’s cracked up to be?

Start Changing Your Relationship with Alcohol

People say it takes a long time to change a habit but in reality it takes as long as you need to shift a deep subconscious belief. And this can be a matter of hours, days or years.

When you really truly change your inner beliefs, you can stop drinking alcohol in a flash of a moment. But that moment is just the pinnacle of the mountain, and it’s the mountain below the flash, where all the work took place.

So right now, and from this moment on, if you want to do this, start by paying attention. Start building the mountain.

Notice what happens. Do you like yourself more or less when you’re drunk? Do you have more or less arguments? Do you make better or worse use of your time? And finally, do you build incredibly fun memories of special times when you’re drinking?

If you have problems when you’ve been drinking and you believe that the problems are largely the fault of another person, remember that your reaction to those issues will be completely different if you’re sober than if you’re not.

Notice What Alcohol Is Costing You

The start of your journey is to be observant, so ask yourself this question and expand on the answers every day, building up a more complete picture of exactly what role it plays in your life.

What is Alcohol Costing Me?

One thing for sure, it’s stealing your time. Every moment that you sit down with a bottle of wine/beer/vodka, thinking that you’re partaking in an activity, you’re actually doing nothing.

Yes, that’s right. Nothing.

Drinking isn’t an activity, we just believe it is!

One of the biggest surprises to me since changing my relationship with alcohol was to actually choose to hang out with people because I want to hang out with them and to discover the point where it’s still fun vs the point where it’s just because we’re getting drunk.

Because I’m writing this in times of COVID restrictions, I don’t get the same amount of social pressure to want to drink, so it is easier for me to see my relationship with alcohol clearly. And at this time, the foundations are strong enough to withstand a return to social events with a new perspective.

The social parties will never be the same, but by the same token, I don’t want them to be.

Before you take any action, here are a few questions to ask yourself about alcohol. Simply spend a few minutes contemplating these questions and make a note of your answers in your journal for future reference.

While Under the Influence . . .

  1. How much time do I spend drinking alcohol in a week and am I happy with that sacrifice?
  2. Am I creating worthwhile memories while I am drinking?
  3. Do I have more arguments or fights?
  4. Do I ever wake up with a hangover or perform at sub-optimum level because of drinking the day before?
  5. Have I ever fallen over or hurt myself because of drinking?
  6. Can I remember those times when I’ve been drinking or do I have any memory blackouts?
  7. When I speak, am I letting myself down by saying things I don’t mean?
  8. Am I on automatic pilot when I pour myself a drink?
  9. Can I handle my life issues as well as if I were sober?
  10. Do I have dreams or activities I’d like to do, but don’t?
  11. Could my liver be suffering?
  12. Am I really prepared to lose my health for this love?
  13. Am I happy with the amount of money I spend on alcohol and is there anything else I would love to spend it on if I could?
  14. If my sober self met my drunk self, would I be ok with my behaviour?

These are just a few questions for you to reflect on. Most of us live under a kind of haze that it’s just so normal to drink, so where’s the problem *sigh*?

All we need to do is remove that haze and be careful not to hide from the truth, and then things become much clearer.

A Story About Alcohol

I want to tell you a story about somebody I know who is more or less the same age as I am. It is nothing out of the ordinary – statistically speaking for people who drink heavily – but when it happens, then you feel the impact of such a profound event.

This person, used to be fun to have a drink with. Generous to a fault; if you encountered him in the bar, you would be sure to find a few surprise drinks turning up on the bar for you as he signalled to the barman to refill you and your friend’s drinks.

One day he was rushed to hospital in an emergency and there they scheduled him for a liver transplant. His health was in fast decline and it was not sure he would get a donor in time. But luck was with him and he got the operation.

There were some complications but eventually the doctors sent him home with cautious optimism.

But soon after getting home his condition worsened and he was once more rushed to the hospital intensive care unit. His body had rejected the liver. He was so lucky that there was a second liver and after the second surgery, he began the long road to recovery.

Eventually he regained his health to a certain extent. He looks about 20 years older than before his surgery, and he doesn’t drink alcohol any more. But he survived.

A lifetime of drinking alcohol every day, and who’s to say that he wouldn’t choose to do the same again, if he had his life over? Maybe the alcohol was worth it?

How Much is Too Much of a Price to Pay?

Each of us must make our choices. The important thing is that if it were you, would it be worth it? If alcohol cost you your health, your relationship, your job, your dream . . . what price is worth it for you?

For me the answer is that I’m no longer willing to give alcohol anything in return. I choose my dreams, my time, my choices. I choose to spend the money on my own passions and my short time on this world fully conscious.

Choose for yourself with the blinkers off and you’ll make the right choice.

Giving up drinking alcohol isn’t about fear for your health, it’s about treasuring your body. It isn’t about not wanting to spend the money, it’s about wanting to spend it but on things which help you to grow as a person.

It isn’t about worrying what other people think when you inadvertently insult them because you’ve had a little too much, it’s about wanting to be true to who you are and enjoy the moment.

It’s about waking up and living your life to the full.

Ask yourself: is alcohol really your friend?

It isn’t even about ‘giving it up’. It’s about changing your subconscious beliefs and then embracing a new way of living where you can have a drink if you want. But you don’t want, so you don’t.

Giving Up Drinking Alcohol: No Regrets

One thing that’s super important: promise yourself to have no regrets. This doesn’t mean that if you upset someone and they aren’t speaking to you (for example), you can’t say sorry to them and express that you wish you had not acted in a certain way; but it means that it stops there.

Your life exists now and from this moment on and everything that’s gone before is responsible for getting you to this moment.

So as you look over your past life and as you recognise parts of your life you could have done differently, give appreciation to those experiences for bringing you to this moment.

Alcohol isn’t evil or horrible; it’s a dangerous drug that can bring its highlights and its lowlights and it’s only when we let it become the centre of our lives that we might just be paying too high a price for what we get in return.

And that, my friends is a personal decision, different for everyone.

More on how to change your relationship with alcohol in the next post.

Don’t Start Giving Up Drinking Alcohol Just Yet

In the next post, I’ll be sharing the exact method I used to get me to this point in time, where I’m strong and happy and alcohol free without any struggle. I use the term alcohol free to mean that alcohol isn’t a part of my life.

I may one day decide to have a glass of wine. And it won’t matter because my relationship has changed. I’ve divorced myself from my love affair with wine, so if we meet up on day, who cares?

The bottom line lies with your subconscious mind and it’s best to pull it on board with your decision to stop drinking alcohol, (even if only for a short period), before you actually stop.

I mean let’s face it, there are two ways about going about this. One is, you just say to yourself I’m going to do a dry January and you do it out of sheer will-power and you count the days to February and because, well you promised, so you do it.

The other way is to actually be rejoicing and patting yourself on the back and feeling like this is an incredible adventure and success journey. With this approach, instead of feeling like you’re missing out, you feel as though you’re achieving the world.

More on how to stop drinking alcohol in the next post.

Resources for Giving Up Drinking Alcohol

This is the first post of more on the story and journey of giving up alcohol, and even as a part of the bigger series, it isn’t a complete guide to giving up drinking alcohol, but more of a drop of inspiration in the ocean.

Even so, I want to include some of the links to things that I think will help you explore your relationship with alcohol.

The single most powerful place to start this journey is in the alcohol experiment, a super cool, free & friendly group for taking up the 30 day alcohol free challenge as an experiment, created by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind.

The alcohol experiment is a supportive place where you can start your journey as an experiment and get all the support you need as well as make new friends who are sharing the same experience as you.

Apart from joining the alcohol experiment by Annie Grace, I’d recommend you check out taking up new activities like how to learn yoga from home or Yoga online with Grokker.

If you don’t already practice meditation, check out my post on how to start meditating today and get on with this powerful practise to enhance your life.

Conclusion on this post about Giving Up Drinking Alcohol

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re curious about giving up or cutting down on alcohol. The fact that you ended up here means that this is the right moment for you to start exploring your mind.

Read the next post on how to change your relationship with alcohol which is followed by tips on giving up alcohol.

In my next post I’ll be sharing how I came to be at this point in my journey and how I managed to divorce my life-long love affair with alcohol.

This post is not medical, I am not medically trained and my goal is to help others who seek freedom from the daily habit of drinking alcohol. If you are worried about your drinking, please seek medical advice to support you in your journey.

Please, if you’re struggling with alcohol, curious to play with going alcohol free, or interested in reading more about my journey, leave me a message below.

You will find me on Instagram @loveveganliving

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