If you are reading this, then the question, how to know when to give up alcohol, has probably been playing on your mind. Perhaps you have been Googling, “am I am alcoholic?” or maybe you have been trying to stick to the ‘guidelines’ or comparing yourself to your friends and family, or worrying about how much you drink and have been trying to moderate or stick to some self imposed rules.
Instead of Googling, following those around you, or setting yourself rules and restrictions, perhaps you should be asking yourself, “How is my drinking making me feel?”
This is key, when it comes to how to know when to give up alcohol.
You see, we are all different, alcohol affects us in many different ways and the only way to know if it is time to take a break or stop drinking completely is to look within.
Before I stopped, my problem was everyone around me was seemingly ‘enjoying a drink’, alcohol was everywhere and I feared that if I admitted I wasn’t happy anymore or that I had this deep feeling of dread that I had to give up alcohol, then people would think I had a problem and that just wouldn’t do at all.
So, I carried on through the pain, the guilt, the shame, the waking up full of self hate and rumination. I carried on breaking promises to my family. I carried on with my small, meaningless life. I carried on making myself puffy, lethargic and lazy. I carried on poisoning myself, desperately wanting to stop, yet unable to do so.
Until I had a chat with my husband and we really looked at ourselves and asked what was going on and could we really carry on like this.
It was so obvious that we couldn’t, so we decided not to anymore.
Simple yes, easy – no. There was a lot of soul searching, self doubt, fear and uncertainty to overcome, but we just knew it was the best thing to do, so we made the decision and stuck to it.
If you are wondering how to know when to give up alcohol, then start with you. Ask yourself how your drinking is making you feel. Are you truly happy with the way things are or do you feel you might be better off taking a proper break?
Here are some of the points that helped me to realize that it was time to change.
• I was sick of telling the kids I was too ill to do x,y or z because I was in bed with a hangover.
• I was so embarrassed about the amount we drank that I would go to different shops to buy alcohol or tell the shopkeeper it was for a present or a recipe!
• I hated waking up hungover and having no clue where the evening before went. Most of all I hated the pain and feelings of self hate that came with hangovers.
• The overwhelming shame and guilt of not spending time with my kids, of not being the parent I knew I could be, or worse, not even remembering to put them to bed or give them their tea.
• Feeling sick, looking at the bank and realizing most of the money had been spent on booze
• Making buying booze a priority over everything else, even our mortgage, food, or clothes for the boys.
• I would worry about alarming pains or unexplained bruises, but try and brush it off.
• I hated just feeling like absolute rubbish all the time. I used to be a runner, I loved hiking and being outdoors but my drinking got in the way of all that and I really despaired of just sitting on the sofa, having no energy to do anything.
• I thought I had fun when I was socializing and drinking but the realization that it wasn’t worth the way it made me feel afterwards, kept getting stronger.
• I would justify to myself why cracking open another beer or opening another bottle was a good idea and the constant battle inside my head just got exhausting.
• Sometimes I would force myself to drink, even though deep down I didn’t want to but felt I ‘needed it.’
• The terrifying realization that I was relying on alcohol to do everything which really scared me.
• I was always, wishing and dreaming of not drinking anymore but felt like a failure when I couldn’t bring myself to stop.
I could go on here!
There were so many signs that it was time to give up alcohol, but I was too afraid to take the leap. It took a lot of courage to admit to myself that I couldn’t live my life like this anymore.
But, once I made the decision to listen to myself, take it seriously, and stop dreaming but actually start doing, it was as if all of the above just disappeared.
It felt like a huge burden had been lifted which was the most liberating feeling in the world, and something I didn’t expect.
If you can relate to even just one of the points above, if your drinking is making you unhappy (especially in the lonely hours of the morning when everyone else is sleeping) then now is the time to really question your relationship with alcohol.
Would you feel better having a break?
If you know deep down that your drinking is making you unhappy, yet you can’t stop, or if you’ve tried quitting before but can’t make it stick and are tired of the negative self talk, then you really need to take a step back and ask yourself what the next step is.
Even if you think you are not ready, even if you think you can’t stop – you have to try.
I know how hard it is to come to that decision. But honestly, it will be the most empowering, transformative decision you will ever make and I want to help you through this.
Let me help you find freedom and peace, and discover the joy of knowing that you don’t need to drink anymore. Let me help you support you through this journey to a better life, to a life of