I can’t believe it’s been a whole two years already. It was 29th October 2017 when I decided enough was enough and I’ve never looked back since. I’m not going to say it’s been easy because it definitely hasn’t and there’s still days when I struggle now, but don’t we all?! It’s how we deal with those days that matters. I know the negative feelings are temporary and not going to last forever. I don’t drown my sorrows with alcohol because I know that only makes the feelings ten times worse in the long run, and I know those feelings will pass which is usually by the next day.
I’ve written blog posts before about how I always knew I didn’t want to be sober forever. A lot of people told me I would never be able to drink in moderation because I didn’t know when to stop once I started drinking alcohol. It’s taken 2 years, but I recently returned from my first holiday where I drank alcohol every single day, in moderation and didn’t get drunk once. In fact, the most drinks I had in one sitting was three and that was because I ordered a jug of sangria and left some of it! Yes, that’s right. I actually chose to leave some alcohol rather than chuck it down my throat. I don’t choose to drink every time I go into a bar. Sometimes I’ll have the alcohol free option, but I’ve got to a point now where, if I want to have a beer, I’ll have one. My thinking around alcohol has completely changed and it’s very rare I even consider having a drink now. I would never choose to buy alcohol for at home and that’s where I drank most of the time. Two bottles of red wine when I got home from work was always the first thing on my mind. Now I only drink when I go to an event, go out for a meal or when we’re on holiday. But even then I drank alcohol free most afternoons. They have loads of AF beers in Spain. Just ask for ‘sans alcohol’.
I’ve seen a lot of posts on the Club Soda Facebook page recently from people asking if drinking alcohol in moderation is possible. This was a question I desperately wanted answering when I was in the early stages of recovery as well and I posted exactly the same question on that page when I was about 6 months sober. It’s not likely you’re going to get the answer you want from those sites because in my opinion, most people who decide to quit alcohol wouldn’t even consider moderation because they’re too scared of relapse and failure. There’s no point posting this question on these pages because you’re never going to get the answer you want. What I will say is, if you want it bad enough and you’re prepared for trip ups and having to take a small step backwards on the odd occasion then yes, it is possible. I’ve done it and will continue to do so! The slip ups and starting again a couple of times have all been worth it. I knew I wouldn’t manage moderation the first time but I got there eventually and it feels amazing!
Before deciding to have a go at moderation, one thing that you need to consider is why you have a drink problem. I believe that I’m able to drink in moderation because I was your typical binge drinker who didn’t know when to stop. I think there’s a lot more people out there with the same problem than people realise and they get mistaken for ‘alcoholics’. Just because you don’t know when to stop drinking alcohol, doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic. What is an alcoholic anyway? I think the term should be abolished. Not knowing when to stop drinking alcohol may just be a habit you’ve got yourself into after 20 years of partying and doing the same thing. Maybe all you need is a reset? That’s exactly what I needed. Staying sober for 14 months gave me the chance to rethink why I drank so much and helped me deal with the real problems that laid underneath. It gave me the chance to deal with with my depression and anxiety properly, without the complication of alcohol being in my system. It made me realise I can cope with problems without drowning my sorrows.
The photo above is from 2 years ago today. It was taken the morning after my last binge, just before starting my recovery journey. I woke up with the bed covered in blood, my hand throbbing with pain and the worst hangover I’ve ever known. I was having suicidal thoughts and genuinely thought there was no point to my life. I’d only been on the island a couple of weeks so had no idea where the hospital was and didn’t know anyone to ask. I searched for it on my sat nav and prayed it was a short journey so I could get there quickly. I spent over 4 hours in A&E, alone. It was that moment when I decided I’d had enough of feeling shit and living a life of nothing. I needed to sort my life out and make something of myself.
2 years later, I can proudly say I’m able to enjoy alcohol the way it’s intended, I’m very happy with my life and living it to the full, as I’ve always wanted.
29/10/17 is my day to remember.
Thanks for reading,