Going dry

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Giving up the drink. Who’s done it?

Like most on here I’m a borderline alcoholic as per the NHS’s official definition. I joined the mob just after my 16th birthday and was encouraged to get smashed pretty much every night. Getting pissed was as much a part of Navy life as eating. Things obviously progressed from there.

By the age of 18, I’d gained a reputation as someone with solid pub fitness. I fondly recall my cousin being amazed when we went out one night and I sank 15 pints quite happily. I had a reputation to live upto and I found myself drinking more and more almost as a challenge to impress my civvy mates.

Of course there were some spectacular **** ups; various opportunities with hot girls ruined because I was smashed, many mattresses rendered unserviceable and a new car wrapped round an oak tree.

The problem is there was no shame in doing this. The lads on my ship found it funny and I just joined the growing ranks of people onboard who’d been done for drink driving or other alcohol related offences. It was pretty much expected. There was an alcohol related fall from grace almost every night down the mess.

By the time I’d left the RN in my early twenties I’d developed a solid habit of getting smashed whenever the opportunity presented itself. I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic because I didn’t drink every day and I wasn’t addicted to booze as such. There are proper full blown alcoholics in my family and I was not like them, booze didn’t control my life, I didn’t have to have it, there was no physical dependence on it. It was just an activity that I enjoyed, but I enjoyed it a lot. I was the classic binge drinker, working through the week then going to parties or the pub at weekends and getting absolutely blotto.

Civvy street in the UK was just as bad as the mob. I found drinking to be such a normal part of society, in this country you need booze to have fun. Or so I thought. The idea of going to a wedding and not getting smashed was a completely alien concept to me. Weekends are for getting drunk.

I’d go out for a few drinks but it would always turn into a full blown, get home at 4am, sesh. It never occurred to me that I was smashing in twice as much as my mates on a typical night out, but I was.

I dabbled with drugs, all my mates were doing them, but this was short lived. I had some fun and don’t regret it but I found it all a bit seedy. Sneaking around, doing something illegal wasn’t really for me and the paranoia of getting caught worried me. A couple of spectacularly bad come downs also put paid to any long term aspirations I may have had as a casual cocaine or ecstasy user.

So back to the booze. I just drank more and as I started to make more money, I started to drink a better class of booze. Champagne, single malt whisky and premium German lagers. I’d convinced myself that more expensive booze was better for me and would give me less of a hangover. Utter bollox of course but I wasn’t drinking cider or cheap lager anymore.

Marriage and kids came and I found myself going out less. There were less parties, less weekend trips to the pub. My drinking became an evening hobby, wine with dinner, a whisky before bed. Of course wine with dinner invariably meant an entire bottle and whisky before bed meant knocking myself out. I built a bar in my house, it’s what people with big country houses do don’t they?

Again I never thought I had a drink problem. Everyone has wine with dinner right? It’s normal to have a few beers in front of a movie on a Friday night isn’t it? It just became a ritual. I even smashed in dry January a couple of times just to prove that I wasn’t an alcoholic.

And so to the present.

My job means I live away from home during the week. I’ve got a swanky harbourside bachelor pad where I crash 3 nights a week by myself. Best of both worlds, spend a 3 day weekend on the farm with the wife and smalls, doing the Lord of the Manor / family thing. Get a bit of respite during the week and sit in my pants watching Netflix, eating steak and drinking beer.

Lots of beer.

Again it just became a ritual, get home from work, crack open a few cans or a bottle of wine to relax.

At this point I should mention that I’ve always suffered from really bad hangovers. I mean really really ******* bad. The sort of hangover where I’d gladly shoot myself in the head to alleviate the headache, if only I could drag myself to the gun cabinet. It never stopped me though. I was a hard drinking sailor, I can always man up and fight through it.

Of course some of you will note that I was diagnosed with a brain tumour a couple of years back. No doubt this didn’t help the situation. When you’re hungover your brain swells up creating pressure inside your skull. Now imagine there is a golf ball in there too. Anyway the brain tumour is gone (save for 5% they couldn’t scoop out) but the hangovers remain.

And it was a hangover that brought me to where I am now.

After another weekend sesh (3 bottles of wine in the hot tub), I woke up the following day to find a scene of utter carnage, purple vomit blocking the sink and a headache that would kill a member of the RAF. It was finally time to do something about this shit. No half measures, cutting down wasn’t going to work. I can’t go out and have a couple of drinks. It’s all or nothing. Once I’ve got the taste for it I need to just keep drinking.

And so just like that I gave up booze. Forever.

That was in May, it’s nearly August.

Of course I’ve had a few cravings for a drink, but never to the extent where I’ve actually considered having one. Non alcoholic beer has been a god send. Ive been out on drinking sesh’s with the lads and just drank Becks blue or something similar. Of course I don’t get pissed but I’m still able to have fun and I can kind of con myself into thinking I’m getting pissed because it tastes the same. Also I’m not that weirdo with a coke. People still think I’m drinking beer. Above all though, the smugness of knowing I won’t be hungover the following day makes up for the lack of drunkenness. The important thing is my social life has not been affected which was my biggest worry.

The hardest part has been trying to explain to people that I don’t drink. I find myself having to justify to people why I’m not getting pissed. Again, British culture in full swing. It seems that every leisure activity in the UK involves drinking. However my trump card is a giant zip like scar on the back of my head from the brain surgery. I just tell people I can’t drink because of the surgery. It’s partly true, I get worse hangovers and headaches now. Once they see that they don’t ask anymore questions.

I’ve replaced my midweek evening drinking with the gym. I’ve lost a stone, I’m saving a good few hundred quid a month. Interestingly my missus says I’ve stopped snoring. I have more energy and I find myself more motivated to go out exploring. I got on my pushbike for the first time in years, I’m playing the guitar again. Things I couldn’t really be arsed with before because they got in the way of drinking.

So who else is teetotal? Let’s hear your stories and tips for living a booze free life. Maybe we can encourage some other people to jump on this wagon and most importantly, help each other stay on it.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Yep, not had a drink in 9 years, when at first I thought 9 hours was far too long.

Best thing I ever did and have no regrets. The only slagging off for it has been on here :rolleyes:

Stick with it, sounds like you are enjoying it.
 
I had 2.5 pints of Maltsmiths IPA after work today but, quite frankly, I needed it (I received some desperately sad news mid-morning - don't worry, not one of my family). Tbh, I don't drink very much anymore. Normally, I have either two 375ml bottles or two 440 ml cans of average strength beer and that is it. I don't really drink wine anymore and I barely touch spirits. Whilst I haven't had a dry July, I have drunk one bottle of Golden Hen and eight cans of Fosters and that is it. Not even one beer every three days.
 
My old doc from Kirby Stephen told me a bout the snoring when he was a flying student of mine. The Mehim sahib was complaining about my snoring and he just said “ cut out the booze and lose two stone”
It’s still an aspiration!.
 

StBob072

LE
Book Reviewer
@Ravers

Bloody well done old chap.

The only thing to say to people who query why you don't drink (and why does "drink" always mean alcohol?) is "doctor's orders" or something similar. You don't have to justify your social life choices to anyone!
 

Wooden Wonder

War Hero
I can only applaud your decision, your resolve and the improvement in your condition. I, too, am an admitted functioning alcoholic (bottle of red every evening, couple of beers during the day, single malt nightcap). My family - in particular SWMBO - nag me constantly, but I lack both the desire and the willpower to change; I doubt that I will, but again, I applaud your achievement.
 
OI Ravers
I have to eat a bit of umble pie, I always thought you were a fictitous sock on here, I suspected Jarrod,
But a fortnight ago I got into conversation with a norfolk pointy head now living in cumbria who claims to know you in real life, he was motorcycling/camping around Ireland, he said you were in the Navy together and he left about 10years ago, nothing to do with the thread just thought I'd tell you that.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
OI Ravers
I have to eat a bit of umble pie, I always thought you were a fictitous sock on here, I suspected Jarrod,
But a fortnight ago I got into conversation with a norfolk pointy head now living in cumbria who claims to know you in real life, he was motorcycling/camping around Ireland, he said you were in the Navy together and he left about 10years ago, nothing to do with the thread just thought I'd tell you that.
Ah Jake. Very good oppo of mine.
 
I quit 20 odd years ago after being an ******** once too often
Everyone assumed I was dying or had got religion, they couldn't see any other rational explanation

In the first few years I had the occasional bender, full blown shag the mates wife type of bender, but I gradually grew out of that.
Alcohol has had a permanent effect on my health and I'm still paying the price.
My brother died from being a piss head a few years ago.

Alcohol didn't ruin my life, but my alcohol consumption didn't do any favours for the people around me either.

I'm still an ******** but at least these days I'm an ******** becaue I choose to be rather than doing it unwittingly
 
OI Ravers
I have to eat a bit of umble pie, I always thought you were a fictitous sock on here, I suspected Jarrod,
But a fortnight ago I got into conversation with a norfolk pointy head now living in cumbria who claims to know you in real life, he was motorcycling/camping around Ireland, he said you were in the Navy together and he left about 10years ago, nothing to do with the thread just thought I'd tell you that.
Have a 'Like' for correct usage of 'umble pie'.
 

Gramps

Old-Salt
Kit Reviewer
That's an impressive turnround, I am not up to that standard, as I have had a couple of pints this year.

When I left the Army I found myself sitting around twiddling my thumbs, so started volunteering last year. If I am not at work I am on call, if I get called out I have to drive so no beers/booze as the one thing I detest is drink drivers (mate of mine paralysed for life by one at 16 years old).

I find I don't miss being pissed, I do like the taste of a cold beer and have found some nice non alcoholic ones like St. Peter's Without® Original, Alcohol Free Beer | St. Peter's Brewery. Tasty and able to drive.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Everyone assumed I was dying or had got religion, they couldn't see any other rational explanation
Exactly. I’d always viewed non drinkers with suspicion, I mean drinking is fun and completely normal isn’t It? The only reason people don’t drink is because they’re Muslim or have a serious problem.

And ditching that attitude was one of the hardest things. More importantly, worrying that other people would think that way about me was one of the hardest things.
 
TBH I tend to stop on the 31/12, and keep going to I've had my FS medicals about 3 months later. bp and weight drop and sleep is better, half the battle is not falling in to a habit in the evening and using time up wisely
 
Good onya bloke! Working a six week on, six off rotation I don't drink at all while at work. Might have a couple once a week or so at a pub quiz when on leave. Found I was sinking eight or ten bottles of stout so took to shandy (and you lot can fuck right off before you start) and now have one or two because they're so bloody gassy.

I found that owning a brewery and having access to massive amounts of booze took the kick out of it and I pretty much ran out of steam with booze. Might still have a couple of pints at a braai but only if it's something interesting that I haven't tried before or something I really like. Partial to Westmalle but a couple of those and I'm done.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
That's an impressive turnround, I am not up to that standard, as I have had a couple of pints this year.

When I left the Army I found myself sitting around twiddling my thumbs, so started volunteering last year. If I am not at work I am on call, if I get called out I have to drive so no beers/booze as the one thing I detest is drink drivers (mate of mine paralysed for life by one at 16 years old).

I find I don't miss being pissed, I do like the taste of a cold beer and have found some nice non alcoholic ones like St. Peter's Without® Original, Alcohol Free Beer | St. Peter's Brewery. Tasty and able to drive.
On the subject of booze alternatives, I can recommend a tipple called “Real Kombucha.”

It’s made out of fermented tea apparently and isn’t bad at all.

They do 3 flavours, one is very similar to a sparkling wine, one is like white wine and one tastes like a proper dirty scrumpy cider.

Worth a try.
 
I don't drink during the week.

I do drink at the weekends.

The weekends are more fun.
 
Good for you.

I've not gone teetotal but after a lifetime of boozing, I've cut way back over the last 7 months & rarely reach the suggested maximum weekly consumption these days.
From 17 years old until the end of 2017, I doubt there were 100 nights when I didn't have at least a couple of pints & the majority when I had far more, which was fine when I was doing physically active stuff but the beer & giving up smerks in 2009 really piled the weight on. I too had a thing for Single Malts but I've not touched a drop of the stuff since my Spring visit to the US & it'll only be when I'm over there again in October that I have another taste.
Now I have the occasional IPA & a bottle of wine once a week, my sleep apnoea & snoring have both gone away, as you've found out too.
That, a change in diet & above all getting out & walking this wonderful county have burnt off more than 30lbs since January, with the added bonus of my outlook on life being far more positive too.
I've never drunk alcohol for the effect but because I like the taste & as in most things, moderation makes it taste even better on those occasions when I do have wine or beer.
 

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