Checking back through my journal I see it was the 12th of June 2021 when, after returning from a 6 mile kayak run, I supped on a freezing cold beer in Revans – a Cretan beach bar – and didn’t enjoy it. I then had a glass of red wine and found that better, then proceeded to drink three half-litre carafes of the stuff. The result of this was a hangover that lasted for three days and no wish to have any alcohol at all.
After a couple of weeks I had a case of the roaring shits which, I ascertained, might well have been my guts shedding years of damage. My general health and mood improved and I found the anxiety I had often been prey to started diminishing. But then I lapsed on day 72, had a couple of false starts on stopping again, then got back on track on the 5th September 2021. This time I went for 302 days to July of the following year. Why did I drink this time? Because I was overpowered by my terrible alcohol addiction? No, not really.
On the two occasions above when I gave up I never felt any strong craving for the stuff – just on the first occasion an odd kind of physical puzzlement and defeat of expectation because, at so-and-so point in time I should be feeling this way with some beers inside me. And every time I started again it was because I was in a bar and had kow-towed to social pressure, almost certainly cumulative, to drink.
During the second lapse I didn’t drink enough to actually get drunk and half the time was wondering why I was bothering with the stuff. I kept quitting for a week, or two, then lapsing again, and then quit on 21st August 2022. What helped with this were some occurrences that made me realise I no longer wanted to keep my kayak at the beach bar, and which led to me going off to join a gym on the other side of the island.
Now I have to add that the dates, upon checking my journal, have come as a surprise to me. I was all set for writing a blog post, today, talking about having given up for a year. However, a series of brain farts in my recording ‘zero alcohol days’ has led me to miscount. Today is not day 365 ‘sober’ but day 378.
Still, it’s worth celebrating, with a cup of tea.