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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:
Kittensgalore · 19/11/2021 17:40

@Adm1010 just realised that maybe you are much further down the line. Apologies if that is the case.

Breathmiller · 19/11/2021 19:43

adm101 sorry you're feeling like this. How are you doing now?

OP posts:
Adm1010 · 19/11/2021 20:54

@Kittensgalore I’m at 75 days. I’m sorry you’re feeling the same way it sucks . But we know this is the right thing don’t we

@Breathmiller I’m calmer Thankyou . Getting an early night. Sober

Thanks for being here xx

indiesearcher · 19/11/2021 20:59

I'm here too.

Husband having some wine, we are away, I'm eyeing up the bath.

Tonight is the first night I've struggled a bit and quite fancy the taste of a wine, but I'm holding steady and looking forward to an early start with the kids and a swim in the pool!

Sorry you've had a shitty day of it @Adm1010 - hang in there, you'll feel calmer still tomorrow.

Breathmiller · 19/11/2021 21:03

Well done adm101 you did it! You got through a difficult day. Your brain will remember that and will strengthen your self belief.
Night night.

OP posts:
Kindtomyself · 19/11/2021 22:51

That’s a great point @Breathmiller that the brain will remember the strength that @Adm1010 has shown. That’s a real test and you fought it.

Sleep well all

Kittensgalore · 20/11/2021 06:13

Well done @Adm1010, so glad you made it through a tough couple of days, hopefully the weekend is kinder to you.

Enjoy that early swim @indiesearcher, so much more possible and enjoyable to spend time in a pool full of children without a hangover! And you have the whole day ahead to enjoy with your family.

Woken up more determined. Realised I am probably a little bit depressed. Spent so long anaesthetising those difficult feelings it's perhaps inevitable.

SilverPeacock · 20/11/2021 07:03

Hello this looks like the thread for me! I am on week 2. Binge drinker so will go a week without it but can't stop when I start resulting in awful hangovers and terrible anxiety and shame. I could have written some of these posts. Dh and I also met on hardcore techno scene 20 odd years ago! Managed to drop drugs quite easily but drink stayed. Again he moderates more easily. I cannot moderate I have tried. I am also worried about him and others finding me boring. But we argued last time we drank together and it is not predictable which times we will have fun and which times we will argue. It's really helpful to read of people's similar experiences.

I have been really ill (not alchol related) this year and now I am feeling better I don't want to feel like crap any more.

SilverPeacock · 20/11/2021 07:22

Just reading about people feeling anger. Any significant change, even positive ones, can cause a grief reaction and anger is one of the natural stages of grief. So I wonder if this is why? A distressing but normal response to the inevitable changes. A phase of grief that we will pass through before we can reach the last stage which is 'acceptance'?

BunniesBunniesBunnies · 20/11/2021 07:23

Welcome @SilverPeacock (great name!).
Sorry to hear you’ve been ill this year, I’m glad you’re now feeling better.

No longer having hangovers/shame/anxiety is one of the best things about not drinking anymore🙂 I think a few of us worried in advance whether sobriety would make us “boring”. I don’t want to speak for anyone else but in my case I really don’t think I am boring now. If anything I was way more boring as a drunk, banging on about the same old shit and then falling asleep on the sofa😳

Anyway, welcome!

Breathmiller · 20/11/2021 07:42

Welcome silverpeacock so much of what you've written is relatable. Especially the not sure if me and dh getting pissed together would result in fun or not.

I also love what you say about grief. That makes absolute sense.

bunnies you're right. Nothing fun about me when I'm grumpy, distracted, unable to hold a conversation properly, getting the wrong end of the stick, fuzzy headed, over the top, knocking things over, too loud and brash or asleep halfway through a film and don't even remember or understand what's gone on when I'm awake. . Nor is there any fun with a hangover, extra grumpy, tired, shameful, sick headache sluggish. I'd say all of that is so boring.

I had such a vivid dream last night that I went back to drinking. Totally took me off guard. I had one then decided that this abstinence or moderation wasnt for me and came on and told you all. You were all like "NOOOOO" but I was resolute and bid you all farewell. I woke up an hour ago when my alarm went off and for a moment thought it was real and had such a pit of regret in my stomach. Reminded me of when I would wake up after a big night with a sense of dread. Then the relief when i realised. Kind of making me laugh now how the worst bit was telling you lot. And the need to stay vigilant. It can come and blindside us.

OP posts:
SilverPeacock · 20/11/2021 08:15

Thank you both! You are right of course. I am repetitive and completely tedious when drunk Smile. I still have those kind of dreams about cigs which I gave up 15 years ago and they are good - the sense of relief waking up! It reinforces that you do actually feel free of it.

I'm going out tonight with couple of friends but it'll be fine. We are eating and they will be supportive. Next week I am going to a house party of a big drinker which will be more of challenging but will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Adm1010 · 20/11/2021 08:18

Welcome @SilverPeacock . I also wondered regarding the stages of grieving . The anger was so out of proportion … lots of snotty crying and wailing “ it’s not fair “ boy embarrassed now but at the time the anger and upset was so real

@Breathmiller glad it was all a dream Grin

And thanks again for support and comments from all who took time . It’s really appreciated and genuinely helped

Adm1010 · 20/11/2021 08:23

Bit not boy

SilverPeacock · 20/11/2021 08:53

@Adm1010 completely understand that feeling of unfairness. I am a very competent person in other areas of my life and can't help thinking why can't I handle this and others can? The answers to that are very deep and I do have some understanding of why me if I think hard enough about it.

It is a totally triggering time of year too with all the adverts on with folk popping bottles.

SilverPeacock · 20/11/2021 08:58

Also I suppose it is likely that more folk are not handljng it that I realise because people hide it.

Breathmiller · 20/11/2021 09:00

I had a similar snotty angry moment a few weeks ago with dh. Not drinking wasn't the catalyst but I threw it in there to add to the sense that i was pissed off at EVERYTHING that was unfair in my life.
I also had a sort of counselling session wit my mentor to unpick why I react to difficult people as I do. It wasn't as bad but did show a vulnerable side to me that I would have quite happily kept hidden thank you very much.
And I too felt a bit embarrassed. But with a few days between me and it, i can see that it's okay to show your vulnerable side sometimes. It can shift something and help you work the issue out. It was a big part of me feeling lighter this week.

See it as shedding some shit you were holding on to. That's how I'm looking at it.

OP posts:
PromisesMeanNothingSue · 20/11/2021 09:30

@bella1426 I was diagnosed seven years ago, in my early forties. As with a lot of women, I realised that I was probably autistic after my daughter was diagnosed. I’d seen the signs in her since she was tiny, but because I didn’t have a great understanding of how ASD often presents differently in girls (and a general lack of knowledge due to stereotypical ideas of autism), I thought that it couldn’t be that because she was affectionate, played imaginatively, etc. It was reading Tony Attwood’s ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’ chapter on how it presents in girls that gave me a realisation, and I then pushed the GP for a referral. When filling out the questionnaires, I was thinking ‘but I did that too’… ‘I was like that as a child’… ‘I used to do that’… ‘I still do that!’, and the penny started to drop. I sought assessment a year or so after she was diagnosed, and was lucky that there’s an adult diagnostic path in my county, and that I had an assessor who was familiar with how it can present differently in females.

So the drinking… I was allowed to drink from my early teens, and have used it to self medicate since I was in my mid teens (along with lots of other substances when I was in my twenties). My father was an alcoholic and I lived in a pub from the age of ten, so it was all around me, and I didn’t learn better coping mechanisms, sadly. It made all the sensory assaults of a busy pub, and the world in general, more bearable. I developed back pain in my early teens, too, and was given strong painkillers for that which I took like smarties! Shock I’m so shocked, when I look back, that nobody seemed to really be keeping track of how many I took, and I had no awareness at all of the effect the paracetamol component could have on my liver, especially when I was washing them down with alcohol! I don’t think I even knew what my liver did, at that point in my life. I still take codeine-based analgesia (but much, much more sensibly), and I’ve definitely used wine to numb the pain, both physical, mental and sensory - the Annie Grace videos about alcohol being an anaesthetic really resonated with me; that’s exactly how I’ve used it. I’ve suffered from frequent spells of depression since my teens, and been on and off prescription antidepressants since my 20s, and my alcohol and drug use was just an alternative way of trying to manage that, I think… I’m only now realising what a huge exacerbating effect my drinking has had on my depression and anxiety; I did know in theory, but I didn’t (wouldn’t?!) really believe it, because I persisted in connecting drinking only to the bit where I felt ‘better’ (ie where I numbed the pain, dialled down the intensity of the world, anaesthetised the anxiety and the anger and the sadness), rather than the rest of the time, when my feelings and senses were overwhelming and unmanageable.

Getting the autism diagnosis helped me start to understand why I was the way I was (and why my father was, to a certain extent - I suspect he was also autistic), and to start to forgive myself a bit (for how pathetic and useless I’d always felt; why couldn’t I do the things that other people seemed to manage with minimal issues?). But it didn’t magically make the world more bearable. Now I feel like I’m realising how much better I could cope without drinking as a false friend. I keep thinking ‘fucking hell… all those wasted years!!’, but there’s no point in that, is there - I can only move forward from here and get to know who I am when I accept my autistic, alcohol-free self.

PromisesMeanNothingSue · 20/11/2021 09:35

Also, totally agree that it’s so much easier to talk to someone without that direct eye-contact, @bella1426. I have to look at people all the time in a busy, noisy environment like a pub, because although I’ve got super-sensitive hearing (especially to high pitched sounds, which hurt me!), my auditory processing is absolutely rubbish and I struggle to understand people it if there’s background noise. I have to be watching their face to understand them, and it’s exhausting. I find interacting in groups very stressful; much prefer one to one in a quieter environment.

PromisesMeanNothingSue · 20/11/2021 10:22

@Breathmiller yes to those well-worn paths within our minds… it can be really difficult to get off the track once you’re on the rails. For now I’m just staying well away from those known tracks wherever possible, so no evening socialising, I won’t be seeing friends/family with whom I always drink, not for a while yet.

Having said that, on Thursday I started feeling really rough - have got a virus - and that was a real trigger… I feel ill, therefore I must drink to feel better. I didn’t, but I was struggling through doing dinner prep with three of my favourite bottles of wine on the worktop in front of me (that I’d bought last month) and a huge jar of sloe gin! I thought ‘you’re not making it easy for yourself, are you!’. I was glaring at them throughout, but felt angry rather than seriously tempted. I shall move the wine this weekend, but xDP usually has a bottle or two on the worktop anyway (and a spare room full!!).

@Adm1010 I totally get you on the ‘it’s not FAIR!’ thing… I’m regularly experiencing little voices of that as I watch xDP drinking his very fine wines. So far I’ve been able to manage that inner voice by reminding myself of how it would actually feel… not the first, blissful dopamine hit, but then after that when the depressant effects kick in; feeling a bit slowed and slurred, the hot flush and red cheeks (red wine always does that to me), the flat feeling when the high wears off, the guilt/disappointment if I’d intended not to but caved, then the waking in the night feeling anxious, through to waking in the morning feeling like I don’t want to face the day, and how long is it until 5pm when I can have the next dopamine hit? Well done for sticking with it. I know I will have periods where I’m absolutely raging, and will struggle to know what to do with that now that I can’t ‘drown’ it (which never worked anyway!).

@indiesearcher I’ve found the book ‘Drink?’ by David Nutt absolutely great. It’s pitched exactly right for me; factual, non-judgemental, full of the science and biology of what happens when you drink, and written by someone I admire as a person (for his writings and stance on drugs, and how he stands up for science over politics - he was the ‘drugs tzar’ sacked by the govt for his outspoken views, and is a practising neuropsychiatrist who runs a drug research programme and has decades of clinical experience with alcohol dependent patients). I listen to the audio book every night (it’s even in my dreams! Grin) and I credit it with starting me on this path.

I’m also doing the Annie Grace 30 day alcohol experiment, and find the videos really useful. If you download the app and sign up for the (free) experiment, the videos are available permanently on there, and I know I’ll watch and re-watch them in the future. She’s definitely a saleswoman, and there’s quite a bit of encouragement to sign up to her longer (paid for) programmes, but the more I watch, the more I think ‘all power to her’ - the content is insightful, inspiring and valuable, and she’s created a very supportive community. I’ve just started listening to her podcasts, as well.

Day 20 for me, so I’m coming up to the longest period I’ll have been alcohol free in over 30 years. Blush In previous Dry Jan/Sober Oct months, I’ve stopped around the three week mark because ‘it’s boring’ or ‘I don’t feel any better’ or a host of other excuses. I’ve no intention of stopping this time.

indiesearcher · 20/11/2021 10:45

@PromisesMeanNothingSue that book sounds exactly like the right one for me. I admire him too. I'm a scientist by training so I was after something a little less about the self help side. I'll order, thank you. And thanks for all the other suggestions too.

Survived last night while DH had red wine. Enjoyed bath and a book and we were up at 6.30!

bella1426 · 20/11/2021 22:04

Hey everyone hope you're all having a lovely sober Saturday :) @PromisesMeanNothingSue thanks for sharing all of that, it's definitely food for thought and something I might finally delve into in the new this space ;)
I am doing the 30 day experiment too and think it's a fab free resource, her book and podcasts are great too
I was supposed to be at a hens tonight (yeah I know...) it is local, I was gonna drive and just do the dinner but still shaking off the ole norovirus in the house so had an excuse to bail (delighted really!) had a lovely cozy evening on the sofa with my eldest watching a movie. The girls put up some pics in our WhatsApp. All great friends and people I love as individuals but all extroverts and collectively on a night out I'm not sure I even enjoy them if I'm totally honest with myself 🙈
I'm keeping a journal of random notes and thoughts on an app on my phone and here's what I wrote ....

20/11/21 Day 7
Reminder to self when fomo pangs from photos on nights out pop up
Don’t romanticise those girls nights out in your head and feel sad you’re not on them. The reality is you were generally overwhelmed by the personalities, the loudness and talking over each other, found it hard to concentrate with so much sensory stimuli, often felt too Ill informed and intimidated by their intelligence to join in the conversations, got too drunk too quickly to cope and ended up taking smoke breaks regularly to get your head together which usually resulted in you being drunker. Most of the time you ended up leaving early because you were too drunk and tired and feeling inferior in the fun stakes anyway, and then had a rotten hangover to deal with the next day which piled on the mum guilt...

It really helps to write out the reality of the night you THINK you are missing out on...takes away the power of the FOMO pangs! Off to bed now to start my day 8 with a fresh head, night all xx

BunniesBunniesBunnies · 21/11/2021 06:29

@bella1426 I like that note you wrote to yourself. In the early days when I missed booze I would glamorise it too. I would always think of those first two glasses, how much fun I had etc. In reality they were almost always followed by more glasses, hangovers, forgetfulness, smoke breaks, binge eating, sometimes arguments, etc.
It’s important to remember all those things.

Kittenminion · 21/11/2021 07:14

Hi all,

Well, I got to day 75 last weekend and today will be day 1 again.

I’m annoyed but not angry with myself. My dad died last Sunday, he’d been ill for a long time, but it was quite sudden in the end. It was a very difficult day, driving across the country to get to him and then being with him for his last hours.

Then he passed away, and my head just said ‘I will drink tonight’ and I had nothing in me to argue. So I did. Im not kicking myself or anything, I can see it clearly and how it happened. 2 and a half months sober was great with no slips up, but not enough to deal with this.

Since Sunday I’ve drank on three more evenings including the last two. As you’ll all know, it’s the same old story, can’t stop at one or two if there’s more available, thinking about it in the afternoon, etc. Very much a slippery slope. So I’m ready and back for day 1. I can’t do grief and drinking together again. It just makes it worse.

So my plans for today are, a busy day with the kids, this evening I have to pack up one of my rooms ready for a tradesman coming tomorrow, so that will keep me busy. I’m going to chuck the left over white wine I have left. I’m going to start the Annie Grace book I bought but hadn’t got round to and finish the other AF book I’m in the middle of. I’m going to catch up with this lovely thread. And I’m going to be kind to myself.

I learnt a great deal doing my 75 days so I’m pleased with that. I almost feel I should be calling it 75/1 in recognition that those initial 75 days was an a achievement and counts for something.

BunniesBunniesBunnies · 21/11/2021 07:25

I’m so sorry about your dad @Kittenminion.
You are right, no point beating yourself up and you will have learnt a lot from the 75 days. You know you can do it now. Be kind to yourself x

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