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Alcohol support

The Freedom Thread - Enjoying the positives of an alcohol free life

999 replies

Breathmiller · 02/10/2021 18:47

Hello all

A shiny new thread for those that would like to give up alcohol forever and a shiny new OP. (twirls)

The wonderful Drybird started these thread a loooong time ago and I'm sure many of you will agree that it has made such a massive difference to the lives of those who have read them or posted on them. Drybird would like to take a little break from hosting the threads so asked me if I would start one this time. The suggestion was that we can take it in turns after that which I think is a great idea .

Anyone is welcome to join and post but please be aware that this thread is for those of us who want to give up alcohol completely. It doesn't matter if you are on day 1, week 6 or year 5 (and it doesn't matter how many day 1s you have), there just has to be an intention to let go of alcohol altogether. So please no talk of moderating or drinking at the present moment or in the future, it can be triggering for some of us. There are many other wonderful threads for those who would prefer to moderate and we wish you well. If you decide that total abstinence is for you then come back.

It doesn't matter what your reason is, if you feel like it's an issue then you are welcome. It really is a friendly bunch. I also want to say hello to all the lurkers who don't want to post for one reason or another and say I hope that these threads give you support too.

There are many threads before this so if you are new, do look back, there is always at least a link to the last one at the beginning of each. Every thread is rich with advice and support. I personally have felt held in so many ways by each and everyone who has posted and I don't feel I would be here at 1yr2 months sober without it. Post daily, hourly even if it helps or just dip in now and again when you feel the need. It's not always the easist thing to do but it is worth it and it is easier with a group as supportive as this. We are each other's cheerleaders and underatns where we are coming from when the times are tough.

Here is the link to the last one....

These threads have been a lifesaver for so many of us with ideas from AF alternatives, Quit Lit suggestions to why our brains are wired the way they are and what tools we can learn to help us break free from the fog of alcohol. But most of all it's a lovely safe space where we can talk, vent, moan, ask questions, give advice and support each other. As we get to know each other there is also a lot of daily chat about what's going on in our lives - running, books, gardening, yoga and family. It really is a warm, welcoming and friendly space so do join in.

The suggestion to get this thread going is for everyone to have a think of what they gain from not drinking, what are the positives? Or if you are on day 1 then what is the thing you are most looking forward to? Let's let go of the idea that we are denying ourselves something or that we are living less than and list what we are gaining instead.

My main positive (in amongst all the fresh skin, clear head, lack of hangovers, lack of shame better health - physically and mentally, I could go on and on........) is the fact that I don't have the eternal converation in my head going round of whether to have a drink that day or not. I am (mostly) free from that and it is amazing!

So whether you are a regular or a newbie, do say hello and introduce yourself.

OP posts:
BunniesBunniesBunnies · 14/11/2021 09:23

Welcome @PromisesMeanNothingSue!
Your story sounds very familiar - many of us have had many failed attempts at moderation. If you want to be alcohol free you are very welcome here.
If the idea of forever scares you (I also don’t like to think of forever), that’s fine, just take it one day at a time. Whilst we understand sometimes people might slip accidentally we don’t really talk about “planned” slippages on this thread, as that is essentially moderation (which is a topic we avoid as it is triggering for some posters). Just something to bear in mind. But you are very welcome here, the thread is a very welcoming and supportive place!

PromisesMeanNothingSue · 14/11/2021 09:41

Thanks for the welcome. Smile

Yes absolutely @BunniesBunniesBunnies, I’m aware of that; it’s why I’ve never posted on here before. If I do slip at Christmas then I shall discretely withdraw from the thread during that time, and only come back when I’m alcohol free. I won’t talk about it here. At the moment I’m feeling that I won’t do so (drink), but the thought of an alcohol-free Christmas is such an alien concept to me (alcoholic father, very boozy family - apart from my mum -, I grew up in a pub… it would/will be the first in 40 odd years. I’m getting there, though. This resonated with me very much yesterday.

@Adm1010 yes, I’ve been battling that voice for years. I was reading the moderation thread on here this week, and found that quite illuminating, actually… all that wasted energy on thinking about drinking - whether to drink, have I moderated ‘enough’ to deserve a drink, did I drink too much, etc etc. This time feels very different to me; I’m not battling that voice at all, really, even when I felt bloody awful during the first week. I feel resolute in a way that I haven’t before.

I know me, though, and I know I have huge difficulty in remembering how I felt before; so when I feel dreadful, I can’t remember feeling any other way, and can’t see a way out… and correspondingly, when I feel good, I can’t remember how bad I felt. So I’m feeling optimistic at the moment, but reminding myself not to do the ‘everything’s fine and will be forever more’ thing, because then when I find myself struggling, it can feel catastrophic (so I run to my crutches rather than sitting with the feeling).

AlloftheTime · 14/11/2021 09:43

@PromisesMeanNothingSue hello and welcome
Interesting post and plenty that resonates with me. Breathmiller is a great inspiration and definitely brings much clarity and has a way with words which makes issues accessible.
Wishing you all the best on your journey.

BunniesBunniesBunnies · 14/11/2021 09:59

@PromisesMeanNothingSue again that sounds so recognisable! It sounds like maybe you need some new crutches😅 Many of us have “toolboxes” which have been vital to our sobriety. New crutches can take the form of yoga, running, gardening, herbal teas, cake, baths, podcasts, audiobooks, alcohol free beers (was never a fan before but like them now!). These are the kind of things I rely on now when things are tough.

Also, the thought of an alcohol free Christmas was totally alien to me too but I had my first one last year and it was the best Christmas I’ve ever had!

PromisesMeanNothingSue · 14/11/2021 09:59

Thanks @AlloftheTime, and totally agree.

One thing that’s different this time is that I’m thinking of it (and deliberately using those words) as ‘alcohol free’, rather than ‘giving up’. My mindset in the past has always been that I am giving something up, and preferably temporarily, in order to prove to myself that I can (I can’t!). This time I’m focused on what I’m gaining, and the sense of freedom and hope that I’m gaining. That’s why the voice doesn’t have the power this time, I think. I won’t say that my witching hour is the easiest time of day, by a long shot, but the benefits that I’m already seeing the rest of the time are more than making up for that.

StayingVigilant · 14/11/2021 10:12

Welcome @PromisesMeanNothingSue to be honest an AF Christmas is fine. It really is. DH and relies still drank throughout but I faffed with mocktails galore and had a lovely time creating Christmassy concoctions with my teens. Although I did pop on here briefly on Xmas day for a bit of support it was absolutely doable! Have a think about what’s stopping you and how irrational those ‘reasons’ are. And keep checking in here! We are the best 😊

PromisesMeanNothingSue · 14/11/2021 10:26

@BunniesBunniesBunnies Christmas… if it happens the way it’s currently planned (ie subject to Covid), it would actually be the ideal time to do that, as I’ll be with my mum and stepdad, who barely drink at all. It’ll be the first Xmas in 15+ years that I haven’t been with xDP (who I live very amicably with), for whom Xmas is a festival of boozing. So I’m fairly optimistic. I guess I’m just not quite ‘there’ yet and wanted to be honest about that.

And yes to the toolbox! I’ve already been doing that, and it’s why I’ve found reading back through this thread (started at the beginning, up to page 6 so far - then I’ll start at the beginning of them all) so useful and inspiring; there’s so much wisdom and experience here.

My witching hours are in the afternoon, as I mainly drank from 5pm until I eat (usually by 7pm at the latest). I can take it or leave it after that, but xDP drinks with and after food, so I’d often then keep him company. So the first week we ate, at my request, by 5.30pm (it was extra tricksy because of the clocks going back, so my body was expecting wine at 4pm GMT!). Once I’ve eaten, I find the urge manageable anyway, so it’s the hours before 5pm when that wheedling voice is trying anything to persuade me, and then because I’m hungry and the cold white slips down so fast, I can easily drink half to three quarters of a bottle before I sit down to eat. Blush Then if we had red with (and after, especially at the weekends) dinner… well you get the idea. I totalled up my consumption last week, and a typical week would be 60+ units. That really shocked me. It’s not like I was getting falling down drunk, either. Blush

Anyway… my tools for if I’m struggling in the afternoon:
EAT! I know I’m weakest when I’m hungry, so that’s the main thing.
Bring dinner right forward if I’m really struggling.
Herbal tea around 3.30/4pm. Rose petals, rose hips and Melissa is my current favourite.
I haven’t needed it yet, but I decided to have a really rich, dark hot chocolate at 4pm if I was struggling; warming, filling, full of flavonoids.
That’s when I watch the Annie Grace videos. Or YouTube interviews with David Nutt.
Hot bath with my David Nutt book on the Kindle.

PromisesMeanNothingSue · 14/11/2021 10:27

Thanks @StayingVigilant - I’ll be reading the thread from last Christmas, I reckon!

StayingVigilant · 14/11/2021 10:51

Loving you toolbox. Create a Christmas one too. It’s worth a try honestly!

bella1426 · 14/11/2021 10:56

Fell off the wagon ladies 😭 I did so well to resist the first night and had a great day yesterday, but I was missing the tipsy, giddy me and just went fuck it. Because we're away for the weekend and away from the kids and I just wanted to let loose I think. Was missing drinking with my partner and couldn't face another night of mocktails while he drank alcohol. It was just one night too many to resist...was it worth it? We had some fun but probably would have had fun without it too. Maybe. Just different fun. Don't think I'm at that place yet where I can be relaxed and fun around drinking people on a Saturday night yet. I was so sick all night though and again this morning so I feel rotten and it's my birthday and I'm so annoyed at myself, was just reaching the 2 week mark. But going to dust myself off and start again. God, I really hate hangovers 😭

StayingVigilant · 14/11/2021 13:32

Agh @bella1426 what a shame. Indeed dust yourself down but also examine why you said ‘fuck it’. You’ll always be surrounded by drinkers and temptations. It’s about recognising that there are zero benefits to drinking. You say you had ‘different fun’ - you need to unpick that as Im wondering if that’s an excuse? You also say you WANTED to be tipsy and giddy. Why? What’s so good about that? You don’t need to answer but think it through. It maybe because you’re away from the kids and wanted not to be in charge, or in control, I obviously don’t know but deep down you will and try to think how you could have that without the booze. It really does add anything other than your hangover this morning.

StayingVigilant · 14/11/2021 13:33

*Doesn’t add anything! 🙄

bella1426 · 14/11/2021 14:36

@StayingVigilant absolutely, I have some ideas where it all went wrong but will do a full analysis tomorrow when a few more brain cells return. I can't undo it but I can learn from it. Vigilance needed indeed!

StayingVigilant · 14/11/2021 14:45

Exactly. Every time we make a mistake or come close it’s a great opportunity to learn. You’ve got this!!

Adm1010 · 14/11/2021 15:18

Never posted a pic before… hope it posts

The Freedom Thread - Enjoying the positives of an alcohol free life
ChampooPapi · 14/11/2021 20:02

Checking in 🙌 keep trucking all, every day sober is a day lived to the fullest and a job well done quite frankly.

Welcome all new and hello to all regulars, let's have a brilliant week this week 🙌

StayingVigilant · 14/11/2021 20:32

And you too @ChampooPapi

AlloftheTime · 14/11/2021 21:54

I’m liking the idea of looking ahead to a good week on a Sunday evening champ!
Another weekend navigated and although I’m juggling family issues and supporting a relative through a tricky time I’ve not yearned for a drink which is pleasantly surprising. My complacency alert is however switched on and scanning the landscape for any temptations lurking on the horizon 👀
Hoping for a good nights sleep after a busy few days.
Thank you to everyone who contributes and makes this such a great place. My early days and weeks were not easy and I am so grateful I found this supportive community.

One day at a time and checking in on number 111

Kittensgalore · 14/11/2021 22:15

@bella1426 I am three weeks in, this time round, and there is no way I could be around Saturday night drinkers in a bar. I just can't imagine it. Maybe one day hopefully it won't be an issue but right now it would be just too much of a challenge. I think you did really well being away for the weekend and not wavering on the first night to be honest.

I am so fearful of not making it through this next week. I've not made it past around this mark before aside from pregnancies so I get that it's significant but is it usual to be so afraid? I'm desperate not to fall.

indiesearcher · 14/11/2021 23:23

Evening all, checking in.

Well done @Kittensgalore for getting this far - you'll do it this time.

Has anyone else found that committing to AF FOREVER is a million times easier than committing to a dry month? With a dry month you're just counting down the days but knowing this is permanent makes the whole thing more serious in a way, and therefore easier to wrap my head around.

Have had the most hugely stressful week and weekend and if I was ever going to cave today would have been it, but I held strong, did have an AF cider with tea, but otherwise I'm totally fine. Not missing it and not wanting wine. Hooray!

Kindtomyself · 15/11/2021 06:13

Morning all. I’m still AF and happy with my choice, I went out for lunch with friends yesterday and had a lemonade and a coffee, I had a lovely time AND it was better than it would have been if I was drinking because I wouldn’t have been fully present due to tipsyness (made up word) BUT also because I would have been distracted thinking about whether I could get away with another drink, whether I could have one when I get home etc. That is the most surprising! I also realised that friends had a cocktail each and then shared a bottle of wine between four. I’m the past I would have been really frustrated at that (not enough etc). Blimey, it’s an eye opener

Kindtomyself · 15/11/2021 06:21

Sorry I’m not responding to others messages at the moment but I am reading. I’m incredibly busy but hoping that’s going to reduce soon.

@Adm1010 thanks for posting those words, I recognise them so must have read whatever book they’re from. They are so true.

@Breathmiller and @BunniesBunniesBunnies thanks for your wise words re: my issues with DH - it’s going to take me time to unravel it all I think. I have told him I don’t like how he speaks to me but he just ignores me. I’m really sad, he’s always been like this but I’ve thought I’m just being sensitive/over reacting. I was brought up in a house with parents who weren’t very nice to each other and I think (I know) that my subconscious view on relationships is not right. I am so sad about this….

Kittensgalore · 15/11/2021 09:19


I had a similar experience with my ex-partner of 14 years who is the dad to my two children. Looking back he had always had a tendency to not speak to me with care, not so much at the beginning but there had been moments when I should definitely have walked away.

Over the years it got worse and worse until I had no choice but to leave. He would tell me I was being crazy, or it was because I had had a difficult childhood so I was being more sensitive.

Ultimately he started calling me really abusive terms in situations where the kids could easily have over heard.

Leaving was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. He refused to go so kids and I had no choice but to move out of the family home. It's now a year and a half on and the kids are so happy. They used to fight a lot, the difference in their relationship is like night and day. For that alone it was worth it.

He was a big drinker as well and there is no way I would have been able to stop if I was still there. I'm not saying any of this because I think you need to leave. But just that I can relate to that sense of lack of care and compassion that erodes your self esteem when the person that is supposed to cherish you speaks to you in an unpleasant way and then essentially places the blame on you. We all deserve so much more than that Thanks

BunniesBunniesBunnies · 15/11/2021 09:54

@Kindtomyself you deserve to be listened to and spoken to in a kind considerate manner. Certainly if your parents did not treat eachother that way this might have influenced your view of what a “normal” relationship is like. In a normal relationship people do sometimes argue and dismiss one another, but they recognise that is wrong and usually people would listen carefully and speak kindly to eachother. You deserve to be with someone who listens to you and speaks to you kindly. For me, someone constantly dismissing me would be a deal breaker in a relationship, though of course I realise it’s not so easy just to walk away from a marriage!

bella1426 · 15/11/2021 10:13

Morning all and here's to a new AF week ahead, still recovering from my Saturday night. So not worth it! I've been thinking about my slip and what triggered it. There are a couple of things - one is definitely a self confidence thing. I am a naturally quiet-ish, introverted person who needs and enjoys a lot of alone time. When I'm in a social situation of longer than a few hours - even with my partner who I am most comfortable around - I feel I run out of or conversational steam and am boring and need alcohol to keep up the sociability. For this situation some scheduled time alone might have helped, a booked massage or something. Also stupidly listened to the wine witch saying 'maybe I could just have a glass of wine or two with dinner while I'm away and not at home' well....we all know it's never a glass or two and added nothing to the trip but a horrific hangover....anyway onwards and upwards, it's a new week and a fresh start

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