Okay, so last night you REALLY fucked up. You’ve woken up in a bad place – possibly both mentally (oh the paranoia!) and geographically (wtf why am I in a zoo!) – and you’ve finally decided that enough is enough. The booze buzz is more hassle than it’s worth. You’ve ruined too many relationships, wasted too much money, knocked over too many tables, bruised too many knees, and shagged too many mingers.
But the problem is that alcohol is a devious bastard, and if you’re not on full alert then after a few days off it you’ll start to feel better and start kidding yourself that last weekend was ‘just a blip’ and that you ‘don’t normally attack bus drivers’, and you’ll consider returning to the pop and starting the charade all over again. Or even worse, if you’re anything like I used to be, you’ll reach out straightaway (like, by 11am that same morning) for another drink as a shortcut to dealing with the nasty hangover. Trust me – this is one of the worst decisions that anyone has ever made ever (including that time that Blockbuster video turned down the chance to partner up with Netflix). All you’re doing is postponing the inevitable for another 24 hours, and when that baby hits it’s gunna be twice as painful and twice as messy. The hangover equivalent of a sneezy puke-fart.
Nope! You’ve made your mind up! Today is the last time you’ll ever say I’M NEVER DRINKING AGAIN, and the first time you’ll actually mean it. You’re strapped in for the long haul, and ready to go 100% sober, but hang on! One quick question… HOW?
Well, lucky for you (you lovely bastard) I’m here to help. I drank my last drink nearly 4 years ago, after a TON of false starts and broken promises, and so I absolutely know how hard the struggle is, and also how much of an alluring piece of shit alcohol can be. It’s like a beautiful woman that seduces you into following her down an alleyway, only to reveal herself to be a huge bloke with a skinhead that wants to bugger you with a cricket bat. Get off me alcohol you perv!
So, just a quick word of warning before we submerge ourselves in the cooling lagoon of questionable advice: If you have the kind of serious alcohol problem where you can’t stop drinking without serious withdrawal symptoms, such as bad shakes, seizures, hallucinations, or debilitatingly dark and depressing thoughts, then skip my advice and see a doctor immediately. I’m not a health professional; just an ex-pisshead with a few badly formed ideas about getting sober (although I will do you a vasectomy in my shed for a fiver).
Stop looking so sad and come and sit on your uncle Jon’s knee. I’ll fix yer.
QUITTING BOOZE DAY ONE ACTION PLAN
- Okay, I’m going to assume you’ve just woken up and you’re in a whole world of shit. First thing’s first: get some moisture and nutrients in your bruised-up body. Grab a pint of water, a bowl of cereal (or something more substantial if you can manage it) and pop some multivitamins. Next, head back to bed until at least lunchtime. If you can’t sleep then probably just have a wank or something. That’s how the badness gets out (not scientifically proven, but scientists r dum init).
- Drag your duvet in front of the telly. The first part of today is all about rest and relaxation. There are, however, certain programmes that you should probably avoid if you’re suffering a massive hangover with a huge dollop of paranoia:
- Songs of Praise – Religion uses hangovers to manipulate you through guilt. That’s how they get you. Also how AA works.
- Any property show, especially those ones about moving abroad – You already feel like lowlife waster scum today. The last thing you need is rich bastards and baby boomers showing off their massive wad of cash. “Yah, we’d love to live in Sorento but our budget is only £700k, unless we sell off some of our UK portfolio”. Fuck off you posh gimp.
- The News – War, famine, brexit, knife crime. Nope.
- Men Behaving Badly – Too nostalgic. You’ll end up straight back on the Binky.
- …probably just watch some cartoons mate.
- Okay, it’s time to take some positive action. Smash a cup of tea (not literally, just drink one) then stagger all over the house and gather up ALL of the booze that you have at home. You can take your duvet with you if you like, whatever it takes. The key here is to be THOROUGH and BRUTAL. Anniversary champagne, expensive whisky, Baileys that you were saving for Xmas… the whole lot! Now’s the hard part: Put some triumphant, ceremonious type music on – I’d recommend the Jurassic Park theme music – and pour each of those badboys down the sink. It’s okay to cry whilst you’re doing this, but by the end you’ll feel like you’ve taken a real step forwards. Also, think of it this way: If you ever start drinking again then you’ve effectively wasted £££’s of booze that you could have made use of, so it’s better to stay sober to prevent feeling ripped-off. Logic! Now go and dump all of the empties over the fence into your neighbours garden, especially if they’re a total fucktard like my neighbour is.
- Staying sober is all about planning, at least in the early stages. Grab your calendar and identify any upcoming dates where you are likely to drink. This could be a party, or a gig, or even just a Friday night in on your own. You have to identify each and every one of those motherfuckers, and cancel them for at least the next 2 weeks. Not only that, but also fill any ‘danger gaps’ with other activities that won’t trigger you. For example: Friday night planned getting drunk at a nightclub in Batley with the lads? Cancel it, and buy a cinema ticket for the same night. Sunday afternoon BBQ planned with the missus? Cancel it, and instead arrange to visit your parents. Each replacement activity requires commitment so that you won’t back out. Yep, your social life might suffer a bit, but what’s more important than your sobriety? Real mates will understand. Also, this is only short term. Eventually, once you’re totally OWNING sobriety, you’ll be able to return to nights out – but this time with Diet Cokes and no taxis!
- Get some reading material. Sure, you might not be in a fit state to drag yourself to Waterstones today, unless you’re one of those scary rotters that gives NO FUCKS and goes shopping in pyjamas and Ugg boots, but honestly everything you need is online anyway. There are a TON of excellent blogs on the www about quitting booze (plus a couple of shit ones like this one), and I’d also hugely recommend having a look at Club Soda’s book recommendations, which you can view here. There are 3 main reasons that TODAY is the right time to start reading ‘quit lit’:
- It’s distracting, and any time spent reading is time spent not drinking.
- You’ll learn a metric fucktonne of excellent techniques and tips for getting off the Jesus Juice for good.
- Reading makes you all sophisticated an’ that, so you can feel all uppity and smart. So GET READING!
- Usually, when you’ve decided it’s time to knock the boozing on the head, there are 1 or 2 clear catalysts that shine through as the reasons you wish to kick the wanker-juice into touch. For me, it was the threat of losing my wife through drunken idiocy that gave me the push to stop it for good. For you it might be your kids, or maybe your hangovers are wrecking your career, or maybe you’re getting fat due to all the booze calories and subsequent takeaways. Whatever the main drivers may be, it’s important to keep them at the forefront of your mind so that you can call upon them in moments of weakness. To this end, I recommend getting a reminder that you can carry around with you everywhere you go; something that you always have close to hand for when the ‘Booze Bastard’ starts chirping into your ear. I chose to use a photograph of my wife, that I actually still carry with me to this day, sat inside my wallet so that I can peek at it if I need a reminder as to why I can’t have that lovely looking cold beer. Find something similar that works for you; a picture, an object that reminds you of something important, whatever that thing may be, and stow it away in your wallet or handbag or whatever. Do it now! I SAID NOOOOOOW!
- Grab a pen and scribble down some achievable goals, that you’ll miss if you start drinking again. For example, if you spend £50 a week on booze/taxis/etc, then aim to put that cash into a savings account, or a shoe box under your bed. In 1 year that will be £2600!! Make a promise to yourself that when you hit that 1 year target, you’ll do something special with the cash. Book a holiday, get a new car, or wazz it against a deposit for a house. Or, if your goal is just to reach 6 months without getting banjaxed on booze then promise yourself a treat, like a new Megadrive game, or whatever it is you kids play on these days. Fuckin’ make a goal, fuckin’ write it down, fuckin’ smash it. Boom!
- Okay, this has been a lot of stuff to do in one day, especially when you’re hanging like a bastard. The final job, before you retire for the night, is to pick up the phone and book a haircut. New ‘fro new you, right? Also, get a shower and a shave you sweaty twat. I once knew a lad who was in the army, and he told me that one of the most important things they did every morning on patrol was shave – because without cleanliness then there’s no self respect, and without self respect there’s no point getting up in the morning. Get a haircut, and go forth into your new life like a proper spruced up fuckin’ princess. Trust me, it works. Or just buy yourself a new t-shirt. Whatevs.
Follow this QUITTING BOOZE DAY ONE ACTION PLAN to the letter, right now, and I guarantee that come tomorrow morning you’ll already be feeling better about things. Beyond that, there is a multitude of advice out there. See here for more guff from me about remaining sober. I’d also recommend joining a few Facebook groups – there’s some amazing support out there. And what if all else fails? Well drop me an email on here, or join our cool little private sweary Facebook group here. I would never have reached four years sober without the support of other people, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to walk this scary new path alone.
Now stop feeling sorry for yourself and GET TO IT you special bastard.
The biggest and sweatiest of hugs.