Author Topic: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!  (Read 24001 times)

tightwaddy

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #250 on: March 10, 2019, 06:41:34 AM »
I last had a drink 5 weeks ago today (SuperBowl) after years of essentially daily drinking and multiple (many dozens) of attempts at cutting back, or "moderation."  It's been an interesting 5 weeks, with many different observations along the way. At one point I experienced clarity of mind so sharp it almost felt painful--I don't know how to describe it otherwise; it's starting to feel more normal, but wow.  I knew 2-4 beers a day probably weren't doing wonders for my liver or waistline, but I never imagined they were having such an effect on my brain (though in retrospect, that's pretty dumb).

Anyway, I didn't really start this thinking I'd never drink again. But now I'm wondering.

onemorebike

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #251 on: March 10, 2019, 07:04:16 AM »
tightwaddy,

That's awesome, interesting story about clarity of mind. I'd say I had similar moments along the way. Also didn't plan to quit forever but it is looking like it.

Did you by chance read Annie Grace's book?

CrustyBadger

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #252 on: March 11, 2019, 05:21:46 AM »
I knew 2-4 beers a day probably weren't doing wonders for my liver or waistline, but I never imagined they were having such an effect on my brain (though in retrospect, that's pretty dumb).

I find I am able to solve problems better now.  Things just don't seem as overwhelming. 

tightwaddy

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #253 on: March 12, 2019, 06:37:54 AM »

Did you by chance read Annie Grace's book?

I started doing her online videos two times prior to this particular dry journey. I think that (limited) work helped me get to the place I'm at now, but I haven't read the full book (my library doesn't have it, but maybe I'll buy it).  @CrustyBadger, to your point, I had a couple of angry work days that used to be a common drinking trigger and then I remembered my Annie Grace journal and thought: if I'm so mad at xxxxxx, why do I want to take it out on myself?  And it definitely seemed like the problem was easier to solve after that.

I'm having some trouble craving sugar in the evenings, but now I'm working on that!

onemorebike

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #254 on: March 12, 2019, 08:39:17 AM »
Was just reflecting on how much not drinking at all has impacted the presence I have with my kids. The mornings and evenings are drastically improved and the payout has been tremendous!

StarBright

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #255 on: March 12, 2019, 09:33:19 AM »
Gave up Booze for Lent and happy to see this thread.

Great to read that some of you had bad sleep during the first week of abstaining. I've had awful sleep the last couple of nights.

I don't miss the actual drink as much as I miss something to reach for as I prep/eat dinner.

I have coffee in the morning, water and herbal tea during the day, and usually wine or a cocktail at night.  I clearly use it as an end to my workday/beginning of family time. I don't really drink seltzer, soda or juice so I'll need to figure out something for the evening.

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #256 on: March 12, 2019, 09:44:50 AM »
Gave up Booze for Lent and happy to see this thread.

Great to read that some of you had bad sleep during the first week of abstaining. I've had awful sleep the last couple of nights.

I don't miss the actual drink as much as I miss something to reach for as I prep/eat dinner.



Yes, I was surprised to have mild withdrawal symptoms on a 2 drinks/day habit.  Mine was major restlessness at the end of the night (when I would normally have a sleepy buzz) so I just couldn't settle to my bedtime routine, and insomnia for the first 4 or 5 nights.  Also, I was a little more anxious and randomly emotional during the first 3 days. 

The fact that I had such notable poor sleep actually spurred me into the 'stop for 30 days' faster than I'd planned.  I had started skipping a few days per week first, but that set off the poor sleep cycle. Then once I understood physiologically WHY that was happening, I thought I'd be better off just going cold turkey b/c otherwise the 'withdrawal' week was going to extend to 2 or 3 weeks.

I'm about a week in now, and the restless and insomnia have just stopped.

I guess I shouldn't be shocked. I know I have withdrawal headaches for about a week if I skip my 2 cups of coffee per day, so logically...

To your second point, I have realized that part of my trigger associated with 'transitioning between work and non-work' is simply that my blood sugar tends to be lower then. If I eat something carby about an hour before I would normally drink, the interest in drinking is much more ignorable.

sisto

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #257 on: March 13, 2019, 01:11:44 PM »
Interesting reading more stories. I found that since I cut sugar and all grain based carbs out of my diet I no longer have any alcohol cravings. I don't plan to completely give up alcohol because I do like to have an occasional glass of wine, but I am happy I no longer NEED it. :)

meghan88

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #258 on: March 13, 2019, 03:33:52 PM »
We did Dry January this year and it was fine.  Wasn't too difficult at all.  But we like to travel to Europe, and having a good meal in France without wine just seems wrong. 

Abstention didn't help my insomnia.  I'd really hoped that it would, but it didn't, not one bit.  My energy levels were better though.  Whether we drink or not, we hit the gym hard, and I like to go for one or two runs per week, so cutting back is good, but not always easy.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 03:36:30 PM by meghan88 »

Joe Schmo

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #259 on: March 20, 2019, 08:30:17 AM »
Hit 5 years a few weeks ago...seems like only yesterday.

A glass (never ending) of whiskey always sound good but...

jps

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #260 on: March 20, 2019, 09:03:21 AM »
Today is two weeks without beer for me. I've had a couple gin and tonics in that time.

Have felt fine. I don't think I was at a point where I had any dependency, but I was just starting to worry about how much beer I was drinking (1/2 most evenings, more some evenings). Wanted to be in a place where I could still go successfully without wanting a beer for a while. So I'll probably keep this up until end of April.


mspym

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #261 on: March 20, 2019, 02:46:14 PM »
Last night I was socialising with friends and it was lovely and then we got to the tipsy ladies math part, followed by tipsy ladies tipping math, and I was tempted to pay the whole bill myself just so I didn't need to listen to it anymore. They were all fine and happy but it was a little awkward being one of the 2 sober people picking up on the close-out cues from the wait staff.

slackmax

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #262 on: March 21, 2019, 06:46:56 AM »
I allow myself one to four beers per day.

If I want to be good and only have one or two, I have a piece of toast with peanut butter after beer number one or two, and then I no longer want another beer. I never believe it will work, but it usually does!


OurTown

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #263 on: March 21, 2019, 12:32:24 PM »
2 years 7 months 15 days.

StarBright

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #264 on: March 21, 2019, 12:45:55 PM »
Ugh- I clearly have used my drinks as a treat to myself. Have easily done two weeks of no drinking but I've eaten more sugar/flour than I have in years. Am annoyed with myself.

On the plus, my sleep returned to baseline a few nights ago. 

30 more days of Lent should be pretty easy if I don't gain a million pounds. I do have one planned wine pairing dinner on my Birthday (DH made a surprise reservation for my B-day before I had decided on my Lent).

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #265 on: April 04, 2019, 12:48:35 PM »
Reporting in that I completed my first 30 consecutive days without drinking, and while I haven't ruled out an occasional drink in the future (partly b/c the idea of never tasting another G&T again sets off massive feelings of deprivation, even though I haven't actually HAD a G&T in more than a year LOL), but I plan to keep going, no longer drinking except possibly very occasionally and mindfully...vacations, etc. (haven't decided on that yet...may end up just stopping entirely).

The Alcohol Experiment and This Naked Mind website were incredibly helpful to 1) get me in the right state of mind prior to going booze-free (reducing my anxiety about doing it and giving me a framework to go about it), and 2) as a series of structured exercises that helped change my mindset while I did it.  The program itself (despite being a tad shaky on the facts presented once or twice) seems to rely heavily on techniques associated the cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation/mindfulness, and this really worked wonders for me.

Pretty sure I'll never view alcohol the same way again, and coming from someone who drank 1-3 drinks almost every day, for almost 20 years, it was a relief and a delightful surprise how effective this program has been helping me just stop that habit with minimal angst (after the first few days of white-knuckling through my cocktail hour cravings).  Still some work to do, for sure (tackling less frequent, more stochastic triggers related to stress), but I'm going to keep on working on those.

I know some people report experience surges of energy/clarity, etc., better sleep, and noticeable improvements in appearance.  Alas, none of these has been true for me (I'm just as puffy/red-eyed; actually have had LESS energy and mental focus; and though I sleep through the night much better now, I now dream a ton more (which agitates me) and also have a lot of trouble FALLING asleep as opposed to STAYING asleep). However, I was doing this for health reasons rather than appearance, and some of the physiological benefits to going booze-free would be unlikely manifest for several more months (neurological changes in dopamine receptors, etc), so that's ok.

I also appreciated this experiment for giving me a couple of real 'light bulb' moments...
1) recognizing that even though I have experienced almost zero negative effects of drinking all these years apart from nagging worries about long term health (I am a stranger to hangovers, binges, blackouts, drunk driving, embarrassing incidents, etc, probably b/c I have only consumed more than 3 drinks/day perhaps 2 or 3 times in my life), that didn't mean there were no good reasons to change the habit;
2) assuming for years that I was drinking 8 oz of wine at night, only to actually measure the amount and find out it was 10-12 oz...how did I not know what 5 oz of wine actually looked like?!?;
3) finding out that the official guidelines for drinking put me in the 'heavy' drinking category, and my husband right on the verge, despite our intake being in line with most of our upper-middle income social/peer group for the past umpteen years;
4) realizing how much societal acceptance of/encouragement of regular drinking set the context for my own ideas of what was healthy, when those ideas were not objectively true. Etc etc.

This has also been very useful for my husband.  He did not have as much problem with triggers as I did, probably b/c he never made the problematic mental link associating alcohol with de-stressing or transitioning from 'work' to 'relaxation'.  He noticed me stop drinking after a few days of it, and asked what I was up to.  When I began describing some of the Alcohol Experiment exercises, he was intrigued and began informally 'accompanying' me and self-monitoring (even though I had no intention of asking him to change his behavior). 

Both of us are really happy we did this.  I salute everyone in this thread, and encourage anyone who is in a nebulous gray area of alcohol consumption to give this book/website/program a shot.  Very, very helpful material.

StarBright

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #266 on: April 10, 2019, 07:23:28 PM »
I have passed the one month mark (we cancelled the fancy dinner for other reasons) and am a little grouchy that I don't seem to be experiencing any of the benefits of abstaining. Did it take anyone else longer than 30 days for benefits to show up? Or if you don't feel them at the one month mark do you never feel them in a drastic way?

I feel like wenchsenior in that I seem to have less energy and I'm certainly having more trouble relaxing and falling asleep at night. I've had a few nights where I've ended up listening to a couple of hours of sleep meditations before I finally conk out.

Have also still had issues with craving carbs and am even feeling the urge to spend money just to have something to do! I feel like my evening cocktail was basically my only remaining vice and since it is temporarily on hold I seem to be searching for a replacement vice. It is sorting of bumming me out.

In any case, I'm sure this is better for me than not.  I also had a few niggling health concerns that I thought might be improved by removing the alcohol. They haven't seemed to improve yet, but it is a good data point to know that booze doesn't seem to be causing them.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 07:34:38 PM by StarBright »

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #267 on: April 10, 2019, 09:07:22 PM »
I have passed the one month mark (we cancelled the fancy dinner for other reasons) and am a little grouchy that I don't seem to be experiencing any of the benefits of abstaining. Did it take anyone else longer than 30 days for benefits to show up? Or if you don't feel them at the one month mark do you never feel them in a drastic way?

I feel like wenchsenior in that I seem to have less energy and I'm certainly having more trouble relaxing and falling asleep at night. I've had a few nights where I've ended up listening to a couple of hours of sleep meditations before I finally conk out.

Have also still had issues with craving carbs and am even feeling the urge to spend money just to have something to do! I feel like my evening cocktail was basically my only remaining vice and since it is temporarily on hold I seem to be searching for a replacement vice. It is sorting of bumming me out.

In any case, I'm sure this is better for me than not.  I also had a few niggling health concerns that I thought might be improved by removing the alcohol. They haven't seemed to improve yet, but it is a good data point to know that booze doesn't seem to be causing them.


My experience is the same.  Alcohol was my one remaining vice, and though my diet has been healthy and low sugar/heavy veggie for years, I've been eating more crap carbs and sugar in the past month and a half than I can remember when. Maybe that's why my energy level hasn't improved.  I have a bunch of health issues that I thought might be helped by quitting (though only one that is known to be worsened by alcohol, silent reflux). So far, none of the health stuff has materialized with the possible exception of the reflux improving, but I've drastically changed a lot of elements of my diet plus started sleeping most nights on a wedge pillow, and my impression tracking symptoms is that the pillow is doing the most good...it's hard to tell b/c silent reflux symptoms can take months to improve even when the reflux is already improving.

I'm still glad I did it, and still somewhat hopeful of improvement in the next few months.   But I sure wish I felt great like some here report, and I wish I could fall asleep like in the old buzzed days.

tyort1

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #268 on: April 10, 2019, 09:37:49 PM »
The longer you've been on alcohol, the longer it'll take to heal from it, at least that's what I've observed.  Usually when people hit the 6 month mark, you can see it pretty clearly in their body and faces - they look so much better. 

mspym

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #269 on: April 10, 2019, 11:17:51 PM »
What tyort1 said. Some people get enormous upswings immediately. I never did *but* there has been slow and steady improvement in my sleep and overall mental wellbeing.
- The carb/sugar cravings do settle if you stick with it - your body is used to a dump of easy energy from alcohol and is looking for a replacement. 
- It took a little while for my sleep to regulate because I had forgotten how to fall asleep naturally. Pukka sleep tea + Music for Airports was my silver bullet.
- Around 6 months my skin just started *glowing* and my teeth were noticeably whiter.
- I am 10kg lighter than 2 years ago. Like, this came off *so slowly* that it never feels like progress but if I actually look at my fitbit log, this is factual reality and not my messed up perception.

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #270 on: April 13, 2019, 11:26:04 AM »
Really interesting Atlantic article. Possibly particularly interesting to me; over the years, I've watched several people that I know who have severe alcohol use disorder attempt to get sober via AA and fail repeatedly. 

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/


tyort1

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #271 on: April 13, 2019, 12:40:29 PM »
Really interesting Atlantic article. Possibly particularly interesting to me; over the years, I've watched several people that I know who have severe alcohol use disorder attempt to get sober via AA and fail repeatedly. 

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/


Yep, that's why I go to Lifering - it's a lot more modern and way more science based.  Plus I'm an atheist, so there's that....

StarBright

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #272 on: April 13, 2019, 02:41:32 PM »
What tyort1 said. Some people get enormous upswings immediately. I never did *but* there has been slow and steady improvement in my sleep and overall mental wellbeing.
- The carb/sugar cravings do settle if you stick with it - your body is used to a dump of easy energy from alcohol and is looking for a replacement. 
- It took a little while for my sleep to regulate because I had forgotten how to fall asleep naturally. Pukka sleep tea + Music for Airports was my silver bullet.
- Around 6 months my skin just started *glowing* and my teeth were noticeably whiter.
- I am 10kg lighter than 2 years ago. Like, this came off *so slowly* that it never feels like progress but if I actually look at my fitbit log, this is factual reality and not my messed up perception.

Thanks!

I love Music for Airports so much that I couldn't sleep to it :) I listen to the Bang on Can recording of it about once a week when I'm trying to focus on work. I've thought of trying Max Richter's "Sleep" but I wonder if it would mess with me a bit.

Joe Schmo

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #273 on: April 24, 2019, 06:57:14 AM »
My wife got a new job and i was been planning on drinking a glass of champagne when we had a giant celebration party, but she says she doesnít want a party. Oh well. 5yrs 2mo

wannabe-stache

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #274 on: April 24, 2019, 07:10:49 PM »
This thread has inspired me.  Or i hope it will inspire me.

i don't know if i am an alcoholic. i don't want to admit that because it would be very sad for me to never be able to enjoy a beer again.  i really, really enjoy a nice beer.  and i sense that if one admits to the "alcoholic" tag, they are admitting that they should never drink alcohol again.

in all honesty i have at least 2 or 3 beers when i get home from work, plus a glass or 2 or 3 of wine. every day.

despite my habit i still manage to wake up early and train fairly intensely for athletics.  i have run multiple sub 3 hour marathons in the past couple years despite carrying on this type of drinking habit.  and i hold down i very high paying job.

i definitely have an addictive streak, but i have been able to quit things surprisingly easy.  case in point, i drank a lot of coffee (8-10 cups/day) for the last 20 years and coincidentally i just quit cold turkey a month ago, with no withdrawal symptoms.

my biggest concern as previously noted is that i'll never be able to enjoy one beer again, or a nice glass of Cabernet, because i can't stop at one.

from a mustachian perspective, i have probably $5,000 worth of high end wine in my house that my wife and i reserve for special occasions.  it would be sad to think that i cannot enjoy them any more.

this is partially a plea for help and partially a plea to let me know that i can dial back drinking without giving it up completely.

snogirl

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #275 on: April 24, 2019, 07:26:41 PM »
Just celebrated 15 years sober 4-19-2019 changed my life ODAAT. Grateful.

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PoutineLover

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #276 on: April 24, 2019, 07:49:58 PM »
This thread has inspired me.  Or i hope it will inspire me.

i don't know if i am an alcoholic. i don't want to admit that because it would be very sad for me to never be able to enjoy a beer again.  i really, really enjoy a nice beer.  and i sense that if one admits to the "alcoholic" tag, they are admitting that they should never drink alcohol again.

in all honesty i have at least 2 or 3 beers when i get home from work, plus a glass or 2 or 3 of wine. every day.

despite my habit i still manage to wake up early and train fairly intensely for athletics.  i have run multiple sub 3 hour marathons in the past couple years despite carrying on this type of drinking habit.  and i hold down i very high paying job.

i definitely have an addictive streak, but i have been able to quit things surprisingly easy.  case in point, i drank a lot of coffee (8-10 cups/day) for the last 20 years and coincidentally i just quit cold turkey a month ago, with no withdrawal symptoms.

my biggest concern as previously noted is that i'll never be able to enjoy one beer again, or a nice glass of Cabernet, because i can't stop at one.

from a mustachian perspective, i have probably $5,000 worth of high end wine in my house that my wife and i reserve for special occasions.  it would be sad to think that i cannot enjoy them any more.

this is partially a plea for help and partially a plea to let me know that i can dial back drinking without giving it up completely.
I've heard of a medication that decreases the pleasure you feel from alcohol, so it becomes much easier to just have one and stop there, because you actually don't even want more. Also, the article talks about how AA is actually not the gold standard for alcohol abuse treatment, and doesn't work as well as advertised, and it's probably partially because the all or nothing approach and the labeling of "alcoholic" leads to more binging and abstinence cycles but not necessarily actual recovery. (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/) That being said, this is based only on reading and not practice.
Personally, I started tracking my alcohol consumption using the app alcodroid, which also gives some useful stats, and I've managed to decrease my average consumption. My goal wasn't to quit, but just to get below the level of problematic drinking, which is somewhere around 7 drinks a week for a woman or 1 per day. I don't think you need to label yourself an alcoholic and never drink again, but if you feel that you are drinking too much, there are other options to decrease your consumption.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #277 on: April 24, 2019, 08:11:51 PM »
Wanna Be stache -The medication is Naltrexone,  I just started taking it. I went 7 months alcohol free last year and this year only one month. So I am trying this drug. It is called the Sinclair method where you drinkas you normally would but take themedication one hour prior. With this medication eventually you loosethe addition part of alcohol. I take it and really only want one beer.
It is by precrition only, but you can get it from India, or Doc in the box/telemedicine.  https://cthreefoundation.org/ for more info

https://cthreefoundation.org/

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #278 on: April 24, 2019, 09:09:14 PM »
This thread has inspired me.  Or i hope it will inspire me.

i don't know if i am an alcoholic. i don't want to admit that because it would be very sad for me to never be able to enjoy a beer again.  i really, really enjoy a nice beer.  and i sense that if one admits to the "alcoholic" tag, they are admitting that they should never drink alcohol again.

in all honesty i have at least 2 or 3 beers when i get home from work, plus a glass or 2 or 3 of wine. every day.

despite my habit i still manage to wake up early and train fairly intensely for athletics.  i have run multiple sub 3 hour marathons in the past couple years despite carrying on this type of drinking habit.  and i hold down i very high paying job.

i definitely have an addictive streak, but i have been able to quit things surprisingly easy.  case in point, i drank a lot of coffee (8-10 cups/day) for the last 20 years and coincidentally i just quit cold turkey a month ago, with no withdrawal symptoms.

my biggest concern as previously noted is that i'll never be able to enjoy one beer again, or a nice glass of Cabernet, because i can't stop at one.

from a mustachian perspective, i have probably $5,000 worth of high end wine in my house that my wife and i reserve for special occasions.  it would be sad to think that i cannot enjoy them any more.

this is partially a plea for help and partially a plea to let me know that i can dial back drinking without giving it up completely.

Well, 'alcoholic' is sort of a made up term, like a pop culture term. It's not used by the medical or psychiatric profession when they are treating substance abuse, or at least it shouldn't be except as a sort of slang.  I dislike the term as well b/c it allows society to support and encourage regular ingestion of an objectively addictive substance, while somehow cordoning off a group of drinkers as 'different' based on extremely nebulous, unscientifically defined criteria.

You sound like a lot of people, somewhere in the middle on the sliding scale of alcohol use between 'never drinks' and 'drinks until it's fatal', and feeling uneasy about the long term trajectory. Which makes sense...booze is addictive to pretty much anyone who drinks regularly.

Setting aside the physical effects, I'd guess some personality types seem more susceptible to psychological dependence or forming a problematic habit of it.  Both my husband and I were near-daily drinkers for most of the past 20 years, but he doesn't have quite the psychological dependence I do/did, so he's always found moderation easier.  The difference seems to be that he never formed any strong mental link between booze and stress relief.  Whereas, I had gone for 15 years of my young adulthood drinking very occasionally and not caring about booze, but then began drinking regularly during a period of un-diagnosed illness that was causing severe anxiety and insomnia.  The 'link' quickly formed in my brain that a drink would help me calm down and sleep when nothing else was working (note: Had I had access to an Rx for sedatives during those months, I'd very likely have formed a habit around those, but whiskey was handy and sedatives were not). 

Even though I got out of that insomnia/health crisis, and went back to drinking more 'normally', that association in my brain remained ("alcohol can chill you out and relax you when nothing else can"), and ever after, the end of a shitty day or a bad bout of insomnia would trigger the desire to have a drink.  And gradually I just developed the habit of a couple of drinks at cocktail hour.  Lots of my social circle drank the same way, and I experienced no negative consequences to my life.  Literally none, not even hangovers. I had nothing but pleasurable associations with it.

But there was always a nagging worry about 1) my health; and 2) the inevitable creep of tolerance and increased intake.   A recent health issue that is worsened by alcohol is what finally spurred me to tackle it.

My advice is, quit worrying about labeling yourself.  If you are feeling concern, then that's all you need to legitimize taking steps.  No need to wait and see if serious consequences might one day arise!   As to moderation, you might be one who can.  Or you might be someone more like me, where you CAN moderate, but just find that it's SO MUCH mental effort to do so, that it seems surprisingly easier to just not drink (though I haven't absolutely 'forbidden' myself from ever having another drink).  Or you might be someone whose brain reacts really strongly to the first couple of drinks, and removes the 'off' switch; in that case, maybe moderation wouldn't work for you.  I've never been a binge drinker, so others here might offer more insight on that pattern than I have.

But it seems like anyone who likes to drink with any regularity just inevitably ends up dealing with 'amount creep'.  That's not a character flaw in you or anyone, it's just a human body's response to booze.

I know the feeling of not wanting to think about potentially giving up something you enjoy. Try framing it a different way in your head...see if you can just start thinking of it as something you get to try (at least for a while) to give your health a boost, and what a relief it will be to remove the nagging worry when you pour a glass.  In other words, just give it a try.  It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought back before I tried it!


CrustyBadger

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #279 on: April 24, 2019, 09:41:19 PM »
@wannabe-stache, you might like to check out Annie Grace's book, This Naked Mind.  Or the online program, the alcohol experiment.  https://learn.thisnakedmind.com/the-alcohol-experiment-registration

Rather than trying to decide if you are an "alcoholic" or not, a good question to ask is "Am I drinking the amount of alcohol I want to be drinking?"   and to question whether the reasons you tell yourself you are drinking alcohol are actually true.

For example, one belief I had was that I drink alcohol to relax after a stressful time.   Annie Grace's advice was to question that belief, and make observations about it.   So, on a day I was feeling a lot of stress, and had a drink, to just sit an notice how I felt . before I drank, while I was drinking, a little after the first drink, and an hour or so after the first or second drink.   Just observe.   Did I feel less stress?  Or what did I feel?

In the online program, we did this with a lot of different beliefs:  I like the taste of alcohol, alcohol makes me feel happier, alcohol helps me fall asleep and be more rested and so on.  There are no right answers here.   You are trying to be objective and find out what amount of alcohol YOU want to be drinking.

In my case I realized that alcohol only made me feel less stressed for about 10 minutes.  Then I started to feel MORE stressed, unless I had another drink.  This wasn't someone telling me I *HAD* to stop drinking; it was me noticing for myself that a key reason I thought I drank wasn't actually true.



mspym

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #280 on: April 24, 2019, 10:28:15 PM »
@wannabe-stache I had just posted this somewhere else earlier today and it ties in with what @wenchsenior and @CrustyBadger are saying
Quote
From my own personal experience, I used to drink on special occasions and enjoyed getting and being drunk. This was probably more booze than medical standards allow but I was classic young and stupid. Not actually a problem.

When it became a problem was when it was my main, and then only, coping mechanism for dealing with other stresses in my life. When I started to be uncomfortable with the amount I was drinking and kept doing it anyway. That was when I needed to stop altogether because it was easier to just not than it was to manage.

If you are not in that mental space you are probably are OK, and you generally know if you are in that space.

I got a prescription for Naltrexone a couple of years ago and used it a couple of times when I was still on the fence about quitting. It really took away the urge to keep drinking and somehow without the booze hitting my chemical receptors I was just tasting the actual flavours which made me realise I didn't actually like wine very much. So I knew I had that in my back pocket when I decided that I was going to take a break from drinking.

My goal was a year off but I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want it to be a thing. I did tell my husband about 3 weeks in and then he was just super supportive re joining in on any activities I needed to fill the cocktail hour window until the habit was broken. When I got to the end of the year it was going so well that I re-upped. I honestly never thought I would quit entirely but my life is genuinely so much better without booze. So much of the mental chatter and anxiety is gone.

Just want to let you know that you don't have to be in the gutter to decide you will take a break for a while.

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #281 on: April 24, 2019, 11:02:48 PM »
@wannabe-stache, you might like to check out Annie Grace's book, This Naked Mind.  Or the online program, the alcohol experiment.  https://learn.thisnakedmind.com/the-alcohol-experiment-registration

Rather than trying to decide if you are an "alcoholic" or not, a good question to ask is "Am I drinking the amount of alcohol I want to be drinking?"   and to question whether the reasons you tell yourself you are drinking alcohol are actually true.

For example, one belief I had was that I drink alcohol to relax after a stressful time.   Annie Grace's advice was to question that belief, and make observations about it.   So, on a day I was feeling a lot of stress, and had a drink, to just sit an notice how I felt . before I drank, while I was drinking, a little after the first drink, and an hour or so after the first or second drink.   Just observe.   Did I feel less stress?  Or what did I feel?

In the online program, we did this with a lot of different beliefs:  I like the taste of alcohol, alcohol makes me feel happier, alcohol helps me fall asleep and be more rested and so on.  There are no right answers here.   You are trying to be objective and find out what amount of alcohol YOU want to be drinking.

In my case I realized that alcohol only made me feel less stressed for about 10 minutes.  Then I started to feel MORE stressed, unless I had another drink.  This wasn't someone telling me I *HAD* to stop drinking; it was me noticing for myself that a key reason I thought I drank wasn't actually true.

Yup. One of my big light bulb moments of "my brain is insistently telling me something that is bullshit" occurred after I'd been journaling a week or so of my regular drinking. I'd noticed that 'cocktail hour' had triggered an actual physical drop in my diaphram, like an actual physical relaxation that passed from my neck down. It was such a great feeling!  And then after one of the daily videos, I started paying attention to precisely when that occurred. And it happened the second I started toward the wine bottle, not 10 minutes after I started drinking!  The wine wasn't even causing most of the relaxation lol.  Stupid lizard brain.

brute

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #282 on: April 25, 2019, 06:32:47 AM »
Not 100% booze free, but I've had booze 3 times this year. My wife's birthday, valentines day, and our wedding anniversary. A bottle of wine split between us and a pour of nice scotch. It was nice to enjoy alcohol as a human rather than needing to pound down more to see if I could get a buzz. Seriously, it was a crazy feeling getting relaxed and a little loopy after a single glass of wine. Is this what normal people experience?

wannabe-stache

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #283 on: April 25, 2019, 08:45:36 AM »
Thanks everyone. Curious - how long did it take for sleep to come easy without the booze?

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #284 on: April 25, 2019, 08:57:39 AM »
Thanks everyone. Curious - how long did it take for sleep to come easy without the booze?

Suspect it's different for everyone, depending on how much you were drinking. I was drinking ~2 per day, and have a history of erratic sleep patterns prior to and during my drinking years.  It took about 10 days before I stopped being super antsy late into the night every night, and about 3 weeks before I consistently fell asleep easily after getting in bed (note, the antsy-ness was not the same as a craving...I wasn't thinking about alcohol, just very restless).

wespellitmoustache

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #285 on: May 02, 2019, 04:35:16 AM »
Hi all,

After reading this thread a couple of weeks ago I'm now day 10 alcohol free. I'm seeing immediate benefits: more energy, better sleep, less snacking in the evenings.

I've also started reading This Naked Mind and am considering making this a permanent thing, which is something I never thought I'd say. We're off to my favourite wine region in France in Sept/Oct for two weeks at a language school - I think that will be a turning point one way or another!

OurTown

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #286 on: May 02, 2019, 05:49:11 AM »
My day counter on my phone says today is 1,000 days of sobriety.

MasterStache

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #287 on: May 02, 2019, 05:58:55 AM »
I was an alcoholic in my early 20s. And likely drank more than I should have during my time in the military, although I did unknowingly cut back and focus on other more important things. Over the last 15 years or so I've rarely had a drink. Social gatherings on occasion. Honestly I don't even feel great after 1 beer. Now it's an occasional glass of wine sitting on the patio. I just see it as an expensive, unnecessary habit.   

DadJokes

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #288 on: May 02, 2019, 06:33:24 AM »
My day counter on my phone says today is 1,000 days of sobriety.

Congrats!

StarBright

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #289 on: May 02, 2019, 07:16:42 AM »
I added in a few drinks after Lent was over.

DH and I have had a standing cocktail date Sunday afternoons on the porch for the last year. It is our couple time to decompress from our go go go weekends with chores and kids. I also had a glass of wine after work one night and had a half a beer to go with a burger.

Conclusion - a beer with a cheeseburger is worth keeping (I don't drink soda) and I only have a burger a few times a year, cocktail date with my husband is probably worth keeping a few times a month, but I don't think I'll go back to post work wine or cocktail just for the heck of it.

I've found a couple of tea drinks that I really like in the evening and I'll stick with that for the foreseeable future.

tyort1

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #290 on: May 02, 2019, 08:13:36 AM »
5 and a half years sober now.  I rarely miss it especially since I'm watching my mom slowly drink herself to death and it seriously mess up my dad's life too.  I wish I could help them more, but they just can't seem to give it up, even when really bad shit is happening as a result. 

jps

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #291 on: May 02, 2019, 09:11:36 AM »
I gave up beer for Lent, and then just kept going.

I've lost a few pounds, which is nice. People have asked me how long I'll continue to go without beer, and I just respond with, "for as long as I please."

I'm not sure at the moment how far I'll take it, and I've even had a G&T or two since beginning this, but I feel dang good about myself, especially knowing that it is easy for me to go so long without a beer.

Nords

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #292 on: May 04, 2019, 02:08:52 AM »
I was contributing quotes for a blogger friendís post about alcohol, and I ended up doing some math.

On 16 May 2019 itíll be 3000 days since my last beer on 27 February 2011.

I was roughly a two-six-pack-per week drinker (craft beers preferred), which could be estimated at $40/week.  (Or maybe Iím out of touch on the price of a six-pack of decent beer.)  That amount invested in a total stock market fund would conservatively be in excess of $20K.

A couple nights ago I was surrounded by a half-dozen beer-drinking friends, spicy food, and good times.  I belatedly realized that neither the spicy food nor the social proof were enough to cause me to want a beer.  I was more surprised that it had taken me a couple hours to even think of the situation.

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #293 on: May 04, 2019, 12:22:25 PM »
15 days since I last had a drink. It just got silly, sipping on my beers every single night... getting fat, not enjoying the taste half the time, the cost, the fuzzy head every single morning.  F' that.

jps

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #294 on: May 16, 2019, 02:59:06 PM »
I haven't had a beer since middle of March, and I've lost somewhere between 5-10 pounds with no other changes. It makes me wonder how much beer I was drinking that was keeping my weight so high.

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #295 on: May 16, 2019, 03:36:53 PM »
I haven't had a beer since middle of March, and I've lost somewhere between 5-10 pounds with no other changes. It makes me wonder how much beer I was drinking that was keeping my weight so high.

Heh.  DH did 30 days in solidarity with me, and then began drinking more mindfully than before, so cut his intake by probably a little more than half.  He's quite fit, only a few pounds of extra weight, AND his weight hasn't fluctuated in years. But he told me yesterday: "Hey, I lost 5 lbs...it's been almost 3 weeks and my weight is definitely 5 lbs down!"  He seemed surprised, as well.

DadJokes

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #296 on: May 16, 2019, 04:28:23 PM »
I'm quite jealous. I went from about 6 beers a week to only a few beers total so far this year, and I haven't lost a pound. I'm starting to think my scale doesn't know how to go below 240.

Ozstache

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #297 on: May 16, 2019, 04:46:26 PM »
After seeing alcohol have a good go at wrecking the lives of some close family members and it slowly sucking the life from me, I quit drinking altogether nearly 4 years ago now. Best thing I ever did and the only real hurdle has been dealing with the attitude of others who feel I should be still drinking but even that has diminished significantly with time.

wenchsenior

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #298 on: May 16, 2019, 05:07:29 PM »
I'm quite jealous. I went from about 6 beers a week to only a few beers total so far this year, and I haven't lost a pound. I'm starting to think my scale doesn't know how to go below 240.

Plateaus are real, for sure. I have the opposite problem, keeping weight ON.  And I was worried that giving up that ~250 calories per day would cause slippage. And it did, but my body does seem to love its plateaus and has stabilized a couple pounds down. 

tyort1

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Re: Give Up the Hooch: Booze Free for as long as you please!
« Reply #299 on: May 16, 2019, 06:50:25 PM »
I'm quite jealous. I went from about 6 beers a week to only a few beers total so far this year, and I haven't lost a pound. I'm starting to think my scale doesn't know how to go below 240.

When I quit drinking, I didn't lose weight because my sugar cravings went through the roof.  Eventually got those under control and now I lost most of the weight and I tend to keep it off as long as I never eat anything after 9pm.