It’s been nearly four years since my last drink, 18 Dec 2017. It’s an easy date to remember as I had a shoulder reconstruction on the 19th. At that stage of my life I was going through some challenges having just been informed my role at Shell was redundant and my first go on anti depressants. With out making excuses I think my mental state was a factor in my drinking habits.
I’m told there are three or four different types of alcoholism. Binge drinking, closet drinking, drinking every day, more than two a day etc. I’ve never been sure if I was an alcoholic but if you look at the definitions at least a couple apply to me. I usually had a couple of drinks every day and on the weekends when watching the footy it would be more. I guess it doesn’t matter what definition you use, for me my drinking was becoming a problem and needed to be addressed
There were two instances in that time that really hit home with me and influenced my decision to stop drinking. The first, in Singapore on a family holiday, saw me fly into a rage at my family because the kids wanted two desserts instead of one. I’m still not sure what drove the rage but I have no doubt being drunk played a significant part in the level of my anger.
The second occurred at home on my first day taking anti depressants. I don’t know what part the medication played but again it was alcohol fuelled anger at my family over something silly. Both these incidents have had a lasting impact on my family with Jode and the kids being scared and confused at my temper. It’s quite possible that regardless of what I do they may never recover from these episodes.
These episodes strengthened my resolve to give alcohol a rest. Now I needed a line in he sand which I could use to turn the alcohol off. Luckily for me I was having a shoulder reconstruction and as with any major surgery, not drinking during the recovery period enhances the bodies ability to mend it self. So on 18 Dec 2017 I had what are now my last two or three beers.
As I said earlier I do’t know if I was an alcoholic but giving up cold turkey didn’t have any detrimental effects on me. The world didn’t stop spinning and I suffered no withdrawal symptoms and, as to be expected, my mental and physical health has improved. So the actual act of giving up the grog was much easier than I thought with health benefits.
I’m not hear to preach about the purity of being a non drinker. A lot of people that know me will say that, while I had an awesome time while drinking, I probably should have taken this step in my twenties and thirties. I remember in the Nineties when the slogan was “you don’t have to drink to have a good time”, we all fell off our chairs laughing. The Naval culture was work hard, play (drink) harder and I certainly did my best to remain true to the culture.
No, the message I’m spreading today is that if you’re toying with giving alcohol a break then its much easier than you think. Pick a date, get support from your family and friends and do it (or not). Don’t worry about judgement, I experienced none, in fact I received the opposite. People gave praise and expressed pride in my decision while others said it provided them inspiration. Again the decision was about me but has had a profound effect on others.
I don’t know if I’ll drink again, at this point I’m toying with the age of sixty when Jode retires and we start travelling, just the two of us. By this point I hope to enjoy and stop at a couple of drinks while enjoying the ambience of our surrounds.
At this stage I don’t feel the need to drink and feel comfortable in the company of others in a drinking environment. I do however have an underlying fear of what one drink will mean to me. So while I don’t need or want to drink the fear of one drink also holds me back. I don’t want to fall into old habits and would rather go without than go overboard.
So if you think its where you are in life give it a go. If you need support drop me a line and I’ll walk you through my experience to wee what will and won’t work for you