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I Don't Drink
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Two totally non-preachy books on how to stop drinking based on my own success after 40 years as an alcoholic
Two totally non-preachy books on how to stop drinking based on my own success after 40 years as an alcoholic

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‘An enemy in your mouth to steal away your brains’

At last night’s excellent performance of Othello at London’s Globe Theatre I particularly noted what happened to poor Cassio due to drunkenness. Cassio is a sensible young man and a highly respected officer in Othello’s army.
There is a scene where Cassio doesn’t want to go drinking but is bullied into doing so by the play’s bad man, Iago.
Not only does Cassio end up hopelessly drunk and acting totally out of character, but he becomes abusive, gets in a fight and ends up stabbing someone.
Because of this he loses his job, the respect of all who know him and ends up a complete loser for most of the play, and at least until it is discovered that Iago is ultimately responsible for all the bad things that occur.
There are some wonderful words Cassio speaks which explain his reaction to having been drunk and that struck an accord with me:

CASSIO
I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!
IAGO
Why, but you are now well enough: how came you thus recovered?
CASSIO
It hath pleased the devil drunkenness to give place to the devil wrath; one unperfectness shows me another, to make me frankly despise myself.
IAGO
Come, you are too severe a moraler: as the time, the place, and the condition of this country stands, I could heartily wish this had not befallen; but, since it is as it is, mend it for your own good.
CASSIO
I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is un-blessed and the ingredient is a devil.

There was a time not so many years ago when I was very drunk one afternoon and in a posh London wine bar, and I got into a drunken row over something petty with someone who was equally inebriated. The chap in question asked me outside for a fight, something even drunk I would never contemplate, but what really sobered me up was another chap handing me a knife for my protection and expecting me to use it!
It is unbelievable to think that drink could have led to what could have become a disastrous situation for all concerned.
Don’t forget to visit www.idontdrink.net for many more stories and more information.
i don't drink
i don't drink
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The Balloon goes up!
I finally got to enjoy a virgin balloon flight this morning after countless weather-based cancellations over the past year. It was well worth the wait.
We took off at 5.30 a.m. and that meant a 3.30 wake-up call for me as the launch-site was over 60 miles form where I live.
As I drove at that early hour I was acutely aware of the issue I would have had doing such a thing in the days when I drank. If I had decided to drive myself I would have had to not drink the night (ideally the 24 hours) before. The fact that you don’t know if the flight is going to take place until 11.00 p.m. the evening before would have been a real pain. I would have been torn between not drinking that evening and all the stress of that, or risking driving over the limit the next day. Even worse would have been not drinking the night before only to find the launch cancelled. How wonderful for none of that pathetic nightmare to be an issue and for me to be able to drive clear-headed and excited to the launch site.
When we were at 2000 feet the pilot told us about a group he had taken up a few days before. Apparently, because of the early start-time, this group arrived straight from a nightclub and were still very drunk. He did take them up despite this, but they mostly hid down in the basket feeling tired and ill and he even heard cried of ‘are we there yet’. Most of them didn’t even get to enjoy the view! Apparently, they only perked up when offered a glass of ‘hair of the dog’ champagne after the balloon had landed. What a complete waste!
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06/08/2018
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Imperium - tanked up losers of the ancient world
This week I was fortunate enough to go and see both episodes of the Imperium play at the Gielgud theatre in London. The acting was excellent and the storyline just as good. Set in ancient Rome and based around the writings of Cicero it contains all your usual characters from this period including Julius Caesar, Brutus, and Octavian.

Two things struck me. Firstly, how similar the political situation back then was to that of today. It was amusing to see the mega-rich General Pompey acting in a trump-like over-bearish manner, promising the people all sorts of never-deliverable wonders and worrying about his comb-over. We also had the Senate standing around clueless after having killed Caesar, with no prior plan what to do next, and so much indecision you could see the Republic fall apart around them – how Brexit is that.

Secondly there were two great drunks who made an appearance. The first was general Lucullus who was so drunk he lost his army – literally, and was to be seen red-faced and staggering about the set to the embarrassment of anyone who has been that legless. Then Mark Antony, the chap who had the affair with Cleopatra. He was also portrayed as a complete wreck-head and seen throwing up, falling about and generally being useless. Of all the people portrayed, Mark Antony was best placed to become an Emperor and rule the known World at the time, but alcohol was too much of a draw for him and he ended up losing everything and committing suicide instead.

I suppose it shows how much you relate to the issues drink causes once it is no longer an issue for yourself, but also how much it makes you realise how many opportunities of your own you have lost because you were a drunk. Thank God those days are behind me.

Go and see this show if you get the chance – brilliant.
don't forget to sign up for my newsletter at www.idontdrink.net
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Do those you care about really trust you?

If you ever drink to the extent you don’t know what you’re doing, how much do those around you continue to trust you? Being drunk can make you behave in ways you would never dream of doing when sober. What you do and say whilst drunk can have a major impact on your family, your friends and even complete strangers. It can take seconds to lose someone’s trust but a lifetime to gain it back again.

Read about broken trust in my latest newsletter. Subscribe for your free copy at www.idontdrink.net
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Last night I was fortunate to go to the IRIS theatre at London’s Covent Garden to see their latest Shakespearian production The Tempest. I loved the whole show and would thoroughly recommend it, especially the way you move around St Paul’s churchyard from scene to scene www.iristheatre.com The best bit for me was the scene with the three drunks. This was so well played the actors must regularly practice with real alcohol. It was especially amusing to witness the audience reaction when a mock drunken fight started, and the actors moved amongst the audience swaying drunkenly and aiming blows at each other whilst spilling wine (water) over the people nearest to them and looking like complete wreck-heads.
It was also PRIDE day, and so walking from the theatre to catch out train home from Charing Cross we witnessed the aftermath. Not only have I never before seen so much rubbish strewn around, but the streets were also littered with drunks. I can only assume that an afternoon drinking excessively in boiling sunshine at Trafalgar square and with too little water taken on board had been too much for many people. Watching people reeling along, swaying and tripping over the smallest item, it was as if the Shakespearian characters had followed us home!
How nice to wake up with a completely clear and fresh head this morning and not to be suffering some dreadful aftermath as thousands of those we saw last night must be. Thank goodness I can now enjoy watching drunkenness being portrayed and not myself feeling the need to imbibe.
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For the first time since I quit alcohol over 5 years ago I dreamt of having a drink last night. Quite what brought the dream on I have no idea but this is the nub of it.
I was due to have a very important meeting with a potential customer but my brother called me to meet him for a drink and said it was urgent. As he died some years ago (from alcohol liver failure) I wanted to see him, so duly went to the appointed pub to meet him thinking I could still make the important meeting later. The pub was empty and I remember the owner being disheartened that I hadn’t been in for many years (I seemed to recall the pub from about thirty years ago), my brother then turned up an ordered two pints of what looked like a cross between cider and lager. This is where it all got very confusing. I remember being nervous of having that drink because I didn’t want to feel drunk and ill but when I tasted it, it tasted of nothing and so I drank it down and immediately shouted that what was the point of having just one, let’s get drunk! Then I remembered the prospect I was due to meet and realized I was already late for the appointment and that they would be waiting for me. I went outside and realised now couldn’t drive as I had been drinking and so I tried to phone them but deleted all the numbers in my phone by mistake and then phone seemed to melt in my hand. I recall feeling very stressed about all of this and then I woke up.
I don’t normally remember dreams but this one I did for some reason. The overlying feeling was the hopelessness of the situation and the fact I was letting so many people down including myself just because of drink. I also recall feeling angry that my brother insisted on meeting me for a drink knowing I no longer drink, and then confused as to why I wasn’t able to stop at one and was insisting on getting smashed.
It just shows I can never drink again, and reaffirms every reason why I would never want to drink again. Thank God that none of this is a reality.
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So, have I cracked it?

Having just completed the amazing milestone of 2000 days without a drop of alcohol does it mean I am completely ‘cured’ and can risk having the odd glass of wine or beer without going back to my old ways?

The definite answer is a massive NO.

With all this lovely weather we are having, I was in a supermarket the other day and saw an attractively packaged tin of cider. The can itself looked refreshing and inviting and if it had been zero alcohol cider I would have bought a pack there and then. I knew however that just one sip would make me drink the whole can in seconds and I would be back to wanting a constant supply until drunkenness took over. Why is that?

I am obviously not dependent on alcohol otherwise I couldn’t have managed well over five happy years without it. I never crave alcohol and don’t even think about the stuff except with disdain when I see it wrecking other people’s lives as it did mine. I also know that alcoholism is not a disease as some would tell you or I would still have the disease and still be crying out for my next fix, or I would have needed professional help to quit. So, what makes me know with a certainty that one drop would lead me straight back to be the wreck I once was?

It has to be because I enjoyed drinking so much. Yes, it was a habit, and a habit that got out of control, but I loved drinking and the relaxed feeling I used to get from having that first glass of wine in my hand, or that first cold lager. The problem is it would never stop there and once having had that habit, if I tried drinking again I know that same habit would return immediately.

So does this matter to me? The answer again is a big NO.

I really and honestly don’t miss alcohol at all so despite the fancy packaging or the inviting advertising, I am never going to be tempted to have that sip. I have almost (but not quite) given up praising myself for having quit and reflecting on the wonderful life I live because I am sober, because that has become a natural habit for me too. The only reason I keep a log of how many days is to use the data to help others in my blogs, and to record with delight the things I am achieving in life because I am so much healthier and of course wealthier. I do often reflect on the old drunken me however. Probably every week I will say to my wife ‘the old me wouldn’t have being doing this because I would been drunk’, or ‘five years ago we couldn’t have afforded this’, or ‘ I would have missed this experience because I would been in some stinking pub instead’, or ‘I had that opportunity but I blew it because of drink’.
So, for anyone reading this who secretly thinks they can quit ‘forever’ but then safely go back to having the occasional drink and truly control how much they imbibe, I don’t believe that works or will ever work. If you quit forever it has to be forever and that is why the commitment has to be that genuine and concrete. If you allow even the smallest chink in your resolve you will fail. Not only will that destroy the self-belief you have built up, but also the confidence and belief that others have in you. So if you are planning to quit forever make it mean forever. The good thing is that with that attitude you really won’t miss alcohol because there is no point, you really will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about and why you deliberated for so long, and like me you will every day celebrate the new you because of the freedom and self-ownership you have discovered. You can get to 2000 and beyond just like me, and to find out how I started this long journey visit www.idontdrink.net and read the blogs, or even better - read my book.

i don't drink
i don't drink
idontdrink.net
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The news that Coca-Cola are entering the alcohol market to exploit the young drinking culture in Japan makes me livid. In years to come this same company will be trying to say how responsible they are whilst wriggling out of law-suits for having helped to fuel an alcohol crisis that will cause ill-health, misery and death. It really proves the point that most corporates are purely driven by greed and shareholder returns than any moral responsibility.
I don't drink Coke but I will studiously avoid any drinks from the coca-cola company from now on by way of my own protest. If they get away with this in Japan they will do the same in many other countries where the government is weak on protective legislation for its populace or open to bribes. One day when alcohol consumption has the same stigma attached as smoking Coca-Cola will no doubt be paying out billions in compensation, but by then the management and shareholders of today will have moved on and be enjoying the wealth earned from the misery of others. Bad move Coca-Cola.
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Please help me to help the homeless

I don’t normally ask for charity sponsorship as I make my own regular charity contributions through an association I belong to, and all the proceeds from my book sales also go to help the connection at St Martin’s charity. But this is a bit different:

The connection at St Martin’s is London’s busiest homelessness charity supporting more people than any other away from the streets through specialist services including: a day & night centre, street outreach, help finding employment & specialist mental health & addiction support.

On the weekend on 25th-28th May, my wife and I will join 98 others and walk the Pilgrims Way from Trafalgar Square to Canterbury Cathedral. A total of some 74 miles over mixed terrain and living rough overnight.
We know it will be hard going but we expect to have fun, meet some fascinating people along the way and learn a little more about ourselves too.

Please help this very worthy charity if you can by sponsoring us at this link: https://pilgrimage2018.everydayhero.com/uk/julian
Thankyou
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Cast off the voice in your head!

I saw this statue of Dionysus at the Acropolis museum in Athens last week, he is the Greek god of wine, beer and all bad things associated with being drunk.
The awful aspect of the statue with people originally sitting on his shoulders and whispering in his ears reminded me of the voices in your head you get when you are trying to reform and quit alcohol. That awful voice that says don't quit now but wait until after the wedding, or your birthday or the party at the weekend, or that suggests you have one last glass. It's also the voice that tells you that you CAN manage your drinking and so only need to moderate and not quit completely. The voice that hints that drinking is actually good for you and that quotes all that crap you read in the paper about one glass of wine helping you to live longer.
If you are getting those voices, try and imagine you being this statue (less the scruffy beard I hope), and those voices actually being unhelpful souls you are having to carry with you wherever you go and that are leeching off your life blood.
Cast them off and don't listen. The voice is your subconscious trying to hang on to the effect it gets from the chemicals induced by alcohol and that it doesn't need but has come too used to. It is the habit playing with your mind. Look in the mirror and try and imagine those creatures on your shoulders. Do you really want to give them a free ride? No wonder Dionysus looks so bloody miserable!
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