How I broke a lifetime drinking habit

Life was pretty good. I was in my 50s, married 25 years, relatively fit, two happy grown-up children, a successful business, a nice house, lots of friends and part of a wonderful community. Even a cute chocolate Labrador. What more could I want?

Like many women, when my children were young I juggled a busy life of work, kids, husband and house. When the kids went to bed, I poured a glass of wine while I cooked dinner and another while we ate – the least I deserved after a long, hard day.

Fast forward 25 years and my glass had become more like a bottle, more if we were socialising. Regardless of my evening’s activities, every night ended with wine. Even if I was out at meetings and home late, I’d open a bottle. I’d developed a great capacity to drink relatively large amounts and still function normally each day. Up early, off for a swim or walk then a long day in the office. All the while, a little fuzzy, a little bloated, but no hangover as such, or outward, obvious visible signs of a problem with alcohol.

I had many conversations with myself about it. I’ll cut down. I’ll only drink on weekends, I’ll only drink when socialising, I’ll have three alcohol-free days a week … But for some reason I seemed to have an inability to do any of this. Nightly drinking too much, nightly waking at 2 or 3 am and beating myself up about it. Getting on with my day, pretending there was no issue, doing it all again.

While my internal conversations were abundant, I had no conversations about it with anyone else and, interestingly, nobody close to me ever broached the subject. I think this is a thing. People are not comfortable talking about alcohol. Those who drink too much themselves definitely don’t want to talk about it. Those who don’t drink much at all don’t really get it. Those that have given up don’t want to be seen as vigilantes.

At the back of my mind I knew something needed to change. Eventually about five years ago, I decided to have a break. I didn’t set a timeframe. I didn’t really tell anyone. I just stopped. I had no physical withdrawals, but it was tough at first and required some serious determination. After all, it was almost a lifetime habit. But soon I started to see the benefits – better sleep, feeling fresh, greater productivity, no falling asleep in front of the TV, ability to drive anywhere, anytime, no forgotten party conversations, not to mention dropping a few kilos. It was great. There was no doubt – I loved it.

After about four months, it was Christmas time. Well, you have to have a drink on Christmas Day. So I did. Game over. Back to it. Before I knew it, I was back into the everyday habit, like the break had never happened. It took me nine months to stop again, this time for three months. For four years I did this, having a longish break and then some great occasion and excuse to start again. Straight back at it – every time. It seems it was all or nothing, moderation wasn’t going to happen for me.

My internal conversations continued while drinking daily, but I was beginning to think that one day, my break might be forever. There was no doubt in my mind I was happier when I was living an alcohol-free life. But giving up forever was a crazy thought and, if I’m honest, a little scary. When I pictured the part alcohol played on weekends away, family gatherings, holidays, socialising and life in general, I wasn’t sure I could let it go altogether.

So, for the fifth year running, in February 2019, I embarked on my annual ‘break’. We went to my god-daughter’s engagement party and someone had to drive, so I picked that night to begin. As usual, it was tough to break the daily habit, but the benefits, again, were outstanding. I read some good quit books in the first few months which really helped to keep me on track and understand the psychology of alcohol and addiction. This time I was in no hurry to restart, letting people know I was ‘taking a break’, or ‘not drinking at the moment’.

Somewhere around the nine-month mark I realised this was it. I wasn’t going back. Life was simply better without alcohol. I still enjoyed socialising, weekends away, dancing at parties and was often the last one to leave. I felt like I was 100% on form, day and night. Even stressful times were easier to manage without alcohol.

My mindset changed. If I was offered a drink, I’d proudly say, ‘No thanks, I don’t drink’. The more I said it, the more I liked it. It makes me smile as I write it!

While I’ve never labelled myself an alcoholic or openly declared I was addicted, what else could it be? I guess it’s Alcohol Use Disorder. It was habitual. I was doing it every night. I struggled not to do it. I didn’t like it, but I did it anyway. I knew it was bad for my health, but I did it anyway.

It’s now over two years since I last had a drink and I’m committed to an alcohol-free life. I don’t feel as though I miss out. In fact, I feel like I’ve escaped the world’s biggest con.

 

Louise lives and works in Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. She’s a freelance eLearning consultant, life-member of Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club, and passionate eBike rider.

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  • Well done Lou – very proud of you!
    (from your hubby, smileyface)

    By Charles
    |
    May 5, 2021
  • Louise! Thank you for sharing. I could have written this – word for word! I too have had longish breaks from drinking and all the positivity that goes with that and then start again. That slope is very slippery! I’m in a drinking phase at the moment and I don’t even like it. I know I need to stop. Your post helped a lot. Keep on going!!

    By JR
    |
    May 6, 2021
    • I also have had a ten month break, but picked up a drink at a lunch event and am now having a hard time putting it down again, hiding it from family to avoid the criticism. I also felt wonderful when I had stopped and people mentioned how well I looked. after reading this story I feel I could give it another go as I have a few weddings and a cruise at the end of the year and I so want to be sober and enjoy these events without the fog of alcohol in the way.

      By Jeanette
      |
      May 8, 2021
    • Thanks JR. Glad the post helped! It sounds like you may follow a similar path. As you say, you don’t even like it! All the best. Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • Louise this was a great read. We have had much the same journey. I quit Feb 2019 and I find life easier without alcohol.
    I love ocean swimming and ride a E mtb.

    By brett
    |
    May 6, 2021
    • That’s great. Good on you Brett! I absolutely love my eBike. My friends are all sick of me trying to get them to buy one! Keep on enjoying! Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • …escaped the world’s biggest con..
    Exactly! Well put and spot on. Exactly how I feel . Thanks for this article I think a lot of people will relate to this story.

    By Michelle
    |
    May 6, 2021
    • My same story but I am old & what is the use except I don’t want to die a drunk!!!! Use to live @ Surfers Paradice!

      By Karen Post
      |
      May 8, 2021
      • You are never too old, go for it! I’m trying once more again 🙂
        I used to live in Surfers too, up until 2009, wondering what the relevance was?

        By Sandie
        |
        May 22, 2021
    • Thank you Louise for sharing.It was really good to hear how you had long breaks and started again. I did 3months lapsed then 4 months.Last year 9 months and started again. Reading your story as been very helpful and Inspiring😊

      By Marsha
      |
      May 23, 2021
  • Thank you Louise… gives me strength to face my life addiction with alcohol x

    By Dawn
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Hi Louise

    You have described me exactly. I feel weak and ashamed. I get stressed. And, what more do I need to say.

    Congratulations!

    Regards, Amanda

    By Amanda Jeffrey
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Hi Louise,

    Well done, there are millions of people just like you including myself.
    I applaud you for taking that big step as I know I should one day.

    Regards
    Andrew

    By Andrew
    |
    May 6, 2021
    • What an amazing story. Such a powerful share and really connected with me. Congrats!

      By SHANNON
      |
      May 6, 2021
    • Last year I spent some time with a counsellor trying to understand why events and people in my life had victimised me. I was still drinking then. Currently giving up alcohol, almost completely, has made me understand a greater truth. I actually did all those things to myself. I was a victim of myself and I didn’t have anyone else to blame. All those accidents, mistakes etc were done by ME to ME.

      By Gregory
      |
      May 6, 2021
      • Courageous honesty

        By Raymond Judy
        |
        May 8, 2021
  • Thanks Louise. You have just written about my life and I suspect, many others with such clear insight.
    You’ve put my situation into words so concisely, I can no longer avoid the obvious.
    Time to change.
    Congratulations on your success.

    By Jennie
    |
    May 6, 2021
    • As time went on I realised my story was the same as many and really nobody is talking about it. Good luck with the change Jennie. All the best. Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • I can so relate to this on every way. This is my story too. I’ve been 15 months AF, and never felt better. Calm and living my authentic self.
    Meredith

    By Meredith
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Congratulations Louise.
    Great story that resonates with me. I feel so good not drinking, but always seem to lapse after a few months.
    You have given me so much confidence to start again.
    Thankyou.
    Margx

    By Margaret Davidson
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Fantastic blog – thanks for sharing your story with us. Your story very much mirrors mine. I’m at the eight month mark of not drinking – after years of being on and off it – as part of what was initially a 12 month commitment. I have had the realisation that I’m done with alcohol. My life and the way I live it is so much better without alcohol.

    By Allyson
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • I love the last line in your blog…”In fact, I feel like I’ve escaped the world’s biggest con.” I think I miss out on much more in life by always being drawn to the bottle and this line gives me inspiration. Thank you.

    By Lee
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Thanks Lou, and ditto!!
    Same story different life.
    Saying it out loud is very empowering, especially when im anxious or stressed…I simply say, I dont drink to cope anymore!! Instead I breathe. 🙏

    By Tijana
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Great work …. thanks for sharing your story. Very inspiring.

    By Simon
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Thank you for sharing your story Louise, it is quite similar to mine. Finally after years of drinking a bottle of wine every night, I have at least cut back to weekends only. I always manage to function just fine the next day, I have 3 small kids and I study full-time, but the awful thoughts going through my head and the self-hatred is invisible to those around me. It is a scary thought, going completely alcohol free, but I hope to do it one day. Thanks for the inspiration.

    By Naomi
    |
    May 6, 2021
    • Hi Naomi. I know exactly what you mean, it is so scary. Personally, I couldn’t have just outright started with the idea of quitting for good. It was just at the very back of my head and came forward as time went on. By the time I decided it was a permanent change it wasn’t scary at all, but instead empowering. All the best. Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • What a great post! . . . Very very insightful and quite a different theme from some of the other more dramatic ones. Great insight, great balance and very measured. Well done to you! 🙂

    By Tim
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Thanks, first time Ive read my exact story on this blog. Have just started again after 4th year of big break.

    Now to work towards the last step

    By Geoff
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Hi Louise
    Thank you for this . It is so my story other than I have not stopped.
    Deep down I feel like I need to stop but am frightened of the idea.
    I don’t seem to be able to moderate.
    Your story is an inspiration.

    All the best to you

    By Ken McLeish
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Hi Louise
    Your story is helpful and inspiring and probably a reflection of the daily experience for so many of us, with lives that are otherwise full and well lived, but for this toxic habit. Habitual excessive drinking, consciously to reward, relax, celebrate and commiserate. Unconsciously driven by an insidious craving. A daily shadow in one’s own life but invisible to others.
    Thank you.

    By Alexandra
    |
    May 6, 2021
    • Touché…..More than any other blog this one really hit home with me. Despite being fit and capable but now elderly, I know I need to embark on an alcohol-free journey to optimize my health.
      I’ve taken short breaks, like Dry July and Feb Fast but have drunk alcohol for my entire life. Why? Because my parents drank daily and pre-dinner drinks have always been part of my life, even though I’ve known drinking daily was unhealthy. More importantly, I’ve always been a highly-strung and anxious person so imbibing a bourbon, gin or wine has always been an antidote for my anxiety. Now that my husband has given alcohol away, I think I will find it easier to follow suit.
      Thanks for your candor.

      By Sarah
      |
      May 8, 2021
  • Hi Louise

    Congratulations – what a great story. At one stage I would have said mine is similar but since my third huge health scare early this year and absolutely having to give up, I’ve realised it was much more than that. Forty years of depression and anxiety, smoothed out by copious amounts of wine (I’ve been drinking since my early teens) has taken its toll particularly on my liver. But since giving up on 1 Feb 2021, I am definitely experiencing many of the benefits you have described. So let’s keep at it and well done again xx

    By Angela Witcher
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • A powerful story gently told. Louise, like others who will comment my story does echoe yours in many ways. I do not consider myself dependent, do not experience withdrawals but have a battle with myself not to drink every day – even at minimal amounts. The internal dialogue is priceless!!
    Well done on staying the course and making real changes that will pay it forward for you forever.

    By Linda Campbell
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Hi Louise
    Late 40’s i was up to a bottle of white wine to ‘destress’ every evening after long and stressful work days. I remember just 10 years before i would never have drunk alone at home and I remember dating a guy in my 20s who was 10 years older and drinking a bottle or more a night, and being gobsmacked. He recently gave up. He was an alcoholic. Fast forward and i am hesding down the slippery slope myself! I also gave up 18 months ago. I turn 50 this year and after a lifelong habit, i feel so much better. It’s the preference of not drinking over drinking which makes this something i rarely think about anymore. And like you i am just as happy and funny not drinking as i was drinking. That was an early fear that my personality would change. In fact it just came out all the more and it is nice to remember every conversation!!! I am considering having a glass of champagne on my 50th. But then again, i most likely won’t.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    By Trina
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Love this! Thank youLouise for sharing!
    “Alcohol use disorder “ is a term I’ve never heard but- WOW -does it fit a lot of people!

    By Julie
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Thank you for sharing. I have fallen into the habit of 1 glass which quickly turns to 2-3. Its been in the back of my mind to reduce but 1 glass always leads to another. Your story is so positive and inspirational.

    By Sarah
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Awesome effort and great to share your story to start the conversations!! I always ask for a non alcoholic drink as well when offered so many options which is making it much easier!!

    By Aaron
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Hi Louise your story is similar to my own experience and doesn’t it feel good to say “I don’t drink alcohol”! Proud and strong, good for you.

    By Clare Felton
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • I am feeling so much more positive about the decision to quit and motivated by stories like yours! Turning 40 this year and moderation (and the slide back into constant drinking) is no longer an option. I am actually starting to look forward to social events instead of dreading the hangover or pressure to drink knowing I am the one in control now. Thanks for your story Louise

    By Danielle
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Well done Louise and thanks for sharing! Alcohol really is the worlds biggest con and it feels so powerful saying ‘no thanks, I don’t drink’ you should be really proud ! Sarah xx

    By Sarah
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Congratulations Louise. Your story could be my story. I’m mid 50’s & have been trying on and off to quit for about 7 years now, taking breaks most years for a period of a few months at a time and then always reverting to my old habits. This time, its been just over 4 months so far, but it feels different. I realise that I am done with it for good now, and I am not just ‘taking a break’, I am finished. Mentally, I feel like I can finally accept this now. Life is so much better without alcohol in it. Thanks for the inspiration!

    By Denise
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Fantastic job! Your story is mine, just add 10 years to your age and change the name! I have also had ebbs and flows on my journey but am now proud to say, ‘I don’t drink, thank you!’ Recently had a glass of red (don’t ask why) and hated the taste! Job done x

    By Laney Riley
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Well done and so relatable. I did the 3 month no alcohol challenge at the beginning of this year and felt so much better. I had previously done the various Feb Fast, Dry July and October Sober and did not achieve the same benefits as what 3 months brings. I now find that I don’t really enjoy alcohol and as a plus, there are so many alcohol free (and sugar free) choices now. I too have been contemplating becoming a non-drinker. Love the blogs.

    By Trish
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • I could have written that….apart from the dancing…..still fighting this battle nobody can see but ill get there. Great blog thank you

    By Kevin
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Very inspiring and hopefully me one day!

    By Rachel
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Hi Louise,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I totally relate to it! I stopped drinking for 10 years, then started again for 6 years, and Ive now stopped again and coming up to my second year of sobriety on May 12th. I have now studied my life with and without alcohol and can see that alcohol does not agree with me and Im much much happier without it. I live in Nairobi, Kenya by the way!

    Thanks again!

    By Susan Ngugi
    |
    May 6, 2021
    • Wow – a comment all the way from Kenya. I hope you are doing OK over there. Great that you have worked out that you’re much happier without alcohol. Isn’t it strange that it takes us so long to work it out! Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
    • Yes a comment all the way from Kenya! Imagine that is the impact you had with your beautifully written share. I have never even commented on this platform before and was not even sure you would see my message but I’m glad you did and thank you for responding!
      All the best to you as you continue on your journey in sobriety.
      Today I celebrate 2 years continuous sobriety 🙂

      By Susan Ngugi
      |
      May 12, 2021
      • Thanks Susan – and a big congrats on the two years! xx

        By Louise Lindop
        |
        May 13, 2021
  • This really resonates with me…I have kept going back and forth on whether I’m really someone who needs to quit because I don’t have an obvious problem. But I’m 4 months in and feel so much better why would I want to go back to that? And if I felt the need to quit then it obviously took away more from my life than I wanted. Thanks so much for your insight

    By Jake
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Thank you for the inspirational post. My experience with alcohol is almost identical to yours. I didn’t think I had a problem until the Love of my life gave me an ultimatum. I had a decision to make and I couldn’t live with myself if I chose alcohol over her. Rather than repeat the cycle of on-again, off-again, I knew it was time to quit for good this time. Am I an alcoholic? Maybe. She thinks so. It doesn’t really matter though. Alcohol was an unhealthy habit I had since I was 13. In life, you sometimes reach a point where it is time to eliminate an unhealthy habit. I am one month sober and committed to an alcohol-free life. Does that scare me a bit? Yes. But if I am completely honest with myself I know my life will be better without alcohol, as you decribed. Thank you for sharing.

    By Michael
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • What great story. Thanks for sharing it. I can relate to everything you have mentioned.
    I really admire you for your achievement.
    All the best
    Kate

    By Kate UK
    |
    May 6, 2021
  • Louise, thank you for this article. Congratulations on making your break the final, permanent one. I’m happy to report that I joined you in that permanent break three months ago. My longest break had been 5.5 years. So much of what you wrote was relatable for me – especially those awful 3:00 a.m. wake-ups. My mental waffling coalesced into a decision when I read Alcohol Explained by William Porter. Life is so much more peaceful and less anguished now.

    By Kay
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • Totally relate!! Love your story…

    By Kristin
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • Thank you for sharing, I saw myself so many times in your story.

    By kim
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • Oh thank you for this , this is me ! This is my life & I know that I don’t want it to be this way anymore . I seem to be able to go a day or two and at one stage I managed 8 months . I’m scared of my drinking & I hate myself everyday for it . This story is mine & gives me too & you give me hope x

    By Tracey Dixon
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • Thanks Louise! Amazing how many of us can relate to your story but it isn’t widely talked about. The fact that you had several “dry” periods before the time was right to quit has obviously resonated with many of us. Good luck!

    By Lynn
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • OMG – this is me…I keep trying to stop and keep failing – you have inspired me – thank you for sharing !!

    By Jane
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • Thank you for sharing your story. So much like mine too along with so many others reading and commenting. Only difference is I’m having my first break after a lifetime of a bottle plus a night. Thank you for the inspiration to keep going.

    By KATHRYN
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • This is exactly how I feel. 2 weeks AF and trying this for the millionth time but I’ll get there one day!
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    By AL
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • Thank you so much.
    This is exactly what I needed to read, it is my story.
    I keep trying, feel great and then something comes along and the battle starts again and the beating up, bad sleep, overeating after drinking and so on.
    You are giving me hope and inspiration.
    I’ll try again, starting today.

    By Annette
    |
    May 7, 2021
  • Wonderful and a pattern for many it is a journey of stops and starts and not a jump and that’s it done. Not you got there congratulations and what a wonderful godmother what an example to your goddaughter. X

    By Lizzie
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Thanks for sharing your story Louise. This resonates absolutely with me. Can you share the good quit books that helped you?

    By Kate
    |
    May 8, 2021
    • Hi Kate. I liked The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley and This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. I found it really helped to have a book on the go and just read a few pages a night. I probably did this for about 6 months. It just help strengthen my resolve! All the very best. Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • This is so much my story. I love it when I stop but when I return to having just one or two it soon spirals. I have the mental hockey every day. This is the inspiration for me to stop and not put a time limit on it…

    By Paulie
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Thanks for the article, so on point for me. I stopped in 2019 then the same thing at Christmas which rolled into COVID and before I knew it I was back harder than ever before…

    I am actually really enjoying stopping this time, but the hardest part is explaining it. That sentence is so hopeful, …”Those who drink too much themselves definitely don’t want to talk about it. Those who don’t drink much at all don’t really get it. Those that have given up don’t want to be seen as vigilantes” I don’t need to explain it, I get that. BUT, when I do explain it, I also don’t need to feel bad about it!

    By MADELEINE
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • You identified the issue – the BIG CON. Imagine if all those alcohol bottles were packaged in brown paper bags with a message ALCHOLOL IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH – how different things would be.

    When you realise that (simply reading some of the quit books) – not drinking is very easy.

    The benefits of non drinking you list (better sleep, feeling fresh, greater productivity, no falling asleep in front of the TV, ability to drive anywhere, anytime, no forgotten party conversations, not to mention dropping a few kilos)far outweigh the initial PERCEIVED social difficulty of not drinking so it is easy to stop.

    People will still like you and you will still have fun!

    By Ross
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Thank you Louise for sharing your journey it gives me hope

    By Max
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Thank you Louise! I am in the long transition out phase that you describe so well: on and off alcohol. Your message gives me hope to be off for a longer period, for good!?

    By Claude Diwouta
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Wow this is so me! Over the past year I’ve taken 2 extended breaks from alcohol, but then end up going back to 3-4 per night within a couple weeks. It’s so annoying!

    Embarking on another break as of yesterday. Maybe I’ll find the strength to make it permanent like you. Thanks for sharing!

    By Mitch
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Massive congrats! I am totally on the cusp of being brave enough to do as you have done, Louise. Huge kudos to you. I am close but need a bit more chutzpah to cross the chasm. inspiring!

    By Liz
    |
    May 8, 2021
    • Just go for it Liz! I didn’t declare to anyone what I was doing at first and for me this meant I wasn’t under any pressure. I just quietly didn’t drink. It was only later I got louder! Good luck taking the leap! Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • I can relate to this very much! I’m also stuck in the cycle described here- I don’t want to be, but still keep doing it. Well done for escaping the trap!

    By Tom
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Could have been my story. Well done. It’s hard to feel at war with yourself with the culprit being alcohol.

    By LD
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Great blog. Thank you and congratulations. This is so much like my life except I don’t have the happy ending. As you say, moderation isn’t an option – it’s all or nothing. As I jokingly say, giving up is easy – I’ve done it loads of times – therein lies the problem. But your story has inspired me to try again. Thank you!

    By Nigel Logan
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Awesome read and yes very relatable!

    By Mel
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Thank you for sharing your story Louise. Mine reads somewhat similar, except that I am only a few weeks in, even though I have made 2-3 previous attempts staying off the bottle for 3-6 months at a time. Yet, this time it feels a bit different , sort of like for you at 9 months. Your success is inspiration for me to keep the alcohol out of my mouth.

    By Ock
    |
    May 8, 2021
    • Excellent – glad to be of some help! It’s great when you feel that shift. Good luck this time Ock! Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • Lou, Your story resonates with me so much. I’m also now AF and loving it.

    Love from Newport Beach SLSC

    By Cameron Lyndon-James
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • This is my journey too… eerie to read it! You are 100% correct Louise. All the best to you, from a former Northern Beaches gal.

    By Sue
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • There must have been something in the air in February 2019, that’s the month I quit for good also..! Louise, I can honestly say I get where you came from and where you are now. Enjoy every day with your obviously adoring hubby and all the other benefits of being AF.

    By Dave
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Louise, thank you for telling your story. So encouraging. I’m dunk as possible, every day, for 30 years… tried and tried to just quit.
    “I didn’t like it, but I did it anyway.” I know this sentiment is true for so many people.
    I’ll try again on this battle to “escape the world’s biggest con”. Well said, thank you.

    Owen

    By Owen
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Totally relate to your story, would love to hear in another blog how you resisted the cravings and if you substitute alcohol free wines or beers. I am inspired by your blog and thanks for sharing .

    By Ros
    |
    May 8, 2021
    • Hi Ros. The alcohol-free wines and beers are a hard one. I occasionally do have alcohol-free beer or sparkling wine. This said, I also understand that for some people this doesn’t work as it acts as a trigger. At least we are lucky that there are now some really good options to choose from. All the best. Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • What a powerful story, I think I have exactly the same thing I could relate to everything you said, I need to just start this new lifestyle instead of putting it off to the next day each time. Many thanks

    By John
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • What an inspiration your story is and so much like the one I live except I haven’t stopped totally yet. Well done

    By Pen
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Great read Louise: perfect account of the thinking for so many and life is better when alcohol free. Huge praise for putting pen to paper and posting on here. #inspired

    By David
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Thanks so much Louise! I can resonate with so much of this. I am currently 7 days alcohol free and have been working at it since January, having only drank a total of 33 days since then, as I kid myself I can moderate, only to regret it after. I couldn’t agree more life is so much better without alcohol.

    By Lisa
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Such a helpful post. Thank you so much for sharing Lou!

    By CJ
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • A great story and so true for me. I quit every morning, one day it will stick. I hope that is today.

    By Barbara
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    May 8, 2021
  • Good on you Louise – great story and makes me proud of your achievements

    By Tony
    |
    May 8, 2021
  • Hey I’m soooo happy to hear that but unlike you I never have a break ….,
    I’ve told myself it’s been because of stress which is sooooo true
    But I also tell myself it’s because I’ve done good and I’m deserving

    My daughter needs alcohol every day and can’t get to the bottle shop to buy it for soooo many reasons
    Sooooo I just think …. I’m here so I’ll get something for me

    It’s so relentless
    I’m sooo over this
    I know that I can do this
    But why am I still in this place ??????

    By Helen Wilkinson
    |
    May 9, 2021
    • Hi Helen,

      Thank you for sharing. It sounds like it’s a tough time for you right now and we want you to know that there is support available. Check out the Daybreak app to connect with others who may be going through a similar experience or reach out to a health professional such as GP. Lifeline is also available for support 24/7 on 13 11 14.

      Take care, The HSM Team.

      By Hello Sunday Morning
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • Wow – this could have been me as it is my exact story thanks for sharing and owning being AF – it rocks!

    By Vicki Berkahn
    |
    May 9, 2021
  • Just what I needed to read today, truly inspiring, I’m on day 9 today Alcohol free, I’m hoping to continue this journey, I have no off switch, your story I totally relate to.
    thank you
    Penny

    By Penny mcdonald
    |
    May 9, 2021
  • Exactly my story except my breaks have been shorter – still at the too scary to not drink at all stage. Thanks for sharing. Coincides with another “well I won’t drink during the week” commitment to try to drop some ab fat before my son’s wedding next year.

    By Deb
    |
    May 9, 2021
  • Thankyou!
    This was like reading my story!
    I will take the first step……

    By Kimmaree
    |
    May 9, 2021
  • Thank you everyone for your great comments. Some of them are making me a little emotional! It took me quite a while to feel comfortable sharing my story publicly. Your reflections have made me pleased that I did. I love the idea that sharing my experience may have even a small positive impact on others who are trying to make a change. Thanks HSM for the platform!
    Louise

    By Louise Lindop
    |
    May 9, 2021
  • Thank you for sharing your experience with alcohol. It was my story too, to a T as they say.
    I find when I share about my experience with alcohol, when people ask why I don’t drink, it helps them reflect on their experience. I’ll never go back.
    I just need to have a similar outcome with ice-cream 😁

    By Peter Hendriks
    |
    May 9, 2021
  • Thank you so much Louise. This sounds exactly like me – high functioning in my 50s, generally fit and happy and a regular Dry Julyer, but struggling to control my private drinking through the rest of the year. Have got it down to only 2-3 nights a week now but am worn down by the constant ‘conversations’ and recriminations in my head. I don’t relate to the more catastrophic stories on this site but yours really resonated and I’m keeping it on file.

    By Allyson
    |
    May 10, 2021
    • Hi Allyson. Yes, I don’t miss the alcohol, but even more so I don’t miss the conversations – it leaves room in my head for much more interesting things! All the best. Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 10, 2021
  • Such clarity! Thank you for this.

    By james richardson
    |
    May 10, 2021
  • Great blog Lou. Your experience really resonated with me. I too spent years secretly wondering if I had a problem with alcohol, made resolutions every week to cut down, but never could for long. I agree, after 14 months alcohol free, I am so much happier. I expected to feel healthier, but didn’t expect happier!

    Thanks so much for sharing that. Spot on.

    By Laura
    |
    May 10, 2021
  • I could be writing this. I want to stop. Can you tell me any of the books that helped you please

    By Edel
    |
    May 10, 2021
    • Hi Edel. I like This Naked Mind by Annie Grace and Alcohol Explained by William Porter. Both full of great info and insights. I also liked The Sober Diaries by Claire Pooley. It’s more of a story, an easy read. I found it really good to have one on the go to keep me on track in the early days! Good luck! All the best. Louise

      By Louise Lindop
      |
      May 12, 2021
  • I am exactly you, Louise (or, rather, *old Louise). Fifties, very happy marriage and successful job, lots of friends, life is good. But also…daily drinking. I’m a 3-glass-a-night gal and I love it. But I also don’t at all. I hope I find my off switch like you did. Thank you for the inspiration. xo

    By Shannon
    |
    May 11, 2021
  • Louise – thank you for your story!! This is so me!! Two years ago I gave up for 7 months, went on a cruise which had a drinks package and got stuck into having fun with my husband. Got home from the cruise to the ACT having its worst battle with smoke from surrounding fires which lasted two months. At one point I even escaped to QLD for a couple of weeks to stay with my Mum. Returned to the ACT to the start of COVID. I didn’t cope and drinking became an escape to actually stop feeling. By becoming a lounge lizard my body started to ache more than it ever had. CT worse scans show I have wide spread facet joint arthritis in my spine / hips. Do I feel overwhelmed sometimes……yep!! Menopause was a bitch for me and now my body is letting me down. Fancy blaming my body when I know I am letting it down. So each morning, I should say early morning because sleep is rare, I say to myself “when I get up this is it – I stop this stupid spiral I am on”. Yesterday was one of those days! I went to the club with my husband and I didn’t have a drink. I also researched arthritis and found Arthritis ACT and have made an appointment to help my sore body. Oh and because this has been an ongoing battle with myself on Tuesday I received my online order of non-alcoholic drinks. I am determined to stop and my husband who kind of understands is willing to help me. At home he now drinks non-alcoholic beer and is prepared to try my non-alcoholic bubbles & wine. I believe once I start helping my body I will get stronger each day! But I am very aware I am a work in progress! It has only taken 43 years – started drinking at 16 and determined by my 60th I relationship with alcohol will be over!!

    By Jane
    |
    May 13, 2021
  • Thank you for sharing Louise.
    I resonated with your story and it gives you encouragement to make the move and cut it!
    Happy days!!😁

    By Annie
    |
    May 13, 2021
  • Smart move Louise it sure can take a long time to give up a habit of a lifetime … I can relate to your story … I have started talking about HSM to friends though because people are genuinely curious when you don’t drink and I like to plant a seed so when they are ready they can explore their options and get support along the way…it’s hard to do it on your own …well done

    By Janet
    |
    May 14, 2021
  • Very proud of your achievement l no how hard it is people don’t understand or realise the pain and suffering our bodies go through lm on my path to alcohol free and going strong thankyou for your story

    By Craig Knewstubb
    |
    May 15, 2021
  • It seemed like I was reading my life atm. Thank you for giving me hope to keep trying.

    By Donna
    |
    May 17, 2021
  • Same same, your storey rings true, recently managed 2 months or so but went to a 50th and blew out. I’ve had a few wines here and there since and I’m trying hard not to keep slipping. Your storey has helped me recognise the pattern and given me a boost to keep going

    By Sam
    |
    May 20, 2021
  • “While I’ve never labelled myself an alcoholic or openly declared I was addicted, what else could it be? I guess it’s Alcohol Use Disorder. It was habitual. I was doing it every night. I struggled not to do it. I didn’t like it, but I did it anyway. I knew it was bad for my health, but I did it anyway.”

    I have read this paragraph a few times now and it is so me, thank you for a great blog read. I’ve just restarted AF again and so hope i have the mindset this time, hugs.

    By Sandie
    |
    May 22, 2021
  • OMG – I’ve just joined this group and you have just described my relationship with alcohol. Except I haven’t quit for any length of time. But the rest of your experience is identical to mine!! I would like to think I could be a social drinker as the thought of giving up completely scares me. But I am drinking every night and not really enjoying it after the first glass so and can’t seem to stop. Thank you for your story – it has given me hope!

    By Kimbo
    |
    May 22, 2021
  • Louise, what a great story and great achievement My story is almost exactly the same as yours but unfortunately I’m still drinking. I feel so much better when I’m alcohol free but just can’t stick to it for longer than 5 or 6 months. I’ll keep trying though and hopefully will make it.

    By Kathy
    |
    June 3, 2021
    • Thanks Kathy! Keep taking those breaks. Hopefully there will come a time when it all just clicks into place! All the best. Louise

      By Louise
      |
      June 7, 2021
  • Lifelong heavy drinker coming up on a 60day mark AF. Good luck to all.

    By Troy
    |
    June 10, 2021
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