Five weeks without alcohol
This blog post was written in 2019 when I finally made the journey through to 5 weeks without alcohol, for the final time.
The post itself was written a few times but after falling off the horse a few times, I deleted the content and started again. I wanted to portray a true picture of what it was like for me at the 5-week alcohol-free point.
Well, here I am. I have finally hit five weeks without alcohol. I cannot actually believe that I am writing this.
This is 5 weeks and I have not consumed alcohol, thus far.
This blog is part of my own experience, relating to the bigger blog here – the Quit Alcohol Recovery Timeline.
As well as not drinking, I have been exercising over the past 5 weeks more than I have done in many years…and not drunk….hmmmm connection, maybe?
And do I look and feel amazing? Not really, no!
OK my bloated face seems to have gone down, and I am remaining real about the time that I have been drinking compared to the time that I have not been – ummm around 20 years compared to 5 weeks without alcohol? But still, I think I was expecting a bit more than this.
Huh….I think it is time to give my head a wobble and put this in perspective – I can feel as I write this, becoming a bit negative about the progress along the alcohol timeline – so I will use something that I would encourage others to do.
I write things down. In fact, that has been probably the most over-utilised technique that I am using now and during the past 5 weeks without alcohol.
So what positive changes have I noted so far from five weeks without alcohol?
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that I am experiencing so far, all without guzzling down a load of beer.
- My heart rate has gone down by an average of 10 beats per minute (bpm)
- Heartburn has died down – it is still there a couple of times per day, but definitely died down
- Pain in my back has subsided
- Slight improvement in sensation in big toe
- Managed to get to sleep – now without sleeping pills for 8 days
- Slightly more money in my pocket – slightly
- No hangovers for a while now
OK, so just reading this back – I have literally just wrote them off the top of my head and read them back – that is good medicine. I strongly advise you use that tool, as I did just then.
I kinda feel like restarting this post, but I won’t. I guess that just shows you the power of doing that. As you can read above, I was questioning how well I am feeling, but in the grand scheme of things and with just over 4 weeks without drinking, there have really been some quite dramatic changes. Ok, I will wind my neck in a bit and try to go along with this ride/journey.
Due to my increase in exercise, and hoping to feel better (overreaching before the time passes, some might say) I have been reading quite a bit about intermittent fasting -IF- and all of it’s benefits. Now, I am a creature of habit as I have stated before so this approach is probably something that may well suit me.
I have joined a couple of IF groups on Facebook and followed some people on Insta to see what it is all about. There are quite a few different approaches to it, but I am going to try the 16-8 method. This is where a person fasts for 16 hours (this includes sleeping) and eats during the 8 hours. I am not an expert in all of this but there appears to be lots of solid information online about the benefits of eating this way. For now, I will keep this part short and I am just putting this in my journal to see how it goes.
What changes have I noticed with five weeks without alcohol – broken down.
Body and health
My body is feeling a lot better really. I am exercising and can definitely notice some improvement in my fitness, having found a few exercises easier and feel stronger with them. I have also levelled up in some of the cardio machines as well, so that is a good indication of things going in the right direction.
My body – I don’t really think that I have changed really. This week, I did have one person telling me that I looked quite healthy…but that person was my mother, so I don’t really think that counts. My mum has always been positive and complimentary, unconditional love. I am very lucky to have people like that in my life.
I am now on day 11 without zopiclone. It was going quite well, but last night I struggled to get to sleep. I was in bed for around 3 hours awake, then 4 hours sleeping, then back off to gym in the hope that I tired myself out. I am honestly not too concerned about sleep. It would be nice, of course, it would, but I am just ‘keeping it real’ with my expectations.
At five weeks without alcohol, I think I have reached a turning point and feel generally more chilled out. On week four, I was quite snappy. Writing this down and reading it back has made me more aware of this.
I gauge mood when it comes to stopping drinking directly down to what my family say to me. I am extremely lucky to have a supportive family, and ones who do not hold back in the honesty stakes.
If I have been coming across in a good mood, they will tell me. If not, they will also tell me so! At the ‘five weeks without alcohol‘ point – things seem to be going ‘OK’.
Eating is still one of the best improvements so far on this journey. I am eating regularly – probably a bit too much but not concerned about it due to the increase in exercise and lack of alcohol being thrown around my system. I don’t want to be too harsh on myself and am happy to take small steps. Saying that, I have just started Intermittent Fasting – literally just on day 2 now. As mentioned, I am doing this quite blindly really and putting faith in the fact that it is good for me. I will evaluate this and educate myself as I go along, but the health benefits just seem too big to ignore.
I will carry on – ODAAT!!*
- ODAAT = One Day At A Time – a mantra that is thrown around the sober communities quite a lot.