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Giving up alcohol to benefit mental health

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by   5 months ago.

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  • #122706

    Holly
    Participant

    For the past few years I have generally been getting drunk several nights each week (approximately 4 nights).
    I have long recognised that I do have a drinking problem and 10 days ago took what I hope will be my last drink (at least for a while!).

    I feel that alcohol has taken its toll on my mental health. I am someone who has always suffered with anxiety and in more recent years depression, too. It is common knowledge that consuming alcohol will eventually worsen anxiety and depression, although unfortunately it is extremely easy to turn towards the substance as a cure also, thus becoming a vicious cycle.

    Having not had a drop of alcohol for 10 days, I can already feel my mental health improving. However, with Christmas and a variety of social events coming up in the pipeline I am worried that I will jump back off the wagon.
    I want to learn to be someone who can go to a social event without drinking alcohol but still has a good time, but, of course this will only come with practice.

    Has anyone else here giving up alcohol for the same reason? Is there any advice that you can give me?

    I am so desperate to get the substance out of my life. After what it has done to my brain and aspects of my personal life, I resent it and want nothing to do with it. I worry that so early into sobriety, it is easy to cave!

    • This topic was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  Holly.
    #122708

    anita
    Participant

    Dear hollypop:

    You wrote: ” it is extremely easy to turn towards the substance as a cure also, thus becoming a vicious cycle.” –

    Notice, people turn to alcohol as a relief, not a cure. Big difference. A temporary relief that destroys one’s health and well being, is not a cure.

    And so, as you attend Christmas events and notice the alcohol, try to think “Relief, not Cure”

    Another suggestion: you wrote that you would like to “go to a social event without drinking alcohol but still has a good time”- do not expect to have a good time. That way you will not be disappointed. Getting disappointed will further increase your distress, causing you to lean more toward the “cure.”

    With your history of anxiety and depression, without the alcohol, do not expect to have a good time. That will come later, as you, hopefully, attend competent psychotherapy and move toward the real Cure, emotional healing.

    And of course, there is AA- which I see as an Abstinence and Maintenance Program.

    anita

    #122726

    Holly
    Participant

    Hi, anita

    That is a good tip! I’ll remember to see it that way
    Luckily, the people I will be going out with soon I know very well and feel comfortable around so I am anticipating that it will be easy on this occasion.

    I will make sure to take your suggestions on board. I have noticed your responses in a lot of the threads I have seen on this website – you are remarkably wise!

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by  Holly.
    #122730

    anita
    Participant

    Thank you, hollypop, I like “remarkably wise!” (smiling). Take good care of yourself and post anytime.
    anita

    #124721

    Tara
    Participant

    Hi Holly!

    Kudo’s to you for being so brave to put this out in the universe! I have been sober for over 3 1/2 years. I will admit at first it’s tough. You will have your good days and bad days. I don’t want to sugar coat anything.

    However, with time life gets better. Life improves. Your health improves, your relationships improve.

    Keep going! If you need support, an ear to listen, I’m here!

    Tara

    #124747

    Holly
    Participant

    Hey, Tara
    Thank you for your response and also congratulations on 3 and 1/2 of sobriety!
    It’s going quite well so far, admittedly but unsurprisingly I slipped up A LOT over Christmas but I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in this new year as of yet.

    My self control has been pretty good – if I want to have a drink I’ll tell myself to do something productive instead. I suppose the biggest struggle will be social occasions where alcohol generally is consumed. I’ll be attending my sister’s hen party later this month and her wedding next month – my birthday is also a week before this. As this is so new to me, I think that I’ll find it hard to not drink alcohol at certain events as this is what I have always done. Was this an issue for you?

    On a brighter note, I DID attend a birthday party a few nights ago where people were drinking. I had no alcohol and still had a great time minus a hangover and the crippling worry that I had done or said something that I shouldn’t have in my uninhibited state.

    Again, thanks for your response, I will bare this in mind 🙂

    Holly

    #124817

    jon kirkham
    Participant

    I used to be quite an avid drinker, few years ago. I was unhappy with myself and my life. So I used to use alcohol as a form of escape. But I started slowly coming away from it. Looking at the negatives of it. How it does cause and increase depression and anxiety along with fear. The costs. What I could save the money up for and looking at the long term benefits to myself certainly fuelled me. But I do still slip up once in a while. In the winter I buy a bottle of whisky. But it lasts me for like a month. Having a shot on occasional nights. Some would say it’s to same US from the inside seeing as its winter :-P. And I still have a rare bottle of red wine evening, about once a year in the last 2 years. Like an emotional rant in myself relating to times in my life where I’ve made terrible mistakes. Kind of sends me away from drinking more. On the rare occasions when I go to a pub or somewhere with friends I have a drink but I no longer feel enticed to drink quickly. My friends do the usual 2 or 3 while I barely manage 1. I find a bit more delight in the whole talking than I do the drinking. For me nowadays it’s more about the flavour. Why I’m drawn to Belgian wheat beers. I also find now that because I rarely drink it does have a more than noticeable affect on my mind. Inebriated very quickly. And now I kind of don’t like that so much. I remember the years of negativity it brought me. And so I don’t even have to process any of it. It’s just a feeling that is natural. I’m not exactly t-total but my attitude towards alcohol and getting drunk has changed dramatically. I now see it as a way of destroying our path

    #126003


    Participant

    Hi Holly,
    How is your giving up alcohol going? And have you been to your sister’s hen party yet?
    My advice would be to recognise how far you’ve come, be patient with yourself and forgive yourself as quickly as possible if you do slip up.
    In early sobriety, it might be helpful to avoid events where alcohol is being consumed and to keep yourself as busy as possible.
    You can do this 🙂

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