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Going dry

Oooh, this popped up today:

6BC8FC95-D5AD-4EE5-9AC8-AC7EF3F4949F.jpeg

This time two-and-a-half years ago I was coming off my last bender. Even though that had to happen bl00dy glad it’s not that day today.

Now to add another day to the total...
 
I'm nearly thirteen years not drinking now. My last day wasn't a bender, just a quarter bottle of scotch to keep my hands from shaking. I also had the rather glad feeling in my head that I honestly was sick of it, instead of thinking it was my last day so make a pissup of it, "Go on Tam, it's your last one drinkie, you deserve a good final lashup" which of course would have just kept me drinking the days away. I had some Antabuse tabs to help with the cravings, and a few 2mg valium one a day to help my body get over the muscle shakes of the first few days dry. Those shakes, coming cold turkey off the drink have been known to hospitalise or even kill you. I had a few glugs of scotch to get me "normal", then sips until it was gone, previously that quarter I could have done in ten minutes. Early nights bed, the next morning I woke up and had my pills and started my life again, just without booze.
 
Dry January successfully completed, dry February next.

I haven’t set out to go dry but this year, as with several years in the past, I have done Dry January just to give myself a break, get a bit fitter, and lose a bit of weight.

But this year, unlike other years, I have not really gone back on the alcohol as I once would have done. I didn’t used to hammer it and get pissed, but my units per week were well above recommended limits. As February came along I have simply thought that I am happy enough not drinking (most of the time). Having a nice cup of tea is as good, if not better than a beer.

I had two cans after the rugby when Wales played Ireland, and two more when Wales played Scotland. On Valentine’s Day I had two glasses of fizz with Mrs S, and then (and I actually regret this) two beers that night. I was sat reading a book, and I poured the beers and drank them, but gained little pleasure from it.

I haven’t officially gone dry, but I can’t see that I will be drinking much in the future. I just seem to have lost interest in it. I’m also not interested in low alcohol beers. I have replaced alcohol with cups of tea and herbal infusions.

I have also lost a decent amount of weight, and I feel great!
 

sinned

Swinger
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.
Hi Ravers, when we have Generals admitting that in Afghanistan they would drink at 2 in the morning what else can we expect from our young soldiers, If I heard of any of any of my soldiers drinking to excess I would be on their backs and guide them in the correct way. Occasionally initiated a parade breath test of all my soldiers, rarely did any fail because they knew what the consequences would be. Iam not a drinker or smoker and have never ever been drunk except once when I was promoted to Warrant officer and was called to the mess with others for a "compliments drink" . One of my Sgts brought me a beer from behind the bar and I drank in it one go [ I thought it was lager shandy } I drank it in one go, gave a little speech said fare well to every one and left. When I got home I felt quite dizzy. Next morning in camp via rumour control I found that my shandy was half lager and half vodka. That Sgt got 5 x extra guard commander duties and for a week
he had to do a BFT with me each lunch break. We later became friends and unfortunately he died few months ago as an Alcoholic. W.
 
Hi Ravers, when we have Generals admitting that in Afghanistan they would drink at 2 in the morning what else can we expect from our young soldiers, If I heard of any of any of my soldiers drinking to excess I would be on their backs and guide them in the correct way. Occasionally initiated a parade breath test of all my soldiers, rarely did any fail because they knew what the consequences would be. Iam not a drinker or smoker and have never ever been drunk except once when I was promoted to Warrant officer and was called to the mess with others for a "compliments drink" . One of my Sgts brought me a beer from behind the bar and I drank in it one go [ I thought it was lager shandy } I drank it in one go, gave a little speech said fare well to every one and left. When I got home I felt quite dizzy. Next morning in camp via rumour control I found that my shandy was half lager and half vodka. That Sgt got 5 x extra guard commander duties and for a week
he had to do a BFT with me each lunch break. We later became friends and unfortunately he died few months ago as an Alcoholic. W.
Have you been out a while now? Juniors are not drinking in anywhere near the veracity that they did 5, 10, 15 etc years ago. The gym is the new bar etc.
 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
I don't have the kind of drink problem that some others have had. With me it's mostly boredom or that last thing at night when I've been working all day and need to wind down. I'm also one of those people who doesn't get hangovers so there's no immediate downside to my drinking.

My temptation is good malt whisky. I can even afford to drink the stuff so it's not hurting my pocket either, but I've been eating and drinking more over lockdown due to boredom and put some weight on :(

As I have my diabetic annual MOT coming up I've decided that I need to make a life change and not stop drinking, but to curb it drastically. I cut down about 2 weeks ago and don't have the second glass any more, sometimes I don't even have the first glass.

However, I applaud anyone who has been an alcoholic and quit. Well done to all of you.
 
Yeh, I bet there’s a lot more fat birds not getting shagged.

Oh do be serious.

There's always a time and place for sports sex.
 

Chef

LE
Can't be a bad thing less alcohol and more gym.

Alcohol Abuse was a huge yet ignored problem in the Army.
I recall hearing that the forces in Germany were bedevilled by the three 'Ds'

Drugs for the Americans
Desertion for the Germans and
Drink for BAOR.
 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
Well in the spirit (SWIDT) of sharing ways to reduce consumption, here's my report on Gordon's alcohol free gin.

It's a nice refreshing soft drink. Doesn't have the sharp tang of gin, but quite 'herby'. Added to tonic, and with a slice of lemon, it tastes a bit like the poncy tonic waters sold at enormous markups in pubs nowadays.

It's nice, but it's not gin, or gin-flavoured.
 

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