Make Today the 1st Day of the Rest of Your Life

OK, so the new year resolutions you set just a few weeks ago, seems like an age away. Maybe you got through January, just, and you’re beginning to think if living a sober life is actually for you.

It’s one of the hardest months of the year. Most people don’t have much money so in a sense giving up drink is made easier as there’s less people going out.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this with your friends. However, it whilst it makes it slightly easier to give up, there were probably tugs to get you to join in with drinks at the end of the month on pay day.

It doesn’t matter if you stumbled and had a drink. Why should that stop you from trying again? You know in your mind that you want to leave all the baggage that comes with drinking, behind, and that you know in your mind that giving up drink is what you really, really want to do.

Then, there’s nothing stopping you from making today the 1st day of the rest of your (new sober) life.

It’s all about keeping moving. Don’t dwell on making mistakes. If you had a drink, a sip even, don’t let it get into your head, move on.

The early days are hard.

Giving up drinking isn’t easy.

I found that the best thing to do was to go out for long walks. Just head out to the country, or to the park. Anything to get fresh air. Give your head some fresh oxygen, to help it make better decisions.

Always, after coming in from a long walk, I’d feel better and have a more positive outlook on life. I could almost leave all those worries behind me and kind of re-focus.

You can’t do this sitting on the sofa, watching TV.

Nope. If you try that, you’ll end up wanting a beer with it, and before you know it, you’ll be back to your old ways. To be honest, we’re all creatures of habit. This is why, when you give up drinking, you need to find new habits to do, in order to replace the old ones.

You’re never too old to start. I knew in my early 20s, that drinking wasn’t for me. But it took me another decade to get my act together. I gave up so many times in that period. Swore to myself I’d never have another drop. But it wouldn’t last. I’d give up. I didn’t have the drive and energy that I found in later life, to really go for it.

But, no matter what, we all have the ability to say to ourselves, go for it, do it, make this one count. Make it count today and use today as the springboard to get you heading in the direction it is you want to go.

Giving up drink has given me loads of confidence. Quietly, I know there are so many things I can do now I’ve climbed this particular mountain.

It’s a great feeling.

Have you found it too?

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.

Inspiring Women Who Gave Up Drink For A Better Life

Jamie Lee Curtis – Was addicted to painkillers and alcohol. “Talking about the process of addiction is very difficult for an addict and an alcoholic. Talking about recovery and hopefulness is much easier for me.”

Kristen Johnston – Actress on ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’, spent years addicted to drugs and alcohol that led to a near-fatal perforated stomach ulcer. “It’s just a wired disease that sneaks up on you and all of a sudden you’re boozing at the bar, or whatever. And it doesn’t have to be because of you or pressure or this or that. It just can be.”

Drew Barrymore – Barrymore was a child star and started smoking and drinking aged 9 before graduating to cocaine at 12 before hitting rehab aged 13. “The mistakes, the potholes, the journeys, the bad patterns – all of it is much clearer to me now…”

Jennifer Lopez – “I think that ruins your skin. Of course, during celebratory toasts, everybody’s like, ‘You can’t toast with water!’ So I’ll toast with alcohol and just take a sip. ”

Naomi Campbell – Now teetotal, the model told GQ magazine: ‘I was a party girl. I was having fun. But the fun comes with consequences, you are killing yourself.’

Child star from the hit TV series, ‘The Adams Family’, Christina Ricci decided to give up alcohol in her early 20s. She said, “You know I went through a normal kind of late teens, early 20s drinking, but it was a choice I made, because I didn’t think it was very good for my life.”

Kristin Davis admitted: ‘I really didn’t think I would pass 30. I don’t know why or whatever, I just didn’t. That’s a very weird thing to say, I’m sorry. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I was drinking so much as a youth. I drank a lot when I was a teenager and I don’t drink any more, because that’s when I thought, you know, I’m gonna end up a car wreck. I just had a fatalistic view of the whole situation at that point.’

Whoopi Goldberg – Goldberg was heavily into drugs and stopped after getting scared that she was finally losing control of her life. “I was a functioning addict. I went to work because I knew if i didn’t turn up, a lot of people would be out of work and i wouldn’t get a check and wouldn’t have the lifestyle that i needed to buy all my drugs.”

It has always been a source of inspiration seeing actors and actresses living in the full glare of publicity manage to overcome addictions. I recently wrote up a list of sober celebrities that inspired me, and this group of female stars can also join that list. If I’m missing any notables please comment in the box below and I’ll add them in. If you have a favourite sober star, write and tell me!

Blogging About Recovery Gives Great Satisfaction

About four years ago I started to write up the first post for this blog, it was an article about beer commercials. I felt a longing to write and talk about some of the things I’d gone through on my journey in giving up drink. I hoped, but never imagined that I would reach as many people as I’ve done with it. I’ve gone through ups and downs as most blog writers do. I’ve had my fair share of writers block and gone through long periods where I didn’t really have much to say or was devoting more time and energy towards my family (blogging requires dedication! :o)). But in those 4 years I’ve written about 40 posts and my 5 steps pages describing how I gave up drink. In that time I’ve had close to 170,000 page views from just over 70,000 visitors and approaching 1,000 comments with over 600 comments on this page alone, step 5. Get all the Benefits of Giving Up Drinking Alcohol. It’s a huge achievement for me and one I wanted to share.

Visitors have literally come from all over the world, 178 countries in fact. Of these countries, the most popular places that visitors are from the USA 40%, UK 30%, Australia 10%, Canada 5% and Ireland 3% – all the way to the other extreme, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Israel and Zambia with a handful of visits from each!

Alcohol abuse touches a good many of us, no matter where we live, nor where we’re from in society.

January 1st & 2nd are the most popular days of the year that I get visits. Last year was the highest with over 600 visitors each day. No surprise really, I gave up over Christmas and it was hard and I was also looking for inspiration at that time. It’s also a very popular New Year resolution with many of us wanting to have a dry January. It’s natural to want to hear success stories from those who’ve been there and done it. I read many stories across the internet and many of them helped me realise that I wasn’t the only one. That realisation helped. So did writing a diary at the start, the diary more or less turned into this blog and helped me to focus on the journey and how I could somehow share it with you all. One thing is true, where would we be without the Internet for inspiration, hope and a way to leave comments and communicate with other like minds.

Recently I’ve tried to write more regular posts, ideally I will get to write weekly. I don’t want to write just for the sake of it but I do enjoy it. Finding stories to write about isn’t always easy and I look for inspiration in comments left and also the phrases and keywords that bring people here. I’m always open to suggestions, so if there is something you’d like me to write on, all you need do is tell me in the comments box below…and i’ll write up a new post on it. But in the meantime I’m going to continue blogging. I hope that in ten years time I’ll still be here and hope to have hundreds of posts by then with many more visitors and comments left to help others in their search for a way to live sober, contently.

All I can say is thank you for coming and visiting my blog and taking the time to read posts and leave your comments. The pleasure really is all mine. It has been a very satisfying journey so far.

7 Ways That Life is Better Without Drink

Want to start a new life, thinking of giving up drinking but too afraid to start? Here’s 7 effective ways that prove that life is better without drink. I’ve experienced all 7 and know that life without drinking is more worthwhile that one where you’re binge drinking at every opportunity. Read on and see what you think.

1. No hangovers
Let’s face it, hangovers are crap. No-one likes to spend any amount of time slumped in bed or on the sofa unable or unwilling to do anything other than sleep off the night before. But, if hangovers were great it would be even harder to give up drinking…so there are good reasons to be grateful that hangovers are crap.

2. Improved general health and energy
It’s the ultimate detox and within a couple of days you’ll find yourself feeling better, sleeping better and in time your skin and overall body will feel much better. By not drinking all that alcohol and sugar and the takeaway food diet that goes hand in hand with drink, you’ll find your overall health gradually improving. You’ll also find that you’ve more energy and you’ll start finding more time to do things and with the extra energy, you’ll want to do more things.

3. No more late night takeaways
When you’re drunk even the largest kebab stuffed with meat, salad and chilli looks so appetising, but is it? When you drink then often it is. But the minute you give up drinking, the late night food suddenly doesnt seem necessary at all. The following day, I’d always wake up the following day with the feeling that someone or something had died in my mouth! That late night kebab is now a long gone, distant memory. I’ve stopped those late night stops at the kebab van, though I’ve not stopped eating kebabs, I simply choose better places to eat them. That dodgy kebab caravan seller, parked outside the night clubs in town is not somewhere I go anymore, thankfully!

4. No more embarrassing moments
You can’t be sophisticated when drunk, the two just don’t mix and is one of the reasons why you’ll find that most Italians don’t binge drink, instead they hang round cafes and gelaterias (ice cream parlours). When you’re drunk then the chances of you doing something even slightly embarrassing is highly likely. Nowadays social media can now make a viral star of you, with your antics shared globally through Facebook or YouTube and in an instant ruin your job or career prospects.

5. Clearer goals and more optimism
Flushed with the success of giving up drinking you’ll be inspired to go on and find new goals to achieve. I’ve probably done more in the 7 years since I gave up drinking than I did in all the years previously, I’ve spent a lot less time sitting round recovering from hangovers and feeling miserable, to now spending time planning or doing more things that add value to my life.

6. You’ll feel better and so will those around you
You’ll feel better inside and on the outside you’ll radiate a bigger smile and more confidence, after all you can go to bars and live the life without needing to drink to support you. You’ll feel like you can move mountains and feeling better you’ll radiate this new found feeling to those around you. If your drinking affected those around you, now that you’ve given up you’ll notice that they no longer have to deal with your mood swings, lack of interest, humiliation, etc. The list could go on, but in short they’ll be so much happier with you. You might find that you don’t just change your life, but those around you also.

7. More time to do the things that give you pleasure
With binge drinking now in the past you can spend more time doing the things that you want to do, whether that be more time travelling, spending time with family or learning new things. With a clear head 24/7, you’re able to squeeze more out of life.

There we are, 7 ways that your life can definitely improve by giving up drink. There are so many other ways, this is just my list of the top 7. It would be wonderful to hear from you and hear what you’d add to this list. Simply add your comment below. You might even inspire others to do the same.

Dr. Seuss Rhyming Verse Offers Great Source of Inspiration

Need Inspiration, look no further than children’s author of the Dr. Seuss series of books, by Theodor Seuss Geisel. He was challenged to write the books in the 1950s to help stimulate illiterate children. At the time it was thought that books were just too boring to read. Suess wrote hilarious stories, full of inspirational lines, and helped children find fresh interest in reading books. My daughter loves to hear me read these books, and I love to hear the inspiration shouting out from the pages.

I found this infographic with some of his most famous quotes on Pinterest. When you decide to stop drinking you’ll quickly find that you need inspiration, it’s essential for helping you give up in the first place, but also to help keep you going. Inspiration is all around us and sometimes in the most unlikely of places too, such as these children’s books. If you’ve never come across Dr. Seuss before, now is a great time to look them out.

Over to you now, what is your favourite quote? Mine is number 7, ‘Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way.’

8 Sober Stars To Inspire You

For some of us in recovery role models are a great carrot to help motivate us. I put this list together after searching the web for celebrities who’d given up drink and who I could relate to. I think Ewan MacGregor’s comment about his drinking going largely unnoticed is something I can resonate with completely. He wasn’t the only one to say this either, Rob Lowe said more or less the same. Celebrities have always had to deal with paparazzi photographers sneaking compromising images and for a star it must be very difficult to publicly manage a drink problem or binge drink. Nowadays technology has made all of us paparazzi potential snappers and the scope for your antics being recorded by a colleague or someone in a bar are seriously high. I’m only grateful I gave up before iPhones were around. The thought of going into work Monday with my drunk antics posted all over Facebook are just unthinkable…!

Booze and me didn’t work. Plain and simple. Here’s 8 celebs who you might also get some inspiration from. I’ve also put the links in for each article that I researched for the post, so you can continue reading their stories.

Ewan McGregor
Sober since 2001 and doesn’t regret a single day of being sober. He said recently that “(he) got away with it more or less unnoticed. I was a maniac on the booze but I only remember it fondly.”-Ewan McGregor

Colin Farrell
“All the madness and all the chaos and all the people around me got so tiring after a while that I had to find another way, and while I don’t live a monk-like existence, I have a new appreciation for solitude that would have terrified me years ago. And I’m glad the madness is over. It was interesting to experience, but I’m glad it’s passed.”-Colin Farrell [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10651084/Colin-Farrell-Im-glad-the-madness-is-over.html]

Rob Lowe
Hellraiser in the 1980s and 1990s after early career success starting in the John Hughes Brat Pack movies including ‘St Elmo’s Fire’. “I have been sober for 23 years, the only thing that works is that you have to want to get sober for yourself.”-Rob Lowe [http://nypost.com/2014/04/05/a-former-bad-boys-guide-to-the-good-life/]

Ben Affleck
His father was an alcoholic and his behaviour toward the family was an illustration of what he could become if he continued to drink. “Simple as this, I quit drinking. It’s really not that big a deal. It has no real bearing on anything else in my life.”-Ben Affleck [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/9646122/Ben-Affleck-talks-about-his-new-film-Argo.html]

Russel Brand
Stating that his life had immeasurably improved since giving up both drink and drugs, and throwing energy into a fund through Comic Relief (UK) ‘Give it Up’, he’s doing his bit to help those around him. “14 years clean. Anyone can get clean, one day at a time.”-Russell Brand [http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2013/mar/09/russell-brand-life-without-drugs]

Robert Downey Jr.
Downey did the 12 steps programme and underwent therapy and now has a love for espresso coffee and credit his wife, Susan Levin for turning his life around. “I don’t pretend that part of my life didn’t happen but it feels good to be sober for ten years.”-Robert Downey Jr. [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2330012/How-Iron-Man-star-Robert-Downey-Jr-turned-life-prison-cocaine.html]

Matthew Perry
“The thing that I’m most proud of in my life is that if a stranger came up to me and said, ‘I can’t stop drinking. I can’t stop drinking. Can you help me?’ I can say, ‘Yes, I can help you.’”-Matthew Perry [http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20714049,00.html]

Eminem
Suddenly performing sober was difficult to do, almost impossible. To fix this, rather than turn back to drink, he played in smaller, more intimate venues to get used to singing again in front of an audience. Now sober since 2008. “You gotta remember I hadn’t recorded a song sober in seven years. So it took me awhile to even feel like I could record a song sober.”-Eminem [http://www.gigwise.com/news/86282/eminem-struggled-to-perform-sober-after-quitting-drugs-and-alcohol]

Footnote:

In writing this post and now editing it before I publish, I realise that this is a list made up solely of male celebrities who gave up drink. No reason for that, but it does mean that I’ll follow up with an female celeb post of inspiring women who beat the booze.

Find Your Inspiration and Live Your Dream

Set your dream and go for it. If you don’t have a dream then how will you live it? Mine is a sail boat. One day I would love to sail from here to there. Now I don’t know a huge amount about sailing, but I know that I can learn, since I’ve learned most things that has got me here so far. But the most important thing is having the dream in the first place.

Whether or not I will live this dream in particular isn’t really important to me, what is, is the fact that I can dream and so long as I have the power to dream then the chance of sailing somewhere nice is going to happen. What’s yours and where’s yours going to take you?

3 Books That Helped me With my Recovery

Giving up drinking was for me a life changing event. In order to stay successfully sober since 2006 has taken a lot of effort, sweat and tears! Along the way I discovered that I needed to hear inspirational stories to help keep me focused and give me the determination to succeed. In the last couple of months I stumbled across three books that I want to recommend all of you on the same sober journey.

  1. Feel The Fear, Susan Jeffers – Buy on Amazon US/GB
  2. Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl – Buy on Amazon US/GB
  3. Finding Your Element, Ken Robinson – Buy on Amazon US/GB

I left the UK to live in Spain when I was in my early 20s to try and experience life and everything before settling down into a job. While I was concerned about finding work and somewhere to live was in my mind, it wasn’t really in the front or top of my priorities. I figured I’d handle whatever was thrown at me. I also guessed that buying a one way ticket would make me a little more motivated to find work and succeed. My decision to move to Spain caused a huge row with my parents so by going, I was burning some bridges. I knew everyone back home, including close friends were expecting me to return within a week or two, which doubly increased my motivation. I lasted a year and to be honest never looked back. By going, surviving and having the time of my life I’d uncovered something else, that I was actually good at living abroad.

Since then I’ve lived in a number of countries and taken every opportunity to explore the world. Even though I’m 20 years older now, the flame still burns. Read Susan Jeffers book, which talks about all the fear you feel in the pit of your stomach, the voice in your head that tells you you are crazy. I felt and heard all those things before leaving for Spain, I felt them too the first night I went to a salsa class about 3 weeks into my sobriety. I wasn’t so much feeling fear, just totally frightened and scared about dancing in public sober. I read Jeffers book in a weekend, just couldn’t put it down. There were so many things she described that made me smile and I could relate to. I also saw that I had fears about some other areas of my life and that they were also irrational.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – Ken Robinson, one of my favourite speakers who I’ve found on the TED channel. He’s an inspiration just to watch and listen to. A lot of what he says about education makes sense, for example the way kids are taught resembles some kind of sausage factory, an experience he’s found all over the world. His stories in this book talk about people who schools wrote off as not likely to achieve anything, yet they went on to start up successful businesses or go into show business, all household names and the way he writes inspired me greatly to think about my own achievements.

Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust – Viktor Frankl’s altogether harrowing account of his time in several Nazi concentration camps. I read his book in just a few days. The feeling that I took away from his book was that there are so many things that are more important in life, that life is so fragile that it doesn’t take so much to end, that even when there is such a horrendous landscape around you there is always a ray of hope. Once you cling to this ray of hope you have something to pull you out. This is what I did in my journey to become sober. I clung onto the believe that life would just be so much better with me a sober person, enjoying an honest life, one that I wasn’t lying to myself or others, a purer life. It was all what I wanted and that ray of hope got me there in the end.

I’m as much inspired by the way that I’ve changed my life, but that I was able to do that. For years I thought I was just going to be this awful drinker who got drunk at parties, said the wrong thing at the wrong time, etc. I never realised when I decided to give up drinking that it would lead me to change my life in the way that I have. My whole outlook changed and the thing I most enjoy is being able to write it here in my blog and share it with you.

If you’ve just started on the road to giving up drinking, smoking, using, whatever…stick at it and be prepared for some nice changes further along the road. Maybe like me you’ll discover things about you that you didn’t know existed.

Why Steve Jobs was an Inspiration in Helping me Give up Drinking

Believe it or not, the question of whether or not Steve Jobs drank alcohol brings more traffic to my site that anything else. Why? Well my blog about Steve Jobs’ Stanford University graduation speech seems to bring a ton of traffic about it.

As to whether or not he actually drank or was an alcoholic I can’t say. I read Walter Isaacson’s biography on Jobs within a week of it coming out, there weren’t any signs about him being an alcoholic. He was a hero of mine from years back, so I was happy to at least read that he wasn’t a regular drunk, though he clearly experimented with drugs in his early years. The reason I was so interested in Jobs, enough to write about his Stanford accept speech, was his inspiration. If you ever wanted to see how a presentation should be delivered, all you needed to do was watch any of his keynotes. He kept them uncluttered, simple and timed to perfection.

He inspired me and I enjoyed following his career and the rise of Apple Inc. Inspiration is the key to giving up drinking or smoking or whatever it is you are addicted to. Alcohol was my demon and anyone with a similar addiction will know how hard it is to give it up.

So in giving up you need inspiration. You need to know that it is worthwhile, this life change, and something worth should bother to do. Without inspiration, giving up anything is much, much harder.

So whether or not he was drunk is immaterial to me. He inspired me to find myself and in that process was able to find a route to give up drinking. It inspired me to start this blog to write about my journey and the progress I made along it. You guys who read and post comments give me the inspiration to continue and keep posting here on my Blog. Without inspiration none of us would be able to do anything, we’d have no focus or guide to pull us out and upward to a better place.

I hope that those of you who are starting out on the road to recovery get some inspiration from me to. I’d love to think that the pain of what I’ve been through helps you to get to your destination more quickly. Enjoy your life and make something of it. Make your plan to stop drinking today and go for it!

What do you think? Please write and tell me in the comments below and share your experiences with us today.