Sober Living 2019

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Sober Living

Your Situation Now

After a night of drinking did you wake up with a pounding head, a ridiculously dry mouth and racing thoughts such as: where am I? What the hell did I do last night?

If so you have probably told yourself, “I’m never doing that again!”  But you still have right?

Sober living

 

I’ve been there. Many, many times.

I’d wake up hungover with my tongue feeling like a piece of leather and the artery in my temples pounding ferociously. I’d wake up feeling like crap just hoping that I’d start feeling better soon.

 

Yet, I’d drink again the next weekend (sometimes the next night), and the cycle would continue.

Well I’m happy to say I’ve changed that.

(This post contains some affiliate links to help support the site. Please read my Disclosure page for more information.)


Important Note

Please note this is my personal story on how/why I quit drinking. I was not an alcoholic in the sense of physical dependence. I drank more often than I know was good for me, and other reasons I quit are listed below.

Acute alcohol withdrawal can be fatal so if you are an alcoholic and have a physical and psychological dependence please speak to your doctor about safely detoxing from alcohol.

Withdrawal from opioids may be uncomfortable, but withdrawal from alcohol could potentially kill you. Talk to your doctor.  For more information, you can read this.


 

It has been four years since I last drank booze. So 4 years of sober living.

The last straw for me was a Christmas staff party for a family member’s business. Open bar = bad idea.

I showed up at the beginning of the night sitting shyly off to the side, not talking to anyone, and by the end of the night I was a sweaty dancing pig who apparently couldn’t communicate unless I was 12 inches from someone’s face.

I hate those flashbacks.

I hate the change in personality. (If I could stop after 2-3 beers that’d be one thing, but I usually I didn’t.)

But most of all I hated the next morning’s hangover.

It was a grueling event. The slightest movements caused shock-waves of nausea and pain through my head. I vomited (a lot) and felt so terrible that I thought I had permanently injured myself. I thought I had organ damage.

I felt horrible until about 5pm when I could at least eat some soup without puking.

The most disappointing thing about all this is that I was too sick to have my daughters over that day. They usually come to my house on the weekends, but I was just too sick to have them. I could barely get out of bed let alone give them the attention they deserve.

 

Now I could have just chalked it up to another “rough night” and kept drinking, but I knew I had to stop drinking. It wasn’t doing me any favours: nothing positive was coming from it.

 

How I stopped Drinking

The technique I used to stop drinking is a mental technique I first read about in Tony Robbins’ book “Awaken the Giant Within.”  (Page 87-88 in the paperback edition anyway.)

 

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

 

This is my summary of the technique, but basically, you build a table in your head. Yes a table, like a kitchen table.

And what you need to do is establish a belief, and your belief is the table-top.

So in this case the belief is you need to quit drinking.  And like any table-top you need legs to support it.

What supports your belief that you need to quit drinking?  Think about it.

All these reasons that you came up with are what you need to support your belief and keep it strong. Have the reasons be vivid emotional thoughts that trigger pain. Humans will generally do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure, so make your supporting “legs” painful, real and intense.

 

What could be your supporting “legs” that hold up your table-top? (Write them down now)

 

As you may have guessed, for me my supporting legs that kept me strong in the first few weeks of being sober was remembering how terrible that hangover was. How scary it was thinking that I had damaged my organs. The embarrassment of my behavior, and the disappointment I felt knowing I’d let my children down.

 

The first few weeks weren’t easy. I though about having a drink, but I would remember about my supporting reasons for quitting. I would remember the pain. I’d remember the reasons that supported my belief that I needed to stop drinking.

And it was like I threw a mental switch in my brain. I became a non-drinker. It got easier.

 

If your local library doesn’t have the book you can find Tony Robbins’ book on Amazon by clicking the link below. (It is an affiliate link so I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to purchase the book…at no extra cost to you.) I truly found it to be an extremely helpful book to help me get through tough times including alcohol but other unhealthy relationships too.

 

 

Like the Taste of Beer?

I do enjoy the taste of beer, so I drink non-alcoholic beers now. I don’t drink them all the time but I’ve tried a variety over the last four years. Some people say they like the taste of beer just as an excuse to either drink way too often or way too much. If you like the taste of beer there are non-alcoholic options.

After a hot day of working in the yard, or having a Bar-B-Q I still get to enjoy the taste of beer without the intoxication. I can still drive, go boating, and do anything else that requires mental acuity.

  • My favorite kind is a house brand for a Canadian grocery chain called President’s Choice Red Brew.  Yeah nothing fancy, but I think it tastes really good.

President's Choice Red Brew A good non-alcoholic beer

 

 

  • I’ve had some other good ones too including O’Douls (in the green bottle).
  • I don’t want Anheuser-Busch to sue me, but in my “non-expert” opinion I find the Budweiser Prohibition (the one with black label) fake beer to be the worst I’ve tried.  In fact, I don’t even think it tastes like a beer. For a guy like me who likes the taste of beer, I want my non-alcoholic beer to taste like beer. Not some weird malty, syrupy “beverage”. But to each their own.

 


I realize drinking fake beer may be a slippery slope for some former alcoholics, so if you think that it could be a “gateway” for you to resume alcoholic beverages, then don’t do it.


 

But for me I just remember my supporting reasons why I don’t drink booze, and I can enjoy a fake beer.

And in the future, when I’m more mature I may have a real craft beer again. That may sound silly – “when I’m more mature” – considering I’m almost 40, but at this point I don’t think I’m mentally there yet. I still don’t think I can drink responsibly.  I don’t trust myself to stop after 2 beers, so I’ll stick with my non-alcoholic beer for now.

 

 

* Other Reasons to Quit to Drinking Alcohol and Enjoy Sober Living *

 

Money Saved

I wish I would have kept track of the money that being sober has saved me. But its only an estimate now.

If I only look at home consumption, and don’t consider drinking at a pub or restaurant, I’d say I’ve saved about $4000 in the last four years. That is a low ball estimate.

I wish I would have actually put $20 into a Savings account each week. (Because you always find the money somehow when it comes time to drink.)

If you are going to quit drinking then start putting money into a savings account each week for the amount of money you would have otherwise spent on booze.

 

 

Eating at Restaurants is Way Less Expensive

Having a beer at a restaurant will run you around $6 a bottle or more depending on where you live. It makes your restaurant bill creep up very quickly.

Eating out in general isn’t the wisest financial choice, but at least if you don’t drink with your meals, you can afford to indulge now and then.

 

You tend to eat better with Sober Living

When you are sober and clear headed you have the time to make or choose your meals carefully.

This may not be true for everyone, but I know for myself when I was drinking I’d usually forget about food until I was starving, and then I’d grab crap to eat. (Not literal crap…I’ve never been THAT drunk, but you know what I mean.) You reach for a packaged burrito, a bag of chips, or maybe just another beer.

 

Slimmer Waist Line

Alcohol is empty calories. Many people that quit drinking will lose weight, get a slimmer waistline and generally feel better.  They don’t call it a beer gut for nothing.

And that beer gut, called central obesity, is a bad fat that isn’t very sensitive to insulin thereby increasing your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Your poor pancreas has to churn out more and more insulin to try and get the message through, but that beer gut just ain’t responding.  “You keep a knockin’ but you can’t come in…woooo”

 

Mornings are Amazing

Waking up after a good sober sleep means you wake up refreshed and feeling at the peak of your health. You aren’t waiting to a headache to ease up. You aren’t waiting for nausea to pass.  Instead, you are ready to start your day. If you want to make the most of your day, then start with a good clear morning.

 

 

You don’t have regrets about what you did under the influence

The morning after partying can be physically terrible, but mentally and emotionally draining as well. “What did I do?” “Why did I say that?”  “Awww, I can’t believe I did … [fill in stupid crap here].”

You don’t have these regrets or guilt with sober living. (At least you don’t have new issues to be regretful about…you may still regret the crap you did at your friend’s wedding, but at least you won’t be an embarrassment at their second wedding.)

 

You avoid the Health Risks of Alcohol

“But what about the health benefits of red wine?” you ask.  In my opinion as a pharmacist I think this is BS. It’s a way for people to grab and hold onto their wine glass. If you want antioxidants eat some fruits and vegetables. I saw so many people broken down by alcohol. It is a toxin to your body: your liver works like crazy trying to get that stuff out of your body.

Alcohol is a known carcinogen. Look at the risk factors for breast cancer: alcohol is on there.

And honestly, if you are reading this article you probably aren’t somehow who has a “healthy relationship” with alcohol to begin with.

 

You can be a Role Model to your Kids

“Do as I say and not as I do” doesn’t get your very far when parenting. If your kids regularly see you drinking, and if you have alcohol in the house it can make it easier for them to believe that drinking is okay.

If you really want your kids to avoid alcohol then be a role model for them.

I believe alcohol becomes a part of too many activities for parents.

“Hey lets go sledding.”–> “Sure, I’ll bring some beer.”

“Lets go hiking.” –>  “Sure, I’ll just throw some beer into my backpack.”

 

Your kids may start to believe that alcohol is required in order to have fun. 

This is not the precedence you want to set for your kids.

 


 

I hope this wasn’t too personal or mopey for you, but if you are here reading this, then I know you want to change. You can do it.  And every marathon starts with the first step.

 

So start.

Start living sober, and enjoy sober living!

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate it.

Tim

 

If you are interested in other ways to have a “life pivot” check out:

 

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