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Did You Resolve to Quit Drinking?

If you vowed to give up drinking as your New Year’s resolution, you are not alone. It is a great decision, wherever you find yourself in relation to alcohol. There is no magic level of “bad enough” required to choose sobriety, it is more a matter of being “ready” for a better way of life.

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I felt conflicted when I gave up alcohol. I was scared by the strain of daily cravings, yet my drinking did not seem to interfere with my work or family responsibilities. I assumed (wrongly) that giving up alcohol was something people only did as a result of some dire consequence; if I could hide an addiction maybe it wasn’t so bad. Still, I was drinking more despite resolving regularly to drink less; the pattern was swiftly gaining momentum. I didn’t want to lose my license, wet the bed or pull my skirt over my head at a family wedding. The idea to quit while I was ahead was an epiphany.

Looking back now, I can’t believe I carried such a burden. Booze was a total nag, always demanding my attention and distracting me from everything. It took constant calculation to watch the clock, balance my intake, pace things just right, have enough on hand, and make excuses for the daily disappointment in myself.

If you are contemplating a change, I say this: Decide right now that you want things to be different, and then go after the life you want. Nothing bad will come of living without booze – you will be happier, healthier and free. Part of your brain – the addicted part – will freak out a bit and try to convince you to drink. It will invent all kinds of reasons why you should: you weren’t not that bad, you are more fun when you’re drunk, you are missing out, you just needed a break to reset, your friends will be disappointed, that wedding is coming up…….Don’t be fooled. Stick with it.

Thousands and thousands of people are searching the web for answers to their drinking fears right now. You might feel like the only one in the whole world, but you are not. And tens of millions have walked this path before you – there is lots of help along the way.

A question for readers: how many of you vowed to quit on New Years’ past and how did that work out? What suggestions do you have for others in the same position today?

If you’re new, please post your questions or comments below to receive encouragement from myself and other readers. Those of you who have been here a while, please help out by taking a moment to respond with a kind words for the many people who find themselves here today looking for insights.

Happy New Year!

 

 

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About UnPickled

I am learning to walk without the crutch of alcohol. As I begin I am 1 day sober. Gulp. I drank in private and hope to quit just as privately. The purpose of this blog is to help make me accountable - just by following you will give me enormous support and encouragement.

Posted on January 1, 2017, in Early Recovery, Getting Sober, Holidays and Special Events, How I Did It and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 88 Comments.

  1. I am going through reading each post this evening and feel such relief. I can relate to everything you say! I believe God must be using you to reach out to the rest of us. It’s nice to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you! Thank you!!!

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  2. I was JUST thinking this and then this post happened. I recently decided to take a break from drinking and I keep having those thoughts that you mentioned as well.

    Hopefully I’ll stick to it! (:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m 62 years old and drink a bottle of wine plus a night for like 20 years with few interim stops. I continue to be successfu and functioning but feel like I’m losing a grip on this now. I’ve lost interest in lots around me and start pouring that glass of wine earlier and earlier. I fall asleep…..no pass out….each night on a chair. In times that I have quit, I have felt wonderful and so want that. Every morning I wake up and say not again.

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  4. Hello! Happy New Year! I am new here and I’ve stopped drinking for 100 days , hopefully more but that is all my brain will allow right now

    I can’t count how many times I’ve googled “Do I drink too much?” , trying to make myself feel better or justified for drinking a bottle of wine a night and way more than that on the weekends. I’m not in the gutter, in jail, in debt, drinking in the morning, have a job, not at rock bottom blablabla but it doesn’t matter because I know I drink too much. I think about it ALL THE TIME. I feel like shit in the morning.. headache, upset stomach which means I live in the bathroom all morning, shame, guilt, obession with all the weight I’ve gained, so much self abuse .

    I’ve been a “party girl” since about age 14 and I am now 50. I used to have an “off switch” but in the last 7 or so years, maybe more, something has changed and I just can’t have one glass of wine. It’s the whole bottle, or more if I have it. I feel like my life is like the movie Groundhog Day, in an endless loop of shame and regret. Today is Day 3 for me, I’ve made it 24 days before and I need to make it this time!! thanks xoxxoxox

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  5. Great comments above and thank you Jean for your blog, podcast, and everything! I am close to 6 months sober and quit somewhat unceremoniously after “trying” for several months. I say “trying” because initially I tried quitting because my husband finally noticed how much I was drinking (and hiding drinking! and not being good at our relationship as a result!). So, at first, I did it to get him off my back, but never was able to actually quit (continued hiding it). Eventually, he went away for a long weekend and I figured I’d have my “last drink” in a ceremonious way, to get “closure,” while he was gone, and that would be it. However, when the long weekend arrived, I realized I was already done drinking. That weekend, I didn’t drink – and I did it for ME – and not because he was wanting me to. That was a huge shift for me.

    So, if it’s January 1, 2017 (which seems ceremonious) or some other random day in January (or February, etc) that one decides to quit, it’s all ok!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In addition to “happier, healthier and free,” I just wanted to add that for me the overwhelming anxiety and insomnia that drove my desire to drink (and kept me relapsing at first) is SO MUCH LESS than it was when I was drinking. I never realized that by drinking wine every night (and constantly being in withdrawal when I wasn’t drinking), I was making my anxiety ten times worse. But I drank the wine to relieve the anxiety… Oh, the irony! I’ve been sober for many years now, and even when I go through high-anxiety periods, it’s never as bad as before I quit.

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  7. Tracy Harrington

    Great posts as always. I have contemplated my drinking over the past 16 months and have tried to cut back. My back issue is not drinking ever when your spouse drinks! It is a truly huge trigger for me and I feel like a kill joy when everyone wants to go to happy hour and I am looking for alternative drinks and I get soooo bored sitting there after a bit. How do you handle spouse drinking when I want to quit?

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  8. Once again I vow to stop drinking. Same vow I have made for close to 30 years but haven’t been able to keep for more than a couple years, months, weeks or days. I know I have to stop for me. It is killing me. Today I vow not to drink. Thank you for your support. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are worth all the effort, Christy. Think about what worked well in the past and what didn’t, and make some adjustments to reinforce your program. You’re not alone and having connections with people in recovery is empowering!

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  9. It has taken me 4 years of wanting to so badly, the terrible admonishing dialogue I would have with myself every morning, the negotiating with myself…… balanced with gallons and gallons of wine poured down my throat over the last 8 years. It took my getting the flu last month to get it out of my system, only to be hit with mad cravings once I recovered. I took little drinks to make the headaches subside, eventually they went away followed by the exhaustion that made me sleep 12 hours at a time. That subsided into the terrible moodiness, the murderous rage….. now I’m day 2 clean after drinks on NYE and this blog really is my story. I’m the “high bottom” drunk in the rooms. But that doesn’t mean my life was manageable or pleasant.

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  10. Thank you for this New Years post. I have been meaning to thank you for this blog as it is the reason I started to quit drinking three years ago. I was always a binge black out drinker – not a daily drinker. I knew I had a problem with alcohol because I was never able to have just one – but it never occurred to me that the solution to my problem was to stop drinking completely until I read your blog and started to listen to the bubble hour. So many of your words truly resonate with me. After binge drinking since the age of 14 I started my journey of quitting three years ago at age 41. I made it one year and spent that year under a pink cloud, so happy and free of alcohol I was ecstatic. And then thought I had it under control, and could moderate – ha ha ha. After 6 months of losing that battle I quit again, but this time I was upset and angry because I knew I had to quit and I was not happy about it. I lasted eight months and started drinking one night. I drank and drank that night and the next day I realized I was done for good and I was back to being happy about it. That was 63 days ago and now I feel I truly know how much better it is on the other side. I feel happy healthy and confident knowing I don’t have to drink and lose control. I am more patient, I am a better parent and wife, and my life is just so much brighter without the lure of drinking.

    I guess my point – apart from a huge thanks you and your blog and the bubble hour – is to say if you are thinking of quitting- do it! And if you fail a few times, keep trying. I feel that my past failures have led me to the path of utter conviction that the only way for me is alcohol free. It may take a few tries until it sticks – but the journey is worth it!

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  11. Day 7 for me–I stopped in 2013/14–but convinced myself I could moderate. Here I am, 2 1/2 years later, armed with the knowledge that I cannot moderate. I know what it’s like on the other side, and I’m determined to stick with it this time. Thank you, Jean, for all that you do! I’m grateful for your blog and your willingness to help others with their struggle. xo

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  12. Two and a half years ago my life revolved around alcohol. How do I get it? How do I hide it? How can I sneak a drink? How much do I have in the house? It was a nightmare. Now sober…I realize the countless hours of my life consumed by these thoughts. There was no time to think of anything or anyone else. It wasn’t until I got sober that I realized exactly how much time. Was it easy? No, but staying addicted was harder….for me and everyone around me. I’m grateful for my moment of clarity!!!

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  13. HI!
    I am 38 years old mother of three wonderful children, I have been reading this blog since it started 2011 and I started listen to podcast on bubble hour this year. This shows, that I have been on my way to sobriety for six year at least. For the first time I have now decided to stop drinking, I have been lying to my self for so many years that I can change my drinking only to have it gotten worse and worse. I have not hit the rock bottom or done something awful but my drinking starts almost everyday around six when I drink my first glass of red wine, making dinner, then it keeps going through the night over TV. Sometimes it’s three glasses sometimes four and sometimes it’s more then that.

    I am really afraid to stop, I cant imagine my life with out my red wine, going on holiday without a drink or on a hot summer day without my Chardonnay, It’s scary! But I know I have to do this for my self and for my children, also I absolutely can’t stand that something like alcohol has the power over me. I am so tired to thinking about drinking all the time it’s so much work.
    I am functioning alcoholic, I do well in my work everyday, I care well for my children, help them with there homework, play with them, drive them and do what ever is necessary everyday. Today is my day one!

    Thank you for this wonderful blog ❤
    PS: sorry if my writing is strange, It's because English is not my main language

    Liked by 1 person

    • How wonderful that this is your time. You’ve been in the “contemplation” stage all this time, but today you step into the next stage of change, which is “action”. Keep with it, and you will never need to know the dark places that alcohol could have dragged you. Your children will grow up knowing you as a women of strength, and this will benefit them in so many ways throughout their lives. You are doing a heroic thing today. I am honoured to walk this road with you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh gosh I can relate! I lived the same way! It gets better in recovery! You WILL ENJOY LIFE without alcohol! It has been true for me. You have everything to gain.

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  14. Thank you for replying to my post yesterday, the support is really helpful. Again I want to thank you for all that you are doing, you are truly an inspiration and are doing a ton of good in the world. This was my journal entry for today that I want to share with you and your readers. Today I commit to staying strong and slowly, start coming out of the shadows. what keeps me back? Stigma, which I vow to work in the service of my values and work on shattering this ugly invisible yet powerful monster which keeps so many of us from getting the help we need. I look forward to the day when I will feel confident enough to share my name with you and others, to share what I have been struggling with for years with those who are close to me, without fear of what they might think and fear of what this might do to my career. But until that day I will work on keeping on, and dedicating all I have in me to this “maintence” phase. Here is my journal entry for the day…those of you who have found this space because you want to change your life, focus on today, even if that is all you can do at the moment. We are all in this together.

    Today is day 26, would have been day 29 but I had three slip ups all have one common denominator. My mother. I take responsibility, but also need to identify my trigger. The pattern that I have noticed is that conversations and be able to bear having around are easier if I have a glass or two, or three. The challenge for me now will be to stop the pattern that I see forming…”it’s just one day and I can get back on and keep counting once She’s not around”. I refuse to continue giving her that power. I refuse to let the voice which I call “the rationale one” to keep talking and controlling me, in reality it’s the little voice inside, the younger id-like child that is screaming to numb out in order to make it bearable. This struggle is definitely real, but I can no longer be in denial, I need to maintain this momentum for my sake. I need to practice saying no and not fear what she will say, it’s that which I am most worried about, her judgement. I need to figure out why fear of her judgment makes me cave in. I need to go back to therapy and work at this, its is what I use to cope with the depression and anxiety that I have been dealing with my entire life. Until then I say no thank and that is ok, one day at a time. The first person I need to tell is my boyfriend, he has been in my shoes and is an example of how to make it out and rebuild. I can’t keep this secret because it is eating me up from the inside and causing unneeded stress. The count continues…Day 26

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  15. Thank you for replying to my post yesterday, the support is really helpful. Again I want to thank you for all that you are doing, you are truly an inspiration and are doing a ton of good in the world. This was my journal entry for today that I want to share with you and your readers. Today I commit to staying strong and slowly, start coming out of the shadows. what keeps me back? Stigma, which I vow to work in the service of my values and work on shattering this ugly invisible yet powerful monster which keeps so many of us from getting the help we need. I look forward to the day when I will feel confident enough to share my name with you and others, to share what I have been struggling with for years with those who are close to me, without fear of what they might think and fear of what this might do to my career. But until that day I will work on keeping on, and dedicating all I have in me to this “maintence” phase. Here is my journal entry for the day…those of you who have found this space because you want to change your life, focus on today, even if that is all you can do at the moment. We are all in this together.

    Today is day 26, would have been day 29 but I had three slip ups all have one common denominator. My mother. I take responsibility, but also need to identify my trigger. The pattern that I have noticed is that conversations and be able to bear having around are easier if I have a glass or two, or three. The challenge for me now will be to stop the pattern that I see forming…”it’s just one day and I can get back on and keep counting once She’s not around”. I refuse to continue giving her that power. I refuse to let the voice which I call “the rationale one” to keep talking and controlling me, in reality it’s the little voice inside, the younger id-like child that is screaming to numb out in order to make it bearable. This struggle is definitely real, but I can no longer be in denial, I need to maintain this momentum for my sake. I need to practice saying no and not fear what she will say, it’s that which I am most worried about, her judgement. I need to figure out why fear of her judgment makes me cave in. I need to go back to therapy and work at this, its is what I use to cope with the depression and anxiety that I have been dealing with my entire life. Until then I say no thank and that is ok, one day at a time. The first person I need to tell is my boyfriend, he has been in my shoes and is an example of how to make it out and rebuild. I can’t keep this secret because it is eating me up from the inside and causing unneeded stress. The count continues…Day 26

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    • You’ve got it, this is what recovery is all about – the reflection and the change that lets us live so it doesn’t hurt. Sobriety clears the way for recovery. You are doing great work and it will change your life in ways you can’t even imagine. Keep going.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much! Seeing your response (though I imagine what a feat it must be to keep up) really helps…thanks times a million on behalf of my current and future self for all the good you are sharing with the world.

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  16. It is amazing to me how similar our stories are. I never hit rock bottom and was fully functioning but it was becoming almost impossible to keep all the balls in the air. I was exhausted and knew my health would suffer if I continued as I was. I hated hiding bottles, getting rid of the empties, buying more, thinking about how much to buy. I had to be careful how much I bought- too little and I was desperate for more, too much and I would drink it all and feel awful the next day. It was a daily calculation.

    I am 9 months sober and my self confidence is back ( it took a while). I too have found I love my life! I am a better mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter. It is amazing. I am so thankful. After trying to moderate I knew I had to quit cold turkey. And finally April 4th it was my day. No one was going to rescue me – it had to come from me.

    I wish you all peace and love. This is doable and it will give back to you tenfold. Just plod through the first months and it gets easier. I worried how I would get through family visits, social gatherings, vacations etc but with each success I built confidence and resolve. It is all part of the process. I thought I could never do it, but I could, and you can too.

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    • Your description of what it was like to be stuck in the vicious cycle gave me a lump in my throat – it’s been almost six years now but the sadness of addiction I will never forget. But your determination and positive view of recovery then makes my heart sing. It is so positive and practical, we think it’s all drama and tragedy but it’s just good common sense. Get it done. Enjoy a good life. Yes!!!

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  17. I am not going to drink today. Thank you for this blog and for everyone’s input.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome. If you can, make a trip to the store and get some things to help you through – some sweets (sugar can negate alcohol cravings), some nice lotions or bubble bath, magazines, nail polish, a craft. Anything to change your routine and comfort and occupy you through the witching hours of cravings and habits. Sending love. You’re not alone. Post if you need help.

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  18. My dear wondering friends, I quit drinking approximately 3 1/2 years ago, largely with the help and influence of this very blog. I, too, had no dramatic fall from alcohol’s grace. Just the endless thoughts that it was too much, it was controlling my life, it wasn’t going to end well, I could have a freer life without my wine. Everyone around me thought it was a bit dramatic that I might go completely sober, but I knew…I knew it would be the only way. On August 12, 2013 I committed, and I’ve never wavered. I remarried in April 2014 without a sip of champagne and I survived. I’ve weathered the various crises of my 88 year old mom (I’m 58) without the decompression-aid of alcohol. There have been times when I’ve thought fondly of how nice it would be to drink with my friends when we all rent a weekend cabin, but the benefits of remaining clear and sober far outweigh being ‘the odd man out’. Be kind with yourself, but also be strong. If you are a believer, rely on God. If you’re not, know that you know what you know what you know and this is YOUR TIME. New beginnings soothe the soul. ✌🏻and ❤

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  19. I have been realizing for a couple of years now that i have a problem. The most time sober was 35 days. Lots of 1 & 2 days, 13 once. Tried to control it. I know i can’t and i was drinking earlier and earlier in the day. It has to stop. I want to be free and happy, i have everything to live for. So today is my day 2 and i am feeling hopeful that i am really ready this time. Thanks for all you do Jean. Is the bubblehour going to come back?

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    • So happy for you, how wonderful that you’re beginning this positive change. I’ll be recording more Bubble Hour episodes soon. More info on that to come later today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m cheering for you and I am sober with you today. We are all in this together.

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  20. Today is Day 8 for me. I dabbled with quitting last year. I made it a month (last February), but then a major career change derailed me. I gave myself permission to start drinking again at that point. I didn’t start drinking more than before, but it became my daily habit immediately again. It was my crutch. It did nothing for me except to numb the stress of the change. I wish I could’ve been stronger at the time to realize what was happening and why I was doing it. Because of restarting, I managed to have many moments with my family that I wish I would have been more present for…I fought more with my husband more than ever…I gained 10 lbs last year…I felt a low-grade hangover EVERY morning that I no longer even realized was there until I stopped again…and on, and on. It gave me nothing, absolutely nothing beneficial. I woke up the morning after Christmas saying “enough is enough”. I don’t want to squander my life like this. I love my life and the people around me. Wine does nothing to support these things. Here are some of my current (albeit early) coping strategies:
    1. Read blogs. This blog and a few others have been a lifeline for me. It is so encouraging to read what others have been through and knowing that it really can be better on the other side.
    2. Have an alternative drink. I have tried many thus far…seltzer and lime, ginger beer and lots of lime, ruby red grapefruit juice and seltzer, hot teas, hot chocolate.
    3. Know your triggers and plan accordingly. Making dinner and having a glass of wine go hand in hand with me. This past week, I’ve cut myself some slack in the cooking department. I LOVE to cook, so this will be temporary. I just need to get through the initial weeks with this. I have relied on the crockpot (cooking at 9 a.m. doesn’t trigger a glass of wine for me thank goodness!), leftovers and takeout.
    4. Have your support. My husband knows what I am trying to do. He is on board with helping me in any way. He is not drinking now either. I am not asking him to stop. This is my journey, but it certainly helps to have him dry as well initially. My best friend also knows. She is a rock for me and will talk thru it as much or as little as I need.
    5. Take one day at a time. It sounds cliche, but it really is what seems to work. I can get very caught up thinking about all these future events and panicking at the thought of not having my constant wine companion with me. How will I go on a romantic vacation with my husband next month, how will I visit my family and not partake in happy hour, how will I get through the lake/boating season without a glass of wine in my hand?? Just knowing I need to do this just for today can calm my mind. I am taking a leap of faith that as the time continues to build, I will truly be able to see what a life without alcohol can bring and these worries about “missing and needing” wine during these moments will fade.

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    • You are amazing. I love your strategies and insights. How great that your husband is so supportive- that will be a huge help. Keep us posted as you add to the list. You’re doing great! So impressive!

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  21. I’m here again, Jean, and find your words as powerful as always. I’m doing Dry January with my husband, and using my blog for support as well, the blog you encouraged me to start – thank you for that. Sending you love from far away. Annie x

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  22. It’s so good to read about how many people have transitioned to happy sober lives. It makes it seem possible. Thanks

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  23. Thank you Jean and all who have commented. I have been attempting sobriety for 13 years. I have been drinking steadily for about 30 years and I will be 64 in two days. I am also one to numb my emotions and the everyday stress of living. What I have found in several different periods of short lived abstinence, (32 days one time) is how happy I can feel about myself and life. But then it fades and I drink again. It is true what others say about the all consuming thought process. What I know is during my periods of abstinence, I feel happy and then I begin to feel this sinking feeling of failure and worthlessness. I will never quit trying to quit. I get overwhelmed when I look back. It paralyses me. I’ve read the books and I have the support. It’s me that won’t let me be free. So now I make another commitment. To try again and to be able to start this year and my 64th year here on earth, addiction free.

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    • Oh Marsha, you need to know that you deserve the best life, that you are worth whatever it takes. Sending love. This is your year.

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    • I wrote in my blog (httprecovery73.blog) about why using New Year’s never worked for me to quit. You are so right nothing bad will come from quitting. What a joy to get out of the grips of our demon alcohol. But like most alcoholics if we decide to quit because it’s New Year’s chances are we are setting ourselves up for failure. BUT if we have a plan of action to get help and are ready to try active recovery then this could be the most important decision we ever make. Thank you for this post.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marsha, I am 65, and I have a longstanding pattern of addictive thinking and behavior that goes WAY back. I relate to your feeling of paralysis when looking back – a lot of years, people and things coming and going, life with its up and downs, always going to alcohol/drugs for immediate relief and ultimate misery. Happy to see you are renewing your commitment! It is truly the most wondrous thing to stop the addictive cycle, at any age.

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  24. I drank for 40yrs and it became the all consuming most important thing in my life. I am very lucky that nothing majorly bad happened to me, well apart from my children losing respect for me, my husband being pushed aside and losing my job.

    I quit for the hundredth and last time 5 years ago, my last drink was 1st August, 2011, at around 11pm. It was a cup of red wine, about the 10th drink for that day.

    My neighbours husband had died and she had family over that day. I thought at 10pm, I should pop over and pay my respects. I was talking to her and felt my mind split. Half of me was listening to her and the other half was noticing the half empty bottles of wine on her worktop left by the visitors. The beast part of my brain became obsessed about wanting some of that wine. I cut off from talking/listening to her and asked if I could have some. She told me to help myself with a wave of her hand. This I did. Then the waves of self disgust came over me and this time I could not push them away. I was ashamed of myself in a way I don’t think I had ever felt before.

    I went home and said to my husband “I am never drinking again”. He didn’t say anything, he’d heard it so often in the past. But I did. I stopped. I never picked up another drink no matter how hard it became. And there were times it was very hard. Lying next to my mother on her deathbed for three days with a half bottle of vodka in her bedside cabinet was one. Not to mention sons wedding, with champagne all over the table, (my favourite drink), my 60th birthday, Christmases and New Years, overseas holidays, cruise. I did not go to AA, but I read a lot of books and blogs which helped tremendously.

    Now when that alci voice pops up, I just say NO, you’ve had your share! and a lot of other peoples share too.

    Love and support to everyone out there.

    ________________________________

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  25. I love the way you explain that you don’t have to have lost everything due to booze in order to quit. It is that idea that most people have of the ‘stereotypical alcoholic’ the one on the park bench that drinks litres of vodka a day. It’s that visual that keeps the millions of problem drinkers stuck in denial for so long because they don’t fit that profile. Society needs a mind shift about alcohol and it’s effects. You can be a highly functioning individual and still have a problem with alcohol. Once addiction has taken hold the end could be that park bench but it can take years to get there. Why waste those years waiting for this stereotypical ‘rock bottom’ You’ll never get back those years you spent comparing yourself to the guy on the bench saying at least I’m not as bad as that.

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  26. Today is New Years Day and I’m Sober Free Day 90. I am so grateful for my alcohol free life. The burden was becoming too much to bear. My drinking was starting to scare me. What would my world be like if I never stopped. If you have found yourself reading this blog, you already know what you need to do. What helped me? Avoiding the isolation. I immersed myself in books, blogs, journaling. I can’t tell you the comfort I’ve found in this journey. You are not alone. Please join us in the Sober Journey of 2017.

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  27. Today is the first achole free new year. Two years ago! Yup two years ago I vowed to quit. Finally last year in February I had had enough! 10 months in and going strong. Your blog was what got me started. Desperation googling how to quit drinking. Thank you

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  28. Today is my 2nd alcohol free happy New Year , having had my last drink one year and three days ago. I quit in one day after agonizing about it for many months. To those contemplating , if you have the self loathing that goes with this addiction then it is time. And that starts to go away the minute you say no to a drink and mean it. The night I quit I read Jean’s unpickled blog . If you are reading her blog tonight go for it!

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  29. Addendum:
    Rereading my comment I realized I focused less on the benefits and rewards of recovery than I should have!
    Recovery is worth every single bit of effort and work and pain.
    My life has become rich and peaceful and balanced. Balanced!! No more swinging from one extreme to another.
    I have plenty of new friends with whom I share this disease. Together we are stronger.
    My recovery is percolating throughout my house. My kids and (non-alcoholic) husband are benefiting in substantial, tangible ways. But we had to do a lot of work in therapy. My husband and I are closer than ever.
    For the first time in my life I have self-respect, true compassion for others and hope. My lifelong depression and anxiety are under control.
    I Do Not Miss drinking/using. I never regret recovery. I cherish it and protect it.

    You’re worth it. Give it a try. You will be amazed.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Tomorrow I will have 10 months of sobriety. I too have tried many times to control my drinking. I just had to prove to myself that I WASN’T an alcoholic. I couldn’t accept it. I kept holding on to the hope that someday I could be “normal” again after I got my head together.
    This time, I began to destroy my pancreas. I had no idea I was drinking that much. After getting out of the hospital I found many empty Vodka bottles all over the house. I didn’t remember putting half of them there. I am so grateful I don’t have to live like that anymore.
    Early sobriety is very emotional but I’m happy to be able to feel more than anger or sadness. Whatever I go through, I don’t want to drink over it. I look at the bigger picture. I am present for my life and no longer want to end it.
    All we have is this day so Congratulations to all of you with your first day of sobriety!

    Like

  31. I am 2+ years sober, 49 yrs old, married mom of 2. Recovery was/is my Best decision ever. I didn’t drink/use my whole adult life but I’ve had the “ism” my whole life. Early in sobriety someone invited me to look up “insanity” in the dictionary and I invite anyone contemplating sobriety to do so. I belong to a 12-step community but it is by no means the only way to get and stay sober. BTW, “sober” is much more than not drinking. Putting down the drugs/alcohol is only the beginning.
    I do think no matter what approach resonates with you you must be willing to put your recovery first over all else. And already injured friends/family will feel even more alienated and annoyed that you once again are focused on yourself. But you’re trying to save your own life, you see. Alcoholism is a progressive, fatal condition. Whether you believe it’s a disease or not, left untreated it gets only worse, never better. Things in your world may get worse before they get better even after you stop drinking.

    To the person on/around/contemplating day 1:
    You can get off the elevator (which only goes DOWN) of alcoholism any time you want. You don’t have to wait till you’ve lost everything.
    Educate yourself about alcoholism. Take the online “Are you an alcoholic?” questionnaires and be honest. Only YOU can decide if you are an alcoholic.
    If sobriety wasn’t better, people wouldn’t work so hard to achieve it.
    Sobriety is AMAZING. You WILL have fun. You will learn a whole new way of interacting with the world.
    Recovery is hard. Death from alcoholism is worse. Choose.
    My worst day sober is far better than my best day before recovery.
    Be open-minded, honest and willing. It gets better. It takes time. You will have help along the way.
    Be prepared to receive negative responses, zero support and no encouragement from friends/loved ones for a while if they’re sick of your behavior and broken promises.
    Be prepared to cut off friends who do not support your recovery.
    If you are feeling utterly hopeless and desperate- hallelujah! Use that “gift of desperation” to motivate you to ACT.
    If you actually decide to attend recovery groups or meetings but focus on the differences between you and others rather than the similarities your alcoholism wins again.

    I hope I don’t sound too bumper-stickery. I am as flabbergasted as you are that this stuff works. Yes, you CAN do this.

    Best of luck, friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. The freedom is the most amazing part! Freedom not only from the alcohol and it’s physical effects but also and especially the freedom from all of the mental anguish that goes with it.
    Thank you and Happy New Year!

    Like

  33. This right here: “It took constant calculation to watch the clock, balance my intake, pace things just right, have enough on hand…” and also for me, which neighbor’s trash can(this time!) gets the in-home trash bag filled with empty wine bottles drank while husband was away. The INSANITYYYY of preoccupation & planning! After 40 years of doing all that, I decided it was time to stop to get sane & safe. The blackouts were becoming more frequent which scared me. I did not want to wait, to stop, AFTER I lost anything. I knew that time would come, & I wasn’t willing to greet it with open arms. The jig was up, & I listened to the warning signs. Best thing I ever did 3 1/2 years ago. I’m here to say, if I can do it, anyone can if they truly want to stop & live a glorious, FREE life!! Blessings to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. This is my day one. I have tried a few times before, but never made it very far. Quitting drinking will allow be to break through some of my barriers and allow me to become wildly successful, if only I can stick with it. Here’s to giving it a go this time and knowing I can make it. Looking forward to the new posts this year and comments from the community. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know.

    Like

    • Have you ever listened to The Bubble Hour podcast? My (former) co-host Catherine says, “Be gentle with yourself, like a newborn baby, and DONT DRINK!” For me, it helped to change my routine – I drank wine and watched tv each night so instead I ate orange slices and sat in a different chair, I went for groceries at 8 pm (yippeee, I could drive any time I wanted to because I was always sober – that opened up a lot of new opportunities!). I would fill my ipod with recovery podcasts and walk for hours in the evening. I ate all the ice cream I wanted and filled the fridge with sparkling waters and other new treats. Reach out if it gets hard, no need to be a maverick. You’ll do better with support. Check out a meeting or recovery program. Download different books about recovery and fill your brain with stories of success. I am cheering for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. I am coming up on 3 years on Jan 6th so I guess you could say it was a resolution, but I was ready. I too like Jean didn’t have a low bottom but I saw as the disease progressed with me that I was going to lose all control and then others would see my secret. I couldn’t let people see me that way and I couldn’t embarrass myself in front of others. We drank and mostly isolated at home so no-one would see us. I was so sick of being sick and tired and life being so hard and in turmoil. I was hiding a secret and it was getting pretty darn hard to keep up the outward appearance of having it all together. Also I have a cleaning business and its very physical and I would have lost it all if I continued. As it was, my head was in such a fog near the end when I went to talk to my accountant about our taxes it was like she was speaking in a different language,I had a hard time following what she was trying to tell me and a hard time making a sentence to express what i was trying to ask her… it was starting to affect my brain, my heart, my temper, my sleep. my tolerance for anything even my grandkids whom I love so dearly but even taking care of then was becoming hard so I had to pump myself up with wine so I could handle them when they would stay overnight. I wasn’t happy, I didn’t see a future for my life or even how life would be worth living if I continued the was that I was. It even effected my sugar I was starting to go into pre-diabetes because of all the red wine I drank…I came to the drinking in my 50’s and I feel because I was older it really was quickly affecting my health. I think I would be gravely ill or dead honestly if I continued drinking the way that I had and I felt the control I had to just drink after 5 and to not drink every day slipping away from my grasp, it was getting harder and harder to control and it was becoming like a dark obsession and thats all I could think about when I wasn’t drinking how I would get to the next drink or the next liquor store and how i would get it home to hide it from my husband so he wouldn’t see me drink. I don’t have to live like that anymore, thank God. I am so grateful for 3 years and can tell you if you are new to keep on going, one day at a time, go to meetings in the beginning, reach out to people and listen to their stories, I don’t always relate to every part of their story but I always take away some nugget that helps me with my journey. I have also learned from everyone how important it is to get grateful for everything and that helps me a lot, it keeps me from complaining and feeling sorry for myself and it also helps me to feel some serenity because I am being thankful for all the gifts that I have in sobriety and the beautiful life I have ahead of me if I keep going and don’t pick up that fatal first drink. Also you need to talk to other alcoholics so please reach out if not in AA then to someone and remember as they say we are only as sick as our secrets…Life is worth living and you deserve to be happy, Joyous and Free! Love, happiness and strength to all in this New Year to Come and thank you Jean once again for your service in sharing your story to so many beautiful people, you have helped me and so many more than you know and I am truly grateful to have found you 4 and a half years ago when I wanted to know if I was an alcoholic.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. I am joining you all in an alcohol free life. At 52 I am sitting in shame and humiliation after New Years Eve. I don’t drink often but when I do I just can’t stop. I am disgusted with myself – again – so sick of feeling this way – it’s like I can’t get clean. I’m going to visit here often, as I have been through 2016, and listening to the Bubble Hour and other helpful podcasts. Hold me accountable friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t look back, you don’t live there any more. Today is a new day and you can change everything with this one decision. Stay close and keep at it. Don’t let anything keep you from having the life you want and deserve – the life in which you are fully yourself. Sending strength and compassion. It can be hard at first but don’t give up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks to all who replied in support – day 5 and I feel wonderful and so positive. I am looking at one day at a time – forgiving myself and not dwelling in the past, and not looking forward with trepidation. I have been reducing my intake for most of 2016 and incorporating mindfulness meditation – it has really helped me just be in the now. Also I noticed that high anxiety is totally related to alcohol, for the 2 days following drinking I was super anxious and fearful of panic, other days just fine. To escape shame,anxiety, fear just by not doing one thing. I will not be drinking today 🙂

        Like

    • Consider starting a blog. We will all support you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you x

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you! Best wishes x

      Like

  37. Two days before I quit drinking I googled how to quit drinking again and the unpickled blog popped up. I laid on my couch hungover, reading and crying and finally understood that I was not the only who’d let this way and I could do this. It started with those simple words and that’s what I clung to for those first very difficult weeks. I can do this, I can do this. 2 years, 7 months later and it’s been the greatest choice I’ve ever made. Not always easy but worth it. For those considering, just remember life will be better and you can do this.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Fantastic! It is an honour to know that you were able to use this site to make changes in your life. Isn’t it crazy how the hours become days and the days become YEARS??! Time has just zoomed by since I quit drinking and I would not go back for all the world. Thanks for sharing this, so glad you are here!

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Day one. I am going for it. I feel so hopeful this time will work. Thank you for your words of encouragement it was exactly what I needed to read right now.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Yes to all that Jean writes above, as well as to those in the comments.

    For myself, I was just so tired of trying to control the drink all the time. It was taking over my life and had become my priority – not me, not my children, nor husband, nor work, but the drink. When I set it down and took drink out of the equation, my life opened up and I stopped being a one-minded monster.

    Sobriety liberated me to live my life.

    Welcome to all of you here and new or ready or wondering. Lots of people to keep you company along the way. *smile*

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Jean,you are so right! I have been alcohol free for 3 years and not once have I said to myself
    ” I wish I would have drank last night” not once. My message is…stick with it,it does get better over time. I am living the life I am meant to live.Very Happy and grateful I put myself first!
    Peg

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Apart from my two pregnancies, I have just spent my first Christmas Day and New Years Eve sober in my whole adult life. I am 46. It was bloody hard. Especially Christmas Day surrounded by ex-husband, ex-in laws and much champagne and cocktails. I felt sad and sorry for myself. I have known for a long time that my drinking was problematic but I think I was waiting for someone to call me on it or to save me. I know I have to save myself. I am going to a Rehab facility for 3 weeks to find out how to navigate life without the crutch of alcohol and why I numb my emotions with alcohol. I have a million reasons why I should be able to keep drinking and moderate but experience has shown me it is a slippery slope and in only one direction. I hope I find the strength and support I need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I felt that way, too, Jo – waiting for someone else to tell me or make the decision for me. Congratulations on making it through a very challenging holiday. Wow. You are awesome. Challenges ahead won’t feel as daunting with your Christmas Day Success under your belt. *smile* -HM.

      Like

    • Great job, Jo! You are a walking miracle and a shining example of how it is done. Next Christmas and New Year you will feel like a different person – happy and free and without regret – it will be so much easier than this year. You made it through the worst. Embrace the rehab experience and learn everything you can while you are there. The voice of addiction in your head will point out all kinds of things to irritate you (bad food, annoying room mate, etc) or convince you that you shouldn’t be there (“I’m not as bad as these people”) but shoo that voice away and look for the lessons and tools. Lots of times it doesn’t even take strength, it just take patience to outlast the cravings and bad thoughts. Breathe, walk in the sunshine, be good to yourself. You are doing a wonderful thing!

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is such a BRAVE and self compassionate step.
      Go in with an open mind and consider everything offered. I found that was the secret for me. To just listen.
      Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  42. Everything you have written is so true.
    A person doesn’t have to wait until their health, employment or family is threatened to quit. In fact, the thought of having waited for those things to happen scares me…I’m not sure I could have coped.

    I quit dec 1, 2013. I was just tired of lying to myself that I would drink less. It was crushing my soul. I was so disappointed in myself.

    Choosing sobriety changed everything. I realize I love my life. The same life I felt I needed alcohol to cope with. Ha. I shake me head.

    Sober so so much better.

    Happy new year!
    Anne

    Liked by 2 people

  43. “Healthier, happier and free” are so true. Especially free, from the burden of alcohol. The beauty of resolving to stop is the freedom that comes with the realization of just how heavy the burden is.

    Liked by 2 people

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