Start Your New Year’s Resolutions Today

Start Your New Year's Resolutions Today

Don’t wait for January 1st to start yours. Start today. By planning to start to give up something at a point in the future, you’re planning to fail. If you’re minded to stop drinking, smoking or taking drugs, then you need to start now.

I poured all the drink I had in my house away the moment I realised I wanted to stop drinking for good. Everything went, even full bottles of gin and whiskey that I had for special occassions. I emptied the fridge and though it felt like a complete waste of money, doing it felt good. I was on day one of my New Year’s Resolutions and I was ahead, already.

Then, a few days later when it was indeed the 1st of January, I already had a head start. Plus, I’d already gone through one of the major events as a non-drinker, Christmas and New Year. Not easy!

Christmas is the time of year when we’re all bombarded with ads on TV advertising scotch whiskey or fancy liquers. There are also endless parties with friends and family and you don’t want to feel out of place by not joining in the fun, do you?!

But in all seriousness, starting your New Year’s Resolutions early helps, it also helps get you a foundation so that when others start to give in, you’re already ahead and have built up greater will-power to continue.

Trust me, it works. It did for me when I gave up on December 21st.

Choosing Your New Year Resolutions

What Are Your New Year Resolutions Going to be?It’s New Year tomorrow and I’m still deciding on my New Year Resolutions. I’ve scoured the internet and found some of the top 10s, whittled down my list to one or two. Next year I’m definitely going to try to be fitter, happier and spend less time online and more offline.

After a quick Internet search, I’ve found some of the most popular resolutions from around the web:

  1. Lose weight, join a gym
  2. Eat more healthily, give up the snacks and take outs
  3. Improve confidence, and have a bigger smile
  4. Give up smoking, save your health
  5. Be more active, get more energy
  6. Meet more people, have a spring clean
  7. Change jobs, get out of the rut you’re in
  8. Drink less, even try to give up completely
  9. Lower stress, worry less, especially about work
  10. Get offline more, do a digital detox

[Source: 50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas And How To Achieve Each Of Them]

New Year Resolutions have been happening since the year dot. Like most of us, we use them to set goals, learn languages, to get us moving, stop procrastinating or for some, to make life changing changes.

10 years ago I started my New Year Resolution early. About 10 days early. I’d tried to give up drinking, or at least cut down, many, many times. I’d set myself New Year Resolutions, but somehow I could never really get passed the first week or two. This time though, I wrote it down and posted it on the shaving mirror. I told my family that I was giving up drink and was done with getting hangovers anymore.

I think writing it down was one of the things that helped me most.

Because it worked.

Apparently, according to the statisticsbrain.com website, you’re more than 10 times likely to succeed in your goal, by simply making it your New Year Resolution. Do yourself a favour and write it down, put it in a public place, let others see it and work towards your goal.

Other times motivation comes out of the blue. The sudden death if AA Gill, a journalist at The Times, from lung cancer two weeks ago reminds me once again that you can’t assume anything. Making it to retirement isn’t a right, or a guarantee. His diagnosis to his passing took just a few weeks. Some people don’t have as long as that even. He gave up drinking at 30, but continued as a smoker for a mother 15 years or so.

Life is too short.

If you’re thinking of giving up drinking, then why not join with Cancer Research UK or Alcohol Concern, both of whom are doing Dry January events at the same time as raising funds for their charities.

Joining in with an event will help motivate you and keep you on track.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck, write and let us know what you’ve chosen to do and tell us how you’re getting on.

Happy New Year!

December 21st Marks My 10 Year Anniversary

now-10-years-sober
Yesterday was my sobriety birthday. It was 2006 when I gave up. December 21st, 2006 was the last time I drank alcohol. A decade ago. It’s an achievement that I’m proud of, firstly because I never thought I’d make it, secondly I never imagined that I see me change as a person as much as I have.

10 years ago, I was single, with not much of a future. I wallowed in self-pity, blamed everyone else but me and realised that a life of drinking was making me feel depressed. It seemed that things were getting progressively worse, the older I was, more pronounced, especially the hangovers and headaches.

All that changed. Within months I’d got my life on a different path and things have worked out in so many positive ways since, that I count my blessings for giving up drink at that moment.

Though I don’t count the days anymore, (I’m only writing this to show you that it can be done), that it’s worth all the blood, sweat and tears. I’m married now with two young children. It’s wonderful, and I truly believe that it’s been possible because (Carpe Diem), I took the sober path, the path less travelled by and it, it has made all the difference.

So yesterday, December 21st, I raised a glass as I always do and said a silent prayer thanking God for giving me the strength to come through.

Some of you reading this might be thinking of embarking on the same journey. To you, I would say not to hesitate, not to waste a moment, to make the decision and go for it. And in doing so, maybe you will also discover the real you.

Please write your hopes and dreams in the comments box below and if you need inspiration to make the jump just ask for it.

Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

P.s. Thanks to Lisa Neumann who told me a few years back about this thing called ‘Sobriety Birthdays’ – not every one has a second birthday, it’s good to be part of a community that has!

32 Ways to Live a Happier Life (and It Doesn’t Cost a Penny)

If you’ve not yet come across Lolly Daskal, then you really should check out her Twitter feed or her blog. Lolly has written tons of articles on empowerment and on change, many of which have helped me in my journey.

One of her latest posts talks about 32 points to a happier life.

As I read through her article, I realised that most of these points are ones I’ve worked on in the process of giving up drink. Especially points, 1, 4, 6 and 32.

My aim is to have a life of integrity, something that was impossible before giving up. A sense of purpose is now something I very much have, and hope to raise my kids in a new way as a result of who I am now that I no longer drink. There are many others that I can relate to in her list. I recommend you reading it to see if there are pointers there that can help you in your journey.

I’d certainly like to hear what you think and if there are any that really stand out for you. If so, write in your comments and let me know.

Hardships Often Prepare Ordinary People For An Extraordinary Destiny

hardship-often-prepares-an-ordinary-person

Giving up drink is a hardship from day one. You feel like you’re missing out not being with your friends, feel that you’re missing out on having fun.

But taking a day at a time you learn to get through it, and the hardship you suffer will add dimensions to your character.

Go forth and find this extraordinary destiny, today!

Surviving the Holiday Season Newly Sober

Surviving the Holiday SeasonSure, we’re now in the holiday season. Thanksgiving has just passed and that’s the traditional count down to Christmas. To be sure, this is probably the hardest time of the year to give up drinking. What with office parties, drinks with friends, invitations to this and that, and the last thing you want to do is stand out and be the one not drinking.

But, help is indeed at hand. I gave up on the shortest day, December 21st and survived. I once enjoyed binge drinking with friends…but I made it through and with some tips, you can too.

Firstly, if you’ve decided you want to limit your drinking or finish completely, listen to your own thoughts. Well meaning advice from friends around you, that one drink will be fine, don’t listen to them. To be honest, i always thought that people were saying these kinds of things to help them, not you.

Have a couple of strategies on standby, after all every boy scout should be prepared, and so should you be. Have an excuse for not drinking, you’re on medication, you’re driving, or your other half is on a night shift and needs the car back. Whatever it takes, have a white lie at the ready.

Don’t be afraid to tell the barman that you’ve given up drinking, and that you’re drunk friends will try to buy you drinks, but tell him/her that you just want soda water with ice, lemon and an umbrella just like your friends – it’s just between you and him.

Act drunk. Most people on a night out who drink will be quite drunk after an hour or two and won’t remember the night’s events the following day. You will though! As they start to get loud, then do the same, as they start to sing, do the same. Mimicking might help you fit in more and be a boost to your confidence. Either way, so long as it helps you stick to your goal of not drinking that night, then anything goes.

Stay cool, stay sober, keep on track. That’s why we say, “Take it a day at a time.” Because at the start, that’s all you can really do and it’s the process that helps you pull yourself out of the rough and into the clear, and into the new you.

With some strategies and a game plan in your head before you go out over the Christmas period, surviving the holiday season will be easier than you can imagine.

If you are newly sober, or have abstained for a while, write up in the comments what your experiences of the holiday season are and what you did to keep on track.

Happy Christmas

James

P.s. If, you drink an alcoholic drink by mistake, don’t beat yourself up, start over and try again..!

Overall Health Improves as Fitness Replaces Drink

Get ready and fasten your seat belts. Ready to quit a life lazing around recovering from hangovers? Since giving up drink I’ve noticed a general improvement in my health. Passing up on the booze has completely changed the way I live life now. I’m not only more positive and happier, with a family around me, I’ve found new things to do and lead a proactive life to the full. Health-wise I feel good. Though I’ve had asthma since I was a kid and had to take a range of medicines to keep it in check, over the last few years I’ve gradually reduced my medication to almost nothing and I’m fairly sure that it has been because I stopped drinking.

I read on the Asthma UK website that alcohol can cause wheezing, which is something that I used to do a lot before, especially if we drank in smoky bars and clubs. My chest’s got better because I’m going to bars a lot less now, but also nowadays when I do go they’re all smoke free. Here in the UK a smoking ban in places of work came into force about 8 years ago.

The long walks I’ve taken up and more frequent cycling has helped keep me more active, all of which has helped keep me in a positive frame of mind. I find that I’m getting more jobs done both at work and around the house. Far less lazy than before, I’m more pro-active and I find that I’m generally getting a whole lot more out of life, than I did before. It’s one of the main benefits of not drinking. Since living the sober life I’ve got used to being useful in every waking hour of the day, literally from the moment I wake up till I go to sleep. So with my running shoes laced up, I’m able to go out and enjoy life to the full again.

If you’re thinking of giving up drink or are stuck where to start, then get in touch and write a comment below. It has given me a completely new purpose and outlook on life. I’m able to do things now that I just couldn’t focus on doing before. Add your voice today.

Eternally Grateful for Chance to Change

I’m eternally grateful for my experience and it is because of this I now find myself charting a new course and in the process managing to turn my life around. I never imagined that this would be the outcome, but it has been. I found books in the last 6 months I wish I’d found years before. Coupled with some coaching I received through work, I’ve had a very good opportunity to explore every part of my life to date and work out how I would have done things differently. The books I found helped me so much this far, I talked about in my last post. Go read it, if you haven’t already and let me know in the comments what you think of them if you go on and buy them.

At the time, when I was drinking I had no idea that this little pot of gold was there waiting for me. Because I always drank at parties I found that ‘I always did what I’d always done, so I always got, what I’d always got’. Now I can go to a party, dance (because I learned a new skill – Salsa) and enjoy myself in ways I never thought I could before.

Those of you reading this blog as you start out on your own sobriety journey are probably blissfully unaware what benefits are waiting once you find yourself well and truly on your journey. The best thing is, if you’ve decided to give up drinking you are already on this trip. You will change your life no matter what, because to be successful you will need to change. In changing you will find many new things and you’ll look back and wonder why you didn’t do this earlier.

This is the special part that keeps me going, unsure but excited about what the future may still have in store for me. My experiences before, during and after giving up drinking and the process of change has shown me that more or less anything is possible. And it is for this reason that I am eternally grateful.

My 5 Top Reasons for Giving Up Drink

  1. Becoming an antisocial
  2. Developing a taste for heights (Climbing scaffolding)
  3. Sleep walking home from the pub
  4. Hangovers taking longer and more difficult to get over
  5. Watching my life disappear in a drunken haze

There we are – my top 5 reasons why I gave up drinking. Of them all, the taste for climbing was most worrying. I started doing this whilst at college. One night I found myself on a ledge at the back of a nightclub, oblivious to how dangerous it was. It was at least 3 stories up and would have been a certain end to me, had I fallen.

It didn’t stop at ledges, I enjoyed climbing scaffolding as well. Totally oblivious to the danger to not just me, but those around me, especially if id fallen and hit someone. I would always wake in the morning in disbelief that I’d done that. Not sure how I could have done something so stupid, but at the time the drink is in you egging you on. Pushing you…relentlessly.

“Have another it would say in your ear”, “you’ll be ok”. “You don’t need to think about giving up drink”

I never was though, I always was an early casualty and left the bar or club early too drunk to really know what I was doing. The scrapes I got into. Talk about a cat with 9 lives…I must have got to the 8th when I finally decided to stop!

Sleep walking was another worrier. I don’t know how I did it, but I’d regularly fall asleep walking home from the bar late at night. I walked into buildings, literally the walls and quickly woke up. I was getting bruised and scraped and had to explain marks to work colleagues, who must have whispered behind my back. They must have realised, except I never did. It’s only now that I think back and wonder if they did know I had a problem and just couldn’t control my drinking.

Watching my life disappear before me, my 20s went really fast and my 30s were speeding along quickly too. Suddenly I saw myself as an old drunk, lurching from one bar to the next, on my own. With friends married off with families, I knew that I really didn’t want this to happen to me. I wanted to take some control of my life.

In the end I knew deep down that I had to give up drinking. It was no longer funny to look back and think about lucky escapes. There is only so much luck in life and I figured that if I pushed it too much, too often, I’d end up regretting it, and really regretting it at that!

So my top 5 reasons are still good enough to stop me from imagining for a second that having a drink now would be a good thing to do. I know that I have to be sober the rest of my life. I know that it isn’t a vacation I’ve taken, it’s a life choice. But you know what? It gets more and more comfortable the feeling of knowing that with care and attention I am going to be sober the rest of my life and I’m going to have such a better life because of that. :o)

The Serenity Prayer – How it Helps Me to Stay Sober

“O God and Heavenly Father, Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”, Reinhold Niebuhr.

In my research online for help with my binge drinking problem, I came across this short prayer many times. I’ve seen it on Twitter as well in posts on other blogs, and each time I see it, it strikes me how simple the prayer is. It helped me to look at my own problems and I know that if I could sort out those things that I can’t change from the ones that I can, then life is indeed a lot happier and less stressful too.

Maybe I worry too much. Sometimes I find that I’ve been focusing on the wrong things, i.e. trying to change the things that can’t be, whilst overlooking completely the things I can..! Having wisdom is all very well, but being able to apply it correctly is important.

In giving up drinking, for the last time, I was able to focus and zoom in on exactly what I had to do in order to give up alcohol. With perseverance and sheer hard work, as well as putting up with doubters around me, I succeeded. I found that I could change that which can be changed, but up to that point had been something that I couldn’t have changed no matter what I did to try. I always failed, just couldn’t make the break and always found myself back at the bar on the Friday and again Saturday as if nothing had happened.

I still think of this serenity prayer and though I don’t say it as often as I should, the elements within it help me to stay true to myself.