In my first round of Sobriety, at around the ten-month mark, before I spectacularly fell off the wagon, I started to get comfortable with telling people that I didn't drink. I'd actually revel in their curiosity – “are you an alcoholic then?” they'd ask me.
You don't have to be an alcoholic to stay sober. Anyone whose life is made better by not drinking should consider sobriety. That probably means you.
If you have unpaid bills, messy finances, dysfunctional relationships, poor timekeeping or keep waking up with a fuzzy head, then it's probably time to do something about it. The problem is that after years of hiding behind the drink, your real-life problems are just that - very real.
This is why you find it so hard to stop drinking. Under the fuzzy warmth of alcohol, you can escape from your day to day problems, the shitty boss at work, the husband who doesn't take you out, the wife who spends all evening watching soaps. It's too easy just to open another bottle, disappear into it, and let life's problems pass you by.
When you stop drinking you suddenly realise that all of your problems are mounting up and not going away. Things are getting worse, not better, and change becomes a monster that you don't want to face. It's much easier to buy another four-pack and shove the envelopes in the drawer.
The drink is the reason you are overweight. When I think back to the times I used to go to the gym regularly and then hit the bar straight afterwards, it's no wonder any exercise regime didn't work for me. Doing a spinning class for 45 minutes followed by four or five pints of cold beer and more – what is the point of that?
Alcoholics in the last stages of their drinking career probably don't go to the gym. But you and your realisation that you need to get into shape and drop the extra pounds is becoming more crucial as every year passes. Exercise, diet and alcohol don't mix. You may be able to get away with one night drinking a week, but over that, you are negating all the hard work you put in the gym.
Achieving a slim, toned body is 80% diet and 20% exercise. If you are drinking several nights a week, then your percentages are not adding up to 100.
Alcohol is the cause of many of your problems. Just because you are not an alcoholic doesn't mean that you have to keep on drinking yourself into a deeper and deeper rut.
If you are finding it hard to quit the booze, then that's another sign that you need to abandon the alcohol. Things like a constant headache that follows you around for days on end and increased anxiety and restlessness are good signs that you are on the right track. Going back to drinking may relieve these symptoms in the short term, but once the effect of alcohol has worn off, you'll be back where you started.
Your mind and body are trying to start the process of healing, and it's an uncomfortable feeling. It takes some getting used to. Try not to binge on ice cream and biscuits because sugar is another form of poison that you don't need, however, if the choice is between another plate of ice cream or a beer then it's another trip back to the freezer for you.
Drink plenty of water and keep well hydrated. Go for walks and enjoy nature. Get plenty of sleep if you can and take afternoon naps. There will be good days and bad days, but the longer you stick with the process, the more good days you will have than bad.