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breaking the alcohol cycle


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Reading others in the forums it appears I'm not alone, which is comforting :) when I'm not on a whole30 I tend to crave alcohol, then I drink alcohol, then I feel crap and my sleep is crap and my stomach isn't happy, then I always vow to not drink it again or in the same circumstances, and then a few days later I see myself on the same track. Has anyone managed to break this cycle/intervene before it escalates to the guilt/regret stage?

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Yes...but you're probably not going to like the answer. 

You just have to quit - cold turkey. 

(I'll give y'all a few minutes to scream and run to another post - one with a happier answer...)

But if you're still with me....here goes (tough love time). 

Like Whole30, you start with one day.  You prep - getting all the booze out of the house.  ALL OF IT (even that $50 you bought for that special occasion).  You tell your friends so they don't hassle you (nor should they...what kind of friends are they really if they're pushing you to do something you don't want to....really, you're stronger than that!).  And then, you don't drink.  You go do something after work that has nothing to do with drinking.  Go to Home Depot and plan out an herb garden, clean your house, get decaf coffee, get tea, go anywhere where there is NO BOOZE!  Then you wake up the next morning, mark a #1 on your calendar.  Just like Whole30 - you mark your first day.  Then you proceed with the second.  Same thing - stay away from "trigger" places, invite a friend over for movie and soda, encase yourself in a "safe, alcohol-free zone".  Then you write a "2" on the calendar and proceed with day 3. 

You do this each and every day.  You don't think about the next day - you focus on the present.  You DON'T think about the what-ifs, you just plan to go without.  You tell friends you're just not drinking - and if they keep pushing, you just don't hang out with them. You focus on the present day.  FOCUS!  ;)   

If you go out you order sparkling water (in a wine glass - so you feel like you're holding an elegant glass of wine, and you have bubbles like you're drinking champagne or beer).  You don't sit at the bar. You order coffee (decaf).  You tell yourself how much classier you are ordering coffee or sparkling water instead of alcohol.  You think about celebrities that don't drink and realize you're just as hot and mysterious.  Even MORE so!

You take it day by day.  And you have to tell yourself to focus on THAT DAY.  You can't think about not drinking tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or at your wedding, or vacation, or holiday, or when your family comes to visit...because you will depress the crap out of yourself if you try to look long term.  You have to choose to not drink today.  Each.  Day.

There is no easy way out of this. If you CRAVE alcohol, there are no cheat days.  There is just you making a decision - do you want to drink, or do you not.

(didn't Yoda say that somewhere...?)

It is a hard, hard habit to break.  I know.  Trust me, I know.  I love wine.  I love going to Napa.  I love(d) wine dinners - paring different wines with different foods.  I got married at a wine bar!  Meanwhile, I LOVE(d) beer.  I worked at a brewery.  The smell of hops and yeast when you walk in the door of a brewery is like perfume to my nose.  I love the different brewing techniques and all of the wonderful seasonal beers!  I love(d) drinking with my friends...the laughing, the social aspect.  I love(d) warm Bailey's and coffee on cold winter nights and ice cold beer at baseball games on warm summer days.  I LOVED IT ALL!!!  But when my daily routine started looking like this:  8am -"not gonna drink today"....6pm-"well...just one glass of wine"...2-3 glasses later....8am-"God, I feel like crap...ok, not gonna drink today"...lather, rinse, repeat, then it was time realize that it was harmful than helpful and it had to go.

You can tell yourself that you're not me.  And that's OK.  If you can tell yourself you're only going to drink on the weekends and can pull it off, that's great.  If you can tell yourself you're only going to drink wine from here on out and can do it - I wish I had your willpower!!!!  But if you're waking up each day saying you're going to quit and then telling yourself each night that quitting is for quitters...well....

I love that Whole30 gives you the freedom to introduce foods back into your menu as  you see fit.   That there is to be no guilt, no remorse when you enjoy, no - SAVOR, something that may or may not be ideal depending on your reintroduction.  But in the same way you wouldn't stay in a horrible relationship with a person, why make excuses for food or drink? 

Even more importantly...I'm GLAD I quit drinking.  I still see my friends - we still go out.  Hell, we go out to bars and breweries!   I still make fabulous dinners.  I throw parties.  I see my family.  And I can do it all WITHOUT alcohol!!! 

This may not be the answer you wanted.  It's not the answer I wanted.  But I did it and you can do this.  If you WANT to do it.  And ain't nobody gonna do it for you.

Day 1.  Decide.


love, Gina - 976 days sober.



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Amazing response, @gina724. I second everything you said. @foursimplewords, read your post but hesitated to respond, because someone who hasn't had a drink since 2003, I realize not everyone is ready for sobriety. You have to discover for yourself if alcohol is something you probably should live without, but it sounds like maybe you're coming to that conclusion. Even if you're not sure if you have a problem with alcohol, a good practical suggestion (AA) book for how to start going without is Living Sober. It has ideas for how to manage going out with friends or to special events, what to do if you're craving a drink, managing feelings, etc, without being preachy. 

Similar to life after W30, living without alcohol goes from something you're doing right now for a better, healthier you, to a lifestyle and identity change.  The cravings and feeling-shitty cycle will end.

Anyway, here if you'd like more support on this and feel free to PM me.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I was looking for a thickener for a sauce, and I ran across this...  I completed my Whole30, and I have remained dedicated not at day 42.  I am afraid to reintroduce anything including alcohol.  I feel so much better without it all, and I do not even want to know what reintroduction looks like.  I do not miss the cravings and the feeling crappy... unclear head... and I attribute that to NOT DRINKING.

I guess you can say I am on the fence of IF I will reintroduce it.  I am so proud of the 42 days, and do not want to start counting over. 

Glad I am not alone...


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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/10/2017 at 10:23 AM, gina724 said:

love, Gina - 976 days sober.

On 4/21/2017 at 0:47 AM, foursimplewords said:

day 21. :)

Yay! This is so motivating. I've never had cravings for alcohol, if anything I'm usually turned off by it, but my partner of 4.5 years recently started drinking more and more heavily. I suggested him going sober for the 120 days I plan to do Whole 30 (April 24 - August 21), and he said "I guess I'm not going out anywhere for 120 days". That made me so sad, that he felt he couldn't go to any social events without the need to drink.

I really hope he will venture out as time goes on, but my most important thing is for him to prove to himself he can do it. Obviously I am not drinking on Whole 30 so I can help provide support, but we can't throw away the summer, or life moving forward, because he thinks he can't resist booze.

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On 2017-4-25 at 0:46 AM, sweetz149 said:

Yes! THIS! Just what I needed to read before I start whole30. I'm in the same boat. Sounds like your doing great, keep it up!

thank you :)

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I don't believe this. The past 30 days have been eye opening. day 30 at lunch time I fell, had a glass of wine with my lunch....smh...


however, it made me feel crappy, and I guess my reintro has started early! i am tempted to make tomorrow my official day 30. I would like to eat w30 for a bit longer, as everything is much better but my eczema is still clearing up and my allergies too. I have an event on 7 May which people are baking for me specially (I am coeliac), and i can't say no here and I'm happy to work around it.


Sorry not much of a point to this post just getting it off my chest, I feel crappy :( 

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