Tom's story: Feeling more like myself everyday

January 2023 | 7 minutes

After a nasty accident, Tom, 72, took the decision to change the role alcohol had in his life as a daily drinker.

I am 72 and have drunk, to some degree, every day for at least the last forty years. Over the years I drank more and more until I was drinking, on some days, two bottles of wine in the evening.

In April 2021, I had been heavily drinking one day and I fell. The following day I was admitted to hospital confused, in pain and with an all-consuming feeling that I was about to die.

Understanding why I drank

It was blamed on an infection, but deep down I knew it was the booze.

Leaving hospital, I swore I would cut down. And I did for a week or so but, guess what? I soon started drinking again – and heavily!

In January, after all the Christmas and New Year celebrations, I came home from a drunken dinner party and decided on a nightcap – which of course became two or three.

The following morning, I felt like death and the decision to stop drinking suddenly hit me.

It was not that simple of course and excuses such as “cutting back will help” or “red wine is good for you” flowed through my mind. Eventually, I found these phrases and ideas led me back to having a drink again.

Deep down I knew I had to stop but it was a real struggle - then I found Dry January® and it changed my attitude to alcohol completely.

Feeling more like myself everyday

Since January 2022 I have not had a drink and I feel amazing. I have lost aches and pains, I sleep better, and I exercise again.

Alcohol Change UK has helped change my life and continues to do so. I found the Try Dry® app incredibly helpful during Dry January® and I don’t think I could have stayed dry during the month without it.

Learning how to stay dry and what works for me

The question then was how to stay dry going forward and I knew that I needed more help. I think it is an age thing, but the thought of sitting down with someone and going through my “drinking problem” left me cold – so I bought the book Try Dry®: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze and the help I got (and still get) from that book is amazing.

Now if I feel the urge to drink, I go back to the book and read the chapter on cravings once again. One other thing I do is I extend the chapter ‘Throughout the Month’ to ‘Throughout the Quarter’, then to “Throughout Half a Year” and so on.

What I’ve gained back

Don’t get me wrong Alcohol Change UK did not make me stop drinking – that came from within myself. But they helped me face and deal with a problem I had for years.

One joy I get from not drinking, it’s playing with my two grandchildren without sweating, wheezing or them asking “are you OK Grandad?”.

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